Thursday And-1 links: All-Star logos, Pharrell Williams, Carmelo Anthony as anchor on Knicks

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers believe in bullet points more than Wizards fans believe Kevin Durant is theirs in 2016….

• The NBA released the logo for the 2015 All-Star Game in New York and Brooklyn, and it plays off the subway sign transportation theme. You can see it to the right. I like it.

• Pharrell Williams will curate the music for NBA 2K14, and you can follow this link to see the Kevin Durant cover.

• Why Carmelo Anthony’s contract could be an anchor for the Knicks.

Philadelphia has signed point guard Pierre Jackson, it’s a one-year, partially guaranteed deal.

• Warriors point guard Shaun Livingston is sidelined for a month with a sprained big toe.

• The Kings have until Saturday to decide whether or not to keep Quincy Acy.

• Al Harrington says he has recovered from left shoulder surgery and is trying to catch on somewhere.

• My wife would have killed me.

There’s a rumor going around that once the  NBA gets a new, expanded television deal they will add two teams in Seattle and Louisville. I wouldn’t bet the rent on that.

• The Spurs have hired one of the brightest minds in European basketball, Ettore Messina. Because that brain trust wasn’t deep enough already.

• Russell Westbrook has his own line of sunglasses.

• Among the things that need to be factored into a free agent is the tax rates in a various states — you pay a lot higher rate in California or New York to make big bucks than you do in Texas or Florida. Tax rates are not as big a factor as some fans think, but it is a factor. And the NBA doesn’t plan to do anything about it.

• We can’t run the video here for language reasons, but watch Kobe Bryant beat a fan in horse while talking smack.

• Dwyane Wade and a dolphin. Because we can.

• In maybe the best signing of the off-season, the AT&T Center in San Antonio is hiring an air conditioning specialist. Not that they won’t take how Game 1 of the Finals worked out.

• Louis ‘Red’ Klotz — the man behind the Washington Generals of Harlem Globetrotters fame — has passed away.

• Phoenix has waived Dionte Christmas.

• Jeremy Pargo inked a two-year Maccabi Tel Aviv (the reigning EuroLeague champion, which was where David Blatt coached last season).

• Finally, JaVale McGee dunks in his dreams.

Russell Westbrook on Rockets laughing at Andre Roberson missing free throws: ‘Probably the guys that don’t play’

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The Rockets bench made a big production when an intentionally fouled Andre Roberson kept missing free throws in the Thunder’s Game 4 loss to the Rockets yesterday.

Russell Westbrook stuck up for his teammate.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Westbrook:

I didn’t see it. I didn’t see it at all. Probably the guys that don’t play, probably over there the ones laughing, if I had to guess.

Good guess. It appears Montrezl Harrell and Bobby Brown – whose only playing time this series came late in Houston’s blowout Game 1 win – led the jeers.

But the most important thing for the Thunder is Roberson making his free throws. They need him on the court to defend James Harden, which exposes him to hacking. If Westbrook deflecting attention onto the Rockets’ benchwarmers helps Roberson at the line, great. But if not, the Rockets will keep having reasons to laugh.

Magic Johnson winks at bringing Paul George to Lakers

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Paul George-to-the-Lakers rumors have swirled for a while.

New Lakers president Magic Johnson will only fuel them.

Asked how he’d interact with the Pacers star to avoid tampering if they ran into each other, Johnson said on Jimmy Kimmel Live:

We’re going to say hi, because we know each other. You just can’t say, “Hey, I want you to come to the Lakers,” even though I’m going to be wink-winking like [blinks repeatedly]. You know what that means, right?

In explaining how he’d avoid tampering, Johnson probably tampered. Accidental tampering appears to be his specialty.

The Collective Bargaining Agreement says team employees can’t permissibly “induce, persuade, or attempt to entice, induce or persuade, any Player who is under contract to, or whose exclusive negotiating rights are held by, any other Member of the Association to enter into negotiations for or relating to his services or negotiate or contract for such services.” But the league arbitrarily enforces tampering, so who knows whether he’ll be punished?

Johnson almost certainly could have gotten away with the hypothetical conversation he laid out. But going on television and describing it — even as fantasy, even not directly to George — could constitute tampering in itself,

If Johnson helps attract George to Los Angeles, it’d well be worth it. At least he’s trying something.

Report: Austin Rivers returning for Clippers-Jazz Game 5

Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images
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There have been bigger injuries in the Clippers-Jazz first-round series: Blake Griffin‘s toe, Rudy Gobert‘s knee and Gordon Hayward‘s stomach.

But Clippers guard Austin Rivers has yet to play due to a strained hamstring.

It sounds as if that will change tomorrow.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

This is neither as big a deal as the Clippers will make it out to be nor as meaningless as Rivers’ many detractors will claim.

The 6-foot-4 Rivers will provide an important defensive upgrade on the perimeter. The Clippers haven’t successfully hidden Jamal Crawford and Raymond Felton, allowing Utah too many quality looks. Here how the Jazz have shot when defended by each, per NBA.com:

  • Crawford: 18-of-36 (50%), including 7-of-17 on 3-pointers (41%)
  • Felton: 13-of-24 (54%), including 5-of-8 on 3-pointers (63%)

Rivers needn’t be great to help behind Chris Paul and J.J. Redick.

Rockets bench hams it up over Andre Roberson missed free throw (video)

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Russell Westbrook might not want to talk about his supporting cast distinctively, but it’s a real issue for the Thunder, who trail the Rockets 3-1 in their first-round series.

Even Andre Roberson, who has impressively defended James Harden, brings a glaring weakness: free throws. Roberson is 2-for-17 from the line in the playoffs, including 2-for-12 in Game 4 yesterday. Houston even repeatedly intentionally fouled him late.

It was agonizing for all but the most partisan Rockets supporters – though even Houston’s bench, while at least implicitly mocking Roberson, appeared put off that he missed yet again.