Report: Kevin Johnson no longer part of search for new head of players’ union, vote expected Monday

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Kevin Johnson worked wonders to help the city of Sacramento retain the Kings, when the team’s former owners seemed dead set on selling to a group that would relocate the franchise to Seattle.

Johnson was enlisted to try to achieve similar success in searching for a new head of the union for the players, after Billy Hunter was cut loose following questionable dealings and even more curious financial decisions.

But Johnson is out now, apparently, and the process is set to move forward without him.

From Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

In email, Kevin Johnson has informed agents he’s no longer part of the search process for a new NBPA executive director, Yahoo has learned.

Johnson had been tasked with heading search committee for a new NBPA executive director, but terse email reveals committee is out of process

Sources had told Yahoo Sports in past 48 hours that are four finalists in process for new the NBPA executive director.

Wrote Kevin Johnson in email to agents: “While we’d hoped to help bring this to completion, it’s clear that won’t be possible.”

NBPA exec. committee wants to lead process toward hiring, leaving Johnson’s group feeling cast aside, sources say. And so it goes in NBPA.

3 NBPA exec. director candidates will make 45 minute presentations to players at union meeting Monday in Las Vegas — then a vote to elect.

What’s important here isn’t necessarily who ends up getting the job. It’s that the dysfunction in the union continues.

The players need more involvement for when it’s time to renegotiate the collective bargaining agreement, which is one of the reasons that Chris Paul agreed to take the role of president which had previously been given to players who had far less on-court responsibilities.

The stars need to step up in order to make a true stand against the owners, but they can’t do it alone. They need competent leadership in place, and by the powers that be forcing Johnson out before the process is complete, you have to wonder if they’ll ultimately make the wisest of decisions.

Elfrid Payton slams chasedown block on LeBron James (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is usually the guy handing out chasedown blocks. He’s famous for them, and has carted out his signature move in the biggest moments of his career.

He’s also not used to having his own shots blocked from behind, and certainly not by opposing point guards.

Enter Elfrid Payton.

During a play halfway through the first quarter against the Orlando Magic on Thursday, LeBron was on a drive to the hole with Elfrid trailing far behind.

Thanks to a pinch by two Magic defenders, LeBron had to try and use brute force a bit deeper in the paint than he wanted to.

That allowed Payton — running at full speed — to catch up and pin The King on the glass.

Cleveland still got the best of the Magic, as Isaiah Thomas hit a clutch free throw to win the game with 11 seconds left, 104-103.

All-Star Joel Embiid doesn’t need Rihanna: “On to the next one”

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For about as long as we can remember, Joel Embiid has famously thirsted after Rihanna on Twitter. Fans have tried to boost his standing with the singer, but it apparently that has not been enough.

In 2014, Embiid mentioned on social media that a “famous girl” — presumably Rihanna — told him to “Come back when you’re an All-Star.”

Well, today is that day.

Embiid is a starter out of the Eastern Conference, and on Thursday night he had his chance to speak to Rihanna (or whomever) via national TV on TNT.

Did Embiid decide to reach out to this famous person? Apparently he’s off it.

Via Twitter:

This is like that scene from Private Parts when Howard Stern hits No. 1 and he tells Paul Giamatti’s character to get lost.

Embiid had the chance to curve Rihanna (or whomever) and took it. Long live The Process.

Here are the weirdest NBA All-Star voting results for 2018

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NBA All-Star voting is over, and now we have the results. The starters are in, and what’s left is for us to wait until they announce the teams after they are picked in double secret ceremony.

Of course, the NBA did release the full voting results via their PR website this week, and as such there are some head scratchers. My boy Patrick Redford over at Deadspin did an excellent job rounding up some of the players who got exactly one (1) vote from other players.

The gag here is that these guys presumably voted for themselves.

Of course, what I found most interesting was actually the guys who got multiple votes from their compatriots without being All-Star caliber players.

My favorite list of player-voted non-All-Stars includes: Michael Beasley (4), Gordon Hayward (2), Boban Marjanovic (2), Jahlil Okafor (4), Quincy Acy (2), Tyler Zeller (4), T.J. McConnell (2), Elfrid Payton (2), Zaza Pachulia (3), Taj Gibson (6), Zach Randolph (5), Maurice Harkless (2), Deyonta Davis (3), Lonzo Ball (9), Mike Conley (3).

There’s a whole smattering of guys in there who either didn’t play enough, aren’t stars, are injured, or who aren’t very good.

That multiple players took time to vote for these guys really speaks to the frivolity of the NBA All-Star Game. At least outside of player contract incentives.

Bring on February!

LeBron James throws behind-the-back, nutmeg pass for assist (VIDEO)

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LeBron James is one of the best passers the NBA has ever seen, but even this is too hard to believe.

During Thursday’s game between the Orlando Magic and Cleveland Cavaliers, LeBron through a ridiculous behind-the-back pass that nutmegged Orlando’s Aaron Gordon.

The result of the play was a bucket for Dwyane Wade.

Via Twitter:

I mean, that’s just … insane.