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Mark Cuban is honest, hopes Magic Johnson, Rob Pelinka “fail horrifically” running Lakers

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It’s vintage Mark Cuban.

Most owners, when asked about the new power structure at the top of the Lakers’ basketball operations with Magic Johnson and now GM Rob Pelinka, would give some banal quote about “wishing them the best of luck” and just move along. Not Cuban. He wants to say something incendiary, or at least something to stir the pot. So before the Lakers took on the Mavericks Wednesday night Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News/Orange County Register asked Cuban about the new guys in charge of the Lakers, and he didn’t disappoint.

“I hope they fail miserably. I hope they fail horrifically,” Cuban said. “I hope Magic Johnson and Rob Pelinka go down as the worst GM/President combination in the history of GM/President combinations. But I hope they live wonderful lives.”

That is what most other owners/GMs think but do not say. It’s not personal, they generally like the people they deal with and talks between GMs often begin with talk about wives and children and things off the court. But when it comes to business, this is a competition and they want them to fail.

Same with the Buss family turmoil.

“The worse it is, the better for me,” Cuban said before the Lakers-Mavericks game on Tuesday at American Airlines Center. “There’s no NBA thing involved. We survived the other franchise going through some hell that didn’t begin to rival what may be going on. The more turmoil with 29 other teams, the happier I am.”

In some respects running an NBA team and trying to win on the court is a zero sum game — there are only so many great players, and if you have one then another team doesn’t. While you can find role players to fill out a roster (something teams with a vision and plan do better by finding good fits with their system), there are only so many elite or even second tier players in the league. And teams need those guys to win.

Cuban was stirring the pot. But he was also telling the truth.

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.