Rumor: Clippers would like to get in Paul George conversation

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Doc Rivers has said he wants to bring everyone back this summer — free agents Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, and J.J. Redick — but we also know that’s not likely. Steve Ballmer may have 10,000 lifetimes worth of money, but is he willing to have one of the highest payroll/luxury tax bills in the league to run the same group back again?

What if they could land Paul George to fit with some/all of that core?

It’s a crazy longshot — the Clippers don’t have the assets to get in the conversation seriously — but they would like to, reports Sean Deveney of the Sporting News. The Clippers wanted in the George conversation back at the trade deadline (when the Pacers were not serious about dealing him).

Among them, league sources told Sporting News, are the Clippers, who have three significant free agents — Chris Paul, Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick — and are desperate to add a player who could change their perennial postseason disappointment. The Clippers have expressed interest in George.

Any team trading for George would be gambling that it could persuade him to stay in free agency, and not bolt for the Lakers in 2018. That limits the teams Indiana can deal with to a handful of contenders or teams willing to take a risk. The Clippers have slipped in their status as contenders, but they’re not risk-averse and can get George to Los Angeles, if not with the Lakers. The Clippers could work out a three-team trade to accommodate a guy like Redick or Griffin.

Would Jerry West sign off on this? Depends on the deal. It’s obvious why the Clippers want in the George dance. If they can pair George with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, that might be a team that could reach the Conference Finals. Maybe. But for a Clippers team who sees a small window to be a threat, they might as well go for it. And maybe George likes playing with CP3 enough to re-sign with the team next summer.

But why would the Pacers do it? They reportedly want a couple first round picks and a young rotation player in the deal (they’re not going to get that much, but that’s what they are asking for). The Clippers don’t have a first-round pick they can trade until 2021 (their 2017 goes to Toronto, 2019 to Boston, and teams can’t trade their lone first rounder in consecutive years). Also, even if you could get Griffin to agree to a sign-and-trade with a Pacers team set to rebuild — and good luck with that — Indy would just have to flip him in another deal, because he’s not part of anyone’s rebuilding plans. The Clippers don’t have much else on the roster to offer — Austin Rivers at $11.8 million, or 37-year-old Jamal Crawford — that will interest anyone.

It’s going to be a very interesting summer for the Clippers, it feels like the West hiring was the first domino in a few changes coming to the franchise. They still may want to win now, and George would help with that, but they aren’t going to get him, the Pacers will have better offers.

Salah Mejri kicks at Patty Mills as Mavericks and Spurs leave court for halftime (video)

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Mavericks center Salah Mejri has a history of agitating, including against the Spurs.

Two years ago, Mejri dunked while Dallas got blown out by San Antonio and yapped at the Spurs bench – drawing laughter from Gregg Popovich and Tim Duncan. Last season, Mejri had Trevor Ariza and other Rockets trying to confront him after reportedly saying something about Ariza’s family.

In the Mavericks’ win over the Spurs on Tuesday, Mejri got into it with Patty Mills.

Earl K. Sneed of Mavs.com:

Mejri and Rudy Gay received double technical fouls, and Mejri went to the bench. Everything could have cooled down at halftime, but Mejri escalated tension

Watch the full sequence above, but the key moment:

giphy (2)

That’ll probably draw a fine.

NBA introducing 2-for-1 All-Star voting days

AP Photo/Chris Carlson
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The NBA changed its All-Star format this season from East vs. West to captain-picked teams (though still naming players equally from each conference).

That apparently wasn’t a big enough overhaul.

After including media and player votes last year, the league is making All-Star starter selection even more complex.

NBA release:

NBA All-Star Voting 2018 presented by Verizon will tip off with an early voting period exclusively on the NBA App and NBA.com beginning Thursday, Dec. 21 at 1 p.m. ET.

Voting via all other channels, including Amazon Alexa for the first time, will launch on Monday, Dec. 25 at 11 a.m.

Additionally, new for this season, five “2-for-1 Days” will allow fans to have their votes count twice on Dec. 31, Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 12 and Jan. 15 when voting through the NBA App and NBA.com, along with Sina Weibo and Tencent in China.  All “2-for-1 Days” will be designated 12 a.m. – 11:59 p.m. ET.

TNT will reveal the All-Star Game starters, including the two captains, on Thursday, Jan. 18 during TNT NBA Tip-Off

The network will announce the reserves, as selected by NBA head coaches, on Tuesday, Jan. 23 during TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET. 

The team rosters for NBA All-Star Game 2018 in Los Angeles will be revealed on Thursday, Jan. 25 during a special one-hour edition of TNT NBA Tip-Off at 7 p.m. ET.

I suppose this is to drum up interest on otherwise quiet voting days. After all, this is really just about the NBA selling itself.

But the All-Star voting process has always left something to be desired. I don’t see how this changes that.

Report: Lakers ‘longshot’ to sign LeBron James

AP Photo/Jae C. Hong
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Preeminent NBA reporter Adrian Wojnarowski called it “likelyLeBron James would sign with the Lakers or Clippers next summer. The Clippers have since been somewhat debunked as a LeBron destination. There’s circumstantial evidence linking LeBron to Los Angeles.

Ramona Shelburne and Brian Windhorst of ESPN:

So imagining James’ last act coming in purple and gold isn’t without basis. But as of now, it’s also a longshot, according to league sources.

Shelburne and Windhorst are highly credible. I doubt they’d report this without connected sources.

LeBron’s agent, Rich Paul, and manager, Maverick Carter, have recently publicly downplayed the importance of Los Angeles to LeBron. That felt like a coordinated attack on the LeBron-Lakers rumors, and this fits as a continuation.

But why wage that campaign? To keep the Cavaliers focused while LeBron still plays for them, even if he might leave after the season? To lower expectations among the Lakers’ massive fan base, so as not alienate those people (potential customers of the many LeBron-connected brands) when LeBron inevitably signs elsewhere? Both could be true, but there’s obviously a difference between each driving LeBron’s camp.

DeMarcus Cousins barrels in for powerful putback dunk over Bucks (video)

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When DeMarcus Cousins builds up a head of steam like this… poor John Henson (and kind of Khris Middleton).

This helped the Pelicans pull away for a 115-108 win over the Bucks last night.