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Cavaliers drop Channing Frye from rotation

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Dwyane Wade supplanting J.R. Smith and Kevin Love moving to center to send Tristan Thompson to the bench having gotten the most attention, but the Cavaliers are making another interesting change to their rotation.

Channing Frye is out.

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue told Channing Frye that, barring injury, he’s not going to play much this season.

“I was like man I’m sorry,” Lue said, recounting his conversation with Frye to reporters after the Cavaliers lost 102-94 to the Wizards in a preseason game Sunday. “(Frye) said, ‘listen, I’m very excited about our team, not too many opportunities to get to play on a team like this.'”

Frye was a mainstay last regular season and through the first and second rounds, but he lost his rotation spot in the conference finals against the Celtics and in the NBA Finals against the Warriors. Deep in the playoffs, his defense becomes too much of a liability.

Now, when the Cavs need a stretch five, they have Love. Frye isn’t a change of pace anymore. He’s just a lesser alternative.

Lue still spoke of Frye needing to be ready, and said the veteran would eventually get opportunities. Injuries happen. Experiments fizzle.

But if the Cavaliers don’t have a clear use for Frye, they ought to consider trading him. They need to drop one player with a guaranteed salary, and although Richard Jefferson has been the top name mentioned, Frye’s $7,420,912 salary makes him a logical candidate.

Cleveland is set to pay the repeater-rate luxury tax. Dumping Frye in a trade without taking back any salary would put the Cavs in line to save $35,469,861 more than waiving Jefferson would. (Of course, Jefferson could also be dealt in a salary dump, though dropping his $2.5 million salary would save less money.)

It’s unclear what the market would be for the 34-year-old Frye, who’s in the final year of his contract. He’s still a knockdown 3-point shooter, and he’ll at least rebound defensively. He’s also known as a positive presence in the locker room. The Cavaliers might need to include a sweetener to dump him – a draft pick and/or cash, which would cut into their savings. But Frye could help some teams on the court.

Or Cleveland could just keep him for his positive effect on chemistry and the chance his number will eventually be called.

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.