Dan Feldman

Klay Thompson interrupts Stephen Curry’s pregame multi-sport routine (video)

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Stephen Curry often impersonates other sports before his games. Here, he’s a football kicker attempting a field goal – until a perfectly aloof Klay Thompson gets involved.

Curry wasn’t discouraged, though. He got right back into it as a bowling pin, shot-putter and volleyball player.

Emmanuel Mudiay loses dribble, dunks on Kevin Seraphin (video)

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Nuggets guard Emmanuel Mudiay lost control of his dribble – which only got him going toward the basket and over Kevin Seraphin.

Report: LeBron James increasingly frustrated with how he’s officiated

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 10:  LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers talks to a referee during the first half against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4 of the 2016 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 10, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
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LeBron James is difficult to officiate.

He’s stronger and faster than his opponents, so he both initiates and receives more contact than most players. He’s this era’s Shaquille O’Neal, who dealt with similar issues.

Cavaliers coach Tyronn Lue said during the Finals that referees haven’t found the right balance – and apparently LeBron agrees.

Dave McMenamin of ESPN:

Cavaliers superstar LeBron James has become increasingly frustrated with the way he has been officiated this season, multiple team sources told ESPN following Cleveland’s 100-92 loss to the Utah Jazz on Tuesday.

Much of James’ detest comes from the fact that the vast majority of his shots come from within the paint — as 12 of his 20 did on Tuesday — yet, according to multiple sources, he feels contact is ignored, whereas players who thrive more on jump shots than drives have been rewarded with big nights at the line.

Add it up and there is a perception by James, according to multiple sources, that he doesn’t get officiated the same way as many of his All-NBA-level peers.

This leak is LeBron, or someone on his behalf, lobbying for a more favorable whistle. Will it work? He does have outsized influence on the league.

By the way, the call that had reportedly LeBron particularly irate came when he heard Jazz coach Quin Snyder call for Shelvin Mack to intentionally foul LeBron – and it still got no call:

Uncalled intentional fouls are not unique to LeBron, and they expose a deficiency in the entire system. Referees can’t see everything on the court. Perhaps, larger officiating crews would help. Leveraging technology to call things like three-second violations and out of bounds could also free human referees to watch for more discretionary calls. But when players aren’t always whistled when intentionally hacking, something is wrong.

LeBron James, Stephen Curry lead All-Star fan voting

CLEVELAND, OH - DECEMBER 25: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers passes while under pressure from Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors during the first half at Quicken Loans Arena on December 25, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory copyright notice. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Jason Miller/Getty Images
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LeBron James still leads All-Star fan voting.

Second place overall? Kyrie Irving, who held the mark behind his Cavaliers teammate in the first returns, has fallen behind Warriors Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant.

Here are the latest leaders:

Eastern Conference

Guards

1. Kyrie Irving (CLE) 971,362

2. Dwyane Wade (CHI) 514,866

3. DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 453,538

4. Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 401,671

5. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 256,668

6. Derrick Rose (NYK) 223,804

7. John Wall (WAS) 173,148

8. Jeremy Lin (BKN) 109,088

9. Kemba Walker (CHA) 105,637

10. Avery Bradley (BOS) 64,157

Frontcourt

1. LeBron James (CLE) 1,066,147

2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 963,110

3. Kevin Love (CLE) 473,328

4. Joel Embiid (PHI) 457,300

5. Jimmy Butler (CHI) 400,448

6. Carmelo Anthony (NYK) 327,716

7. Kristaps Porzingis (NYK) 324,106

8.  Paul George (IND) 249,484

9. Jabari Parker (MIL) 120,022

10. Tristan Thompson (CLE) 114,759

Western Conference

Guards

1. Stephen Curry (GSW) 990,390

2. James Harden (HOU) 961,685

3. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 899,024

4. Klay Thompson (GSW) 555,430

5. Chris Paul (LAC) 379,076

6. Damian Lillard (POR) 208,171

7. Eric Gordon (HOU) 191,407

8. Andre Iguodala (GSW) 130,224

9. Manu Ginobili (SAS) 122,333

10. Zach LaVine (MIN) 94,867

Frontcourt

1. Kevin Durant (GSW) 987,479

2. Zaza Pachulia (GSW) 823,376

3. Kawhi Leonard (SAS) 630,766

4. Anthony Davis (NOP) 567,201

5. Draymond Green (GSW) 464,319

6. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) 379,225

7. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 223,979

8. LaMarcus Aldridge (SAS) 192,784

9. Blake Griffin (LAC) 172,393

10. Marc Gasol (MEM) 172,146

Remember, the NBA changed how it selects All-Starters this year. Players and media will have a voice along with fans.

Will that iron out weird situations like Zaza Pachulia ranking second among Western Conference frontcourt players? Maybe when everything comes together. But players’ votes can be loony, too.

The media will likely provide the most sober choices of who “deserves” to start. On that note, here’s some sound analysis on which players should get the nod.

There’s still so much of the equation left to come, which has really taken the air out of the sales of these vote announcements. It’s nice to know where players rank among fans, but it means only so much now.

Donatas Motiejunas calls free agency ‘one of the worst experiences of my life’

New York Knicks center Kyle O'Quinn (9) outmaneuvers New Orleans Pelicans' Donatas Motiejunas (12) during the first half of an NBA basketball game at Madison Square Garden in New York, Monday, Jan. 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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Donatas Motiejunas could’ve signed a fully guaranteed one-year, $4,433,683 contract. Instead, he let his qualifying offer expire.

At another point in his free agency, he could’ve all but locked into a contract that guaranteed him $5 million, highly likely would’ve paid at least $17.5 million and could’ve been worth up to $37 million. Instead, he skipped his physical with the Rockets after they matched the Nets’ offer sheet.

In the end, Motiejunas signed a prorated minimum contract with the Pelicans for $576,724.

Motiejunas, via Michael Scotto of Basketball Insiders:

“Honestly, you can say it was business stuff, but, from my side, I’m a basketball player, I just want to play,” Motiejunas told Basketball Insiders. “Being involved in that business situation, it was one of the worst experiences of my life that I’ve had. I would say, from any basketball player, we work every day, we put our sweat, we put our tears, we put our blood on the floor, try to help and make teams better, so when someone acts with you like this, it’s just wrong.”

“The team lost an asset,” Motiejunas told Basketball Insiders. “I lost $37, 38 million, so both sides lost in this situation. No one won in this situation actually. I know, as soon as I step on the floor, the people are going to see that I’m the same guy that I was last year when I was playing. For me, I’m not going to lose anything. After this year, someone else is going to pick me up. I’m not worried about that. I know how to play basketball. I know how to make every and each team better. I adjust to the situation depending on what coach asks me to do, so I’m not worried about that. It was just a ridiculous situation, the resolution was taking too long, and it was affecting me as a player, and it was affecting me personally. Instead of being a business decision it was like more of a personal decision.”

It sounds as if Motiejunas is upset about not playing, not just how his contract situation eventually played out – but that’s his fault. He should’ve accepted the qualifying offer in the first place, and he would’ve been on the court to begin the season and earning more money.

He’ll be a free agent against next summer, and he might be in for another rough time. In the last year, both the Pistons and Rockets failed him on physicals. The Rockets even let him hit unrestricted free agency when they could’ve made him a restricted free agent without an open qualifying offer. Essentially, Houston didn’t think he was worth the trouble at any price.

Motiejunas was stuck in restricted free agency last year until most teams had spent their cap space. Beginning the offseason unrestricted should help him this year, and he’ll have a chance to boost his stock in New Orleans.

But the underlying injury concerns aren’t disappearing, and those will keep limiting teams’ desire to sign him.