Kurt Helin

NBA unveils 2017 New Orleans All-Star Game logo

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Sorry Charlotte, but the 2017 All-Star Game is coming to New Orleans.

That will come with more and more fanfare as we get closer to the February game, but the first step is to unveil the logo for the event. Which is what the NBA did Thursday.

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It’s not terribly different than the 2014 New Orleans All-Star logo, particularly in style and colors (the Pelicans colors). The main difference is 2014 was done in the shape of a fleur-de-lis, while in 2017 it’s more of a New Orleans ironwork border with the fleur-de-lis symbol in the background.

The NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday, Feb. 19 at Smoothie King Center, home of the Pelicans, and it will be broadcast on TNT.

Kevin Seraphin lies down in a pit of massive snakes. Of his own free will.

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Personally, I’m not scared of snakes. That’s not my phobia.

And there is no chance I would do what Kevin Seraphin recently did — he willingly lied down in a pit of massive snakes.

Seraphin loves snakes — remember a couple of years ago when he was with the Wizards he was disappointed when he lost his lost pet “Snakey,” who got loose in the D.C. area? Never found him, so far as we know. It’s D.C., so that snake is probably a well-respected lobbyist now.

Seraphin recently agreed to terms with the Indiana Pacers for this coming season. I bet Larry Bird loved this video.

Report: Sixers still want to trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor

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The fact that Philadephia would like to trade either Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor is about as big a secret as Donald Trump’s favorite thing to talk about is Donald Trump. Heck, the Sixers GM all but admitted it.

Today the Sixers added veteran Elton Brand to a crowded, but young, frontcourt. But they still want to make it less crowded, Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports confirmed. Again.

The Sixers have had periodic trade talks this summer involving Noel and Okafor and plan eventually to move one of them, league sources said. Philadelphia doesn’t believe the two players’ talents are complementary.

They aren’t complementary. When Noel and Okafor two were on the court together last season, Philadelphia was outscored by 20 points per 100 possessions.

The Sixers reportedly would prefer to move Okafor — who brings good post offense and solid rebounding but no defense — however, there has been more interest in Noel. Just not enough for another team to make a reasonable offer.

Don’t be shocked if a deal gets done during camp (especially if another team suffers an injury to a frontcourt player).

Stephen Curry on Colin Kaepernick: “I applaud him for taking a stand”

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While nationally Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem has been controversial and gotten him booed, his effort to push along the conversation of treatment of people of color by the establishment resonates with a lot of African-American athletes. Unfortunately, the national conversation has become about the symbol of the flag and not the conversation Kaepernick actually was trying to push forward. But NBA players want to see race relations discussed (remember LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Paul, and Carmelo Anthony at the ESPYs?). For one, Jabari Parker has Kaepernick’s back.

Stephen Curry stepped up in a CNBC interview (above) at the end of his tour through Asia with Under Armour and said he was happy Kaepernick was taking a stand.

“I love that there’s freedom of speech and he can stand what he believes in. There’s going to be people that disagree with him, there’s going to be people that agree with him, which is what I think our country stands for, that hopefully will drive the conversation to better ends through equal rights, and the treatment of African-Americans and people of color. So, I applaud him for taking a stand, and hopefully the conversation is about what his message was and not about the fact ‘is he going to stand, is he going to sit for the National Anthem?’ The conversation started and continues.

“We also have the fact he’s putting his money where his mouth is and donating, what’d he say, $1 million dollars to make his message a reality. I hope all the resources and conversations and intellect around the country to find a way to make that million dollars as powerful as it can be. Which is, he’s on the right track.”

Last week Kaepernick said he would donate $1 million to charity, Wednesday he upped that saying his share of the proceeds from the spike in his jersey sales — he now has the top-selling jersey in the NFL — would be reinvested in communities.

Curry didn’t endorse Kaepernick, but good on Curry for not completely dodging the question and not getting bogged down in the flag respect issue. What Kaepernick is trying to help bring front and center is an important national conversation on race and institutional racism, a discussion this country needs to have. Curry seems to get that and good on him for not dancing around the question when asked (although, again, there was no endorsement).

As for the flag issue, put simply, if we all have to have the exact same rituals with our national symbols and there can be no protest, then we are acting just like the countries with forced nationalism indoctrination programs we say we abhor. Part of what the flag stands for is the right to protest.

Hornets sign Andrew Andrews, Rasheed Sulaimon to training camp contracts

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For players on the fringe of the NBA, the goal is to get noticed, then do things that make a team want to keep you on a guaranteed deal.

One way to do that: Stand out in training camp. Even if you don’t make the team where you went to camp, other teams will take notice.

Along those lines, the Hornets announced they have signed Andrew Andrews and Rasheed Sulaimon to non-guaranteed, training camp contracts, the team announced. The Hornets now have 13 guaranteed contracts heading into camp and five non-guaranteed deals of players trying to earn their way onto the squad.

Andrews was undrafted out of the University of Washington last season, where he averaged 20.9 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game.

Sulaimon played for three seasons at Duke then finished his collegiate career at Maryland where he averaged 11.3 points per game and shot 42.5 percent from three last season.