Kurt Helin

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Report: Cavaliers keeping eye on Rajon Rondo, Mario Chalmers. As they should.

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When Kyrie Irving is on the bench — as he was Wednesday night with a mild hamstring strain — the Cleveland Cavaliers lean on DeAndre Liggins and Kay Felder as their backup point guards. Liggins brings some defense, and it’s worked well enough so far, but is that the rotation the Cavaliers want when the playoffs start?

There are veteran point guards out there. Jarrett Jack will be having workouts for teams soon. Mario Chalmers also is nearly healthy and wants back on the court after an Achilles injury. And then there’s the Rajon Rondo situation in Chicago — signs are pointing to an eventual buyout there.

Are the Cavaliers keeping an eye on guys like Rondo and Chalmers? Despite some earlier reports that they were not interested, Joe Varden at the Cleveland Plain Dealer said the Cavs are watching those situations.

Seated on the Bulls’ bench for the third consecutive game was Rajon Rondo, a former All-Star who signed a two-year, $27 million deal in the offseason to come to Chicago. If the Bulls aren’t going to play him, he’d like to be traded or bought out of his contract so he can choose his next team.

The Cavs are watching this development.

Mario Chalmers is a free agent now. He’s recovering from a torn Achilles suffered last season. He hasn’t worked out for any teams, but he remains on Cleveland’s radar.

Here’s why the prior report of a lack of Cavalier interest made no sense: Why wouldn’t they watch those situations? That doesn’t mean that adding Rondo to that locker room is a wise idea, or that they will bring in Chalmers for LeBron to yell at, but Cavaliers management is too smart not to look at those guys and think about how much they might be able to help. Are they upgrades? Maybe, maybe not, but you monitor the situations. LeBron has said before he would like to see a veteran reserve point guard on the team, and what LeBron wants…

This would mean more money spent by the Cavaliers, the team already with the highest payroll in the NBA. They would have to waive a guaranteed salary — the Cavs have guys on the roster — and whoever they bring in costs four times his salary thanks to the luxury tax. So even a veteran minimum contract is a bit of a hit. Likely one Dan Gilbert pays if he can be convinced it helps the team, but for Cavs fans dreaming of bigger fish (like a Rondo trade) realize the cap it would be harsh.

But don’t be shocked if the Cavaliers look for a way to add some depth.

LeBron James, Kyrie Irving garnered most votes so far from fans in All-Star Game voting

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Apparently, NBA fans love the Cleveland Cavaliers. And the Golden State Warriors.

The first round of results from fan votes for the NBA All-Star Game Feb. 19 in New Orleans are out, and the two top vote getters were the Cavaliers top two stars, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. The top vote getter in the West is Golden State’s Kevin Durant, followed by Stephen Curry — the two biggest stars on the Golden State Warriors.

This year, the fan vote will account for only half of the All-Star starter’s vote (in previous years the fans picked the starters). This time around the fan vote will be combined with a selected media vote (25 percent) and player vote (25 percent) to choose the starters. Why the change? Because last year a social media campaign almost got Zaza Pachulia in as a starter (and the NHL did see a journeyman as a starter), so the NBA modified the system.

Here would be the starters, based on the fan vote so far:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:
Guards: Kyrie Irving (Cleveland), Dwyane Wade (Chicago)
Frontcourt: LeBron James (Cleveland), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee), Kevin Love (Cleveland)

WESTERN CONFERENCE:
Guards: Stephen Curry (Golden State), James Harden (Houston)
Frontcourt: Kevin Durant (Golden State), Zaza Pachulia (Golden State), Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio)

I had asked you — the PBT readers — who should be the starters in the Eastern backcourt and you were much smarter, picking Irving and DeMar DeRozan, with a big push for Isaiah Thomas and John Wall. Any of those options are better than Wade, who has had a nice season in Chicago but isn’t what he once was.

There is no way Wade starts once the media/player votes are tabulated, same with Pachulia in the West.

Here are the fan votes, as they stand now (that is the number of votes at the end):

Eastern Conference
Frontcourt
1. LeBron James (CLE) 595,288
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL) 500,663
3. Kevin Love (CLE) 250,347
4. Joel Embiid (PHI) 221,984
5. Carmelo Anthony (NY) 189,817
6. Jimmy Butler (CHI) 189,066
7. Kristaps Porzingis (NY) 184,166
8. Paul George (IND) 138,332
9. Hassan Whiteside (MIA) 72,628
10. Jabari Parker (MIL) 64,141

Guards
1. Kyrie Irving (CLE) 543,030
2. Dwyane Wade (CHI) 278,052
3. DeMar DeRozan (TOR) 253,340
4. Isaiah Thomas (BOS) 193,297
5. Derrick Rose (NY) 129,924
6. Kyle Lowry (TOR) 128,940
7. John Wall (WAS) 87,360
8. Jeremy Lin (BKN) 59,562
9. Kemba Walker (CHA) 52,122
10. Avery Bradley (BOS) 32,822

Western Conference
Frontcourt
1. Kevin Durant (GS) 541,209
2. Zaza Pachulia (GS) 439,675
3. Kawhi Leonard (SA) 341,240
4. Anthony Davis (NO) 318,144
5. Draymond Green (GS) 236,315
6. DeMarcus Cousins (SAC) 202,317
7. Karl-Anthony Towns (MIN) 125,278
8. LaMarcus Aldridge (SA) 101,724
9. Blake Griffin (LAC) 100,524
10. Marc Gasol (MEM) 97,370

Guards
1. Stephen Curry (GS) 523,597
2. James Harden (HOU) 519,446
3. Russell Westbrook (OKC) 501,652
4. Klay Thompson (GS) 293,054
5. Chris Paul (LAC) 173,830
6. Damian Lillard (POR) 117,857
7. Eric Gordon (HOU) 76,609
8. Manu Ginobili (SA) 65,832
9. Andre Iguodala (GS) 64,247
10. Zach LaVine (MIN) 53,642

In Orlando, Dwight Howard still heard some boos. He laughed.

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Apparently at least some fans in Orlando have some residual anger toward Dwight Howard.

Howard spent the first eight seasons of his career in Orlando before leaving in 2012, under ugly circumstances, for Los Angeles (then leaving Los Angeles under ugly circumstances for Houston, and so on). The Magic have been rebuilding ever since.

Wednesday night, when Howard checked back into the game for Atlanta in Orlando, he heard the boos (as you can see above) and he laughed and encouraged them. Then everyone moved on.

The up-and-down Hawks went on to win the game, their fourth straight victory.

2017 NBA All-Star Game jerseys unveiled, and Adidas kept it simple. Too simple?

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This is the last year Adidas will be making the NBA All-Star Game jerseys. Nike outbid Adidas for the right to make all NBA uniforms starting next season, and with that comes the rights to the All-Star Game, Christmas Day, and other specialized gear. Expect Nike to go big in its first season.

For it’s last one, Adidas followed its ASG trend of the past couple of seasons and kept it simple. Maybe too simple? You be the judge, here’s some snapshots of the new uniforms.

2017 All-Star West jersey

2017 All-Star East jersey

2017 All-Star East gear

2017 All-Star West gear

Yes, that is a small Kia ad patch on the shoulder — they had that for last year’s All-Star Game as well. Those are coming to the regular season soon, get used to it.

This year’s look is certainly less flamboyant than what Adidas did last time we were in New Orleans for the All-Star Game. I’m curious if the move last year — taking the game out of Charlotte because of North Carolina’s ridiculous “bathroom law” and moving it to New Orleans — impacted the design. It certainly gave them less time, Adidas likely already had something detailed for Charlotte. Here is what the last New Orleans All-Star Game uniforms looked like.

2014 NBA All-Star Game
2014 NBA All-Star Game

Blazers’ Meyers Leonard dunks on Stephen Curry, Warriors (VIDEO)

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Portland lost to Golden State Wednesday night, but they tried to view the game as a moral victory — Portland had been struggling, and they just hung with the best team in the West on the road.

That includes this Meyers Leonard dunk all over Stephen Curry.

Leonard came out high and set the pick for Evan Turner, then rolled down the lane and Turner found him — and it turns out Leonard can finish over people. Smaller people, but none-the-less that was impressive.

Curry finished with 35 points, Kevin Durant 30, and the Warriors did get the win.