LeBron, Ibaka lead NBA All-Defensive team voting

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Few things can be counted on for a consistent laugh like the NBA All-Defensive team voting. It is always a laugh. This year it didn’t disappoint — somebody voted for Carlos Boozer. Yes, that Carlos Boozer. For his defense.

But no complaint about the top vote getter, LeBron James. He was a defensive force this year for the Heat and deserved to be on top of the list. It also was good to see Tony Allen make the first team, that is well deserved.

But then it gets interesting. Serge Ibaka is a fantastic shot blocker but when it comes to man defending or defending in space he has work to do. Dwight Howard made the first team over Defensive Player of the Year Tyson Chandler. Chris Paul makes it and Dwyane Wade doesn’t? Really? And Kobe Bryant does not deserve to be on these teams anymore — he brings the defensive intensity sporadically now. It’s another reputation vote.

As for the really funny stuff, go down to “others receiving votes” list, where you can see Carlos Boozer got as many votes as Luc Richard Mbah a Moute. Or that Russell Westbrook got more votes than Thabo Sefolosha.

I’d say these are voted on by the coaches, but we all know this is really voted on by whoever the coach hands the ballot to. Could be anyone.

NBA All-Defensive First Team (points in parenthesis):

Forward: LeBron James, Miami (53)
Forward: Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City (47)
Center: Dwight Howard, Orlando (41)
Guard: Chris Paul, L.A. Clippers 35
Guard: Tony Allen, Memphis (33)

NBA All-Defensive Second Team (points in parenthesis):

Forward: Kevin Garnett, Boston (26)
Forward: Luol Deng, Chicago (20)
Center: Tyson Chandler, New York (36)
Guard: Rajon Rondo, Boston (29)
Guard: Kobe Bryant, L.A. Lakers (17)

Other players receiving votes, with point totals (First Team votes in parentheses): Andre Iguodala, Philadelphia, 19 (4); Joakim Noah, Chicago, 14; Iman Shumpert, New York, 13 (4); Paul George, Indiana, 10 (2); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 9 (2); Josh Smith, Atlanta, 8 (2); Dwyane Wade, Miami, 5 (1); Thabo Sefolosha, Oklahoma City, 5 (1); Grant Hill, Phoenix, 5 (1); Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 5 (1); Avery Bradley, Boston, 3 (1); Marc Gasol, Memphis, 3 (1); Metta World Peace, L.A. Lakers, 3; Shawn Marion, Dallas, 3; Joe Johnson, Atlanta, 2, (1); Mike Conley, Memphis, 2; Derrick Rose, Chicago, 1; Jrue Holiday, Philadelphia, 1; Carlos Boozer, Chicago, 1; Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee, 1.

Damian Lillard on shot to beat Thunder: ‘That was for Seattle’

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Damian Lillard is a legend in Portland. He’s a legend in Oakland.

And now he’ll be a legend in Seattle.

The Trail Blazers star’s buzzer-beating 3-pointer wave goodbye ended the season for the Thunder, who moved to Oklahoma City from Seattle 12 years ago.

Lillard on Sports Business Radio Podcast:

What can I say? That was for Seattle.

Just when I thought Lillard’s shot and celebration were as cold as could be.

Clippers executive Jerry West: ‘I’ve never been around any organization that is better than this one’

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Jerry West played 14 years for the Lakers, making the All-Star game every year and winning a championship in a Hall of Fame career. He coached the Lakers to a few playoff seasons. Then, he ran the Lakers’ front office for 18 years, winning five titles and setting the stage for several more by acquiring Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant.

Now, West works for Clippers owner Steve Ballmer.

West on The Dan Patrick Show:

Steve Ballmer has really put together an unbelievably terrific organization. He’s spared no expense. It’s a really fun place to be. There’s not ego-driven at all. It’s just a fun place to be, and he’s got an awful lot of basketball people over there.

He’s just a great owner and one of the nicest men I’ve ever been around in my life. I’ve never seen a person like this with his success. It’s just remarkable how even-keeled he is. If people knew how philanthropic he was. He keeps all that stuff quiet. I guess he’ll get mad at me for mentioning it. But he’s just a remarkable man himself.

People always ask me what he’s like. And I say he’s just like you and I, normal. I’ve never seen – he’s willing to spend on players. He’s willing to spend on personnel within the front office. And as I mentioned before, I’ve never been around any organization that is better than this one. That’s for sure.

Maybe West is bitter at the Lakers. Maybe West is just gushing about his current boss, because that’s who pays him now.

But the wider respect held for the Clippers is evident in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George picking them without the team first getting an incumbent star. That says a lot about the organization, one that Ballmer has put his stamp on.

This also feels like a shot at the Lakers, whether or not West intended it. Many consider them to be the NBA’s golden franchise.

But their operations have had no shortage of problems lately.

The Lakers would have a stronger relative case further back, when West worked for them. However, organizations generally run better now. The league is more advanced. Maybe West is considering that.

Biases aside, his endorsement of the Clippers might be accurate.

West also worked for the Grizzlies.

Spencer Dinwiddie: Kyrie Irving tipped me off on his Nets interest in December

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In early December, Spencer Dinwiddie had yet to sign a contract extension with the Nets. Kyrie Irving had recently pledged to re-sign with the Celtics.

But groundwork was already being laid for those two to team up in Brooklyn.

Dinwiddie signed a three-year, $34 million extension later in December. Irving and Kevin Durant joined the Nets this summer.

How did it all come together?

Dinwiddie revealed details of his recruitment of Irving.

Dinwiddie, via The Athletic:

The first time he reached out was probably maybe like December, in terms of just loosely talking about it. Because he’s still obviously super focused on his season and everything. But you could just tell from his conversation that it was a little bit different. It was on his mind. Obviously, free agency was coming up. So, that’s kind of what it was. Just asking a friend about his current situation and what he thought.

Actually, no. It definitely was December. Because he made a comment to me. He was like, “New York might be real fun next year.” Because I hadn’t signed yet. And I was like, “Brother, I don’t know if they’re going to extend me or not.” He was like, “I think New York might be real fun next year.”

At the time, I was like, “You all going to the Knicks. That’s what’s happening. Are you and the monster going to the Knicks?”

That’s when I was first tipped off to the whole thing.

When he made the comment, that’s when I was like, “OK, things have changed.” Obviously at that point in time, it’s too early to be like he’s for sure leaving or he’s this, that or the third. But it’s just like, OK, something happened.

What happened in Boston? That’s the big question Irving has yet to answer.

Irving seemed checked out with the Celtics long before their season ended. It’s fair to question whether he was fully committed to winning with them.

There’s nothing wrong with Irving talking to Dinwiddie about New York as early as December. Irving faced a life-changing choice in free agency. Of course he was going to consider it throughout the season.

But in context of everything else that happened with Irving in Boston, this is more evidence he was pretty set on leaving for a long time.