Thursday And-1 links: All-Star logos, Pharrell Williams, Carmelo Anthony as anchor on Knicks

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Here is our regular look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT) — done in bullet point form. Because bloggers believe in bullet points more than Wizards fans believe Kevin Durant is theirs in 2016….

• The NBA released the logo for the 2015 All-Star Game in New York and Brooklyn, and it plays off the subway sign transportation theme. You can see it to the right. I like it.

• Pharrell Williams will curate the music for NBA 2K14, and you can follow this link to see the Kevin Durant cover.

• Why Carmelo Anthony’s contract could be an anchor for the Knicks.

Philadelphia has signed point guard Pierre Jackson, it’s a one-year, partially guaranteed deal.

• Warriors point guard Shaun Livingston is sidelined for a month with a sprained big toe.

• The Kings have until Saturday to decide whether or not to keep Quincy Acy.

• Al Harrington says he has recovered from left shoulder surgery and is trying to catch on somewhere.

• My wife would have killed me.

There’s a rumor going around that once the  NBA gets a new, expanded television deal they will add two teams in Seattle and Louisville. I wouldn’t bet the rent on that.

• The Spurs have hired one of the brightest minds in European basketball, Ettore Messina. Because that brain trust wasn’t deep enough already.

• Russell Westbrook has his own line of sunglasses.

• Among the things that need to be factored into a free agent is the tax rates in a various states — you pay a lot higher rate in California or New York to make big bucks than you do in Texas or Florida. Tax rates are not as big a factor as some fans think, but it is a factor. And the NBA doesn’t plan to do anything about it.

• We can’t run the video here for language reasons, but watch Kobe Bryant beat a fan in horse while talking smack.

• Dwyane Wade and a dolphin. Because we can.

• In maybe the best signing of the off-season, the AT&T Center in San Antonio is hiring an air conditioning specialist. Not that they won’t take how Game 1 of the Finals worked out.

• Louis ‘Red’ Klotz — the man behind the Washington Generals of Harlem Globetrotters fame — has passed away.

• Phoenix has waived Dionte Christmas.

• Jeremy Pargo inked a two-year Maccabi Tel Aviv (the reigning EuroLeague champion, which was where David Blatt coached last season).

• Finally, JaVale McGee dunks in his dreams.

Report: J.R. Smith and Cavaliers separating as they seek trade

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DETROIT – Yesterday – yesterday! – J.R. Smith explained why he didn’t leave the Cavaliers when, a few weeks ago, they pulled him from the rotation and gave him the offer to step away.

“I can’t do that to the city and the fans,” Smith said. “A lot of people have been backing me since I’ve been here. I feel like it’s been a new start since I came here. The way the fans embraced me, the way that I’ve embraced the city, my teammates, I can’t do that to them.”

But Smith also said Cleveland is tanking and reaffirmed his desire to be traded. That probably set wheels in motion.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

Smith – who’s guaranteed $18.59 million on a contract that will surely end after this season – carries negative trade value. The Cavs shouldn’t attach the sweetener necessary to dump him. They’re better off just paying him for now.

Because just $3.87 million of his $15.68 million salary for next season is guaranteed, Smith’s contract could prove useful in a trade.

If Smith would reduce his guarantee with a buyout, let him go. But Smith probably shouldn’t do that without a new job lined up.

So, the stalemate continues.

If everyone is happier apart, all the better. Smith wasn’t making a difference on the court for a team he correctly identified as tanking.

Report: ‘At the direction of his attorney,’ 76ers G Markelle Fultz to stop playing and practicing, see specialist

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Markelle Fultz said his shooting problems were due to injury, and just a couple weeks ago, he insisted he was generally healthy.

But something is clearly amiss.

The 76ers guard finally appears to be acknowledging it.

David Aldridge of The Athletic:

Should we read into Brothers – usually identified as Fultz’s agent – being referred to as Fultz’s attorney? That sounds ominous.

There has been back-and-forth between Fultz’s and the 76ers about who deserves blame for his struggles.

J.R. Smith: Cavaliers are tanking

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J.R. Smith said he wants the Cavaliers to trade him.

But that was right after they told Smith he’d be shut down. He has been playing regularly lately.

Still, Smith isn’t pleased with Cleveland.

J.R. Smith, via Jason Lloyd of The Athletic:

“I don’t think the goal is to win. The goal isn’t to go out there and try to get as many wins as you can,” Smith said. “I think the goal is to develop and lose to get lottery picks. I think that was always the plan.”

And as long as the Cavs are operating this way, Smith is not interested in being part of it.

“Not if the goal isn’t to compete, to win,” he said.

If that’s what the Cavaliers are doing, that’s smart. They need premier young talent, and a high draft pick is the best way to acquire it. Because they owe the Hawks a top-10-protected first-rounder, the Cavs need to tank hard rather taking half-measures.

But I also understand why Smith wants no part of it. He’s 33 years old, and he doesn’t have time to wait around for a rebuild. He wants to win now.

Smith should shame the Cavaliers for tanking. That should be a consequence of their plan, even if it’s the right one. He is a casualty of it. If he shames Cleveland into trading or buying him out, all the better.

Kevin Durant tells fans: ‘Watch the f—ing game and shut the f— up’ (video)

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Kevin Durant once said he appreciated hecklers.

That didn’t appear to be the case during the Warriors’ loss to the Mavericks on Saturday.

Durant – who’s been sour after his highly public argument with Draymond Green – confronted Dallas fans and told them to “watch the f—ing game and shut the f— up.”

TMZ:

One witness who was sitting in spitting distance from the incident tells us … the heckler was just saying the typical NBA fan trash talk — calling KD names like, “Cupcake” and other insults.

Another witness tells TMZ Sports … the hecklers had been bombarding KD with the “cupcake” insults to the point where it became unbearable.

That witness tells us KD complained to the refs at one point but the fans were not removed or disciplined in any way.

We’re told the group laughed off the incident because they knew they got to him and ramped up the trash talk even more for the rest of the game.

Durant obviously has a history of confronting critics. But that’s usually online, not in person.

The NBA generally fines players for getting caught on video talking to fans this way. The league doesn’t seem to have a problem with players responding to fans when it’s not on video. Hecklers’ days are made when players respond, but the league doesn’t seem to account for that.

It’s an unfair system, but it’s the one Durant is in.

He and Golden State are also in a three-game losing streak. Snap that, and Durant will probably become more friendly.