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LeBron James, James Harden unanimous All-NBA first-team selections

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Joel Embiid was the biggest loser in All-NBA voting.

The big winners?

Here are the All-NBA teams (first-team votes, second-team votes, third-team votes, total voting points):

First team

G: James Harden, Houston (100-0-0-500)

G: Damian Lillard, Portland (71-24-5-432)

F: LeBron James, Cleveland (100-0-0-500)

F: Kevin Durant, Golden State (63-37-0-426)

C: Anthony Davis, New Orleans (96-4-0-492)

Second team

G: Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City (24-63-13-322)

G: DeMar DeRozan, Toronto (2-39-38-165)

F: Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee (28-71-1-354)

F: LaMarcus Aldridge, San Antonio (2-68-22-236)

C: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia (11-78-5-294)

Third team

G: Stephen Curry, Golden State (2-39-37-164)

G: Victor Oladipo, Indiana (0-24-33-105)

F: Jimmy Butler, Minnesota (1-8-52-81)

F: Paul George, Oklahoma City (0-4-42-54)

C: Karl-Anthony Towns, Minnesota (0-18-45-99)

Other players receiving votes with point totals: Chris Paul (Houston), 54; Rudy Gobert (Utah), 51; Kyrie Irving (Boston), 42; Ben Simmons (Philadelphia), 36; Al Horford (Boston), 32; Nikola Jokic (Denver), 28; Andre Drummond (Detroit), 7; Clint Capela (Houston), 6; Draymond Green (Golden State), 6; Kyle Lowry (Toronto), 3; Steven Adams (Oklahoma City), 2; Donovan Mitchell (Utah), 2; Klay Thompson (Golden State), 2; Trevor Ariza (Houston), 1; DeMarcus Cousins (New Orleans), 1; Dwight Howard (Charlotte), 1; Kevin Love (Cleveland), 1; Kristaps Porzingis (New York), 1

My takeaways:

  • Most underrated by this voting: Chris Paul
  • Most overrated by this voting: DeMar DeRozan
  • Anthony Davis clinches he’ll be eligible for a designated-veteran-player extension in the 2019 offseason, but only from the Pelicans. Will that keep him in New Orleans?
  • Who the heck voted for Trevor Ariza? That had to be a submission error, right?
  • Here were my picks.

Report: Klay Thompson could sign contract extension this offseason, which would save Warriors many millions

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Klay Thompson wants to stay with the Warriors. More specifically, he wants to stay with the dominant Warriors who have Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.

So, Thompson might put his money where his mouth is this summer.

Marcus Thompson of The Athletic:

According to multiple sources, Thompson and the Warriors have already engaged in discussions regarding a contract extension.

Thompson is already under contract next season at $18,988,725.

The largest extension he could sign, starting July 1 through the following June 30, would be worth $102,083,386 over five years ($25,520,846 annually). He could earn far more if he makes an All-NBA team this season, but with James Harden, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Russell Westbrook, Chris Paul, Victor Oladipo, Stephen Curry and DeMar DeRozan at guard, that’s highly unlikely.

If Thompson let his current contract expire then re-signs with Golden State in 2019 free agency, his max projects to be about $188 million over five years (about $38 million annually). That’s about $86 million more overall and $12 million more annually than an extension this offseason.

By signing an extension this summer, he’d also forfeit the chance to earn a super-max contract as a 2019 free agent. That projects to be worth about $219 million over five years (about $44 million annually) – about $117 million more overall and $18 million more annually than an extension this offseason.

For what it’s worth, Thompson’s max with another team in 2019 free agency projects to be about $139 million over four years (about $35 million annually). So, he definitely has the leverage to get far more from Golden State than an extension this summer would allow.

Thompson signing an extension now would be a major gift to Warriors owners Joe Lacob and Peter Guber, following Durant taking his own discount last summer. Why would Thompson (and Durant, at least his salary reduction below his Non-Bird amount) so willingly grant this favor to these billionaires?

Golden State has Bird Rights for all its stars. It’d be costly to keep those four together, especially considering the luxury tax, but no Collective Bargaining Agreement rule will break up this team. Thompson could put the burden on ownership to pay up. His talent gives him leverage.

And Lacob and Guber might have the means. The Warriors’ revenue is through the roof, and they’re moving into a sparkling new arena in San Francisco.

But not only did the Warriors build a team of great players, they apparently found the great players willing to make major financial sacrifices. That’ll only infuriate the rest of the league even more.

Dwight Howard says Russell Westbrook “should just facilitate, get everybody involved”

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NBA centers — especially old-school ones such as Dwight Howard — are reliant upon guards to get them the ball. Howard can get deep position and a good seal on his man in the post, but if the point guard decides to take a step-back three all that work has gone for nothing.

So it shouldn’t come as a shock that Howard thinks Russell Westbrook should move the ball around more.

Howard was on  ESPN’s “Get Up,”  this morning and the conversation turned to the Thunder, which is when Howard talked about the need for Westbrook the facilitator (transcription by The Score).

“I would say Russ because Russ has the ball more times in his hands,” Howard said. “And I watched Carmelo and Paul George at times, and they were just standing there, watching. Late in the games, I think the ball should have been more in Carmelo’s hands because he’s more of a closer. Paul George, he’s that guy that’s going to get you the 20-30 points between the first and the third quarter.

“Russ, he should just facilitate, get everybody involved early in the game, and just let those guys play. At this point in his career, he’s done everything as far as the individual. He has all the accolades. But now, it should just be about making everyone around him better.”

Three things. First, Howard calling out Westbrook just feels wrong. Even when his point is valid. We’re talking about Dwight Howard preaching what it takes for team success. Let that sink in.

Second, getting the ball in Carmelo Anthony‘s hands more is not a good idea. There was a time that he was one of the game’s best clutch scorers, a guy you wanted with the ball late, but those days have faded. And that’s not even getting into his defense.

Third, what Howard is saying here echoes what a lot of other scouts and executives say about Westbrook — is domination of the ball tends to make the team as a whole stagnant. Certainly, Westbrook gets his assists (he hunts them at points), but he doesn’t get them in a team offensive system of ball movement, the way you see in Golden State or Boston or a number of other teams. That makes OKC a little easier to defend.

I’m sure Paul George has thoughts on all this, and come July 1 we will see what he’s thinking.

Nene pushes back fan heckling James Harden (video)

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Russell Westbrook reignited the discussion of interaction between fans – particularly Utah fans – and players.

A Jazz fan brought the conversation to Houston on Wednesday.

As the Rockets left the court for halftime during Utah’s Game 2 win, the Jazz fan leaned over the railing, held up his phone and got in James Harden‘s face to talk to the star guard. After Harden walked past, Houston center Nene pushed back the fan.

Rob Perez of ESPN:

Was that fan annoying? Yes. Did Nene push him hard? No. Did Nene cross the NBA’s line of acceptable conduct?

We’ll see.

Thunder GM “encouraged” after talks with Paul George; also discusses Westbrook, Anthony

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The Oklahoma City Thunder have a lot of questions heading into this summer. We know the answer to one of them: Billy Donovan will be back as coach. Another is not official, but we know it’s happening: Carmelo Anthony is going to opt into his $28 million contract for next season.

However, the most significant question will hang out there until early July: Will Paul George return?

Thunder GM Sam Presti addressed that in his end-of-season press conference Wednesday.

Is that relationship enough? George genuinely has enjoyed his time and experience in Oklahoma City, but does that outweigh the desire to go to Los Angeles and the place he calls home? Will how the playoffs ended in the first round — with Russell Westbrook dominating the ball and George struggling much of the series — factor into his decision? Only one person has that answer, and right now he’s not saying much.

Presti also discussed Carmelo Anthony and his post-season press conference where Anthony said he wouldn’t come off the bench and had to get back to playing his way.

‘Melo is going to opt into that $28 million, which makes him almost impossible to trade. He’s also not going to take a discount to facilitate a buyout. That’s going to lead to an interesting offseason — it became clear in the playoffs the Thunder were better defensively, and on both ends, with Jerami Grant on the court. With Anthony in the starting five in the playoffs (Westbrook, George, Steven Adams, and Corey Brewer) the Thunder were outscored by 7.6 points per 100 possessions. Substitute Grant into that lineup for Anthony, and the Thunder outscored teams by 10.6 per 100 (small sample size alert in both cases).

Anthony would be best suited at this point, with his skills where they are, in a sixth man role. He doesn’t want that. Which means things are going to get interesting.

As for Westbrook…

Which means him working more off the ball. That would be a good start to adding some diversity to the OKC attack.