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The jokes flood Joe Ingles’ Twitter mentions during every game.

The theme is always the Average Joe appearance of the Utah Jazz wing. He’s most often called a math or science teacher, which Ingles finds humorous, kidding that poor academic performance was the primary reason he turned pro at 17 in his native Australia. Accountant is also popular, among other pencil-pushing professions.

Anything that’s like a boring, receding-hairline white guy is pretty much what I get, Ingles says.

Ingles’ teammates, who in fairness are frequent targets of his own biting sense of humor, are just as relentless as the amateur comedians on social media. Center Rudy Gobert, whose loud suits provide Ingles plenty of comedic fodder, refers to him as a 40-year-old farmer. Rookie of the Year candidate Donovan Mitchell, whose social media posts always get a snarky reply from Ingles, just calls him old man, saying it fits his game, appearance and lifestyle.

Denver Nuggets: Paul Millsap returned Tuesday and logged 23 minutes after missing 44 games with a wrist injury. Based on how well he played, finishing with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 blocks and 1 steal against the Clippers, you have to expect the veteran to cut into Nikola Jokic’s scoring, rebounds and assists the rest of the season. Any game when Millsap is rested, though, will be a huge opportunity for Jokic to do what he does best.

And he’s dead serious.

It went from like an unsure lunch to, ‘We’ve got to get back to the hotel and get our s— really quickly and get out of here,’ Ingles says. We literally didn’t finish our meal, paid the [bill] and went straight to the airport and came here.

Ingles’ initial goal after getting to Utah: survive through the mid-January deadline for his minimum salary to become guaranteed.

Milwaukee Bucks: Jabari Parker saw his minutes rise in each of the three games since the All-Star break, going from 21 to 24 to 27. With at least 18 points and five rebounds in each of his past two games, we are starting to see Parker play like the player he was before the injury last season. Pick him up now if he’s still available in your league, as he is in nearly 42 percent of ESPN leagues.

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Cavs no longer desperate for LeBron James, but trades could keep him in Cleveland

One reason many have assumed that James would bolt at the end of the year was his fractured relationship with Dan Gilbert, which has deep roots but most recently dates back to the letting go of David Griffin last summer and the team’s inability to pull the trigger on a deal for Paul George. That, of course, was followed by the trade of Kyrie Irving to the rival Celtics.

But new general manager Koby Altman has brandished his chops in the last couple of days, pulling off a trio of moves to make the roster younger and better. Unless James has already decided he is leaving �� and there’s no indication he has made a decision on his future �� it would be hard to see what’s going on with the Lakers these days and conclude he’d have a better future in LA than in Cleveland.

If the Lakers let their current unrestricted free agents walk, they would have about $47.8 million in space this summer, and that includes the $12.4 million cap hold for pending restricted free agent Julius Randle. If they renounce him as well, their cap space skyrockets to just under $60 million.

I would have said it was a 50-50 proposition that he would go back to Cleveland this summer before all of this, even a week ago, one league executive told Sporting News. I think this moves it more in the Cavs’ favor. They’re younger and deeper. If the lifestyle is all the same to him, and I don’t know that it is, I’d think he would stay in Cleveland.

I would put it from 50-50 a week ago to now, something like 75-25 that he stays. Even if they don’t win this year, they’ve given themselves room to grow.

The 2018 NBA All-Star game will tip off at 8 p.m. ET on Feb. 18 in Los Angeles’ Staples Center. This is the fourth time the All-Star game has been played in L.A.; the Staples Center most recently played host to the exhibition in 2011.

This year’s All-Star game deviates from the traditional East vs. West format that had been in place since the inaugural game in 1951. The All-Star rosters are still made up of 12 players from each conference, but the two teams were drafted by the game’s leading vote-getters and captains, LeBron James and Stephen Curry.

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Bickerstaff is the interim head coach of the Grizzlies, sliding into the first seat after David Fizdale was fired earlier this season. The 38-year-old started his NBA career as an assistant coach to his father, Bernie Bickerstaff, with the Charlotte Bobcats back in 2004 at only 25 years old. He spent three years there before moving on to Minnesota, then left the Timberwolves in 2011 to join the Rockets. Bickerstaff earned his first interim coaching opportunity in Houston after Kevin McHale was fired 11 games into the 2015 season.

Bickerstaff was reflective when asked what he’s learned during his stints as interim head coach.

Since the Wizards announced that Wall would be sidelined for six to eight weeks to recover from a successful knee energy, the team has shown improvement in a lot of key areas. In addition to going 5-1, the Wizards have assisted on 71 percent of their baskets, which leads the league in that span. Nearly all Wizards players have seen their net ratings shoot up significantly, and two of the team’s wins have come against powerhouse squads (Thunder and Raptors).

At first glance, it would seem that the Wizards are better off without Wall in their lineup. But really, that’s just not the case. Prior to this stretch, Washington was 5-6 in the 11 games that its star point guard had missed, including an embarrassing 116-69 loss to the Jazz in December.

There have been lots of unfortunate cases of kids going to college and having poor experiences, and that’s becoming more known, Lemanis has said. The kids who stay in the NBL tend to have good experiences and have great development. I think the NBL is becoming a pathway.

We currently have a record number of Australians playing in the NBA right now and Australian basketball is probably more highly regarded around the world than it has ever been, Loeliger wrote in the release provided to ESPN. We see this [as] an opportunity to further strengthen the talent pool of the NBL and enhance its standing both domestically and globally.

George Hill, Kings: It almost feels inevitable Hill lands on the Cavs, but as of now, he’s still wearing a Kings jersey. Hill wouldn’t be a game-changer for Cleveland, so the Cavs might be waiting to see what other trades are floating around the NBA universe before pulling the trigger with Sacramento. Hill isn’t the same player he was with the Pacers, but he’s still an upgrade defensively over the Cavs’ crop of guards.

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King’s successor, Sean Marks, has done a nice job turning the franchise around, and their long-term prospects look good. But after disintegration of the Garnett-Pierce team, the Nets spent several seasons among the worst teams in the league, without any high lottery picks to show for it, while Boston built what looks to be a contender for a long time. As a result, the Nets have been the most irrelevant franchise in the league for the past half-decade, and it’s tough to see that changing anytime soon.

As crippling as the Garnett/Pierce trade has been for the Nets, their motivations in trading for two veteran Hall of Famers in an effort to compete in the short term were at least understandable. The Knicks’ decision to give up multiple draft picks for Andrea Bargnani was indefensible and inexplicable the day it happened, and only looked worse as time went on.

That process, however, didn’t take as long as anyone initially expected. Anunoby participated in an intrasquad scrimmage during training camp and went on to play in Toronto’s first game of the regular season. He was then promoted to the starting lineup on Nov. 14, a position he’s held in the 47 games since.

Anunoby’s numbers don’t jump off the page in the same way Ben Simmons, Donovan Mitchell and Jayson Tatum’s do, but he’s been one of the most impactful rookies in the league this season. To understand why, let’s take a closer look at how he’s contributed on both ends of the floor.

Blake taught me a lot. That’s why yesterday I thanked him for all the stuff he’s taught me, 27-year-old rookie guard C.J. Williams said. He’s a great guy to have in the locker room. He’s very intense, and out of your guy you want that passion and mentality. Blake was a great teacher, a great teammate. He taught me how to be a professional.

This Clippers team will take on a much different look for the rest of this season as they attempt to retool, and possibly rebuild depending on their moves in the next week. If the Clippers stand pat and decide to keep DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams, they will still be competitive in the West and remain in the mix for the final playoff spot.

But without Griffin, the feeling around the Clippers is different. His years will be looked back on fondly, but there will always be the thought of what could have been.

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Ranking this season’s NBA tribute videos: Who deserved them most?

Tribute videos are a natural byproduct of sports that celebrate individual athletic achievement. No league does a better job of focusing on specific players than the NBA, where one player can quickly make or break a franchise.

In an ideal world, tribute videos would be reserved for fan-favorite stars who had to leave teams for reasons beyond the control of both sides. That’s not always the case, however, and over the past couple seasons the bar to recognize players for their time with a team has only gotten lower.

The Trail Blazers, meanwhile, were coming apart at the seams and willing to sell every one of their veterans for parts. The first-round pick the Nets sent Portland in the trade for Wallace was only top-three protected, reportedly because there were only three players New Jersey valued at the top of the draft. The pick landed at No. 6 in 2012, and Portland drafted Damian Lillard, which completely turned around their fortunes as a franchise.

That summer, the Nets compounded their mistake by re-signing Wallace to a four-year, $40 million contract that almost immediately became one of the worst in the league as Wallace’s production fell off a cliff. They also re-signed Williams to a five-year, $100 million max deal as his play started to decline. But as bad as the repercussions were for the Nets’ trade with Portland, it was nothing compared to what they did a year later.

Aside from that, there are also questions about handing over a lucrative contract to a soon-to-be 30-year-old who appears to be entering a decline after a decade in the league. It’s unlikely Jordan and the Clippers will quickly come to an agreement on his value to the team or the terms of a new deal if Jordan is tweeting emojis to dispute the fact that there was an extension on the table in the first place.

What happens next? That’s the big question in LA, and it’s difficult to offer a definitive answer. But as long as Jordan and the Clippers’ front office are living under the same roof, it’s definitely going to be a little bit uncomfortable.

The most straightforward way to deploy that cap space would be on free agents, but one benefit of the Lakers’ new-look books is that there would not be urgency. Numerous franchises, including the Lakers, have gotten into trouble over the last few offseasons because their space burned a hole in their pockets.

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LeBron James was not about to shut up Saturday.

The Cavaliers forward used media day at the NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles to address social issues, and sarcastically thanked radio host and Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham for her comments about James and Kevin Durant after the All-Star duo criticized President Donald Trump in an Uninterrupted video.

I appreciate her for giving me even more awareness, at the greatest weekend of the NBA, James, who is one of the team captains for Sunday’s game, said Saturday at Staples Center. This is the best weekend of the NBA, when the countries in the whole entire world come watch the greatest players in the world.

The Celtics (40-19) got 33 points from Kyrie Irving, but the Clippers (30-26) led from the start as they jumped out to an 8-2 lead. Jordan, who had the first of three assists 55 seconds into the game, didn’t even score until he dunked with 7:42 remaining in the first quarter.

While Jordan, who also had four steals, led the Clippers to an upset in Boston, Bradley Beal and Ben Simmons lead their respective teams to improbable victories.

The rumors surrounding a Clippers rebuilding campaign had been floated around all season, but Griffin was never included. It seemed as though he was completely unavailable after signing a five-year, $171 million deal in the offseason.

But things can change overnight in the NBA. The Clippers received an offer from the Pistons that they felt could not be turned down, as questions lingered about paying an exorbitant amount of money for an injury-plagued big man. No matter how much the Clippers loved and appreciated what Griffin had done for the franchise, they decided it was time to move on.

Upon being taken No. 1 overall in the 2009 NBA Draft, Griffin gave the Clippers a face of the franchise, something the team had been missing over the course of its 34 years in Los Angeles. He almost single-handedly made the Clippers relevant in a city that had all but ignored them since they came to town. He brought an energy and excitement to Staples Center, which was rare in games that didn’t feature the Lakers.

Thon Maker has grabbed only 14.8 percent of opponent misses, putting him on pace for one of the worst defensive rebounding seasons ever for a 7-footer.

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