Amin Elhassan, BIG Wos, Black Tray and Mariano welcome Josiah Johnson to talk Demarcus Cousins trade, Kyrie Irving's wild flat Earth theory, All-Star Game, Lonzo Ball's dad and more.

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Brian Windhorst, Tom Haberstroh, Kevin Pelton, Justin Verrier and Tim Bontemps break down the trade between the Kings and the Pelicans.

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Tom Haberstroh, Zach Harper, BIG Wos, Kaileigh Brandt and Cian Fahey answer listener questions from Twitter.

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IF THE GOLDEN State Warriors are built around a Big Four, Zaza Pachulia might be the fifth. Now in his 14th season, Pachulia has never averaged more than 12 points per game. His style of play? The opposite of glitzy. In other words, he'd be incredibly out of place in the NBA All-Star Game.

Yet when the NBA announced the final tally of fan votes -- the first step in a process that determines the All-Star starters -- there was Pachulia, with 1,528,941 votes, second only to Kevin Durant among all frontcourt players in the Western Conference, well ahead of Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, who is an MVP candidate, as well as Anthony Davis, Draymond Green and DeMarcus Cousins.

Pachulia, currently out with a strained rotator cuff, also finished surprisingly high a year ago. Green, his Warriors teammate, said he wishes Pachulia would tell him his secret.

"He just won't tell me how he keeps doing it," Green told ESPN's Ethan Sherwood Strauss.

Something, it's fair to say, seems amiss.

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Henry Abbott and David Thorpe on the leading MVP candidates, whether James Harden is fool's gold, Steph and rest, ASG vote issues, LeBron's second act and more.

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Wall Street Journal reporter Ali Berzon joins Kevin Arnovitz and Ethan Strauss to chat about All-Star conspiracies, the Warriors and when basketball gets political.

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LeBron: The Sequel

February, 16, 2017
Feb 16
5:53
PM ET
By Pablo S. Torre
ESPN.com
Archive

Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

"When LeBron was playing with the Heat, they went to Cleveland, and he wanted to spend the night. They don't do overnights. Teams just don't. So now [coach Erik] Spoelstra has to text [president Pat] Riley and say, 'What do I do in this situation?' And Pat, who has iron-fist rules, answers, 'You are on the plane. You are with this team.' You can't hold up the whole team because you and your mom and your posse want to spend an extra night in Cleveland. ... I do know LeBron likes special treatment. He needs things his way." -- Phil Jackson, Knicks president

"It just sucks that now at this point, having one of the biggest businesses you can have both on and off the floor, having a certified agent in Rich Paul, having a certified business partner in Maverick Carter, who's done so many great business [deals], that the title for young African-Americans is the word 'posse.'" -- LeBron James

TO MEN WHO hate having their power tested, Maverick Carter is a special nightmare. Heat president Pat Riley, a Hall of Fame coach, can't control Carter. Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, a billionaire capitalist, can't buy away Carter's fealty to his lifelong friend, LeBron James. Phil Jackson, who coached no less than Michael Effing Jordan, can't fathom a man challenging his team's travel itinerary -- so what kind of blasphemy would Jackson profess to see if he walked into Carter's Las Vegas hotel suite right now?

It's a Thursday night in January, and Draymond Green, James' ostensible Warriors rival, laughs from a love seat in the marble-floored living room. Crumpled on a nearby couch is a napping Chris Bosh, who's still waging a cold war with Riley's Heat. As of an hour ago, I didn't know this enormous, mahogany-walled edifice existed. Which is no accident. The Mansion's VIP-only villas, decorated in the style of a Florentine, yes, mansion, are hidden behind a warren of secure hallways linked to the MGM Grand's high-roller tables. Welcome to an ironfisted coach's posse-driven fever dream.

"This," says Carter, barefoot and raspy-voiced, swaddled in gray sweats and a black hoodie that reads UNINTERRUPTED, "is like the All-Star Game."

Sort of. The all-stars Carter is referring to are the likes of Google, Amazon, Verizon, Facebook and Twitter, the luminaries of the planet's biggest tech convention, the Consumer Electronics Show. Carter's business partner, James, is back East with the Cavs -- the man, after all, has a day job. Meanwhile, Carter, head of SpringHill Entertainment, their multiplatform production company, has hosted a dozen meetings over the past three days with chief marketing officers, media execs and ad agencies. "Maverick's network is at the highest levels of business in the U.S. and abroad," says Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse, who published a case study about James and Carter in 2009. "He stands shoulder to shoulder with Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates. And then, in the entertainment world, it's a ridiculous list of movers and shakers."

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For LeBron, rest is the perfect weapon

February, 16, 2017
Feb 16
5:39
PM ET
Haberstroh By Tom Haberstroh
ESPN.com
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IT IS MID-FEBRUARY and LeBron James, a man who has labored through six straight trips to the NBA Finals, is leading the league in minutes per game.

A breather is clearly in order -- and was on order on Feb. 8, when coach Tyronn Lue had announced that James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were "probably" going to take the night off on the second game of a back-to-back at Oklahoma City. But then, after a four-hour overnight flight from Indiana ahead of the nationally televised game, the Cleveland Cavaliers had a sudden change of plans. Minutes before tipoff, Lue announced the trio would give it a go.

The coach offered a rationale that was less than scientific: "All three guys say they feel pretty good, and we got a good thing going, so why not keep it going."

It turned out the Cavs couldn't get anything going. James shot 8-for-19 in the nine-point loss to the Thunder and missed two dunks, something so uncharacteristic, LeBron hadn't done it for almost eight years. Instead of getting the night off, James registered a whopping 41 minutes, a total that even Russell Westbrook had reached just three times this entire season; James had done it six times in the previous month alone. Love hardly fared any better, going 5-12 from the field with no three-pointers while playing in his third game in four nights and coming off a back injury -- a workload that would seemingly come to haunt him less than a week later.

Indeed, "DNP-Rest" is basically a new thing, and there's no getting around the fact that a lot of people find it offensive. Who wouldn't love to get out of work to ... rest? If Michael Jordan, Larry Bird or Magic Johnson ever did it, they at least had the decency to call it something that sounded like an injury.

But make no mistake: for James (and the Cavs), rest should be the top priority.

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Pablo Torre takes Tom Haberstroh, Amin Elhassan, Kevin Pelton and Zach Harper through Lebron's hidden Hollywood empire.

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Brian Windhorst, Tom Haberstroh, Tim MacMahon and Tim Bontemps on the Raptors-Magic trade, free agents to be, trade deadline players, Celtics, Jimmy Butler and more.

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TrueHoop Pod: Once a Knick always a Knick, Chris Childs

February, 14, 2017
Feb 14
8:41
AM ET
By ESPN.com
ESPN.com

Knicks legend Chris Childs drops by to talk with Amin Elhassan, Wos, Tray and Mariano about Charles Oakley, the fight with Kobe, getting traded, Vince Carter and more.

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TrueHoop Pod: The Friday Mailbag - Do your job

February, 13, 2017
Feb 13
5:39
PM ET
By ESPN.com
ESPN.com

Tom Haberstroh, BIG Wos, Justin Verrier, Zach Harper and Kaileigh Brandt answer listener questions via Twitter.

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Amin Elhassan, Ohm Youngmisuk, BIG Wos and Zach Harper on the situation in N.Y., and the fallout from last night's skirmish between Charles Oakley and Knicks personnel.

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Henry Abbott and David Thorpe return for the debut of Thorpe Thursdays, talking about Charles Oakley's weird night at MSG, LeBron's walk in D.C., its implications and Chuck.

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Radio Ethan, joined by new cohost BIG Todd, gives scalding hot takes on the 2017 All-Stars. Guests include Tom Haberstroh and Kevin Pelton.

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