WEDNESDAY, 11:38am: The NBA has officially announced that the center has been removed from All-Star balloting, according to a press release from the league. Fans will now be allowed to vote for two guards and three frontcourt players.
TUESDAY, 10:32pm: The NBA will formally announce Wednesday that it will no longer have fans vote for starting centers and forwards for the All-Star Game, and instead have them choose three frontcourt players from each conference, TNT's David Aldridge reports on NBA.com.The change will appear on this year's ballot, which will be released on November 13th.
The league is making the change at the recommendation of its revamped competition committee.
"It makes sense," said Stu Jackson, the NBA's vice president of basketball operations. "It made sense to our Competition Committee. Having a center is the only specific position that was singled out on the ballot. It just seemed a little outdated and didn't represent the way our game has evolved. By the same token, it also affords the same opportunity, if you have two good centers in a given year, pick 'em both. They both can be selected. Which is impossible right now."
With more teams taking a small-ball approach, traditional centers have become less of a factor in the game. The shifting dynamics have caused some ballot issues in recent years. Aldridge cites the case of Tim Duncan, who has been listed as a power forward despite playing center for the Spurs.
The selection of All-Star starters is a trivial matter in most cases, but it's one of the criteria used to determine the maximum salary for rookie-scale extensions in the new CBA. First-round picks who are voted to start the All-Star Game twice, named to two All-NBA teams, or win an MVP award in their first four seasons are eligible to receive 30% of the salary cap in their extensions, instead of 25%.