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And-Ones: All-Star Game, Griffin, Rubio, Towns

New Orleans has been selected to replace Charlotte as the host for the 2017 All-Star Game, reports Brett Martel of The Associated Press. An official announcement from the league is expected later today, tweets Brett Dawson of the New Orleans Advocate. The NBA announced last month that it was pulling the game from Charlotte in protest of a controversial new North Carolina law regarding protections for lesbian, gay and transgender people. The league offered to give Charlotte the 2019 game if changes are made to the statute. New Orleans also hosted the event in 2008 and 2014. The game is scheduled for February 19th, which coincides with the start of Mardi Gras parades.

There’s more NBA-related news this morning:

  • Eric Griffin, a former D-League All-Star whose quest for the NBA was halted by an attempted murder charge, has agreed to a contract in Israel, according to Ian Begley of ESPN.com. The state of Florida dropped the charges against Griffin in June, clearing him to resume his basketball career. He will join the Galil Gilboa club, says his agent, Tod Seidel. Griffin had been charged with attempted first-degree murder with a firearm and spent a week in jail in May. The Florida state attorney’s office investigated the case and determined that Griffin had an alibi and did not match the victim’s description. Seidel says the incident cost Griffin the chance to play in the NBA’s summer league and in the Philippines.
  • The death of Ricky Rubio‘s mother made him consider skipping the Summer Olympics, writes Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press. The Spanish point guard talked regularly to his mother through video chats after Timberwolves games last season and was distraught over her battle with lung cancer. “Sometimes at night during the season I was going through hell,” he said. “Waking up in, who knows, Sacramento, in L.A., in the middle of the night alone in a hotel and thinking, ‘Why am I here? Is it really worth it?'”
  • Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns tops the list of the best NBA sophomores heading into 2016/17, according to Chad Ford and Kevin Pelton of ESPN.com. Both have the reigning Rookie of the Year listed at No. 1. Ford has Knicks big man Kristaps Porzingis ranked second, while Pelton opts for Nuggets center Nikola Jokic.

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