All-Star Game

And-Ones: All-Star Game, White, Holland, Carmelo

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said he would discuss holding a future All-Star Game in the city of Detroit with Arn Tellem, the vice-chairman of the Pistons, Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News reports. The Pistons are playing their second season at Little Caesars Arena, which is also the home of the NHL’s Red Wings. “I’m sure we’ll be talking about it,” Silver said during a business trip to the city. The state of Michigan hasn’t seen an All-Star Game since 1979, when it was held in the Pontiac Silverdome. The Pistons’ former home, The Palace of Auburn Hills, never hosted the event.

We have more news from around the basketball world:

  • Former Heat and Cavaliers big man Okaro White is close to signing with Israel’s Maccabi Tel Aviv, according to a Eurobasket.com report which was relayed by Sam Amico. White appeared in six games with Miami last season after seeing action in 35 games with the Heat the previous season. The Cavaliers signed him to 10-day contracts last season but he didn’t play. He was waived by Cleveland in August and then by the Spurs in October after joining them for training camp.
  • The G League’s Austin Spurs acquired the returning rights to guard John Holland and a 2019 second-round pick from the Canton Charge, the Cavs’ affiliate, in exchange for small forward Jaron Blossomgame, according to a press release from the G League club. Holland had a two-way contract with the Cavaliers last season and played 24 games, posting an average of 2.3 PPG in 7.3 MPG. Holland appeared in one game this season with the Cavaliers before being waived on November 9th. Blossomgame, the Spurs’ second-round pick in 2017, spent the last two seasons with Austin but has yet to make his NBA debut.
  • The Warriors, Sixers, Lakers and Pelicans are the most likely landing spots for Carmelo Anthony once he’s waived by the Rockets, Matt Eppers of USA Today opines. Anthony could help each of those teams to varying degrees, mainly as a second-unit player.

NBA To Televise 2019 All-Star Draft

The NBA and the players’ union have reached an agreement to televise the draft for this season’s All-Star Game, according to a report from Marc Stein and Kevin Draper of The New York Times. Sources tell Stein and Draper that a date for that draft has yet to be scheduled, but January 30 and January 31 are candidates.

The league changed the format of its All-Star Game last season, moving away from the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format. Instead, the top two All-Star vote-getters (LeBron James and Stephen Curry in 2018) were named as captains of the two teams and were tasked with filling out their rosters by conducting a draft of the other 22 All-Stars. James and Curry first selected from a pool of eight fellow starters before moving on to the 12-man bench pool.

For the 2018 All-Star Game, the draft was conducted privately, though the order of most of the picks leaked out eventually. This time around, we’ll be able to see that draft take place, as the league and the players’ union are now both on board with turning it into a broadcast event.

The 2019 All-Star Game will take place on February 17 in Charlotte.

Cleveland To Host 2022 NBA All-Star Game

The Cavaliers will host the 2022 NBA All-Star Game in Cleveland, league sources tell ESPN’s Brian Windhorst. Kevin Kleps of Crain’s Cleveland Business first reported that an upcoming All-Star Game will be played at Quicken Loans Arena, adding that an official NBA announcement could happen as soon as this Thursday.

Cleveland had been a candidate to host the league’s 2021 All-Star weekend, but renovations on Quicken Loans Arena ran into some roadblocks, resulting in a delay. With a deal for those renovations now completed and construction underway, the league appears comfortable committing to the Cavs for the 2022 event. As Kleps notes, the arena renovations are expected to be completed before the start of the 2019/20 season.

The NBA All-Star Game hasn’t taken place in Cleveland since 1997, back when the Cavs’ building was known as the Gund Arena.

The next three NBA All-Star Games are set to take place in Charlotte (2019), Chicago (2020), and Indianapolis (2021).

Eastern Rumors: Embiid, Wade, Kander, Magic

Joel Embiid‘s ability to work out this summer without restrictions may turn out to be the Sixers’ biggest offseason improvement, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic details. Embiid has always been in rehab mode from foot or knee injuries during his previous offseasons, Bodner notes. This summer, Embiid has been working with renown skills coach Drew Hanlen to refine his offensive game, which could vault Embiid into a greater level of dominance and consistency, Bodner continues. Hanlen has put a great emphasis on making Embiid virtually unstoppable in the low post while also creating more open looks for his teammates and committing fewer turnovers, Bodner adds.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • If Dwyane Wade returns to the Heat, he’ll be part of the rotation, according to Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Adding Wade to the backcourt would create a logjam that would likely cut dramatically into Tyler Johnson‘s minutes, Winderman adds. Wade has indicated if he plays next season, it will be with the Heat.
  • Former Pistons strength and conditioning coach Arnie Kander has turned down a position with the franchise but will remain in a consultant’s role, Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press tweets. Kander, who worked with the team for 23 seasons, has given the front office input on its search for a new medical director and has also been involved in Reggie Jackson‘s offseason training, Ellis continues. Last season’s director of sports medicine and head trainer, Jon Ishop, is no longer with the organization, Ellis adds.
  • The Magic will not host the All-Star Game until at least 2024, Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel reports. The franchise put in a bid to host the 2023 All-Star Weekend and were informed by league officials that another location will be selected, Robbins continues. The sites for the next three All-Star Games have already been set, starting with Charlotte next season, and Orlando can’t host in 2022 because of a major convention in the city, Robbins adds.

And-Ones: All-Star Draft, Team USA, G League

While it’s not clear how much the new format was responsible for the NBA’s best and most competitive All-Star Game in years, commissioner Adam Silver was happy with the result, telling ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that he was appreciative of the players and thought the game was “incredible.” Silver also suggested that fans’ biggest complaint about this year’s All-Star draft format will likely be addressed for next year’s event.

“When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let’s not turn something that’s 100% positive into a potential negative to any player,” Silver said. “But then … maybe we’re overly conservative, because then we came out of there, and the players were, ‘We can take it. We’re All-Stars. Let’s have a draft.’ So it sounds like we’re going to have a televised draft next year.”

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Kemba Walker Replaces Kristaps Porzingis On All-Star Team

Hornets point guard Kemba Walker has been named as a reserve from the Eastern Conference for the 2018 NBA All-Star game, the team announced in a press release. Walker joins Team LeBron, replacing Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis, who suffered a season-ending torn ACL on Tuesday.

Walker, 27, is in his seventh NBA season and will appear in his second consecutive All-Star game. In 51 games this season, Walker has averaged 22.6 PPG, 5.8 APG, 3.4 RPG for Charlotte. Walker’s name circulated in trade rumors leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline but he ultimately stayed put with the Hornets.

Injuries have hit Team LeBron hard as Walker is now the fourth replacement to join the squad. Kevin Love (broken left hand) was replaced by Heat guard Goran DragicDeMarcus Cousins (torn Achilles) was replaced by Thunder forward Paul George; and John Wall (knee surgery) was replaced by Pistons center Andre Drummond.

Contestants For Three-Point, Skills, Dunk Contests Announced

The NBA has announced the participants for the Three-Point Shootout, Skills Challenge, and Slam Dunk Contest set to take place the night before the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

The Three-Point Shootout will include Wayne Ellington (Heat), Bradley Beal (Wizards), Devin Booker (Suns), Paul George (Thunder), Eric Gordon (Rockets), Tobias Harris (Clippers), Kyle Lowry (Raptors) and Klay Thompson (Warriors). Thompson (2016) and Gordon (2017) have won the competition the past two years.

In the Skills Challenge, the contestants include Jamal Murray (Nuggets), Kristaps Porzingis (Knicks), Joel Embiid (76ers), Al Horford (Celtics), Spencer Dinwiddie (Nets), Lauri Markkanen (Bulls), Donovan Mitchell (Jazz), and Lou Williams (Clippers). This lineup includes three 2018 All-Stars with Porzingis (the defending Skills champion), Emiid, and Horford. The field also includes two rookies with Markkanen and Mitchell.

Finally, the Dunk Contest features Aaron Gordon (Magic), Victor Oladipo (Pacers), Larry Nance Jr. (Lakers) and Dennis Smith Jr. (Mavericks). Gordon is going for his first Dunk Contest victory in his third attempt. Oladipo competed in the 2015 Dunk Contest; Nance will follow in his father’s footsteps to compete in the event; Smith, a rookie, is entering his first.

Goran Dragic To Replace Kevin Love In ASG

The Heat finally have an All-Star, with the NBA announcing today in a press release that Miami point guard Goran Dragic has been named to the All-Star Game as a replacement for injured Cavalier Kevin Love. Dragic will join LeBron James‘ squad for this month’s event.

In addition to being the first All-Star appearance for Dragic, it will be the first All-Star nod for any player on the Heat’s roster. Miami is currently in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a 29-22 record, despite not having any players who had been All-Stars at any time in their NBA careers — until today.

Dragic, 31, is enjoying another productive season for the Heat, averaging 17.0 PPG, 4.8 APG, and 4.1 RPG, with a .437/.351/.757 shooting line. He’s the third injury replacement named to the All-Star Game, joining Paul George, who replaced DeMarcus Cousins, and Andre Drummond, who will sub in for John Wall.

Dragic beat out the likes of Ben Simmons and Kemba Walker, among others, for the right to be one of this year’s 12 Eastern Conference All-Stars. As the NBA’s announcement explains, the Heat point guard “received the most voting points from NBA head coaches among Eastern Conference players who were not selected as reserves or already named as an injury replacement.”

NBA Increases Bonuses For All-Star Winners

In the wake of 2017’s NBA All-Star Game, a 192-182 contest that featured the usual lack of defensive effort, the NBA made changes to the format, moving away from the East vs. West matchup. According to Marcus Thompson of The Athletic, the league has also made another under-the-radar tweak, as players on the winning team will now earn $100K rather than $50K.

ESPN’s Chris Haynes goes into more detail on the change in a story of his own, noting that the difference between the bonuses for the winners ($100K) and losers ($25K) is significantly wider than it was before. The league presumably hopes to make the game a little more competitive by adding that extra incentive to win it.

According to Haynes, many All-Star players actually weren’t aware of the increase in bonus money for the winning team. However, several All-Stars who spoke to ESPN and were informed of the additional incentive believe it should have an impact on the level of play on the court.

“I would like to think so,” Celtics big man Al Horford told Haynes. “I think guys will definitely take the game more seriously. In the last couple of years, the games haven’t been good, and we’re all aware of that. Regardless of that, I think guys are going to come out and compete. But that’s a big incentive, for sure. We’re going to be diving for loose balls out there.”

Kyrie Irving added that the jump from $50K to $100K represents a “huge difference,” with Klay Thompson suggesting that “it will definitely help.” Stephen Curry was also in favor of the change, though he had a few other thoughts on how to improve All-Star weekend.

“An idea I have is shortening the day. The entire game day is the biggest drag for us,” Curry said to ESPN. “Media [obligations], sponsorship appearances, [extravagant, prolonged] All-Star introductions. It’s obviously a made-for-TV event. After all that, then there’s the game. That’s a lot. But all the changes should help make the game a little better.”

2018 NBA All-Star Game Reserves Announced

Kristaps Porzingis, Victor Oladipo, Bradley Bealand Karl-Anthony Towns will join Joel Embiid (voted in as a starter) as first time All-Stars after the league announced its reserves for the 2018 contest (via NBA.com).

In addition to Towns, Russell Westbrook, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Damian Lillard, and Klay Thompson got in as reserves in the Western Conference.

In the Eastern Conference, John Wall, Kyle Lowry, Al Horford, and Kevin Love join Porzingis, Beal and Oladipo as reserves.

The league previously announced that the format for this year’s contest will differ from how its been in the past. The two players with the most tallies from the All-Star starter vote will be named as captains and they will draft a team from the remaining starters and reserves. LeBron James and Stephen Curry earned the honors of being names captains this season.

Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan, Kyrie Irving, and Embiid were named starters alongside James in the East. Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Kevin Durant, and James Harden were selected along with Curry to be the Western Conference All-Stars.

The West has several notable players who didn’t receive an invite, including Paul George, Chris Paul, and Lou Williams, while the East also had a few snubs, such as Andre Drummond and Ben Simmons.

Do you agree with this year’s All-Star selections? Would you have liked to see another player in the game? If so, who are you leaving out? Please let us know your thoughts in the comment section below. We look forward to what you have to say!