All-Star Game

And-Ones: All-Star Game, Bronny, Caboclo, BAL

Having made the decision to revert back to the East vs. West format and a standard 12-minute fourth quarter for the 2024 All-Star Game, commissioner Adam Silver tells Marc J. Spears of ESPN’s Andscape that the NBA is also planning additional changes in the hopes of improving the game’s level of play.

As Silver explains, a conversation with Chris Paul made him realize that the All-Star Game’s alterations to pregame and halftime protocols – including longer pregame introductions and an extended musical performance at the half – disrupt players’ typical routines and making them more inclined to treat it like a meaningless exhibition.

“I’ll take responsibility for that,” Silver told Spears. “We’re sending mixed signals. And if we want guys to treat this like a real game, and again, this is not about Finals intensity, it’s just a fun game. But if we want players to treat it that way, we have to treat it that way. And so, it means that the introduction is going to have to be a little bit shorter and halftime’s going to have to be a little bit more typical, starting in Indianapolis.

“… I anticipate we’ll still have halftime entertainment. But it won’t be as long,” Silver continued. “I recognize this is not the Super Bowl. It’s an All-Star Game. It’s a different vibe, and we can still have an entertaining halftime but get the guys back on the floor in a more reasonable time. When it comes to the [All-Star] Game, we just got to make it clear to everybody involved, coaches included, that we’re looking for a basketball game.”

The NBA’s All-Star Game will be played in Indianapolis in 2024 and in San Francisco in 2025.

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

  • LeBron James offered an update on his son Bronny James on Monday, telling reporters – including ESPN’s Dave McMenamin – that Bronny will undergo a medical examination later this month following his July cardiac arrest. If he passes that exam, the plan is for Bronny to return to practice for USC with the intention of playing this season, according to LeBron.
  • Former NBA first-round pick Bruno Caboclo has signed a contract with KK Partizan, the Serbian team announced today in a press release. While Caboclo’s new deal with Partizan runs through the 2024/25 season, Italian club Reyer Venezia has maintained that it holds the rights to the forward for the ’23/24 campaign after signing him earlier this year, so it’s unclear whether or not Caboclo has officially negotiated his release from that contract.
  • The NBA announced on Tuesday that the Basketball Africa League’s fourth season will tip off in March 2024 and will expand to South Africa for the first time in league history.
  • While it’s not necessarily surprising that the Nuggets and Celtics have looked like the NBA’s best teams through the season’s first two weeks, it’s impressive that the two clubs have played so well early on after overhauling their rotations during the offseason, writes John Hollinger of The Athletic.

Warriors To Host 2025 All-Star Game

The NBA has selected the Warriors and the San Francisco Bay Area to host All-Star weekend in 2025, the league announced on Monday (via Twitter).

The All-Star Game next season will take place at Chase Center, Golden State’s arena, on Sunday, Feb. 16, 2025. The Chase Center opened in 2019. The Warriors previously hosted NBA All-Star weekend in the Bay Area in 2000 at Oakland Arena and in 1967 at the Cow Palace in Daly City.

“It has been 25 years since the NBA All-Star Game was played in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we are delighted to bring the NBA’s marquee event to Chase Center in 2025,” Warriors CEO Joe Lacob said in a statement. “In addition to the significant economic impact and tourism business that NBA All-Star will drive, we look forward to hosting various events in San Francisco and Oakland to bring together basketball fans from all over the world.”

This season’s All-Star weekend will be hosted by the Pacers in Indianapolis from Feb. 15-18.

And-Ones: All-Star Game, China, Howard, RSNs

The 2024 All-Star Game, which will be held on February 18 in Indianapolis, will revert back to the old format of East vs. West, with no captain’s draft, the NBA announced on Wednesday (via Twitter).

According to the league, the All-Star Game will also go back to the normal game format — the fourth-quarter target score with no time limit will be removed, in place of the traditional 12-minute quarter.

The voting process for players to be selected will remain the same, with 12 players chosen from each conference, per the NBA.

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

  • Former All-Star center Yao Ming, who is in the Hall of Fame and is currently president of the Chinese Basketball Association, says the NBA is still “first class” in his native country despite past conflicts, according to Amy Tennery of Reuters. “I have to say, the NBA is in the first class… (because) you know the players being exposed in China for so long,” Yao said. “The players, the teams (are) all still very well welcome in China and (we had) a couple of players with (in) China just this past summer.” As Tennery notes, former Rockets (and current Sixers) president of basketball operations Daryl Morey was criticized in China for tweeting support of protestors in Hong Kong, which strained relations between the country and the league.
  • Dwight Howard, a three-time Defensive Player of the Year who has been out of the NBA since 2021/22, is seeking to have a civil lawsuit he’s facing in Georgia dismissed, per Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Howard is accused of sexual assault and battery by a man named Stephen Harper, with the incident taking place in July 2021. According to Holmes, Howard has denied the claims, saying the encounter was consensual and that he’s being blackmailed for money.
  • Tim Bontemps of ESPN takes an in-depth look at what’s happening between Regional Sports Networks and the NBA, primarily focusing on Diamond Sports Group, which filed for bankruptcy and airs games for 15 teams via Bally Sports.

And-Ones: All-Star Game, Porter, Breakout Candidates, More

Appearing on ESPN’s First Take on Wednesday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said the league is weighing the idea of reverting to the East vs. West format for its All-Star Game, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

Since the 2017/18 season, 12 players from each conference have been named All-Stars, but in order to set the two rosters, the top vote-getters in each conference have drafted teams from pools of eight starters and 14 reserves.

“We’re looking at some potential changes in format in Indianapolis this year,” Silver said, referring to the 2024 All-Star Game. “Maybe a return to something more traditional in terms of how the teams are presented. We went to sort of this captain and draft notion, but clearly historically it was East vs. West. So that’s maybe something we are looking at.”

Back in June, Silver didn’t close the door on the possibility of introducing an All-Star format that would pit U.S. players vs. international players. However, he downplayed the likelihood of that change on Wednesday, noting that the international player pool isn’t currently as deep as the U.S. one, which could result in skewed rosters.

According to Bontemps, Silver also reiterated during his First Take appearance, following up on the league’s recent statements on load management, that he views the idea of shortening the regular season as non-starter.

“None of us believe that,” Silver said. “None of the data supports that. As I was saying, back to this issue about load management, we don’t see more injuries later on in the season. Guys aren’t more likely to be injured after they’ve played 40 games as opposed to the first week of the season. I mean, unfortunately, injuries happen.”

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Former WNBA player Kysre Gondrezick has disputed Manhattan prosecutors’ characterization of Kevin Porter Jr.‘s alleged assault, telling Priscilla DeGregory and Emily Crane of The New York Post that Porter “never balled his fists up and hit me” and “definitely didn’t punch me in the face numerous times.” A second-degree assault charge against Porter was dropped this week after it was determined that Gondrezick’s vertebra fracture was a congenital defect and not caused by the former Rocket, who still faces third-degree assault and second-degree strangulation charges after being traded and waived on Tuesday. “It happened very fast, not to the degree of what was reported,” Gondrezick said of the incident. “And it was an argument that occurred in the room for not even 10 seconds.”
  • The Athletic’s NBA writers named a breakout candidate for all 30 NBA teams, with their picks ranging from popular choices such as Pistons guard Cade Cunningham and Trail Blazers center Deandre Ayton to less obvious selections like Celtics wing Sam Hauser.
  • Jonathan Givony and Jeff Borzello of ESPN (Insider link) identify the top international freshman in the NCAA this season, starting with center Aday Mara and forward Berke Buyuktuncel of UCLA.
  • In an entertaining article for FOX Sports, Melissa Rohlin reveals that a Clippers employee – who happens to be a Lakers fan – was the original source of the erroneous offseason rumors linking Lakers guard Austin Reaves to Taylor Swift.

NBA Says Its Data Doesn’t Support Load Management

NBA executive vice president of basketball operations Joe Dumars says the league’s data no longer shows the benefits of load management, according to Joe Vardon and Sam Amick of The Athletic. As Vardon and Amick write, the term “load management” has become ubiquitous in recent years, but it generally refers to the practice of resting players — particularly stars — to theoretically reduce the risk of injury.

Before, it was a given conclusion that the data showed that you had to rest players a certain amount, and that justified them sitting out,” said Dumars. “We’ve gotten more data, and it just doesn’t show that resting, sitting guys out correlates with lack of injuries, or fatigue, or anything like that. What it does show is maybe guys aren’t as efficient on the second night of a back-to-back.”

Dumars added players should be striving to play all 82 games on the regular season schedule.

Obviously everybody’s not going to play 82 games, but everyone should want to play 82 games. And that’s the culture that we are trying to reestablish right now,” he said.

In September, the league instituted its new player participation policy, which will impact 49 players who have made All-Star or All-NBA teams over the past three seasons. Stars sitting out games when they were healthy, plus the extremely lackluster All-Star game in February, evidently reached a tipping point for the league.

You get here by not addressing it,” Dumars said. “You get here by slippage, by just slowly – year after year after year…just slowly over time – you see all this slippage in missing of games during the regular season, the All-Star Game devolving into what it did this past year. And none of that happened just like after one year. And so at some point, you have to stop the slide. You have to address it.”

The NBA is also in the process of negotiating a new media rights deal — the current contract expires after 2024/25. Obviously marquee players missing nationally televised games has been an issue in negotiations, as was the poorly-rated All-Star game, which turned off fans and broadcast partners. Dumars admitted all of those things played a factor in the participation policy, which he said the NBPA agreed to.

Yeah, yes … I can’t [lie],” Dumars said with a laugh, per Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. “That’s a part of it. To pretend it isn’t would just be dishonest.”

Evan Wasch, the NBA’s executive vice president of basketball strategy and analytics, was also on the call and offered his opinion on the matter.

I also think we don’t need our TV partners to tell us that when teams sit players and players don’t try in an All-Star Game,” Wasch said, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “That makes for worse competition. Right? It’s incredibly obvious to us, and ultimately, we’re trying to serve fans. Yes, it’s the case that because we’re negotiating TV deals in the next year or two here, it takes on an even greater importance because we’re in the middle of those conversations; but we can self-identify that these were issues that need addressing independent of any outside.”

Dumars and Wasch said they’ve been meeting with teams ahead of the 2023/24 season to stress the importance of playing as many games as possible, creating a more competitive All-Star game, and promoting buy-in for the new in-season tournament.

Warriors Notes: Holiday, Roster, Jackson-Davis, Looney, More

There are logical reasons why the Warriors should pursue Jrue Holiday, who was traded to the Trail Blazers in the Damian Lillard blockbuster.

As Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes, Holiday — a two-time All-Star and five-time All-Defense member — is one of the best two-way guards in the league. He’s also five years younger (33) than Chris Paul (38), who would almost certainly be included in a potential deal for salary-matching purposes.

However, according to Poole, the possibility of trading Paul so soon after acquiring him creates a dilemma for Golden State. The team has spent the past few months talking up how well the future Hall-of-Famer will fit in, and how he was the “missing piece.” Flipping him before he plays a game for the Warriors would likely have future free agents questioning the organization’s integrity, Poole writes.

Poole believes Holiday would improve the roster, and is “probably a more seamless fit into the team’s culture.” But trading Paul now would still carry a level of risk.

Here’s more on the Warriors:

  • Kendra Andrews of ESPN examines key storylines for the Warriors entering the 2023/24 season, including how the team will fill its final standard roster spots. After the chemistry issues of last season, Golden State is looking for a “glue guy” who will be a good locker-room presence, team sources tell Andrews.
  • Rookie Trayce Jackson-Davis could be a seamless fit for Golden State’s system, according to Dalton Johnson of NBC Sports Bay Area. The 6’9″ big man has plenty of experience, having played four highly productive college seasons at Indiana. Head coach Steve Kerr sounded impressed with the second round-pick on Monday, Johnson notes. “What I like about Trayce is he plays the way we like to play — good passer, dribble handoff guy at the top of the key, good screener, gives us a lob threat that we don’t otherwise have, which is a really nice addition,” Kerr said. “And I think he’s just the kind of guy who feels the game well. He’s got a good feel for passing, cutting movement. And a lot of the stuff that we already run he runs really well. So Trayce is a really intriguing prospect and will be fun to watch him play.”
  • In a lengthy interview with Mark Medina of Sportskeeda, center Kevon Looney talked about his rebounding prowess, his desire to keep his consecutive games streak alive (he hasn’t missed a game the past two seasons), how long he hopes to play, adjusting to new teammates, and more.
  • The Warriors are close to hosting the 2025 All-Star game, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The news isn’t official yet, but it’s heading in that direction. As Charania notes, 2024 All-Star weekend will be held in Indianapolis.

And-Ones: Hard Cap, New CBA, All-Star Game, Top FAs

NBA teams become hard-capped at the tax apron when they either acquire a player via sign-and-trade, use more than the taxpayer portion of the mid-level exception, or use the bi-annual exception. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report (Twitter link), there will be a fourth way that clubs can hard-cap themselves next season — they won’t be able to spend above the first tax apron if they take back more than 110% of the salary they send out in a trade during the 2023/24 league year.

In a full story for Bleacher Report, Pincus takes a more comprehensive look at which teams will be most impacted by the increased spending restrictions that will be implemented starting next season as a result of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

While it’s no surprise that the Warriors and Clippers will be among the clubs most adversely impacted, Pincus also names the Hawks, Pelicans, and Heat that will have to be careful about their team salaries going forward. A Pelicans team source tells Bleacher Report that there’s “a zero percent chance” New Orleans will be able to keep its entire core intact through 2025/26, with young players like Trey Murphy, Herbert Jones, and Jose Alvarado due for raises in the coming years.

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

  • Appearing on NBA Countdown on ESPN prior to Game 3 of the Finals (YouTube link), commissioner Adam Silver didn’t close the door on the possibility of the league pitting a U.S. team against an international team in the All-Star Game down the road. As Silver explained, the NBA has historically shied away from that idea due to the imbalance in the two player pools, but the recent success enjoyed by international stars has put it back on the league’s radar.
  • John Hollinger of The Athletic ranks the top 25 free agents of 2023 using his BORD$ formula, with Kyrie Irving, James Harden, and Fred VanVleet leading the way.
  • The NBA is considering using technology to automate out-of-bounds and goaltending calls late in games and will test that technology in this July’s summer leagues, NBA president of basketball operations Byron Spruell confirmed this week (link via Tim MacMahon of Spruell added that the league hopes to eventually have its referees focusing more on subjective rulings than the objective ones that could become automated.

Pacific Notes: Ishbia, Suns, Clippers, Lakers

New Suns owner Mat Ishbia‘s swift, decisive decision making thus far with Phoenix could impact how his coaching candidates view the gig, writes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

As Rankin notes, within 12 hours of Ishbia assuming control over the franchise, the team had already made a massive deal, acquiring forwards Kevin Durant and T.J. Warren from the Nets for young talents Mikal Bridges and Cameron Johnson, along with several draft picks.

Ishbia also was quick to move on from head coach Monty Williams, who possessed a 194-115 regular season record with the club, just two years removed from an NBA Finals berth.

At present, Ishbia is something of a wild card as an owner, which could give some of the finalists for the head coaching vacancy pause.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns and the Phoenix Mercury, the WNBA team Ishbia also purchased, have made formal bids to host future All-Star Games, Rankin writes in a separate piece. “We’re excited to partner with the city of Phoenix to engage the NBA and WNBA to bring both All-Star Games to the Valley,” Ishbia said. “Phoenix is one of the great basketball cities in the world and the perfect place to bring together the players and fans to celebrate the sport. The Phoenix Suns and Mercury want to continue finding new and important ways to partner with the city to bring real impact to our community.”
  • With one of their top front office lieutenants gone, the Clippers face several looming offseason decisions, writes Law Murray of The Athletic. Former Los Angeles GM Michael Winger departed the team to run the Wizards. As Murray notes, 2023/24 marks the final season with injury-prone stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on guaranteed deals, as both players hold options for the 2024/25 season. Murray wonders if Clippers team president Lawrence Frank will opt to extend Leonard, George, or head coach Tyronn Lue.
  • Though the Lakers could theoretically make a run for the services of Mavericks All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving in free agency or Hawks point guard Trae Young via trade, Mark Medina of The Sporting Tribune believes the club should prioritize roster continuity over splashy names.

All-Star Game Could Return To East Vs. West Matchup

The NBA could revert to the East vs. West format for the All-Star Game, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

The annual event had been a competition between the two conferences from its inception in 1951 through the 2017 season. Over the past six seasons, the league has used a player draft to determine the teams.

That could be among several changes as the NBA looks to increase the competition level of the league’s showcase event, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets.

The All-Star Game has essentially turned into a glorified offensive exhibition. The winning team in the last two All-Star conference matchups exceeded 190 points. The league adopted a “target score” concept in fourth quarters to prevent an even higher total in recent years but the 2023 All-Star Game still wound up with a 184-175 score, with Team Giannis defeating Team LeBron.

The NBA and Players Association agreed in recent months to discuss ways to improve the All-Star Game as part of the new collective bargaining agreement. It has also been topic of discussion at recent Board of Governors and GM meetings.

The changes they are looking to implement could occur as soon as next season’s All-Star Game, which will be held in Indianapolis in February.

Southeast Notes: Herro, Wizards, DSJ, Magic

An unlikely run to the Eastern Conference Finals for the Heat has increased the likelihood of Tyler Herro playing again this season. However, he still hasn’t begun to shoot or dribble as he recovers from a fractured right hand, according to Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.

After Herro broke his hand in Game 1 of the Heat’s first round series vs. Milwaukee, reports indicated that he likely wouldn’t be able to return unless Miami made the NBA Finals. When he underwent surgery on April 21, the sharpshooter was ruled out for six weeks.

At the time, it seemed safe to conclude Herro’s season was over, but the No. 8 Heat have since won two series, giving him a chance to make it back this spring. Still, as Jackson observes, that six-week timeline would mean Herro will be sidelined until at least Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Finals, so Miami will still need to win a few more games to have any hope of seeing him again this postseason.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • Wizards owner Ted Leonsis will be asking the questions when he interviews candidates for the team’s top front office job, but six high-ranking executives around the NBA who spoke to Josh Robbins and David Aldridge of The Athletic said they’d have questions of their own they’d want Leonsis to answer if they met with the Wizards. “The biggest one would be: ‘Are you willing to start over and build from the bottom up?'” one exec said. “‘Can you stomach three to four years of struggle in the win column in order to position the team to win (at) a high level in the long run?'”
  • Within a mailbag for The Charlotte Observer, Roderick Boone says he expects the Hornets to re-sign Dennis Smith Jr. in free agency this offseason, referring to the union between Charlotte and the veteran guard as a “perfect marriage.”
  • The Magic are working with the City of Orlando on a bid to host the 2027 NBA All-Star Game, according to Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel (Twitter link), who confirms reporting from Richard Bilbao of The Orlando Business Journal. The team last hosted the All-Star Game in 2012.