Paul George

2023 NBA All-Star Reserves Announced

The league has announced its 2023 All-Star reserves during a pregame broadcast on TNT, as voted on by NBA head coaches. As usual, the list of 14 selections featured some interesting surprises.

For the Eastern Conference, coaches voted in Sixers center Joel Embiid (the reigning Player of the Month in the East), Heat center Bam Adebayo, Bulls wing DeMar DeRozan, Celtics wing Jaylen Brown, Bucks guard Jrue Holiday, Pacers point guard Tyrese Haliburton, and Knicks forward Julius Randle.

Holiday, who is making his second overall All-star appearance this year, last earned an All-Star nod a decade ago while playing for Philadelphia.

Randle will receive a $1.2MM salary bonus as a result of being named an All-Star this season, according to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link). Marks adds (via Twitter) that Holiday will get a $324K bonus. And as long as he appears in at least 65 contests this year, Brown will earn a $1.55MM bonus after having qualified for the All-Star game, Marks tweets.

Among the most notable omissions in the East were a handful of point guards: the Knicks’ Jalen Brunson, the Hawks’ Trae Young, the Cavaliers’ Darius Garland, and the Sixers’ James Harden. Miami swingman Jimmy Butler also missed out. Young, Harden and Butler all made the cut last season.

In the Western Conference, Grizzlies point guard Ja Morant, Kings center Domantas Sabonis, Thunder point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Clippers forward Paul George, Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard, Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen, and Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. were selected as reserves.

Being named to the All-Star team again this year will earn Sabonis a $1.3MM bonus, per Marks (Twitter link).

Lakers center Anthony Davis, Kings point guard De’Aaron Fox, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Suns guard Devin Booker, and Nuggets forward Aaron Gordon were among the Western Conference snubs.

Gilgeous-Alexander, Markkanen and Jackson are the lone first-time All-Stars among these 14 picks.

All-Star weekend tips off on February 17 in Salt Lake City. Los Angeles power forward LeBron James and Milwaukee power forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, the captains of their respective conferences, will draft their teams ahead of the 2023 All-Star Game on Sunday, February 19.

L.A. Notes: LeBron, T. Bryant, Lakers, Conley, Clippers

After missing Monday’s game in Brooklyn due to left foot/ankle soreness, Lakers star LeBron James has been listed as questionable to play on Tuesday in New York, tweets Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times.

While that status indicates that his availability for tonight remains up in the air, sources tell ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter link) that LeBron will play against the Knicks. He’s just 117 points away from catching Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • While his production fell off last week with Anthony Davis back, Lakers center Thomas Bryant showed on Monday that he remains a crucial – and highly effective – insurance policy, scoring 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting with Davis unavailable, Turner writes for The Los Angeles Times. “I’m willing to do whatever the team needs me to do in order to win,” Bryant said. “Whether that’s coming off the bench, I’m with it. Or if that’s starting, I’m ready as well.”
  • Now that the Lakers have traded away their 2029 second-round pick, Eric Pincus of Sports Business Classroom considers how the team could add protections to their 2029 first-round pick if it’s traded this season. Protections aren’t allowed to be added to picks beyond seven years, so if the Lakers trade their 2029 first-rounder with protections at February’s deadline, they won’t be able to include language that pushes it to 2030.
  • ESPN’s Tim MacMahon is the latest reporter to throw cold water on the idea of the Clippers acquiring point guard Mike Conley from the Jazz. After Jake Fischer reported last week that the idea of the Clips landing Conley was probably “unrealistic,” MacMahon said on an episode of The Lowe Post podcast that it’s unlikely to happen because L.A. is reluctant to give up a first-round pick. “If they are (going to give up a first-rounder) for a point guard, I think it’s more likely (Fred) VanVleet than it is for Conley,” MacMahon said (hat tip to Scott Polacek of Bleacher Report).
  • It took some time for the Clippers‘ star combo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George to hit their stride this season, but the pairing is finally paying dividends, according to Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times. The team had won five straight games before Leonard and George sat out the second half of a back-to-back set on Sunday. L.A. won’t have another back-to-back until March.

Clippers Rumors: Mann, Lowry, VanVleet, Hartenstein, Covington, Kawhi

As the Clippers explore the trade market for potential backcourt or frontcourt upgrades, they continue to rebuff inquiries on fourth-year guard Terance Mann, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack story.

Entering the season, the decision on the Clippers’ starting point guard came down to Reggie Jackson vs. John Wall, but with Jackson’s role cut back and Wall injured, it’s Mann who has started the club’s last nine games at point guard.

One team source who spoke to Law Murray of The Athletic suggested that there’s a belief Mann could be the Clippers’ starting point guard beyond this season. However, it’s unclear how enthusiastic head coach Tyronn Lue is about using Mann in that role. As Murray explains, Lue views Mann as more of a small forward and barely used him in some first-half games. The Clippers’ coach also likes having a more traditional point guard in his rotation, Murray adds.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • In an article focused on the Clippers’ need to upgrade their roster, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer identifies Heat point guard Kyle Lowry, Raptors point guard Fred VanVleet, and Knicks center Isaiah Hartenstein as some of the players L.A. has interest in. Lowry and VanVleet won a championship with Kawhi Leonard, while Hartenstein had the best season of his NBA career a year ago with the Clips.
  • According to Murray, there’s a sense that Lue would like to replace Robert Covington with a more reliable center, while the front office would like the team to find a way to make a “long lineup” (which includes Covington) work. Murray suggests the trade deadline may represent a “demarcation point” between Lue and the front office on Covington’s future in Los Angeles.
  • While this should come as no surprise, a team source confirms to Murray that the Clippers haven’t given any consideration to trading Leonard.
  • Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com explores whether or not the frequent absences of Leonard and Paul George from the Clippers’ lineup has created a sense of frustration within the organization due to the club’s inability to establish any chemistry or consistency.

Pacific Notes: Johnson, Payne, George, LeBron

A return to the floor for Suns starting power forward Cameron Johnson appears to be imminent, reports Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Johnson has been sidelined for Phoenix since November 4 with a torn right meniscus that required surgery.

“Just sometime when I get back from the [team’s just-wrapped road trip], but I feel pretty good,” Johnson said when asked about his return timeline. “Taking it one day at a time right now, but I’m looking forward to getting back soon, very soon.”

In his eight healthy games this year, Johnson has averaged 13.0 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 1.8 APG and 1.1 SPG. The Suns have gone 15-21 since Johnson’s injury, though other major absences to Phoenix players have played a role in that record, too.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Suns reserve point guard Cameron Payne is set to have his right foot sprain reassessed later in January, Rankin notes (Twitter link). “I haven’t started doing anything,” Payne said. “I think [Monday] when I get back into Phoenix, we should be doing our next checkups and check off a few things for me to get back on the court.” Payne has played just twice since December 13.
  • Injured Clippers star forward Paul George has been cleared for full team practices, but head coach Tyronn Lue is unsure of an exact timeline for his return to the floor, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.
  • All-Star Lakers forward LeBron James took to social media today to register his discontent about what he sees as inconsistent game officiating. “And all year they keep telling me to my face on the court, ‘I didn’t see it’ or ‘It wasn’t a [foul],'” James tweeted. “It’s not making sense to me seriously! Frustrating as hell man! Anyways keep going Squad!” James seemed particularly upset during L.A.’s two latest losses, to the Mavericks on Thursday and the Sixers Sunday.

L.A. Notes: Pistons, Cousins, Lakers Frontcourt, Clippers

The Lakers have long been linked to forward Bojan Bogdanovic — back when he was still on Utah and in the months since he was traded to Detroit. In an article about potential deadline buyers and sellers with Chris Mannix, Howard Beck of Sports Illustrated hears that the Lakers and Pistons “have discussed a deal that would include both Bogdanovic and Nerlens Noel.”

Rumors last month indicated that the Lakers offered Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn and a protected first-round pick for Bogdanovic, but this is the first time we’ve seen them linked to Noel this season. Adding his $9.24MM salary to that framework complicates a trade from a salary-matching perspective — the Lakers would have to add three players on minimum salaries.

Replacing Beverley and Nunn with Russell Westbrook‘s $47.1MM expiring deal would mean the Pistons would have to add more salary, so more players would have to be involved in either scenario.

Here’s more out of Los Angeles:

  • DeMarcus Cousinsaudition for the Lakers is scheduled for today, tweets Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report. In case you missed it, the Lakers are also working out Meyers Leonard today. Both big men are unrestricted free agents.
  • LeBron James said earlier this week that he believes a frontcourt with himself, Anthony Davis and Thomas Bryant “could be extremely beneficial for our ballclub.” Head coach Darvin Ham agreed that it was worth looking into, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic (Twitter link). “They’re all highly skilled players. … They can all score at all three levels. They can defend. They all can have good activity, good instincts. So, yeah, that’s something we’ll definitely take a look at,” Ham said.
  • In an appearance on ESPN’s NBA Today, Richard Jefferson said there might be some interference from the Clippers‘ front office when it comes to coaching decisions. “This is pure speculation… I’m hearing grumblings that people up top are having opinions about who should be playing… There’s a lot of cooks in the kitchen and that is never a good recipe,” he said (Twitter video link via Talkin’ NBA). Ordinarily, I wouldn’t put much stock into something that Jefferson says is “pure speculation,” but he does have connections to the Clippers — he played under head coach Tyronn Lue with the Cavaliers and under president of basketball operations Lawrence Frank when Frank coached the Nets.
  • Lue told reporters, including Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter video link), that Paul George (hamstring) and Luke Kennard (calf) would not practice with the Clippers on Thursday, but both players were working out and shooting prior to practice. George has been ruled out for Friday’s contest against Denver and Kennard seems unlikely to suit up.

Pacific Notes: Warriors, Klay, Kawhi, Clippers, Kings

The Warriors provided updates (via Twitter) on several injured players on Wednesday evening. Star guard Stephen Curry will have his left shoulder reevaluated on Saturday, which is in line with what the team previously announced.

Starting forward Andrew Wiggins has begun practicing and is ramping up his conditioning after missing the past 14 games due to a strained right adductor and then an illness. He will be reevaluated later this week, per the team.

The Warriors also announced that JaMychal Green (right lower leg infection), Jonathan Kuminga (right foot sprain) and James Wiseman (left ankle sprain) will all be out at least one more week — that’s when they’ll be reevaluated.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Klay Thompson missed two-plus seasons after a couple of major injuries, first a torn ACL in the 2019 NBA Finals, followed by a torn Achilles tendon. On Monday, he scored a season-high 54 points in the Warriors‘ double-overtime victory over the Hawks, a performance he doesn’t take for granted. “It’s a huge accomplishment for me,” Thompson said, per Kendra Andrews of ESPN. “There were some hard days for me when I didn’t know that this would be possible in real time. I am just going to embrace the heck out of it.”
  • After missing Monday’s loss to Miami with a non-COVID illness, Kawhi Leonard is no longer on the Clippers‘ injury report for Thursday’s contest in Denver, tweets Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Paul George, who tweaked his hamstring on Monday, is listed as questionable, while Nicolas Batum is out with a left ankle sprain.
  • Can Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue find lineups that work whether or not Leonard and/or George are in the lineup? Law Murray of The Athletic explores that topic, writing that if Lue is unable to optimize the current group, trades could be in order for a team that hopes to compete for a championship.
  • The Kings have three players — Matthew Dellavedova, Chima Moneke and KZ Okpala — on partially guaranteed deals, and none are locks to have their salaries guaranteed for the rest of the season, writes James Ham of TheKingsBeat.com. It’s possible one or more might be released in the next few days (the deadline to waive partially and non-guaranteed deals before they become fully guaranteed is January 7) in order to create roster flexibility ahead of the trade deadline, according to Ham, who says the Kings figure to be aggressive in their push to break their lengthy playoff drought.

Paul George’s Status TBD After Hamstring Tweak

Clippers forward Paul George was limited to playing just five minutes in the fourth quarter of Monday’s loss to Miami after tweaking his right hamstring, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.

George said after the game that he’ll receive treatment on the injury on Tuesday and see how it responds. It remains to be seen whether he’ll be available for the team’s brief road trip to Denver on Thursday and Minnesota on Friday.

As Youngmisuk observes, George missed seven games in late November and early December after straining that same right hamstring, so it has been a recurring issue this season for the Clippers star.

“Often hamstrings are very, very serious injuries,” George said on Monday, per Youngmisuk. “So, I thought the first approach when I was dealing with my hamstring (during the previous absence) was just good, smart. We waited until it felt better and I didn’t have any issues, once I returned. “We won’t know more until (Tuesday). But my job is to do the best that I can and go from there.”

The Clippers have been relatively cautious this season with health issues, especially those affecting George and Kawhi Leonard, who missed Monday’s game due to a non-COVID illness. The team is taking the long view and its top priority to be at full strength entering the postseason, so we likely won’t see George or Leonard back in action until they’re feeling 100% or very close to it.

Western Notes: Clippers, Gilgeous-Alexander, Lillard, Green

The Clippers were able to practice at full strength on Tuesday, a rarity for a team that has dealt with numerous injuries, Andrew Grief of the Los Angeles Times notes. That includes Paul George, Norman Powell, Ivica Zubac and Reggie Jackson, who have missed games this month due a variety of ailments.

“It’s exciting to finally actually have our whole team almost complete, be ready to play and just try to get rotations down and see what guys plays good with who,” Clippers coach Tyronn Lue said. “And so we’re starting all over again, but it’s a good feeling to have your whole team back.”

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Shai Gilgeous-Alexander hit a game-winning shot for the Thunder in a two-point victory over the Trail Blazers on Monday. Gilgeous-Alexander says he’s “super comfortable” in those situations, according to The Oklahoman’s Joe Mussatto. His teammates concur. “The ball had to end up in our best player’s hand,” guard Luguenz Dort said.
  • Damian Lillard became the Trail Blazers’ all-time leading scorer on Monday, surpassing Clyde Drexler. Center Jusuf Nurkic already considered his teammate the franchise’s greatest player, Jason Quick of The Athletic writes. “No disrespect to Clyde — he’s one of the all-time greats — but even if Dame didn’t pass him, I feel like Dame is still the greatest Blazer ever,” he said. “When you put everything together — the way he plays the game, what he does off the court, everything — he’s a one of a kind player. Hopefully he retires here.”
  • Warriors forward JaMychal Green has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, Kendra Andrews of ESPN tweets. Green, who missed Wednesday’s game against the Knicks, had one of his best outings for Golden State on Sunday. He contributed 15 points and seven rebounds in 17 minutes during a victory over Toronto.

Pacific Notes: Wiggins, Curry, Warriors, Lakers, M. Brown, Clippers

Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins, who has missed the last five games due to a right adductor strain, was cleared on Thursday to resume participating in practices and shootarounds, according to the team (Twitter link).

However, Wiggins will be unavailable for a sixth consecutive game when the Warriors visit Philadelphia on Friday and Draymond Green (right quad contusion) will be out as well, per the NBA’s latest official injury report. Klay Thompson is listed as questionable due to left knee soreness, so Golden State is at risk of being without four starters — Stephen Curry, of course, is expected to miss multiple weeks as a result of a shoulder injury.

As Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter video link) relays, Curry spoke to reporters today about his shoulder and expressed relief that he won’t have to undergo surgery, which might’ve forced him to miss several months. Asked if surgery is a possibility after the season, the Warriors star didn’t rule it out, but said that’s not the plan for now (Twitter links via Slater).

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • With several regulars battling injuries, the Warriors recalled center James Wiseman and rookie guard Ryan Rollins from the G League, the team announced on Thursday in a press release. Neither player has seen much action at the NBA level so far this season, with Wiseman appearing in just one game over the last month while Rollins has played only 43 total minutes since opening night.
  • The Lakers are unlikely to make a trade during the next two-to-four weeks, Jovan Buha of The Athletic reports within his look at the team’s approach to the deadline. Although the club would like to get a deal done sooner rather than later, it makes sense for Los Angeles to wait out the market in case more sellers emerge.
  • Kings head coach Mike Brown has been fined $25K by the NBA for “aggressively pursuing and directing profane language” toward a referee, the league announced in a press release. The incident, which resulted in Brown’s ejection, occurred during the third quarter of Sacramento’s win in Toronto on Wednesday.
  • Kawhi Leonard, Paul George, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard were among the Clippers who missed Thursday’s game, but the team is optimistic they’ll all be back soon, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link), who says their absences on Thursday were more about managing prior injuries than dealing with new ones.

L.A. Notes: Westbrook, LeBron, Kawhi, George, Powell

While there was some initial trepidation this fall about how former MVP Russell Westbrook might respond to being asked to come off the bench on a full-time basis, the Lakers guard appears to have chosen to embrace the change, writes Chris Mannix of SI.com. NBA analyst and former head coach Stan Van Gundy is among those impressed by how Westbrook has handled his new role.

“From the outside, I don’t sense resistance on his part this year,” Van Gundy told Mannix. “I don’t see him pouting about coming off the bench. He’s not making passive-aggressive comments in the media. I see acceptance from a guy who’s trying to make it work.”

Former NBA star Dwyane Wade, who transitioned to a bench role late in his own career, also admires Westbrook’s efforts to make things work in Los Angeles.

“It’s just that sometimes it’s about the situation,” Wade said to Mannix. “So at this age, at this time, with this team right now, the best situation for Russ was to come off the bench and be able to have the freedom that he has to just be Russ. To not have to overthink all the time about, ‘O.K., LeBron. O.K., I got to get the ball to AD. O.K., I got to shoot this. O.K., I don’t want to shoot.’ He doesn’t have to think as much. Russ has now put himself in a better situation by coming off the bench.”

One high-ranking team executive who spoke to Mannix believes Westbrook’s adjustments will change how teams view him and will result in more teams pursuing him when he reaches free agency in 2023.

In the short term, it has also led to his name coming up in trade rumors less frequently, with some reports indicating the Lakers seem more inclined to hang onto the 34-year-old through this season’s trade deadline rather than surrendering valuable draft assets to move his $47MM+ expiring contract.

Here’s more on the NBA’s two Los Angeles-based teams:

  • Lakers star LeBron James will turn 38 later this month, but he has no plans to retire anytime soon. In a German-language interview, teammate Dennis Schröder said that James has told him he’d like to play another five to seven more seasons and retire at age 45, Zach Stevens of LakersDaily.com relays.
  • The Clippers‘ performance against Boston on Monday night was a reminder of the team’s upside, with Kawhi Leonard looking more like his old self and Paul George no longer on a minutes restriction, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Asked about his strong outing after scoring a season-high 25 points, Leonard stressed that he’s more concerned about where he’s at in the spring than where he’s at right now. “I’m focusing on the end of the year,” Leonard said. “Playoff basketball. Doesn’t matter about tonight.”
  • There’s still no specific timeline for Norman Powell‘s return to the court, tweets Mark Medina of NBA.com. Powell, who has missed the Clippers‘ last seven games due to a left groin strain, has done some individual workouts as part of his recovery process, per head coach Tyronn Lue.