NBA Rumor: All-Star Selections

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Jason Richardson: Yeah, I think I was a little bit underrated. I feel like I should have made the All-Star team a few times. But the game has changed now; it’s different. Because in my era, even if you averaged 20 points, if you didn’t win, it didn’t matter. I understood that part of it. I had a lot of losing years during those times, so people thought it was just “number chasing.” But if you look at it now, there’s a lot of guys who are averaging a ton of points and their team isn’t doing good, but they still get the accolades and they are on the All-Star teams and stuff like that. I think back in my time, it was more team-oriented and all about, “What are you doing to help your team win games?” And so I see the different eras and I understand how the game has changed in that respect.

Despite putting up potent and efficient offensive numbers, Booker was not originally voted in as an All-Star reserve by the NBA’s coaches. But Damian Lillard injured his groin last Wednesday night, hours before Booker was scheduled to go “off the grid” on vacation. He received a wake-up call from commissioner Adam Silver early Thursday that he was the injury-replacement choice and, after briefly going back to sleep, celebrated with his family in his Phoenix home. The family affair continued throughout a weekend during which Booker, by design, did not partake in many public appearances beyond the league-mandated requirements for every All-Star participant.

Parents Veronica and Melvin and younger sister Mya flew with Devin to Chicago on a private jet. They shared low-key dinners together. Melvin wore a replica All-Star jersey in the hotel room Sunday, marveling that “it’s crazy to see that ‘Booker’ on the back.” When Devin spotted Veronica and Mya in the United Center stands just after halftime Sunday night, Mya expressed her adoration by drawing hearts with fingers. “We all have been together,” Melvin told The Athletic while standing in the tunnel between sections 112 and 113 as Devin went through pregame warmups. “We’ve just been taking it all in as a family, because this is what we worked so hard for. …

Nicolo Melli already had his flight booked to the Bahamas when he found out he needed to tweak those plans. As the Pelicans wrapped up their final shootaround before the All-Star break Thursday, executive vice president David Griffin informed the Italian forward he’d been chosen as an injury replacement in the Rising Stars Game. At first, Melli thought he was kidding. “I thought he was messing with me,” Melli said. “We always make fun of each other for different reasons. Everybody knew I was excited to go on vacation. I was waiting for this day. I thought he was joking.”

Nicolo Melli already had his flight booked to the Bahamas when he found out he needed to tweak those plans. As the Pelicans wrapped up their final shootaround before the All-Star break Thursday, executive vice president David Griffin informed the Italian forward he’d been chosen as an injury replacement in the Rising Stars Game. At first, Melli thought he was kidding. “I thought he was messing with me,” Melli said. “We always make fun of each other for different reasons. Everybody knew I was excited to go on vacation. I was waiting for this day. I thought he was joking.”

With LaVine declining to enter the slam-dunk contest, the Bulls’ only representation all weekend will be LaVine’s participation in the three-point contest Saturday. That’s it. Multiple sources have told the Sun-Times the Bulls are not thrilled with how this has played out, and LaVine hasn’t hidden his frustration, either. “Yeah, it’s upsetting, but you know . . . we see the way it’s got to be,” LaVine said. “We’ve got to be in the [playoff] hunt [to be considered for All-Star invitations]. We’re in the hunt a little bit, but we’re not solidified. We had some ups and downs, had some injuries. But like I told you guys in the beginning, [if] we win, we all succeed. So we’ll get there, I’ll get there, and I don’t have a doubt in my mind about that.”

When asked is he was going to use this as motivation, as a chip on his shoulder, Towns said he didn’t need it and got in a shot at this year’s game. “I’ve had a chip since I came in,” Towns said. “I’m on a journey that goes beyond All-Stars. I’m trying to be the best of the best. I have to go out there and continue to be better and continue to find ways to win for my team and try to build a legacy. “It’s unfortunate that this year’s All-Star Game won’t have the 24 best players in the NBA, but we got to go out there every night and just find ways to win, because it’s not about the All-Star game, it’s about being in the NBA finals, being in the playoffs, about winning games. That’s how you build a legacy. All-Star is cool and stuff for the fans, but I’m here for the people in this locker room.”

Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal is clearly miffed by coming up short of an All-Star selection, clearly voicing that anger after the game. He was joined by his fiancée, who complained during the postgame show after the Wizards beat the Charlotte Hornets 121-107, and so did his agent, who was as outraged as Beal. “Inside the NBA” analyst Charles Barkley shot the latter down, saying his agent has no ground to complain or feel upset: “You mean the agent who let hit him take the most money so he can get the biggest cut? He’s not in a position to complain,” said Barkley. “The Wizards are 16-31. Bradley Beal is a good player, but they basically have the same record as the Knicks and the Cavs.” “His agent is in no position to complain. He took the maximum extension, he knew they were gonna stink, so [the agent] took the most money he could get also.”

Candace Buckner: Bradley Beal’s agent Mark Bartelstein rips Eastern Conference coaches for the all-star snub. Bartelstein: “I think they’ve sent a horrible message.” Mark Bartelstein, Bradley Beal’s agent, on Beal being left off the all-star team: “It’s unprecedented for a player to have the type of season that Brad is having to not be in the all-star game. And I think the Eastern Conference coaches, I think they’ve sent a horrible message. I think the Eastern Conference coaches have become robotic in thinking they just have to reward players that are on the winningest teams. The idea of the all-star game is to reward the very best players and Brad made a decision this summer to be loyal to a franchise, to be patient with a franchise and to go through the rebuilding. He could’ve made the choice to be a bandwagon jumper and just go on and join a higher-level team and he would’ve been guaranteed in the all-star game. But he didn’t want to do that. He wanted to be loyal to his organization and the coaches in the NBA are holding it against Brad that he was loyal to his organization.

Mark Bartelstein: “There’s a reason why the players voted him No. 2. The players know and these coaches — if they’re being honest, there’s nobody in the Eastern Conference, other than Giannis, that they game plan for harder than they game plan for Brad. That’s the reality of it. They game plan so hard to try to take him away. The Wizards are in a rebuilding situation and this wasn’t going to be a year where they were going to be a playoff team, and everyone knew it. Yet, he has gone and played his heart out every single night to try to make them as competitive as they can be and coaches have held it against him that he decided to stay the course with the team instead of jumping ship and joining someone’s bandwagon and I think that’s a terrible message.”
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January 27, 2021 | 4:06 am EST Update
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Storyline: Agent Changes