Storyline: All-Star Selections

1,080 rumors in this storyline

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.

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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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March 31, 2020 | 10:36 am EDT Update
Borrego liked the contrast of styles: the run-and-gun Nuggets against the behemoth Lakers, starting the Pau Gasol-Andrew Bynum mega-frontcourt. Bynum averaged 17 points and 12 rebounds per game for the series, and put up a triple-double — including 10 blocked shots — in the Lakers’ Game 1 win. “A lot of our guys probably don’t even know Andrew Bynum,” Borrego said. The series was also incredibly physical. The offensive teams rebounded almost 37% of all misses, a mark that would lead the league today by a laughable margin. The teams combined for 47 offensive rebounds in the Lakers’ 96-87 win in Game 7; Gasol had six — all in a row — on one pivotal fourth-quarter possession. “Part of this is to show them what physical playoff basketball looks like,” Borrego said. “This is where we want to get to someday. Let’s study it.”
All the players said they enjoyed learning more about the classic NBA characters in that series. Obviously, today’s players love watching peak Bryant — now more than ever. Bynum has become something of a curiosity. “People forget how good Bynum was,” Zeller said. “He was a monster.” Caleb Martin said he was surprised at the speed and athleticism of a young Danilo Gallinari, playing almost full time as a wing. “You know of these guys, but you never sit down and actually watch them play a full game,” Cody Martin said.
On a recent episode of The Lake Lake Show podcast, Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report suggested that “it could be three or four years until the league is back in balance”. Pincus also went into depth on how the NBA will return. Where he stated that the league are considering canceling games. Which will create financial implications for players, even more so the high-end stars like LeBron James. “Players typically get paid on the 1st and 15th of every month and the 1st would be a full check. But the league hasn’t committed to the 15th… it means they’re considering canceling games. Because by the rules, they can’t dock players for games that are rescheduled. They can only dock from players for games that are canceled.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
“If they were going down that path they might start with canceling a few games. Why cancel a lot, right? There’s no reason to until you have a better feel. I could see them canceling 3 games and start deducting 3 games worth of money from each player’s check. For someone like LeBron James, that’s in the neighbourhood of $400,000 per game. So you’re talking about deducting $1.2 million from LeBron’s check. So it’s not a small amount.”
March 31, 2020 | 7:46 am EDT Update
ESPN’s NBA insider Brian Windhorst, on his recent podcast, expressed his thoughts what the offseason will most likely bring to big name free-agent DeMarcus Cousins. “I think DeMarcus Cousins is looking at a make good contract, even if it’s more than a minimum. I think that after a series of injuries he’s had, all of which indicates that he’s coming back too fast, doing too much, he needs even more time of coming back from this. He’s gonna have a job in the league, but I don’t think it’s gonna be a big money,” the NBA insider said.
The Brooklyn Nets are expected to continue to reshape their roster around Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “I believe they have telegraphed they intend to use some of their young talent to acquire a third star along with Kyrie and Durant,” said Brian Windhorst. “Now, we can get enter a healthy debate here about whether Caris LeVert is that third star and they make the decision that he is. But my feel reading the tea leaves, paying attention to what Sean Marks has said and also being aware of some conversations they had at the trade deadline, which was sticking the toe in the water on some things, I think they’re going to swing for the fences whenever the season comes. They’re going to have to potentially hire a coach that is going to help them do that.”
Joe Harris is a pending free agent, one who likely will get a big raise this summer. But the sharpshooter wants to re-sign with the Nets, partly to take a shot at a title playing alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. “Yeah, definitely! Why wouldn’t you?” Harris asked rhetorically before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Storyline: Joe Harris Free Agency
On the Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis duo: Jason Terry: “They’re still headed down as one of the all-time dynamic duos in the history of the game, if they continue to win and then have success in the playoffs, and hopefully take us to another NBA finals and win a championship. Because they’re so young. When you have two young stars as KP and Luka, and the talent that they possess, they have yet to really reach their full potential and I think the chemistry that they’ve gained this season by playing together is going to continue to grow.
Jason Terry: “KP is learning that ‘hey maybe it might not be at the four position, maybe at the five position where I can be most dangerous and effective.’ Luka is also understanding ‘hey I might not have to take over an entire ball game, I can kind of conserve my energy and be the closer very similar to what Dirk [Nowitzki] was and kind of let KP get off early in games.
Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic was all set to make his triumphant return on Sunday, Mar. 15 against the Houston Rockets. It was a home game for the Blazers. An early matinee game on national television. It was 10 days away from Nurk’s one-year mark of his leg injury. And to the Bosnian Beast, it was a “perfect” game to make his debut for the 2019-20 season. In choosing that day to return, it was a collective effort by Nurkic’s camp along with the entire Trail Blazers organization. In a recent interview with NBC Sports Northwest’s Trail Blazers Insider Dwight Jaynes, Nurk detailed what went into the decision making of that game.
Bosnia-Herzegovina is 9 hours ahead of Portland, OR; thus, the timing of a noon tip-off in Rip City also worked out great for his family and friends back home. It was an earlier game Sunday, and of course, I need to look [out] for my people back home. It was perfect for them too. It was like 8:30pm back home. So, everybody was pretty much set up and I thought it was a really good game because it was [a] home game and I really wanted to play [at] home first. — Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic told our Dwight Jaynes
After his teenage brother Dorian tragically died of heart disease, Dawkins tapped into his basketball network to pay for a memorial and an AAU team in Dorian’s memory. He says he quickly raised more than a hundred thousand dollars from some of the most important people in the sport. His network mattered. Before long, NBA agent Andy Miller noticed Dawkins and hired him. Fast forward a few years and Dawkins is at the NBA draft, barely legal to drink, sitting in the green room with Miller and Elfrid Payton’s family. Rodney Hood, Fred VanVleet … Dawkins was instrumental in directing their careers, in the belly of the basketball beast. “Everybody knew Andy was paying players,” Dawkins says in “The Scheme.” “Andy’s been paying players since I was born. It wasn’t, like, a secret.”
The president of the Spanish Basketball Federation, Jorge Garbajosa, wants to ensure the future of the National Team bench and for this, a new contract extension could be offered to Sergio Scariolo until 2024, according to AS.com. The Italian coach’s agreement with the Federation would come to an end after the 2020 Olympics. However, with the current worldwide health crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the postponement of the Games in Tokyo until 2021, a new scenario is created.
Storyline: Olympic Games
Every bit of help is key amidst this coronavirus pandemic, whether it’s food, cash or medical supplies. The Nets, Barclays Center and Alibaba — all owned by Joe Tsai — have been providing all of the above. With live sports shut down and teams and arenas getting squeezed economically, many hourly workers have been laid off or face pay cuts. But Nets and Barclays Center employees are getting the same checks they would have if they’d worked events as scheduled through the end of May. And it’s not just NBA games, but concerts, Islanders games, college basketball like the A-10 tourney and even graduations. A source familiar with the unions and the overall process told The Post the checks cut could end up totaling an estimated $6 million.
“We discussed supplies. I want to thank Michael Evans from Alibaba, who is here with us today,” Cuomo said at Monday’s press briefing. “I want to thank Elizabeth Jennings [the chief of staff] from the Asia Society, who is here with us today, who are helping us source supplies.“We’re in a situation where you have 50 states all competing for supplies, the federal government is now also competing for supplies, private hospitals are also competing for supplies. We’ve created a situation where you literally have hundreds of entities looking to buy the same exact materials basically from the same place, which is China.”
ABC/ESPN’s highly anticipated 10-part Michael Jordan documentary, “The Last Dance,” is being moved up to April, The Post has learned. Sources said the start date will be Sunday, April 19. It was originally slated for June. ABC/ESPN plans to make an announcement on “Good Morning America” on Tuesday, according to sources.
There are a couple possible reasons for the delay. The first is obviously coronavirus. We talked before about the delays and pushbacks we’d see in production with factories in China being shut down over the virus. Some of those are up and running again, though, so this might not be the case. The second is Nike still might not know what direction they want to go in with Kobe’s line — especially since resellers gobbled it up. Coming up with a strategy for the future of the line is imperative.
It looks like a facsimile of the Kobe VI plastered on top of the LeBron XIII lows. It’s a clunky and low cut which is never really a good combination for a hoop shoe. It’s important for Nike to get things right with Antetokounmpo because of his status in the landscape.of his sport now and going forward. Getring it right with him isn’t as easy as it seems. Giannis is ostensibly a big man with guard skills — even more so than LeBron James. On the other side, Zion Williamson is the future of Jordan Brand and he has the same problem.
March 30, 2020 | 9:31 pm EDT Update
The Utah Sports Commission recognized Gobert for his excellence on the court, as well as his impact on the state of Utah. Gobert has established Rudy’s Kids Foundation which supports charities that directly impact the lives of youth in Utah, as well as a program that donates money to ShelterKids and Salt Lake County Youth Services, and the Utah Refugee Connection with every blocked shot Gobert records on the floor.
Khem Birch was one of the key pieces of Canada’s squad during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and felt playing under Nurse did wonders for his professional development. After spending some time learning from him, Birch now understands why Nurse is viewed as one of the NBA’s top coaches. “Team Canada has a lot of potential, especially with coach Nurse. With the roster we had, I think he did a really good job, and I imagine if we had all our guys I think we would have won the whole thing,” Birch said during an interview on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Good Show Monday.
Chris Ballard: After almost 20 years, today is my last at Sports Illustrated. Hell of a ride. I got to work alongside childhood idols, collaborate with some of the best editors in the business, and live out a dream. Best job in the world, I always said, and it was. A few thoughts:

Storyline: Media Layoffs
March 30, 2020 | 9:08 pm EDT Update
Jayson Tatum is luckier than most people nowadays. When he was potentially exposed to COVID-19, the Boston Celtics found their way to test him and the rest of the team. Since returning from Milwaukee, where the team was scheduled to face the Bucks when the NBA shut down, Tatum has been holed up in his house. “It was scary when (Marcus) Smart found out that he had it and he didn’t have any symptoms,” Smart told Jeff Goodman on the latest episode of the Good N’ Plenty podcast. “So it was like ‘wow, any of us could have it at this point.’”
Tatum says one of the hardest parts of the process was waiting for the test results, which were held up by a backlog. Tatum spent a week-and-a-half home in Boston, but unable to see his son. “That was the longest I’ve ever been in the same place as him and I couldn’t see him,” Tatum said. “So that was tough… I was FaceTiming with him every night. I was FaceTiming with him throughout the day.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
Nets and Barclays Center employees are getting the same checks they would have if they’d worked events as scheduled through the end of May. And it’s not just NBA games, but concerts, Islanders games, college basketball like the A-10 tourney and even graduations. A source familiar with the unions and the overall process told The Post the checks cut could end up totaling an estimated $6 million. Barclays Center also donated 10,000 pounds of food from the arena to City Harvest, the city’s biggest food bank. (The arena’s food and beverage partner Levy helped facilitate the donation).
They’ve kicked in on the medical side as well. With New York in dire need of ventilators and other medical supplies to help treat COVID-19 patients, the Alibaba Group helped facilitate significant shipments to the state. It didn’t go unnoticed or unappreciated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “We discussed supplies. I want to thank Michael Evans from Alibaba, who is here with us today,” Cuomo said at Monday’s press briefing. “I want to thank Elizabeth Jennings [the chief of staff] from the Asia Society, who is here with us today, who are helping us source supplies.“
March 30, 2020 | 8:27 pm EDT Update
“Me and Christian [Wood] actually went out to eat that night and he was fine, he was good,” McRae told NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller on the latest episode of the Wizards Talk podcast. “We had practice the next day, he was fine. Then before the [Sixers] game, he was like ‘Yo, I don’t really feel good, I might not play.’ We all gave him a hard time like, ‘Yo, we have Joel Embiid tonight and now you out sick? You don’t want to play.'”
March 30, 2020 | 7:10 pm EDT Update