The NBA announced a major revamp to its All-Star Game format on Tuesday, with the new rules taking effect for the 2018 game in Los Angeles. Under the new system, two captains will draft teams out of a pool of players voted in as starters and reserves. The leading vote-getter from each conference will serve as a captain, and will get to hand-pick their sides out of each pool. The selection process will remain the same, with 12 players from each conference being voted in and starters selected by a combo of fan vote, player vote and media vote. Head coaches will again select the 14 reserve spots.
In addition, the teams will play for local charities, adding incentive in theory to win the game. The game is set for Feb. 18 at Staples Center. NBPA president and Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul said in a statement: “I’m thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us. We’re looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A”. The league has not yet provided details as to how the draft itself will work, but the potential for stars and teammates pairing up or going head to head adds layers of intrigue.
Chris Bosh attended Los Angeles Lakers practice Tuesday as a guest of the team. Bosh has a previous relationship with Pelinka, hiring him as his agent in November 2016 before Pelinka became the Lakers GM. Bosh last played an NBA game in February 2016. Health problems forced him to step away from the court. Bosh indicated a desire to stay around the game of basketball in the right role but sounded reluctant about the idea of coaching in the NBA: “No, I don’t want to coach. I will always be around the game of basketball. I think, if I do, it would be young minds. But grown men? No. I would not want to do that.”
OKC guard Russell Westbrook said “I like where I’m at” when discussing his new five-year contract extension that will keep him with the franchise through the 2022-23 season. Westbrook told reporters: “I wasn’t worried. See, that’s what I keep trying to tell you, I wasn’t really worried about it because I know I wanted to be—it didn’t—obviously with the time and everything, that’s part of the job, but I wasn’t really worried, man. I was really just focusing on just being at home and embracing that time. My focus never shifted. I mean, obviously I didn’t talk to you guys, so you guys were kind of making up your own assumptions, but my focus never changed. For me, you know, taking my time, family is the most important thing to me, and that’s what I was focused on. When it’s time to focus on basketball I do that, and that’s it. Obviously they made moves to improve our team, and being able to play for a championship and being able to play at a high level is something that I want to do every single year, and those moves proved that”. The Thunder will enter the regular season as part of a three-way race at the top of the Western Conference with the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. The San Antonio Spurs, as per usual, also linger as a potential contender.