A lot is happening around the league in the NBA as teams prepare for the upcoming trade deadline and the NBA All-Star Game coming up in February. Here’s the latest news from around the league this week:
James, Antetokounmpo Named All-Star Captains
The two captains were chosen for the NBA All-Star game that’s coming up on February 19. LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo were selected as captains of their squads after receiving the most votes in each conference. In addition, Donovan Mitchell of the Cleveland Cavaliers was named a starter for the first time in his career for the East, with Jason Tatum, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving.
James makes his record-tying 19th All-Star Game, putting him even with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most selections. James is also about to pass the Lakers’ legend on the all-time scoring list, trailing him by just 157 points.
Pelicans forward Zion Williamson was named a starter after finishing behind the Lakers’ Anthony Davis in fan voting. Rounding out the starting five for the West are the Warriors’ Stephen Curry, Luka Doncic of the Mavericks and reigning league MVP Nikola Jokic of the Nuggets. The starters for the All-Star Game are selected by 50% fan votes and 25% each from NBA players and the media.
Irving Hopes To Negotiate Long-Term Deal With Brooklyn
Point guard Kyrie Irving has already made it clear that he wants to remain a member of the Brooklyn Nets. However, he is ready to start discussing a long-term extension with the team, according to Shetellia Irving, the All-Star guard’s agent and stepmother. This season marks the end of his four-year, $136 million contract, and he would be eligible to get a maximum deal worth $200 million for four years if the team decides to re-sign him.
Irving’s agent says she has reached out to the team to begin talks on a new deal, but they haven’t yet responded. This isn’t surprising, given the bad publicity the point guard has received in the last couple of seasons.
The league recently suspended him for eight games after promoting an antisemitic film on his Twitter account and refusing to either denounce the documentary or apologize for more than a week. He also lost a sponsorship deal with Nike, who canceled the launch of his next signature basketball shoe.
Discussions about extending his contract last season were stalled because Irving refused to receive a COVID-19 vaccination to comply with the New York City mandate. He also lost $15 million in salary for not being permitted to play in home games.
Suns Likely To Make Big Roster Changes Soon
The Phoenix Suns have had a disappointing season so far. After starting the campaign with a 16-7 record, the Suns are 25-25 and seventh in the Western Conference. They can partially blame their struggles on injuries to Chris Paul and Devin Booker, who have missed extended periods in the first half of the season.
However, the Suns are in an excellent position to become one of the biggest movers before the February 9 trade deadline. With all their first-round picks in hand, they also have the personnel and big salaries they can offer for just about anybody on the trading block.
There’s no doubt among NBA insiders that the Suns will make a trade, but it’s yet to be determined what scale it will be. Sources say that Phoenix is also open to trading a first-round pick and increasing its payroll for the remainder of the season, which puts them into contention for the best players available before the deadline.