We know what you’re thinking. Since when does All-Star Saturday Night — the evening of skill-based competitions that includes the Slam Dunk Contest — have team captains?
Since this season. And since it’s all in the name of charity, we don’t see any reason it shouldn’t happen.
Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul were named team captains for their respective conferences for All-Star Saturday, with the East and the West each playing for a charity of their choice.
The way it will work is that points will be allocated to each conference throughout the night’s four events, which consists of Sears Shooting Stars (the around-the-world style event that times teams while they attempt to make shots from designated spots on the floor, including from half-court), the Taco Bell Skills Challenge (the obstacle-course style contest that puts the league’s elite guards though a series of challenges), the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest, and the Sprite Slam Dunk contest.
Here are the details that matter about all of this, from the official release:
“NBA Cares and State Farm will make a joint donation of $500,000 as part of the event, with $350,000 going to the winning conference’s charities and $150,000 to the runner-up conference’s charities. The Eastern Conference will be playing for Big Brothers Big Sisters and Make-A-Wish America, while the Western Conference will compete for Boys & Girls Club of America and Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign. The charities were selected by Wade and Paul, the NBA, and State Farm.”
All in the name of charity and good fun. It’s likely that Wade and Paul will be mic’d up during the evening’s festivities, so hopefully they’ll add some creative and entertaining trash talk talong the way.
James Harden had a historic season in Houston.
Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.