Anthony Davis selected to fill Kobe Bryant’s All-Star slot in West

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We told you earlier in the week it was coming down to two guys: Anthony Davis of the Pelicans or Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns.

Kobe Bryant was voted an All-Star starter by the fans but can’t play due to his fractured knee, so the league office picks the replacement — meaning new commissioner Adam Silver gets the final call. Dragic and Davis were the clear finalists (with all due respect to DeMarcus Cousins, who could have been in the mix if Davis wasn’t the hometown guy).

Do you replace a guard with a guard? In that case Dragic was the best all (just edging out Mike Conley of the Grizzlies). Or, do you put in a deserving big man who got the most votes from the coaches of any replacement who didn’t make the team, and who just happens to play for New Orleans, where the All-Star Game is being hosted this year?

Silver chose Davis, the league has announced. (Sam Amick of the USA Today did break the story before it became official.)

This isn’t a surprise; the buzz around the league had been that Davis was most likely to get the spot.

The NBA is about marketing, so what did you expect? Of course they chose the good hometown story.

That said, Davis is deserving. He is averaging 20.4 points, 10.3 rebounds and a league-leading 3.3 blocks a game this season for the Pelicans. He has a PER of 27.1 — fifth best in the NBA on the season, which is ridiculous for a guy in his second season. He is having a monster season for a young Pelicans team.

Plus, Davis might bring a few blocked shots and a little defense to the All-Star Game. That would be a nice change of pace.

Bulls claim PG Kay Felder off waivers

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The Bulls’ point-guard position is a quagmire.

Kris Dunn and Cameron Payne are both injured (and not necessarily good). Jerian Grant is maybe an adequate backup pressed into starting. Ryan Arcidiacono is on a two-way contract.

Enter Kay Felder.

Bulls release:

The Chicago Bulls announced today that the team has waived forward Jarell Eddie and center Diamond Stone, and claimed guard Kay Felder off waivers.

Felder was waived by the Hawks, who acquired him in a salary-dump trade from the Cavaliers. Cleveland drafted Felder No. 54 last year, but ran out of roster spots this year.

Felder is only a moderate prospect. He impressed in the D-League, but at 5-foot-9, he has significant limitations. (His size also makes him incredibly fun to watch when he gets rolling.)

For Chicago, he’s a quite-noteworthy addition.

LeBron James: ‘I still got Pandora with commercials’

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Dwyane Wade revealed last year that LeBron James refuses to use his phone internationally unless he’s on Wi-Fi.

LeBron’s friend and new Cavaliers teammate again brought up that claim, and LeBron confirmed – then went even further about his own cheapness.

LeBron in a joint interview with Wade on ESPN:

No. I’m not doing that. I’m not turning on data roaming. I’m not buying no apps. I still got Pandora with commercials.

LeBron – he’s just like us!

As funny as that line is, keep watching to see LeBron hilariously explain how his hairline affects his interviews.

PBT Extra: LeBron as MVP and other NBA postseason award predictions

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Last year, Russell Westbrook had a historic season on his way to the MVP award, with James Harden and Kawhi Leonard right on his heels. But heading into this season, the dynamic for MVP — and many of the NBA awards — feels very different and wide open.

In this latest PBT Extra, I lay out my preseason predictions for every award — LeBron James for MVP, Ben Simmons for Rookie of the Year, and on down the list. There are a few leaps and surprises in there (predicting Most Improved or Sixth Man before the season is a crap shoot, so why not gamble).

Now the predictions season is over, let’s get on to the games.

Jazz: Dante Exum undergoing surgery after shoulder injury

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Jazz point guard Dante Exum hurt his shoulder in a preseason game – an injury that immediately looked like it could be season-ending.

Though Utah doesn’t outright say Exum is done for the year, this doesn’t engender much hope.

Jazz release:

The following is a medical update on Utah Jazz guard Danté Exum who suffered a separated left shoulder on October 6 vs. Phoenix.

After further evaluation, Exum (6-6, 190, Australia) has elected to undergo surgery to stabilize the AC joint of his left shoulder. The surgery is scheduled to take place Tuesday, October 24 in Los Angeles. Further updates will be provided when appropriate.

Exum (obviously) didn’t receive a contract extension before today’s deadline, so he’ll become a free agent next summer. After one full missed season already and two years of limited effectiveness, it’s not even clear Utah will extend Exum a qualifying offer to make him a restricted free agent. The former No. 5 pick almost certainly won’t meet the starter criteria, which means his qualifying offer would be worth $4,333,931 (down from $6,619,903 based on his draft slot).

The Jazz will start Ricky Rubio, and Raul Neto will be the primary point guard behind him. Wings Rodney Hood, Alec Burks, Donovan Mitchell and Joe Ingles can all share facilitating duties.

Utah will probably be just fine without Exum this season, which speaks to his marginal place long-term.