charlotte skyline in the evening before sunset

Charlotte makes it official, will bid for All Star Game in 2017 of 2018

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The last time Charlotte hosted the NBA All-Star Game it took place the same day actress Emma Roberts was born (she of American Horror Story). It was when voters in Lithuania chose independence. Whitney Houston’s Super Bowl rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner” was a radio hit. Everyone was watching “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “The Cosby Show” and “Cheers” on TV. Bernard King was still an All-Star starter.

It’s been a while.

And they want it back.

A delegation of Charlotte officials have made their way to New York on Tuesday, after a splashy press conference, to formally announce (what we reported yesterday), that Charlotte will bid to host the 2017 or 2018 NBA All-Star Game.

“The overwhelming support for the Hornets during their playoff run and rebranding has proven the passion Charlotte has for the NBA. And the worldwide fan base of the NBA makes this a perfect opportunity to showcase Charlotte and Time Warner Cable Arena on a global stage, said Will Webb, Charlotte Sports Foundation executive director in a released statement.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver had said before the league would be interested, but upgrades to the Time Warner Arena would need to be made. Those upgrades — a partnership between the city and the Hornets ownership group — will submit plans for those upgrades next month, officials said at the press conference.

Hornets owner Michael Jordan is pushing to win back this market, one that had been stopped on and turned into a wasteland by the two previous franchise owners in that city. A winning team — the Bobcats made the playoffs last season then landed Lance Stephenson this summer — is a key step. An All-Star Game wouldn’t hurt.

It was said at the press conference that between eight and 10 teams are expected to bid to host either the 2017 or 2018 All-Star Games. The league will likely eliminate a few based on its criteria — enough hotel rooms close to the city (not 30 miles away), a convention space to host the NBA All-Star Jam Session (the side events with basketball games and activities), plus of course the arena and its amenities. It is expected the list will quickly get down to three or four venues to be considered.

However it will be the fall of 2015 before there is an announcement.

The 2015 All-Star Game is in New York and Brooklyn, the 2016 game is in Toronto.

Gordon Hayward dunks on Giannis Antetokounmpo, Thon Maker (videos)

Gordon Hayward (20), del Jazz de Utah, intenta un enceste ante Thon Maker (7) y Michael Beasley (9), de los Bucks de Milwaukee, en el duelo del viernes 24 de febrero de 2017, en Milwaukee. (AP Foto/Benny Sieu)
AP Foto/Benny Sieu
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Are we obligated to call Gordon Hayward “deceptively athletic”?

The Bucks have something special in Giannis Antetokounmpo, and they think they have something special in Thon Maker.

But Hayward jammed all over those two in the Jazz’s 109-95 win last night.

First, he got Antetokounmpo:

Then, he got Maker:

Report: Lakers working toward buyout with Jose Calderon; Warriors, Rockets interested

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18:  Jose Calderon #5 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts to a called foul during the second half of a game against the San Antonio Spurs at Staples Center on November 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement  (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
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The Lakers took on the salary of Jose Calderon this year so they could get a couple second-round picks from the Bulls (Chicago got him from New York in the Derrick Rose trade), but even with the previous regime in Los Angeles the aging point guard was never part of the future.

As was expected, the Lakers are now talking about buying out the Spanish national and letting him head to a playoff team for a stretch run, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Sources told ESPN that it’s not yet a certainty Calderon will secure his release from the Lakers in the coming days, but the sides are indeed discussing the options as Wednesday’s playoff eligibility deadline nears….

Sources say that Calderon, if he winds up hitting the open market, would instantly become a target for both the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets.

Cleveland may also have interest if their plan to land Deron Williams when he is bought out by Dallas goes awry.

Calderon, 35, was not part of the Lakers’ regular rotation, playing in just 24 games. He can still knock down a shot if he has space and can set his feet, and he still has a high hoops IQ and can see the floor, but his athleticism has faded, and that can leave him exposed. Particularly on defense.

Players are being waived now so they clear in time for teams to sign them by March 1, after that said players are not eligible for playoff rosters.

There are better players to hit the waiver wire in the coming days — D-Will, Andrew Bogut, Matt Barnes — but Calderon is going to land somewhere. He’d be a solid third point guard and veteran presence for a playoff run.

Marquese Chriss blocks Bobby Portis, who gets testy (video)

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Bobby Portis didn’t enjoy getting blocked by Marquese Chriss. And Portis sure didn’t appreciate how Chriss fell on him.

But it was all worth it (for me, at least) just to see the Bulls forward make a face that reminded me of this:

Dwyane Wade with dagger dunk to seal Bulls win vs. Suns (VIDEO)

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The time off during the All-Star break did Dwyane Wade some good.

The Bulls guard turned back the clock on Friday night, leading the Bulls with 23 points and topping it off with this dunk that proved to be the dagger, sealing a Chicago win. The Suns were convinced Wade was going to run the shot clock way down before making his move and they lollygagged into position — so he just blew past everyone for the poster slam.

The Bulls won 128-121. Devin Booker led the Suns with 27.