UPDATE 4:30 pm: Break out the beads, David Stern has made it official — the 2014 NBA All-Star Game will be in New Orleans.
“There is no better place to celebrate and showcase the NBA than in New Orleans, a city with a rich tradition of hosting major events that is second-to-none,” Stern said. “Our 2008 NBA All-Star festivities proved a terrific experience for everyone involved, and we anticipate 2014 will be even better.”
12:45 pm: Are you ready for some gumbo and hoops?
David Stern, new Hornets owner Tom Benson and a bunch of NBA brass are in New Orleans Monday to announce that the city will host the 2014 NBA All-Star Game. The Times-Picayune was the first to confirm the long-standing rumor.
Getting an All-Star game in the city was part of the lease renegotiations between the league and the state of Louisiana, which owns the New Orleans Arena. It is that new lease — which includes building upgrades and renovations — that cleared the way for the sale of the team to Tom Benson. The deal was the NBA had a decade to put an All-Star Game back in the city, but it was expected to be sooner rather than later.
New Orleans hosted the 2008 All-Star Game, the first major sporting event in the city following hurricane Katrina. The 2013 All-Star Game is in Houston. It is expected the 2015 All-Star Game will be in New York, although both the Nets with the new Barclay Center and the Knicks with a renovated Madison Square Garden want to host.
Kevin Durant to replace Joe Johnson in Three-Point Contest
Kevin Durant has been chosen to replace the Hawks Joe Johnson in the Foot Locker Three-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday night in Orlando, the league has announced. Johnson has tendonitis in his left knee and is resting it through the weekend (the Hawks will re-evaluate him next week, he has missed the last couple Atlanta games).
Durant joins Kevin Love, defending champion James Jones of the Heat, Mario Chalmers, Anthony Morrow and Orlando’s own Ryan Anderson.
Durant is shooting a good 36.7 percent from three this year — a number you have to respect in game but is not what you usually see from winners of this event (40 percent plus). However, he can knock them down, and people will tune in to watch him because he’s a name.
Which is more than you can say for the dunk contest.
It’s official: Shumpert out, Utah’s Evans in for Dunk Contest
UPDATE 12:31 pm: The league has announced this as official — Iman Shumpert has pulled out of the All-Star Weekend dunk contest and Jeremy Evans is in.
While Knicks fans are going to be bummed, the contest itself is not going to suffer — Evans is a great dunker. This should be fun (you can watch it Saturday night on TNT). The other contestants are Chase Budinger, Derrick Williams and Paul George. Not a big-name lineup, but some guys who can throw it down. So we’ll see.
10:40 am: Knicks rookie Iman Shumpert had been playing through knee pain for a couple weeks, but with the arrival of J.R. Smith and Baron Davis finally getting healthy, Shumpert was scratched Monday, is not expected to play Wednesday. He will be re-evaluated after the All-Star break.
But what about the All-Star Saturday Dunk Contest? Shumpert is scheduled to be one of the contestants.
If you haven’t seen Evans — which is possible, he’s only been in 16 games for Utah and is averaging 5.6 minutes per contest — he is a human pogo stick who can leap out of the building. Honestly, I didn’t know much about him until I saw him at the Impact Series of workouts/games this past summer in Las Vegas, and in that free-flowing setting his athleticism caught your eye.
Evans was a snub — there had been a campaign for him from Utah, so if Shumpert has to be out this is the right call.