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Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki named All-Stars

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Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki were once bitter rivals.

Now, they together represent the NBA’s old guard. They’re all-time greats nearing retirement. Wade said he’d retire after the season, and though Nowitzki hasn’t confirmed anything, this seems like his last year.

Before riding off into the sunset, they’ll share a special honor.

NBA release:

Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade have been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver as special team roster additions for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game in Charlotte, North Carolina.

In honor of their extraordinary contributions as iconic NBA champions and beloved ambassadors and in recognition of their All-Star careers, Nowitzki and Wade will take the court for the 68th NBA All-Star Game on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Spectrum Center.

“Dirk Nowitzki and Dwyane Wade embody the best of the NBA: remarkable skill, drive and professionalism as well as a deep devotion to strengthening their communities and growing the game around the world,” said Silver.  “As a global celebration of basketball, our All-Star Game is an ideal setting to salute these first-class NBA champions and Finals MVPs.”

Nowitzki and Wade will be selected in a new third round of the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft, adding a 13th player to each active All-Star Game roster.  TNT will air the NBA All-Star Draft on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. ET.  TNT and ESPN Radio will air the Feb. 17 All-Star Game matchup between Team LeBron and Team Giannis live in the United States at 8 p.m. ET.  NBA All-Star 2019 will reach fans in more than 200 countries and territories in more than 40 languages.

Team captains LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers and Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks will select the 10 All-Star Game starters in the first round, the 14 reserves in the second round and Nowitzki and Wade in the third round.  Team LeBron will make the first pick in the first and third rounds and Team Giannis will have the first pick in the second round.

I’ll be the grump. I don’t really like this. Wade and Nowitzki have earned so many honors throughout their career. They don’t need to be handed one they don’t deserve. All-Star appearances are an annual honor used judge legacies, and Wade and Nowitzki are no longer stars. Honoring them in some other way during All-Star Weekend would be great. I just see All-Star appearances as for players who earned them.

And yes, there were already complications with fans voting in starters who weren’t deserving based on play. That was a thorn. The league needn’t create more.

Plus, where does this end? Exactly two all-time greats don’t retire every year. Will there be one addition or even three additions some years? All-Star rosters needn’t be balanced. Will there be no additions some years?

Hopefully, this is a pathway to the NBA permanently expanding All-Star rosters to 13 deserving players per team. That’d match regular-season active rosters and, with an all-time high 30 teams in the league, make All-Star status more in line with its historical value.

To be clear: My only annoyance is with Wade and Nowitzki getting an extra All-Star appearance on their record. It could be fun to see them in the exhibition game (though there’s also a good chance that moment falls short of expectations). I hope their Charlotte experience goes well and creates cool moments.

Spoiler before that: LeBron James will select his friend Wade. Giannis Antetokounmpo would probably prefer to play with Nowitzki, an international trailblazer, anyway. So, that all works out.

Rumor: Wizards interested in Trail Blazers president Neil Olshey

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The Wizards struck out on luring Nuggets president Tim Connelly.

Washington’s next choice?

Ben Standig of NBC Washington:

As for the rumor mill, one name stands out: Neil Olshey.

Numerous sources told NBC Sports Washington of the Wizards’ interest in Blazers President of Basketball Operations

Olshey has done a good job in Portland. He drafted Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum then built a winner around those two after LaMarcus Aldridge left. Trading for and re-signing Jusuf Nurkic to a reasonable contract looks great. Olshey also overpaid Evan Turner, Meyers Leonard, Allen Crabbe and Festus Ezeli, but many teams spent wildly in 2016. It was a weird summer.

The Wizards would do well to hire such a proven executive.

Would Olshey leave the Trail Blazers? Their ownership situation remains uncertain following the death of Paul Allen in October. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis has demonstrated extreme loyalty to his executives.

Portland will also reportedly sign Damian Lillard to a super-max extension – a move that practically must be made, but one that carries massive downside risk. However, if he goes to Washington, Olshey would be trading uncertainty in Damian Lillard’s value on the super-max for certain negative value with John Wall on his super-max extension.

A couple years ago, Olshey signed his own extension through 2021. Maybe he’s ready to move on.

Or maybe he’s ready to use the Wizards as leverage for a raise.

Rumor: Lakers hired Jason Kidd to lure Giannis Antetokounmpo

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New Lakers coach Frank Vogel said he wanted Jason Kidd because Kidd is a good coach.

Steve Popper of Newsday:

the person familiar with the Lakers process said something else: that Kidd was brought to Los Angeles to attract Giannis Antetokounmpo to the Lakers when he becomes a free agent in two years when the Bucks star could become an unrestricted free agent.

Things I believe:

1. This plan probably wouldn’t work. Not only does Antetokounmpo appear happy in Milwaukee, he has specifically said he could never see himself playing for Los Angeles. And though I believe Antetokounmpo respected Kidd while Kidd coached him, look at the Bucks now. They’re so much better under Mike Budenholzer. You think Antetokounmpo is itching to play for Kidd again after seeing the other side?

2. The Lakers might just try this wild plan anyway. Remember when they were waiting to hire a coach in 2014 so free agent LeBron James could pick? Aside from signing LeBron last year, who seemingly had his eye on Los Angeles for years and for reasons other than basketball, the Lakers have struck out on star free agents. The franchise is getting desperate.

3. People want to believe the Lakers would do something crazy like this, and that makes the rumor spread faster – whether or not it’s true. The Lakers, because of their stature, tactics and general manager have made many enemies around the league. Plenty of folks are enjoying piling on.

Drake says Raptors ‘are like a college sports team’ (VIDEO)

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The Toronto Raptors are just one win away from their first ever NBA Finals appearance. Kawhi Leonard helped Toronto beat the Milwaukee Bucks, 105-99, on Thursday night in game 5. That gave the Raptors a 3-2 Series lead over the Bucs as they head back to Canada on Saturday.

Meanwhile, rapper Drake and a bunch of fans watched the victory over Giannis Antetokounmpo in the Jurassic Park outside of Scotiabank Arena. Elated with the win, Drake of course made statements to local television and to the crowd itself, saying the Raptors were “like a college team”.

Via Twitter:

Game 6 is on Saturday in Ontario at 5:30 p.m. PST.

Kendrick Perkins says not to sleep on Clippers signing Kevin Durant (VIDEO)

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We don’t know what to think about Kevin Durant and his plans for the offseason right now. Reports have him choosing between the Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks. Others think he might just stay with the Golden State Warriors. At the very least, some have suggested that nobody really knows where he’s going to go, and Durant’s own business partner says he’s undecided.

So take this with a huge, giant, rough-edged grain of salt.

According to former Oklahoma City Thunder teammate Kendrick Perkins, he would not be surprised if Durant decided to signed with the Clippers this summer.

Via Twitter:

It’s not even the end of May yet and I’m already tired of talking about Durant. He’s not even playing and he’s tiring. Durant is perhaps the league’s best player, but the next time this story will be interesting will be when he finally signs somewhere in early July.

In the meantime, talking about what the mercurial Durant wants is a lost cause. Nobody knows what he wants — maybe not even Durant. That is, until he decides to furiously tweet it at a media member. That’s not out of the realm of possibility, either.

Durant won’t be back for the start of the NBA Finals, which is the real story of interest. Golden State looks great against the Portland Trail Blazers without their former two-time Finals MVP, and if the Warriors win a championship without Durant actively participating in that series, it will make his legacy that much more compex.