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All-Star Weekend betting odds: All-Star Game MVP, Dunk Contest, more

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It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that Luka Doncic is the favorite to win the MVP of the Rising Stars Challenge on All-Star Friday night.

Nor should it be a shock that Stephen Curry is the odds-on favorite to win the Three-Point Contest on All-Star Saturday night. Or that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kevin Durant are at the front of the line to win the All-Star MVP on Sunday.

But are there some value bets in there that could pay off? Maybe. Let’s look at the odds for the weekend events, starting with All-Star Game MVP on Sunday, then moving into Friday night’s rising stars (you should have money on this if you’re going to sit through the dunk fest from young players). These odds are courtesy BetOnline.ag.

2019 NBA All-Star Game MVP

Giannis Antetokounmpo 6/1
Kevin Durant 6/1
LeBron James 13/2
Stephen Curry 7/1
Kemba Walker 15/2
Joel Embiid 17/2
Paul George 17/2
Kyrie Irving 9/1
Anthony Davis 10/1
James Harden 10/1
Russell Westbrook 12/1
Kawhi Leonard 14/1
Dwyane Wade 20/1
Blake Griffin 33/1
Ben Simmons 33/1
Bradley Beal 40/1
Damian Lillard 40/1
Klay Thompson 40/1
Karl-Anthony Towns 40/1
LaMarcus Aldridge 50/1
Dirk Nowitzki 50/1
Kyle Lowry 66/1
Nikola Jokic 66/1
Khris Middleton 80/1
D'Angelo Russell 100/1
Nikola Vucevic 100/1

How is Jokic longer odds to win MVP than Nowitzki? Has anyone watched those two play this season? The challenge here is that anyone good enough to be in this game is capable of putting up MVP stats for a night, the question is which guy wakes up in the morning and says “I want to win MVP tonight” and goes out and takes over. Hometown hero Kemba Walker at 15/2 could be that guy.

2019 NBA All-Star Rising Stars MVP

Luka Doncic (DAL) 4/1
Ben Simmons (PHI) 4/1
Donovan Mitchell (UTA) 8/1
Jayson Tatum (BOS) 9/1
Deandre Ayton (PHX) 10/1
Kyle Kuzma (LAK) 10/1
Trae Young (ATL) 10/1
OG Anunoby (TOR) 12/1
Bogdan Bogdanovic (SAC) 12/1
De'Aaron Fox (SAC) 12/1
Lauri Markkanen 12/1
Marvin Bagley III (SAC) 20/1
John Collins (ATL) 20/1
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (LAC) 20/1
Jaren Jackson Jr. (MEM) 20/1
Kevin Knox (NYK) 20/1

This could go a lot of directions, but Kuzma at 10/1 is tempting โ€” the guy is an elite scorer, he could put up massive numbers. Tatum and Mitchell also could decide to take over and win it. As a side note, Team USA is -3 in this game over Team World. I have no idea why. Home team advantage because the game is in the United States?

2019 NBA All-Star 3-Point Contest Winner

Stephen Curry (GSW) 2/1
Devin Booker (PHX) 9/2
Seth Curry (POR) 5/1
Buddy Hield (SAC) 6/1
Joe Harris (BKN) 13/2
Damien Lillard (POR) 8/1
Danny Green (TOR) 10/1
Khris Middleton (MIL) 10/1
Dirk Nowitzki (DAL) 12/1
Kemba Walker (CHA) 12/1

Brooklyn’s Harris might be the second best pure shooter of the group (Stephen Curry is maybe the best all time, so he’s on top), and at 13/2 there’s some value play there.

2019 NBA All-Star Slam Dunk Contest Winner

Dennis Smith Jr. (NYK) 3/2
John Collins (ATL) 5/2
Miles Bridges (CHA) 5/2
Hamidou Diallo (OKC) 3/1

Miles Bridges is the hometown guy, but outside that I’ve got nothing for you.

2019 NBA All-Star Skills Challenge Winner

De’Aaron Fox (SAC) 3/1
Luka Doncic (DAL) 4/1
Trae Young (ATL) 4/1
Mike Conley (MEM) 11/2
Nikola Jokic (DEN) 6/1
Jayson Tatum (BOS) 13/2
Kyle Kuzma (LAK) 7/1
Nikola Vucevic (ORL) 8/1

It takes a combination of speed and three-point accuracy on pull-ups to win this game. Fox makes sense as a favorite, but Conley and Tatum maybe could be surprise threats if their shots fall.

Zach LaVine reacts to Chicago hiring Billy Donovan: ‘Wow, that’ll be good’

Zach LaVine Billy Donovan
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Zach LaVine learned about the Chicago Bulls hiring Billy Donovan as their head coach while playing Call of Duty.

Which means there is a recording of his real-time reaction to the news.

“Damn, we just got Billy Donovan as our next head coachโ€ฆ wow, that’ll be good.”

LaVine also Tweeted about the hire.

He wasn’t the only Bulls’ player excited about the hire.

Bradley Beal, a former Donovan player at Florida, loved the hire.

Donovan takes over a Chicago team that seems on the cusp of something. How big a something remains up for debate. The roster has young talent: Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, Wendell Carter, and the No. 4 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Donovan is an upgrade over Boylen, both in terms of player relations and tactics, making the Bulls better.

Even with Donovan, what is the ceiling for these Bulls? Next season they are not going to be better than the Celtics, Bucks, Heat, or Nets, and likely not the 76ers or Raptors either (unless Toronto tears down the roster). That’s six. And a lot of people would put the Indiana Pacers on a level above the Bulls as well. Bottom line: Even with a coaching upgrade and player improvement, the Bulls are likely scrambling for a bottom playoff spot in the East.

The Bulls are looking beyond next year. Expect Chicago head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas to spend the next season deciding who fits and who doesn’t, and shake up the roster accordingly. By then the Bulls may be in a better place to be a threat in the East.

Whatever happens, the Bulls got better with this hire, and their biggest star likes it.

Vanessa Bryant sues sheriff over Kobe Bryant helicopter-crash photos

Kobe Bryant crash site
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LOS ANGELES — Vanessa Bryant, the widow of basketball star Kobe Bryant, has filed a lawsuit against the Los Angeles County sheriff claiming deputies shared unauthorized photos of the crash that killed her husband, their 13-year-old daughter and seven others.

After the Jan. 26 crash, reports surfaced that graphic photos of the victims were being shared. Vanessa Bryant was “shocked and devastated” by the reports, the lawsuit states.

The suit seeks damages for negligence, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

The victims died when the helicopter crashed into a hillside in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles, during cloudy weather. They were traveling to a youth basketball tournament at Bryant’s sports facility in Thousand Oaks. The National Transportation Safety Board has not concluded what caused the crash on the outskirts of Los Angeles County but said there was no sign of mechanical failure in the Sikorsky S-76. helicopter.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva previously told news media that eight deputies took or shared graphic photos of the scene and he ordered the images deleted. The sheriff said the department has a policy against taking and sharing crime scene photos, but it does not apply to accident scenes.

“That was my No. 1 priority, was to make sure those photos no longer exist,” Villanueva previously told NBC News. “We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And we’re content that those involved did that.”

Vanessa Bryant’s lawsuit alleges the sheriff’s actions constituted a “cover-up” of the misconduct. The suit claims the photos could still exist.

“Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,” the lawsuit states.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom has not yet signed a bill that would make it a misdemeanor for first responders to take unauthorized photos of deceased people at the scene of an accident or crime. The legislation was prompted by the crash photos.

A statement from the sheriff’s department Tuesday incorrectly said such actions are now criminal. The bill has not yet been signed into law.

“Shortly following this tragic crash, Sheriff Villanueva sponsored legislation which now makes it a crime for public safety personnel to take and share non-official pictures of this nature,” the statement said. “Due to the pending litigation, we are unable to offer further comment.”

Vanessa Bryant’s attorney, Gary C. Robb, declined to comment.

The Los Angeles Times first reported the allegations that the graphic photos had been taken and disseminated in February.

Bryant previously filed a claim, a precursor to a lawsuit, in May. The suit was filed Thursday.

Separately, Vanessa Bryant has also filed a lawsuit alleging the helicopter’s pilot, Ara Zobayan, was careless and negligent to fly in the fog and should have aborted the flight.

The brother of the pilot has said in a court filing that Bryant knew the risks of helicopter flying and his survivors aren’t entitled to damages from the pilot’s estate, while the helicopter company, Island Express, says it is not responsible for damages, calling the crash, among other things, “an act of God” and “an unavoidable accident” that was beyond its control.

Chicago Bulls hire Billy Donovan as coach

Billy Donovan coaches Thunder-Bulls
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Billy Donovan left the Thunder despite them offering a new contract. Maybe it wasn’t as much money as he desired to coach a team that could be entering rebuilding. But active head coaches rarely turn down an NBA job unless they know they’ll land on their feet.

Donovan will land on his feet โ€“ with the Bulls.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN first broke the story, the Bulls confirmed it soon after.

โ€œWe are very pleased to welcome Billy and his family to the Chicago Bulls. The success that he has sustained over the course of his coaching career puts him on a different level,โ€ Chicago head of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said in a statement. โ€œWe feel his ability to help his players reach their potential, both individually and collectively, will mesh well with our roster. Whether as a player or as a coach, he has won everywhere his career has taken him, and we hope that will continue here in Chicago.โ€

This is a major credibility upgrade for Chicago, which fired Jim Boylen. Donovan is a solid NBA head coach who adapts to his players rather than putting them through extreme measures.

Considering they just hired Arturas Karnisovas as president, the Bulls might have the patience for a rebuild. Donovan will be tasked with overseeing the development of Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen, Coby White, Wendell Carter Jr. and the No. 4 pick in the upcoming draft. Donovan’s time as a college coach at Florida shows he can help players progress.

But Chicago also frequently faces pressure, especially internally, to win sooner than later. Donovan inherits veterans like LaVine, Otto Porter Jr., Thaddeus Young and Tomas Satoransky. Donovan showed at Oklahoma City he could manage a team with immediate expectations.

Is this group’s long-term future inspiring? No. Is this group’s present inspiring? No.

But Donovan provides a little boost in both areas.

Celtics: Romeo Langford out rest of playoffs after wrist surgery

Celtics guard Romeo Langford
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The Celtics don’t have quite enough dependable players to fill a playoff rotation. So, beyond its core, Boston has juggled deep-bench minutes throughout the postseason.

One of those options โ€“ Romeo Langford โ€“ will no longer be available.

Celtics release:

Celtics guard Romeo Langford this morning underwent successful surgery to repair the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist. He will miss the remainder of the 2019-20 NBA season.

A rookie, Langford also suffered a right-hand injury last season at Indiana. A pattern? Probably not. But it’s another interruption in the 20-year-old’s development.

For Boston’s playoff hopes, this is a minor setback โ€“ one made even smaller by Gordon Hayward returning (and staying). Though more of a forward, Hayward clears the way for Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart to handle more guard minutes, a few of which could have gone to Langford.