Momentum has been building toward the game happening — in a controlled environment with limited fans — for a while, and the NBA and players union are close to having a deal on it and on protocols for players during the league’s five-day break in March, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association will have a finalized agreement for an All-Star Game on March 7 in Atlanta by next week, according to a league memo shared with teams and obtained by ESPN… The All-Star Game and skill competitions will be held at State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, sources tell ESPN.
Besides the game, players will have to get tested during the break and cannot leave the country.
During the All-Star break, players will be allowed to travel in the United States, including Hawaii, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico, sources tell ESPN. The concern around international travel centers on the possibility that players may not be allowed to re-enter the country as quickly as they wish, or that federal and state regulations on testing and quarantines could leave too much to chance, sources said.
Fan voting for the All-Star starters is underway. NBA fans account for 50% of the All-Star starters vote, with players getting 25% selected media members getting 25%. The coaches select the reserves. This year, it will be an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference game, not the past couple of seasons’ captan-driven system.
The NBA called off the full-blown All-Star Weekend planned for Indianapolis before the season started. However, the All-Star Game is something that league broadcast partner Turner — the company behind TNT — wants to happen. It’s also a league showcase internationally and important to those broadcasters as well. Considering this entire NBA season is about making as much money as the league can considering the circumstances — while trying to stay healthy — it should have been expected the game would come together.