A year after being criticized for failing to televise its All-Star Game draft, the NBA on Thursday confirmed the 2019 version will air on live TV. The draft is scheduled for Feb. 7 at 7 p.m. ET and will be shown on TNT. The game will be played Feb. 17 in Charlotte, N.C.
For the second year in a row, the All-Star Game rosters will be set through a draft, with two captains selecting players, regardless of conference, from a pool of starters voted in by fans, players and media, and reserves selected by coaches.
The leading vote-getter from fan balloting for each conference will be the captain. The third update of fan balloting shows the Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James leading the Western Conference and the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the East.
Last season, James and Stephen Curry were captains and made selections via conference call. The order in which they selected players ultimately was leaked, and many — including several players — argued the draft should have been televised.
—Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving called former teammate LeBron James to apologize for “being that young player” when both were in Cleveland.
Irving told reporters he delivered his mea culpa to James last Saturday after the Celtics’ frustrating loss in Orlando that resulted in Irving airing his displeasure with coach Brad Stevens and teammate Gordon Hayward.
“Obviously, this was a big deal for me, because I had to call (LeBron) and tell him I apologized for being that young player that wanted everything at his fingertips, and I wanted everything at my threshold,” Irving said. “I wanted to be the guy that led us to a championship. I wanted to be the leader. I wanted to be all that, and the responsibility of being the best in the world and leading your team is something that is not meant for many people.”
—Approaching his 70th birthday, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich remains undecided about coaching the Spurs beyond this season.
“I don’t know the answer,” Popovich told The New York Times after Wednesday night’s 105-101 victory against the Dallas Mavericks.
Popovich, whose birthday is Jan. 28, is in the final season of a five-year contract extension he signed after the Spurs’ most recent NBA championship in 2014.
—Beginning next week, NBA referees will interact with fans and answer questions in real time on Twitter during a select number of games the rest of this season, ESPN reported.
According to the report, referees who are watching the chosen games will answer questions about the officiating in those games, responding to tweets to the @OfficialNBARefs handle or using the hashtag #RefWatchParty.
The first games to be part of the program this season will be the Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers game on TNT next Monday and the Spurs-76ers game in Philadelphia next Wednesday on ESPN.
—The NBA has fined Detroit Pistons forward Blake Griffin $15,000 for verbal abuse of a game official.
The incident took place at the end of the Pistons’ 100-94 loss to the Utah Jazz on Monday night.
It’s unclear what Griffin said to which official, but he was frustrated with calls throughout the game and vented after the final whistle.
—The Miami Heat fined reserve guard Dion Waiters an undisclosed amount for his profanity-filled complaints about playing time earlier this week.
Coming back from ankle surgery that sidelined him for nearly a year, Waiters has played in only five of Miami’s first 42 games this season. After logging only 12 minutes in Tuesday’s 124-86 loss at Milwaukee, he expressed his frustrations with the team’s patient approach.
“F—- patience,” Waiters told a reporter from the Sun-Sentinel. “I want to play. I’ve been patient.”
—Field Level Media