NBA Notes: All-Star Game, Load Management, Expansion

All-Star Game

Nuggets coach Michael Malone, who coached in the All-Star Game, called it “the worst game ever played.”Michael Malone Shai Gilgeous-Alexander

This year’s game has come under particular fire from fans, media, coaches and even some former players.

“No one got hurt, they put on a show for the fans, but that is a tough game to sit through, I’m not gonna lie,” Malone told reporters.

Former NBA center Andrew Bogut also indicated he couldn’t bear to watch.

“The NBA All-Star Game is dying a slow death,” Bogut wrote. “Needs to be revamped heavily, or put down for good and just have all the events!”

Another NBA center, Paul Mokeski, joined many other retired players who spoke out on the All-Star Game on Facebook.

“This All-Star Game is unwatchable,” Mokeski wrote. “Worse than the NFL flag football game. Sad.”

Load Management

Malone and Warriors coach Steve Kerr both suggested shorter seasons to help manage stars feeling the need to sit out games, though Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo indicated he doesn’t think that’s a solution.

“I think if you want to get the best player availability, shortening the season may be in the best interest of everybody involved,” Malone said, via Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. “But that’s also a lot of money being lost — TV games, money. Let’s not forget: This is a business.”

Antetokounmpo, however, said he doesn’t think change is necessary.

“I think 82 games is perfect,” he said.

Cavaliers forward Evan Mobley seemed to agree.

“You just get used to it — go out there every night and eventually it just becomes a pattern and a rhythm every day you go out, practice and play. You signed up for it,” he said.

Bulls guard DeMar DeRozan added he plays even when he’s not being paid.

“I love hoops. I play in the summer. I like the 82-game season,” he said. “I’m old school.”

Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards came out the strongest against the idea of load management.

“Just play, man. If you’re 80 percent, you’ve got to play,” Edwards said, via Reynolds. “I don’t like all the sitting, missing games and stuff. These people might have enough money to come to one game.

“And that might be the game they come to and you’re sitting out. I take pride in trying to play every game because I don’t know, it might be one fan that has never seen me play, and I’m trying to play.”

NBA Notes

  • Commissioner Adam Silver said the league has a contingency plan in place in the event regional sports networks go bankrupt before the end of the season. Bally Sports is in danger of doing exactly that, as we relayed here.
  • Silver said no talks on expansion have taken place, suggesting that the league wants to focus on a new collective-bargaining agreement before adding franchises.
  • We have the latest on the CBA talks here and the possibility of lowering the draft age limit here.

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