LeBron chooses Durant first; Giannis takes Curry


11:21 PM ETIan BegleyESPN Staff Writer CloseCovers the New York Knicks for ESPNNewYork.comThe Los Angeles Lakers might not have traded for Anthony Davis prior to Thursday’s deadline, but Lakers star LeBron James made sure that Davis will be playing on his team next week in the NBA All-Star Game.James selected Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans star, in the All-Star draft on Thursday night. He took Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant with his first selection. Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo — the captain of the team opposing James’ side — selected Golden State guard Stephen Curry with his first pick.James also selected Boston’s Kyrie Irving, Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard and Houston’s James Harden, respectively, from among the starters.Antetokounmpo selected Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Oklahoma City’s Paul George and Charlotte’s Kemba Walker, respectively, among the pool of starters.Best moments, biggest questions from the All-Star draft — including a trade!From the “tampering” accusation to the trade heard round the All-Star world, let’s break down the draft between captains LeBron and Giannis.Everything you need to know for the 2019 NBA All-Star GameLeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo assembled their rosters for the 2019 NBA All-Star Game, a night capped by a Ben Simmons-for-Russell Westbrook trade.Pelicans decide to play Davis for rest of seasonAfter the trade deadline passed Thursday, Pelicans GM Dell Demps announced that star center Anthony Davis will play the rest of the 2018-19 season rather than be shut down.James and Antetokounmpo drafted the rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference. They made their selections without regard for a players’ conference affiliation or position. James had the first pick as he had the highest voting total in the league.Eight starters were drafted in the first round. Fourteen reserves were taken in the second round.James’ selection of Davis is sure to garner attention as the Lakers offered the New Orleans Pelicans trade packages in an attempt to acquire Davis in the days leading up to Thursday’s deadline, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Davis told New Orleans late last month that he doesn’t wish to sign an extension with the club and requested a trade.James also took all of the players who could be free agents at the end of the season — Durant, Irving, Klay Thompson and Leonard — as well as a potential 2020 free agent in Davis, which led to a funny exchange between the two captains.Antetokounmpo suggested during the draft — which was televised by TNT — that James was tampering after he selected Davis.”Isn’t that tampering?” Antetokounmpo asked.”Tampering rules [do] not apply on All-Star Weekend,” James said, laughing.James selected Davis with his first pick in the second round. He also drafted Thompson, Portland’s Damian Lillard, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge, Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Washington’s Bradley Beal. Beal was selected last.Antetokounmpo selected teammate Khris Middleton in the second round. He had the first pick in the round. He also drafted Denver’s Nikola Jokic, Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons, Detroit’s Blake Griffin, Brooklyn’s D’Angelo Russell, Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic and Toronto’s Kyle Lowry.Dallas Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki and Miami Heat guard Dwyane Wade were named by NBA commissioner Adam Silver as special team roster additions for the All-Star Game. Wade and Nowitzki were drafted in the third and final round.James, selecting first in the third round, selected Wade, his close friend. That left Nowitzki for Antetokounmpo’s team.At James’ urging, the captains then agreed to a trade of Westbrook for Simmons.The draft was shown on TNT on Thursday night after being taped earlier. The process was not televised last year — the first iteration of the current format — to the dismay of James and other players.All-Star reserves were selected by the coaches. Starters were named through a process combining fan votes (50 percent), media votes (25 percent) and player votes (25 percent).The All-Star Game is in Charlotte on Feb. 17.Denver coach Michael Malone and the Nuggets’ staff will coach Team LeBron. Mike Budenholzer and the Milwaukee Bucks’ staff will coach Team Giannis in Charlotte.For the second year in a row, both NBA All-Star Game teams will make donations to community-based organizations. The winning team’s charity will receive a $350,000 donation from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, while the losing team’s organization will receive $150,000.Team LeBron will play for Right Moves for Youth, a school-based, dropout-prevention and student-support program in Charlotte. Team Giannis will play for for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, which aims to eliminate hunger by soliciting and distributing food and household items to people in need.Team Giannis chose to play in white uniforms. Team LeBron was assigned the black uniforms as the visiting team.NBA commissioner Adam Silver will select the replacement for any player unable to participate in the All-Star Game. He will choose a player from the same conference as the player who is being replaced. Silver’s selection will join the team that drafted the replaced player.2019 All-Star Game rostersTEAM LEBRONTEAM GIANNISKevin Durant, WarriorsStephen Curry, WarriorsKyrie Irving, CelticsJoel Embiid, 76ersKawhi Leonard, RaptorsPaul George, ThunderJames Harden, RocketsKemba Walker, HornetsAnthony Davis, PelicansKhris Middleton, BucksKlay Thompson, WarriorsNikola Jokic, NuggetsDamian Lillard, Trail BlazersRussell Westbrook, Thunder*Ben Simmons, 76ers*Blake Griffin, PistonsLaMarcus Aldridge, SpursD’Angelo Russell, NetsKarl-Anthony Towns, TimberwolvesNikola Vucevic, MagicBradley Beal, WizardsKyle Lowry, RaptorsDwyane Wade, HeatDirk Nowitzki, Mavericks* Traded for each other on draft night
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