Paul George

Will changes to NBA All-Star roster format affect Joel Embiid?

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Will changes to NBA All-Star roster format affect Joel Embiid?

When the Western Conference became stacked with talent following an offseason of trades and free agent signings, the projected All-Star rosters as they were known became majorly imbalanced.

The NBA has changed the format for the 2018 game to remove conference affiliations. The All-Star starters who receive the most fan votes from the East and the West will be named team captains. These two players will draft their teams from the voted-in starters and reserves. 

This offseason four 2017 Eastern Conference All-Stars joined Western Conference teams (Carmelo Anthony, Jimmy Butler, Paul George and Paul Millsap) while Gordon Hayward was the lone All-Star to leave the West. 

That shift in talent opened up a bigger window of opportunity for players in the East, including Joel Embiid, to earn a selection. Embiid was in contention last season despite playing in limited games.

The NBA is carrying over its voting process to select 12 players from each conference. Ten starters will be chosen from a 50 percent fan vote, 25 percent current player vote and 25 percent media vote. Fourteen reserves will be picked by head coaches. 

The All-Star Game now will be played for charity. Each team will decide upon a national or Los Angeles-area organization. 

NBA Notes: Dwyane Wade to reportedly join Cavs, reunite with LeBron James

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NBA Notes: Dwyane Wade to reportedly join Cavs, reunite with LeBron James

CLEVELAND -- Together again: LeBron and D-Wade. Just like old times.

Dwyane Wade has decided to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers and reunite with LeBron James, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on Tuesday night.

Wade is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday and then join the Cavs, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be completed until the 12-time All-Star goes through the waiver process.

In Cleveland, Wade will be reunited with James, his close friend, former Miami teammate and a player he confided in before signing with his hometown Chicago Bulls last year.

Wade and James won two NBA titles together during four seasons with the Heat and will now chase another one with the Cavs, who have been revamped after losing to Golden State in last season's Finals.

On Monday, James said he would love to play with Wade again.

"He brings another championship pedigree, championship DNA," James said at Cleveland's media day. "He brings another player to the team who can get guys involved, can make plays and also has a great basketball mind. ... I hope we can bring him here. I would love to have him" (see full story).

Suns: Warren signs 4-year, $50 million extension
PHOENIX -- T.J. Warren has signed a $50 million, four-year contract extension with the Phoenix Suns.

The 6-foot-8 forward, nicknamed "Tony Buckets" by teammates, is entering his fourth NBA season. He averaged career highs of 14.4 points and 5.1 rebounds over 66 games last season. After the All-Star break, he averaged 17.6 points and shot 56 percent from the field.

The team announced the deal Tuesday.

Warren was the 17th overall pick out of North Carolina State in the 2014 draft after earning ACC player of the year honors and breaking the school's season scoring record, set 39 years earlier by David Thompson.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough says Warren has improved every year and is expected to continue his development as he approaches his prime.

Thunder: GM Presti evolves, surrounds Westbrook with stars
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Sam Presti has evolved with the times.

Oklahoma City's general manager is perhaps best known for drafting Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Over the years, instead of adding big-name free agents and making blockbuster trades, he has added relatively inexpensive players around his stars and built through the draft.

His plans have mostly worked. The Thunder have played in the Western Conference Finals four times and the NBA Finals once since Presti took the job in 2007, and both Durant and Westbrook have won MVP awards.

Not everything has been rosy. Presti couldn't work out a contract extension with Harden in 2012. And last year, Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State. Durant recently criticized Thunder management for failing to put the right players around him to compete for a title.

In a perfectly timed move, Presti shook the NBA by trading for 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder already had traded for four-time All-Star Paul George in the offseason. With the addition of the kind of talent Durant so desperately wanted in Oklahoma City, it appears Presti has turned over a new leaf. The man who always has focused on the process has shifted gears and built a super team in a matter of months (see full story).

NBA Notes: Isaiah Thomas says being traded by Celtics 'still hurts'

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NBA Notes: Isaiah Thomas says being traded by Celtics 'still hurts'

BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas' two sons had different reactions to his trade from the Celtics to the Cavaliers.

His older son, James, is excited that his dad will get to play alongside LeBron James. Thomas' younger son, Jaiden, had fallen in love with Boston and was afraid that Cleveland won't have any skate parks.

Thomas said in a 3,500-word post on The Players Tribune that he himself was also of two minds about the deal that sent him to the Cavaliers, along with two other players and a first-round draft pick, for fellow All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.

He says hearing about the trade in a call from Celtics boss Danny Ainge "still hurts." But he's also excited about playing with James, a four-time MVP, and Kevin Love, a former AAU teammate . Thomas says he won't have to worry about being double- or triple-teamed any more.

Says Thomas: "You are not going to want to mess with the Cavs this year" (see full story).

Pacers: Owner denies report about possibly suing Lakers
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon is denying a report that the team might sue the Los Angeles Lakers for tampering with Paul George.

The NBA fined the Lakers $500,000 last week for violating league rules and there was a report that the Pacers were considering legal action, too.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Simon said the Pacers agreed with the league's decision and that the team simply wanted to move on.

Indiana traded George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis after George's camp let it be known that the four-time All-Star intended to sign as a free agent with the Lakers in July 2018.

Simon acknowledged those sentiments put Indiana "in a tough position" but the Pacers acquired two good players.

Hawks: Team signs 3 players to contracts
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks have signed guards Quinn Cook and Josh Maggette and forward Tyler Cavanaugh.

Cook, from Duke, played five games with Dallas and nine games with New Orleans as a rookie last season. He averaged 5.6 points and 1.9 assists.

Cook is a two-time All-Star in the NBA G League. He was the 2016 G League Rookie of the Year.

Magette signed a two-way contract that will allow him to primarily play for the team's NBA G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, while also spending up to 45 days with Atlanta.

Magette spent time during the 2016 preseason with the Hawks and was part of the team's summer league roster this year.

Cavanaugh also played for Atlanta's summer league team this season.

Cavaliers: Plans for $140M arena makeover renewed
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are reviving a $140 million renovation of Quicken Loans Arena just over a week after the project was scrapped.

The team announced Wednesday it'll also extend its lease at the facility for seven extra years, until 2034.

The Cavaliers, who won the 2016 NBA title, hoped to upgrade the 22-year-old downtown arena with more dining spaces and a glass exterior but had faced opposition from community groups objecting to the use of taxpayer money.

The Cavaliers canceled the renovation on Aug. 28 after a referendum petition submitted by the Greater Cleveland Congregations, a religious coalition, gained more than 13,000 valid signatures and threatened to delay the project.

But the coalition withdrew the petition after county officials cut a deal and promised to look into constructing two mental health and substance abuse clinics, allowing renovation plans to move forward again. The Cavaliers will fund half the project as previously planned, while the other half will come from public funding.

Other groups opposed to the project say they weren't consulted before the petition was withdrawn.

"This isn't what the majority of Cleveland citizens wanted," said Steve Holecko, of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, which has been leading the fight to stop the renovation. "This is corporate welfare at its worst" (see full story).