Cleveland star LeBron James selected ex-teammate Kyrie Irving in the NBA All-Star Game draft on Thursday. James’ selection of Irving is noteworthy because Irving requested a trade from the Cavaliers over the summer after he, James and the organization won an NBA Finals and reached three consecutive Finals.
Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry — who along with James chose the two All-Star Teams on Thursday — didn’t end up with teammate Kevin Durant, who was drafted by James.
The National Basketball Players Association said Thursday its members couldn’t reach a consensus on whether they preferred to televise Thursday’s All-Star draft, but the lack of TV this year doesn’t necessarily mean that will be the case going forward.
James and Curry were named All-Star captains after leading their respective conferences in All-Star voting. The two stars chose the teams on Thursday in a call with league officials. Rosters were selected without regard for conference affiliation from the pool of starters and reserves.
Also on James’ team: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Bradley Beal, LaMarcus Aldridge, Kevin Love, Russell Westbrook, Victor Oladipo, Kristaps Porzingis and John Wall.
Curry selected Giannis Antetokounmpo, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, Joel Embiid, Damian Lillard, Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green, Kyle Lowry, Klay Thompson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Al Horford.
The order of selection was not released, though NBA rules stipulated that James’ and Curry’s first four selections be from the pool of starters. James selected ahead of Curry because he finished with the highest overall voting total. Curry received the first selection among the reserves.
James declined to say which player he chose first in the draft in an interview in TNT.
“I can’t tell you [who went No. 1], man,” James said. “I might have to kill you if I tell you that.”
The NBA changed the format this season from its traditional East vs. West matchup after lackluster games the past two seasons, when players made little attempt to defend and the West nearly scored 200 points in both of its victories.
Some players and coaches wanted the draft to be publicized, but the league decided against televising the selection process. James said in an interview on TNT that he wanted the draft to be televised.