NEW YORK (AP) The NBA is scrapping the East vs. West format for its All-Star Game and will have captains pick teams this season.
The league said Tuesday that the leading vote-getter from each conference will choose teams from the pool of players who were voted as starters and reserves.
The change will begin with this season’s game in Los Angeles on Feb. 18.
Players and league officials have been eager to inject new interest in the often defense-absent game, and they decided to act after another dull affair last February in New Orleans.
The sides worked closely – with Charlotte owner Michael Jordan, chairman of the league’s Labor Relations Committee, heavily involved in the conversations – and chose a format that has been used by the NFL and NHL for what will be the first NBA All-Star Game that doesn’t pit the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference.
The 10 starters will continue to be chosen by a combination of fan, player and media balloting, with the coaches from each conference then selecting the 14 reserves. The captains will then draft their teams at an undetermined time – making certain that those chosen starters are split up so they remain starters.
The teams will play for charity. They will select either a Los Angeles-area or national organization for donations to go.
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) – Los Angeles Lakers rookie Lonzo Ball has missed practice after mildly spraining his left ankle in a preseason game.
Ball sat out of Tuesday’s workout along with Brandon Ingram, who bumped his head during the same preseason game Monday against Denver.
Coach Luke Walton said Ball will be re-evaluated Wednesday before the Lakers determine whether the No. 2 overall pick will play against the Nuggets in Ontario, California, that night.
Ingram is meeting with a doctor Tuesday to determine the extent of his injury.
Ball and Ingram played 21 minutes apiece Monday in a 113-107 loss to Denver.
Larry Nance Jr. also didn’t practice due to a sprained index finger, but the forward did conditioning work.
Center Brook Lopez participated in full-court drills during his steady return from back spasms.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred is hopeful the league and players’ union will agree to changes to speed pace of play.
Manfred said before Tuesday’s AL wild-card game that he’s encouraged by conversations with the union and ”direct engagement with players.” He declined to address specifics of a deal, but says he thinks the league and union will have an agreement that will be ”meaningful.”
The average time of a nine-inning game in the majors rose 4+ minutes this season to a record 3 hours, 5 minutes, 11 seconds. MLB’s averaged had dropped to 2:56 in 2015.
Baseball management proposed three changes last offseason the players’ association didn’t accept, and MLB has the right to start them next year without player approval: restricting catchers to one trip to the mound per pitcher each inning, employing a 20-second pitch clock and raising the bottom of the strike zone from just beneath the kneecap to its pre-1996 level- at the top of the kneecap.
New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge had the top-selling jersey in baseball this season, followed by a pair of Chicago Cubs stars.
Judge, an outfielder who could win AL Rookie of the Year and MVP, beat out Kris Bryant and Anthony Rizzo, according to Major League Baseball on Tuesday. Judge is the second rookie to have the most popular jersey – Bryant was the first in 2015 and also led the league in 2016.
Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper rounded out the top five. Two-time AL MVP Mike Trout (Angels) was eighth.
The reigning World Series champion Cubs led the majors with four players among the top 20 in sales, with Javier Baez (10th) and Kyle Schwarber (14th) joining their teammates.
PERTH, Australia (AP) – Roger Federer will return to partner Belinda Bendic for Switzerland at the Hopman Cup, while Japan will make its first appearance in 16 years at the international mixed team event.
After the last Hopman Cup, Federer went on to win the Australian Open and Wimbledon, his 18th and 19th Grand Slam singles titles.
Two-time Grand Slam singles Angelique Kerber will represent Germany with ATP No. 4 Alexander Zverev, tournament officials said Wednesday.
Yuichi Sugita and Naomi Osaka will play for Japan, while Australia will be represented by Daria Gavrilova and Thanasi Kokkinakis.
The other teams in Dec. 30-Jan. 6 event at Perth Arena are: the United States: Jack Sock and CoCo Vandeweghe; Russia: Svetlana Kuznetsova and Karen Khachanov; Belgium: David Goffin and Elise Mertens; and Canada: Eugenie Bouchard and Vasek Pospisil.