All-Star Game captains LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo exchanged tampering jabs during their All-Star Weekend team draft on Thursday night.as James drafted a starting lineup made nearly entirely of soon-to-be-free-agent players.
After choosing Durant first, James then added former Cleveland teammate Kyrie Irving to his team. What's more, LeBron seems to be using this All-Star game to "tamper" a bit more considering the players he chose for his squad are all eligible (excluding AD) for free agency at the end of the season. "Now I have to go into shuffle mode now". Ben Simmons now gets to play with James on Team LeBron, while all eyes will now be on Westbrook and Embiid to see how they interact with each other during All-Star weekend. He then proceeded to add some worldwide flavor between his picks of Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic and Philadelphia 76ers maestro Ben Simmons, all first-time All-Stars as well.
James is the hero on Thursday.
Just as it looked like we were wrapping things up, James approached Antetokounmpo on a trade between Westbook for Simmons, which the three-time All-Star took him up on, making for the first-ever trade in All-Star Draft history. Last year wasn't televised, but fortunately, this year was, after James himself said it should be. "I'm going with my buddy, Dwyane Wade".
The last of the starters to get drafted was the Hornets' Kemba Walker, who will be playing in front of his home fans at Charlotte's Spectrum Center.
"Kevin Durant", Antetokounmpo said.
In a surprise move, the two captains then agreed to a trade, with James swapping Oklahoma City Thunder star Westbrook for Ben Simmons after the draft.
"I didn't have to lobby for it", Wade said.