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Rising Stars Challenge Players Announced

The NBA announced the rookies and sophomores who will be participating in the Rising Stars Challenge during the 2014 All-Star Weekend.

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The Philadelphia 76ers’ Michael Carter-Williams, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Anthony Davis and the Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lillard headline the list of 18 players selected for the 2014 BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge to be played Friday, Feb. 14, in New Orleans during NBA All-Star 2014.

Carter-Williams, the Kia NBA Eastern Conference Rookie of the Month for games played in October/November, leads all first year players in scoring (17.4 ppg), assists (6.7 apg), rebounding (5.6 apg) and steals (2.41 spg). Davis, the league leader in blocks (3.27 bpg), is averaging a double-double with 20.4 points and 10.4 rebounds. Lillard, the 2012-13 Kia NBA Rookie of the Year has the Trail Blazers near the top of the Western Conference standings thanks to averages of 20.6 points and 5.6 assists.

»In Related: NBA Team Salaries

The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge — televised live nationally on TNT at 9 p.m. ET and broadcast live on ESPN Radio, with live audio also available on NBA.com in multiple languages — features two teams each consisting of nine rookies and sophomores mixed together, drafted from a pool selected by the NBA’s assistant coaches.

Joining Davis and Lillard among sophomores selected to participate are the Golden State Warriors’ Harrison Barnes, the Washington Wizards’ Bradley Beal, the Detroit Pistons’ Andre Drummond, the Houston Rockets’ Terrence Jones, the Boston Celtics’ Jared Sullinger, the Toronto Raptors’ Jonas Valanciunas and the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Dion Waiters.

Carter-Williams is joined in the player pool by fellow rookies Steven Adams of the Oklahoma City Thunder, the Atlanta Hawks’ Pero Antic, the Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Utah Jazz’s Trey Burke, the New York Knicks’ Tim Hardaway, Jr., the Orlando Magic’s Victor Oladipo, the Boston Celtics’ Kelly Olynyk, and the Brooklyn Nets’ Mason Plumlee.

»In Related: NBA Rumor Round-Up: Suns Are Buyers

This marks the third straight year rookies and sophomores will be mixed together on teams. The BBVA Compass Rising Stars Challenge Draft is scheduled for Thursday, Feb. 6, televised exclusively on TNT at 7 p.m. ET. General Managers for the teams will be announced at a later date. Last year in Houston, Denver Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried scored 40 points (18-of-22 field goals) and added 10 rebounds en route to MVP honors as he led his team to a 163-135 win.

Following the announcement of each team on Feb. 6, fans will be able to vote online from both their computer and mobile device for the starters of each team. The starting lineups will be determined by the players garnering the top votes for their respective positions, with two backcourt and three frontcourt spots for each team. The announcement of the starting lineup will be made in broadcast and in-arena on the night of the game.

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Paul Millsap Returns to Practice, Return Still Unknown

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Denver Nuggets forward Paul Millsap on Wednesday returned to his first full practice since undergoing left wrist surgery in November. Although Millsap said it felt good to be back with his teammates, he stopped short of putting an exact date on when he’ll return to game action.

“Hopefully pretty soon,” Millsap told reporters, according to the Denver Post. “It feels good now. We’ll see how it feels in the morning or after [Thursday’s] practice, and we’ll go from there. My intention was to come right back after the All-Star break and get into it, but we have to be smart about it. This was my first practice today, full contact, and I have to be smart about my wrist and my body.”

Source: ESPN

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Mark Cuban Fined $600K for ‘Tanking’ Comments

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Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has been fined $600,000 by the NBA for saying his team should tank this season.

Cuban called tanking “brutal” but acknowledged that he told his team that it would be best to lose for the rest of the 2017-18 season. Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement that the fine was for “for public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

Source: ESPN

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LeBron on Potential Playoff Reseeding: ‘Let’s not get too crazy’

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Fresh off being named MVP of the NBA All-Star Game played in a reimagined format that seemingly reinvigorated the February festivities, LeBron James urged the league to pump the brakes when it comes to potential changes to the playoffs.

“It’s cool to mess around with the All-Star Game — we proved you can do that — but let’s not get too crazy about the playoffs,” James said after Cleveland Cavaliers practice Wednesday. “You have Eastern Conference and you have Western Conference. You have Eastern Conference champions, you have guys from the Eastern Conference that win the big dance and sometimes you have it from the West as well.”

Source: Dave McMenamin of ESPN

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