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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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2018 NBA Draft Diary

Sources: Kawhi Leonard ‘irate’ with Spurs

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San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich traveled Tuesday to Southern California and met with Kawhi Leonard prior to Thursday’s NBA draft, league sources told ESPN.

Leonard had told confidants that he did not want to sit down with Popovich and has been purposely difficult for the Spurs to reach recently. Among the issues, Leonard is angry over what he believes was the Spurs’ mishandling of his quad injury, and he remains irate with public comments from teammate Tony Parker and Popovich that he felt were not supportive of him, league sources said.

So far, the Spurs have been largely reluctant to give teams guidance on the players, or packages, that would interest them in trades, sources said.

Sources: Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

Sources: 76ers Interested in Moving into Top 5

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As Jeremy alludes to, the Sixers are indeed continuing calls about moving into the Top 5. They have offered packages of picks, but have thus far rebuked including oft-mentioned Robert Covington and Dario Saric, per sources.

Source: Jake Fischer on Twitter

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2018 NBA Draft Diary

Sources: Trae Young Had ‘secret workout’ with Cavaliers Saturday

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Source: Trae Young conducted a secret workout with the Cavs on Saturday. If Michael Porter is gone, it seems to be a toss-up at the moment between Young and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for Cleveland at #8. We’ve given Shai the nod in our latest mock today:

Source: Jonathan Givony on Twitter

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