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Paul George to Replace DeMarcus Cousins in All-Star Game

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Oklahoma City Thunder forward Paul George has been named by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to replace injured New Orleans Pelicans center DeMarcus Cousins on Team LeBron in the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, which will be played on Sunday, Feb. 18 at Staples Center in Los Angeles (8 p.m. ET).

George earned his fifth All-Star selection and third in a row. In his first season with the Thunder after spending seven seasons with the Indiana Pacers, the 6-9 George is averaging 21.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.17 steals per game. He is shooting a career-high 42.6 percent from three-point range for Oklahoma City.

Cousins sustained a season-ending ruptured left Achilles tendon against the Houston Rockets on Jan. 26.  An All-Star selection for the fourth consecutive season, Cousins was voted to start and drafted to Team LeBron by captain LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Team LeBron head coach, determined by the best record in the Eastern Conference through games of Sunday, Feb. 4, will select the player to replace Cousins in the starting lineup.  Boston head coach Brad Stevens is ineligible to coach Team LeBron because he coached in last year’s All-Star Game.

Source: NBA

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Report: Magic Exercise Options on Markelle Fultz, Mo Bamba, Jonathan Isaac

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The Orlando Magic took a major step toward locking up their talented and promising young core for the foreseeable future on Monday.

By exercising their fourth-year option on forward Jonathan Isaac’s contract and their third-year options on contracts for center Mo Bamba and point guard Markelle Fultz, the Magic are now assured of having their young trio signed through the 2020-21 season. Isaac, Bamba and Fultz are all just 21 years old.

“Mo (Bamba), Markelle (Fultz) and Jonathan (Isaac) have each demonstrated a strong work ethic, while exhibiting a commitment to team values,’’ Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman said. “We look forward to exciting futures with them as part of the Magic family.’’

Source: Orlando Magic

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Report: Hasheem Thabeet to Workout with Knicks

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Former No. 2 pick Hasheem Thabeet is scheduled to participate in workouts with the Knicks in Westchester again this week, agent Jerry Dianis told SNY.

The Knicks may have an open spot for training camp, depending on what happens with Kris Wilkes. Wilkes had a 2-way agreement with the Knicks but, according to the New York Post, they may not end up having Wilkes on the roster.

It was first reported on Aug. 28 that Thabeet had been participating in informal 5-on-5 scrimmages alongside Knicks players, SNY learned more about the former No. 2 overall pick’s involvement with members of the team going forward.

Source: Colin Martin of SNY.tv

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Sources: NBA Sends Memo to Teams to Improve Tampering Compliance

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In an effort to prevent tampering, NBA sent memo to teams about improving compliance, @TheAthletic @Stadium has learned.

Memo proposes that a lead team ops member certify annually that it didn’t engage in impermissible free agency talks; max fine amounts raised significantly.

Source: Shams Charania on Twitter

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