NBA All-Star Weekend Is Not All Fun And Games

Technical Fouls Lakers Referee Andrew Bynum NBA Basketball

Photo: AP Images

Ah, All-Star Weekend. It’s like an oasis, coming between the dog days of the NBA season and the part where things start to matter.It’s a tropical paradise, between the rocky waters of trade rumours and the trade deadline itself, which can either bring real upheaval or fizzle in a false panic.

Players party, journalists hang out, and everybody takes a much-needed yoga breath before the season begins in earnest.

That’s a nice fantasy. How’s this awful, smelly dose of reality: With some time off, moves and meetings happen like never before; players clumped together means the media is in hog heaven, whether looking for a chance to speak to anyone and everyone at once, or bring up league wide issues that everyone has to answer for. Yup, a real holiday.

For the NBA viewer, it’s a national holiday (well, for some viewers, at least). For everybody else, it might as well be the NBA’s hot stove, with regular trips to parties and clubs thrown in, to boot.

And verily, no one shall be spared. The Lakers, one of the league’s mightiest franchises, hosts to the game, and (despite some mid season bumps) a powerhouse gunning for their third title in a row, are going to be harassed all weekend about their second half. Last night, at the unveiling of the new Jerry West statue, GM Mitch Kupchak had to give the following equivocal statement on his team’s personnel plans. From

“I think it’s unlikely [the Lakers make a trade]” Kupchak said. “But there’s eight days to go. All of the general managers are here in Los Angeles this weekend, and there will be a lot of yapping. There will be a lot of guys moving off to the side, and there will be a lot of phone calls. … I stand by what I said, that it’s unlikely, but I don’t think any general manager can stand here and say there will be absolutely no changes in eight days, in particular at this time of year.”

So there you go. Just one big celebration of the game under the Hollywood sign. We can only imagine what the weekend labour meetings may do to the atmosphere.

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