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All-NBA Teams Announced Thursday - This Is Sports Zone
 
 

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James has been named to the All-NBA first team for a record-tying 11th time, and Houston’s James Harden is the lone player to be a unanimous first-team selection this season. James matches the mark set by Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone. Joining Harden and James on the first team were Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans’ Anthony Davis. James and Westbrook each got 99 of a possible 100 first-team votes. Harden made the first team for the third time. Westbrook, Leonard and Davis are now two-time first-teamers. Leonard was a first-teamer on 96 ballots, second-team on three and third-team on one.

Golden State’s Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were second-team choices, joined by Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Boston’s Isaiah Thomas. The third All-NBA team includes Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Golden State’s Draymond Green, Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan, Washington’s John Wall and the Clippers’ DeAndre Jordan. All three teams have two guards, two forwards and one center.

Harden and Westbrook were runaway choices at guard, James and Leonard were easy picks at forward. Davis barely held off Gobert for the first-team center spot, finishing with 343 points to Gobert’s 339. Davis appeared on 95 of the 100 ballots; Gobert appeared on 91.

The three most glaring omissions to the teams are Golden State’s Klay Thompson, Indiana’s Paul George, and Utah’s Gordon Heyward, and in the case of the later two, their absence will have financial ramifications. Now, both George and Heyward are ineligible for the new Designated Player Extension, which would have given their team the ability to offer approximately $75 million more to an extension than any other team. Hayward has a $16.7 million player option for next season, which he is now more likely to decline than had he made the team. In George’s case, he could still be eligible if he makes the All-NBA team next season, but given the uncertainty, it may make the Pacers more likely to trade him this offseason if they feel he will not resign.

With their selections, both Harden and Wall now qualify for the Designated Player Extension, joining Curry and Westbrook, who had made the team the two previous seasons. Harden and Wall are eligible to bypass free agency in 2019 and add four years and approximately $160 million to their contracts. Harden has an option to be a free agent in two years, and Wall’s contract expires at the same time. If their teams make the offer and they agree, they can commit to stay until 2024. Meanwhile, both Curry and Westbrook can re-sign for five years and approximately $210 million under the new rules.

Harden and Westbrook both signed contract extensions last summer — Westbrook added one year to his contract; Harden added two. The players’ union and the owners worked out a special dispensation that allows them to sign new extensions this summer, which otherwise would not have been allowed. The new rules are designed to help teams keep their franchise player after Kevin Durant left the Thunder to sign with the Warriors last year.

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