Good morning to everyone but especially to...
THE NBA ALL-STAR RESERVES
After the starters were announced last week, the reserves for the NBA All-Star Game have arrived. Here's who's rounding out the list of participants:
- Guards: Jrue Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Ja Morant
- Frontcourt: Joel Embiid, Julius Randle, Bam Adebayo, Domantas Sabonis, Lauri Markkanen, Jaren Jackson Jr.
- Wildcard: DeMar DeRozan, Tyrese Haliburton, Damian Lillard, Paul George
Here are some more notes:
- Haliburton, Jackson, Gilgeous-Alexander and Markkanen are all first-time selections.
- The Bucks, Nets, Celtics and Grizzlies are the only teams with multiple selections.
- Holiday waited a decade between his first selection and his second. He made his All-Star Game debut in 2013 as a member of the 76ers.
It's also worth noting the rosters probably aren't quite set yet. Starters Kevin Durant and Zion Williamson may not play due to injury. Commissioner Adam Silver will name replacements, if needed.
The captains -- LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo -- will pick their teams on the day of the game, Feb. 19.
- Derek Carr won the Pro Bowl Precision Passing challenge and took a friendly shot at the Raiders. The AFC has the early lead overall.
- Here's who Madden NFL 23 says will win the Super Bowl.
- Courtney Vandersloot is the latest addition to an absolutely loaded Liberty roster.
And not such a good morning for...
THE NBA ALL-STAR GAME SNUBS
Listen, the All-Star Game selection process is never perfect. It can't be. There are bound to be snubs, and this year was no exception. And that starts with the Knicks, who got one selection... but not the right one, says our Brad Botkin.
- Botkin: "Randle has been very good. This isn't a knock on him or the season he's having. This is about how much Jalen Brunson has changed this Knicks team. Brunson is one of just two players averaging at least 22 points and six assists on at least 39-percent 3-point shooting. The other is an All-Star starter, and his name is Stephen Curry. ... For my money, I would have taken Brunson over both Holiday and DeRozan as well."
Brunson only added to his case Thursday night as the Knicks barely held on for a win over the Heat, writes our Sam Quinn. As for another clutch point guard who got snubbed, De'Aaron Fox not making it might have been even worse, Brad writes.
- Botkin: "This is egregious. Fox has been so great all season. Not relative to his own past standards; relative to just about everyone. To suggest he hasn't been one of the 12 best players in the conference this season is nothing more than confirmation that you haven't been watching."
To see all of our snubs, click here.
Not so honorable mentions
- Aaron Rodgers seems to have ruled out one potential destination.
- Joe Mixon is facing an arrest warrant.
- Giants safety Julian Love took some shots at Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni... who beat the Giants three times this year.
- Luka Doncic suffered a heel contusion.
- Donovan Mitchell and Dillon Brooks both got ejected after a scuffle.
Dolphins hire Vic Fangio as defensive coordinator 🏈
After a dramatic courtship by several teams, Vic Fangio has finally decided on his next destination: defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins.
- Last week, reports emerged that Fangio, 64, was going to take the Miami job. However, he said he was still talking to other teams, including the Falcons and Panthers.
- Fangio is somewhat of a defensive mastermind, with 10 top-10 scoring defenses to his name. Even though he went just 19-30 as head coach of the Broncos, his teams had top-10 scoring defenses two of his three seasons.
- Fangio is currently a consultant for the Eagles, who were second in total defense and eighth in scoring defense this year.
Miami, meanwhile, is coming off an underwhelming year defensively, despite investing heavily in that side of the ball. Fangio should be able to put the pieces together, and his hiring could be the Dolphins' biggest move this offseason, writes our Cody Benjamin.
- Benjamin: "If anyone can elevate the Dolphins 'D,' it figures to be Fangio. ... The top edge rushers are Jaelan Phillips, who's just 23 with 15.5 sacks and 41 quarterback hits in two years, and Bradley Chubb, an old Fangio pupil who's just 26 with an All-Pro ceiling. The interior is anchored by Christian Wilkins, 27, one of the NFL's steadiest and most durable. And the secondary, damaged by injuries in 2022, boasts a proven cover man in Xavien Howard as well as a sterling young safety duo in Jevon Holland and Brandon Jones."
Breanna Stewart, Brittney Griner leading charge for huge WNBA change ✈️
Two of the WNBA's biggest stars may be the reason for a big change in the league soon.
This offseason, Breanna Stewart capped a whirlwind free agency by joining the Liberty, and Brittney Griner at long last returned home after months in Russian custody and then announced she plans on playing this season for the Mercury.
Here's where the issue comes in: Griner may need to fly private due to security concerns. Should the whole team fly private, it would break the WNBA's competitive balance rules -- the same rules the Liberty violated last season when owners Joe and Clara Wu Tsai provided charter flights. They were fined a league-record $500,000.
That's where Stewart has now stepped in, too. During her much-followed free agency, Stewart tweeted, "I would love to be part of a deal that helps subsidize charter travel for the entire WNBA." NBA stars such as Ja Morant and Kyrie Irving voiced their support, too, as did UConn star Paige Bueckers.
The issue, of course, is money. Our Isabel Gonzalez explored this complex issue -- and potential solutions -- here.
Brevin Galloway turns NSFW injury into NIL deal 😬
Last week, Clemson guard Brevin Galloway suffered a very unfortunate injury. I won't go into too much detail -- he did that himself, in very NSFW fashion, if you must know -- but the medical term is "testicular torsion." He went to the hospital for emergency surgery, and things have somewhat returned to normal.
Now he's getting some help in his recovery from an unexpected source: Galloway signed an NIL deal with men's underwear brand Shinesty. The press release is hilarious. Any time someone tells you NIL is bad, point to this exact story. And who knows? If Galloway can return soon and keep the Tigers in the NCAA Tournament field, it will have been well worth it for both sides.
What we're watching this weekend 📺
🏈 We're watching the Pro Bowl Games.
🏒 We're watching the NHL All-Star Game.
⚽ We're watching Serie A on Paramount+.
🏀 Suns at Celtics, 7:30 p.m. on NBA TV
🏀 Boise State at No. 22 San Diego State, 9 p.m. on FS1
🏀 No. 8 Kansas at No. 13 Iowa State, Noon on ESPN
🏀 No. 25 Auburn at No. 2 Tennessee, 2 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 1 Purdue at No. 21 Indiana, 4 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 10 Texas at No. 7 Kansas State, 4 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 Lakers at Pelicans, 6 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 North Carolina at Duke, 6:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 Mavericks at Warriors, 8:30 p.m. on ABC
🏀 No. 12 Gonzaga at No. 18 Saint Mary's, 10:30 p.m. on ESPN
🏀 No. 1 South Carolina at No. 5 UConn, Noon on FOX
🏀 No. 10 Ohio State at No. 8 Maryland, 4 p.m. on ESPN2
🏀 76ers at Knicks, 6 p.m. on ESPN