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The National Basketball Association and the N.B.A. Players Association have agreed to televise the playground-style draft in which two captains will select their squads for the 2019 All-Star Game in Charlotte, N.C., according to two people familiar with the plans.
A firm date for the televised draft has not yet been established, but Jan. 30 and 31 have emerged as two potential targets for a TNT broadcast, according to the people, who were not authorized to discuss the plans publicly. The schedule availability of the two captains, once they are identified through fan balloting, is among the variables needed to lock in the broadcast specifics.
The league introduced the new All-Star format last season, in which the five starters from the Eastern and Western Conferences continue to be selected via fan balloting, but the leading vote-getter in each conference selects the other 11 players on his squad without being required to adhere to conference affiliation.
For last season’s game in Los Angeles, LeBron James (then of the Cleveland Cavaliers) and Golden State’s Stephen Curry were named team captains and picked their rosters in private. Many of their selections ultimately leaked out, but the league received criticism — even from some of the All-Stars themselves — for not making the whole process more transparent.
After the 2018 All-Star Game, in which Team LeBron claimed a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen at Staples Center, Adam Silver, the commissioner of the N.B.A., told ESPN Radio: “When we sat with the union and we came up with this format, we all agreed, let’s not turn something that’s 100 percent positive into a potential negative to any player.
“But then, maybe we’re overly conservative because then we came out of there, and the players were: ‘We can take it. We’re All-Stars. Let’s have a draft.’ So it sounds like we’re going to have a televised draft next year.”