All-Star Notes: Holiday soaking up experience

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All-Star Notes: Holiday soaking up experience

HOUSTON -- Jrue Holiday sat at a table wide-eyed and smiling as he answered all questions lobbed his way.

“It is crazy,” Holiday said of dealing with the All-Star media wave. “All the attention that you get is kind of overwhelming. You get in there with the guys like LeBron (James) and KG (Kevin Garnett), who has been here 15 years straight. It is cool to see how they handle it and react to it. I am just trying to soak it all in.”

Holiday was named to his first time All-Star team as a reserve. There was a chance that he could have been in Sunday’s starting lineup with Rajon Rondo sidelined by an injury. However, Eastern Conference and Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra tabbed his own Chris Bosh to start the game.

Kobe still on top of his game
While Holiday is in town for his first All-Star appearance, Kobe Bryant is going through the experience for a 15th time.

The throng of media that have wanted to talk to the Lakers superstar has not waned one bit over the year, which amazes even Bryant.

“The level of consistency that I have had throughout the years is very humbling,” Bryant said. “It feels good to have that. I mean, I never thought that in my 15th year that they would vote me in this much. That says something about them wanting to see an old dog out there running around, but it is a really good feeling to have that.”

Despite still playing at an elite level, Bryant didn’t hesitate when dismissing any notions of him playing again on an international stage such as the Olympics.

“I am done,” he said.

When asked about knowing when it will be time to leave the NBA, Bryant didn’t give a date but he has a definite plan.

“I think you just know. You just know,” he said. “If I want to just walk away, I will just walk away. I think it is something that you just feel and decide, and it’s coming.”

Bryant talks Bynum
Bryant’s time to leave may be coming, but what about the debut of his former teammate, Andrew Bynum, wearing a Sixers uniform?

“A lot of it is luck,” Bryant said of staying healthy in the NBA. “I have been really, really fortunate to not have anything serious happen to me. I have had a couple minor procedures, but they weren’t serious.

“You have to have a little luck with injury and hopefully he can get right and get healthy, because he is a hell of a player.”

Bynum played seven seasons alongside Bryant with the Los Angeles Lakers. Bryant saw Bynum grow into a dominant center and a post presence that helped the team win a championship in 2010. That growth hit a high mark last season when Bynum averaged career highs in points (18.7) and rebounds (11.8).

Bryant’s message to the many disappointed Sixers fans is simply to hang in there.

“He is a phenomenal talent. Extremely, extremely skilled,” Bryant stressed.

“I feel like anything that comes out of Kobe’s mouth is respected,” Holiday said. “I feel like he pays his dues, but when he does it means a lot. Knowing how good Andrew is and how good he can be, obviously gives me a lot of hope.”

NBA Notes: Trail Blazers trade Allen Crabbe to Nets for Andrew Nicholson

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NBA Notes: Trail Blazers trade Allen Crabbe to Nets for Andrew Nicholson

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Portland Trail Blazers have traded Allen Crabbe to the Brooklyn Nets in exchange for forward Andrew Nicholson.

The deal, first reported by ESPN, comes a year after the Nets offered Crabbe a four-year, $75 million deal as a restricted free agent. The Trail Blazers matched that offer.

A 6-foot-6 wing, Crabbe averaged 10.7 points, 2.9 rebounds and 1.2 assists last season in Portland. He hit 44.4 percent of his 3-pointers.

"Allen has been a model teammate on the court and ambassador for the organization off the court," Blazers President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey said in a statement. "He will be missed by all of us who shared the last four seasons with him" (see full story).

Warriors: Curry’s 5-year, $201 million deal finalized
OAKLAND, California -- Stephen Curry has delivered his share of success already to a franchise that desperately needed it. Now, he's being paid for all he has done -- and certainly will do.

Curry finalized his new contract on Tuesday, signing a $201 million, five-year deal with the champion Golden State Warriors that initially was the richest ever, until James Harden topped it with a $228 million extension from the Houston Rockets.

Considered overlooked and undersized when he arrived on the NBA scene after being drafted seventh overall out of Davidson College in 2009, Curry has silenced the doubters with every spot-on heave from half-court.

The two-time NBA MVP, who earned $12 million this season as one of the league's biggest bargains, averaged 28.1 points in the playoffs while also contributing 6.7 assists and 6.2 rebounds. Now, he will earn $40 million per season.

"Just happy to be a leader on this team that can understand the goals that we set out for ourselves and try to get it done the best way we could," Curry said immediately after the Game 5 title clincher in the NBA Finals last month (see full story).

Pelicans: Davis tired of losing, ready for results
NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis says a New Orleans Pelicans are "tired of losing" and have the roster to do something about it.

That is, if they can find a new offensive scheme that suits their mixture of incumbent starters and recent acquisitions.

"We can't wait for the season to come and try to make some noise here in the loaded West," Davis said Tuesday afternoon while promoting a youth camp he'll host in early August.

"We're doing everything, whether it's signing players, trading players ... whatever it is to just try to make sure that we try to be a winning organization," he added. "We have the tools right now to be successful. ... Right now, I think we look good on paper. So we've just got to figure it out" (see full story).

Magic: Afflalo returning to team on 1-year deal
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Orlando Magic have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with veteran guard Arron Afflalo.

The Magic and Afflalo came to agreement on Tuesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.

Afflalo averaged 8.4 points and shot 41 percent on 3-pointers last season for Sacramento. The 12-year veteran was a standout performer for the Magic for two seasons earlier in his career, from 2012-13 through 2013-14.

For his career, Afflalo has averaged 11.3 points and 3.0 rebounds for six different teams.

ESPN first reported the agreement.

Joel Embiid among several NBA players to participate in Basketball without Borders

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Joel Embiid among several NBA players to participate in Basketball without Borders

Joel Embiid is giving back, joining several NBA players for the Basketball without Borders camp in Africa.

The NBA and FIBA will host 80 boys and girls ages 17 and under from 26 African countries, including Embiid's native Cameroon. It'll be the 15th edition of Basketball without Borders.

The camp will be held from Aug. 2 to Aug. 5 at the American International School of Johannesburg, culminating with the NBA Africa Game 2017 at the Ticketpro Dome in Johannesburg, South Africa. The exhibition pits Team Africa, which includes players born in Africa and second-generation African players, against players from the rest of the world.

It's already been announced that Embiid is on the roster, but not playing, for Team Africa. Embiid, 23, missed the final 37 games of the 2016-17 season with a knee injury. His first NBA season came after he missed the first two years of his career with a foot injury.

There will be a heavy local vibe at BWB this year. Embiid will be joined by assistant coach Lloyd Pierce as well as former Sixers Bruce Bowen, Elton Brand and fellow Cameroonian Luc Mbah a Moute. Philly native Kyle Lowry and Chester native Rondae Hollis-Jefferson will also be there. 

Future Hall of Famer Dirk Nowitzki and budding star Kristaps Porzingis will also be among the players on hand.