Australia’s Ben Simmons has become the first player ever traded during the NBA All-Star Draft after LeBron James lost it on live TV. During a last-minute trade request by James, Simmons ended up swapping after rival All-Star captain Giannis Antetokounmpo took the Aussie off the draft board.
James interrupted the broadcast to make a special appeal to Antetokounmpo to trade Simmons back onto his team in exchange for Russell Westbrook.
Simmons and James are close friends and share agent Rich Paul. Simmons was taken in Antetokounmpo’s third bench pick.
“S***,” he said as Antetokounmpo selected Simmons. “You took my guy. Now I have to go into shuffle mode now.”
Antetokounmpo cheekily replied: “I’m playing mind games.” Later, Antetokounmpo agreed to the trade because he knew Simmons was James’ “guy”.
WHAT WENT DOWN - The Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant was selected by James with the first overall pick in the 2019 NBA All-Star Draft. Golden State’s Stephen Curry was drafted by Antetokounmpo with the No. 2 overall pick. See below for the complete pick-by-pick results from the NBA All-Star Draft.
The 68th NBA All-Star Game will take place on Sunday, Feb. 17 at Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, airing live on TNT and ESPN Radio in the United States at 8 p.m. ET.
James and Antetokounmpo drafted the NBA All-Star Game team rosters from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves in each conference, making picks without regard to a player’s conference affiliation or position. Special All-Star roster additions Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Dwyane Wade of the Miami Heat were also selected in the draft.
For the second year in a row, both NBA All-Star Game teams will play for community-based organizations, with donations directed toward outreach efforts that benefit the All-Star host city. The winning team’s charity will receive a $350,000 donation from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), while the losing team’s organization will receive $150,000.
Team LeBron has selected to play for Right Moves for Youth, a school-based, dropout-prevention and student-support program in Charlotte that provides resources and guidance to help teenagers improve their school attendance, behavior and grades. Team Giannis has chosen to play for Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina, which aims to eliminate hunger by soliciting and distributing food and household items to people in need.