Kevin Durant headlines All-NBA teams; Paul George's selection triggers $7M bonus
The 2014 All-NBA teams were revealed on Wednesday, with reigning MVP Kevin Durant as the sole unanimous selection for the first team. Heat forward LeBron James, who was also selected to the All-NBA first team, received one fewer first-team vote.
Joining Durant and James on the All-NBA first team are Houston's James Harden, Chicago's Joakim Noah and the L.A. Clippers' Chris Paul. This was the first time Noah was elected to any of the three All-NBA teams and the first time that Harden had been chosen for the first team. San Antonio's Tim Duncan and the L.A. Lakers' Kobe Bryant (who missed almost all of the season with injury) were not selected to the first team after claiming that honor last year.
The All-NBA third team was headlined by Pacers forward Paul George, Blazers forward LaMarcus Aldridge, Bobcats center Al Jefferson, Suns guard Goran Dragic and Blazers guard Damian Lillard. Of all of this year's All-NBA selections, Jefferson and Dragic were the only players chosen not to make the All-Star team.
Selecting candidates among this year's crop of forwards was especially tough. Among those forwards who did not make the cut were Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki, San Antonio's Duncan, New York's Carmelo Anthony and New Orleans' Anthony Davis. In The Point Forward's own All-NBA selections, Duncan (2nd, C) and Nowitzki (3rd, F) made the team while George and Jefferson did not.
The positional designations used for the All-NBA ballot (guard, forward and center) appear to have created a bit of a crunch, leading some voters to slot natural forwards at other positions. Durant received votes as both a guard and a forward, as did James and George. Love, Aldridge and Duncan all received votes as both forwards and centers. Other voters, meanwhile, filled out their ballots strictly according to listed position. Clinging to what in many cases is an arbitrary distinction is a voting issue in itself worth addressing, but the greater problem is voting inconsistency. All voters for the award need to understand whether they are allowed to bend positional rules or not, and if so the league should then consider what value those positional designations offer in the first place.
That George was selected to an All-NBA team has practical implications for the Pacers. With his second All-NBA selection during the life of his rookie-scale contract (George was also selected to the All-NBA third team in 2013), the 24-year-old swingman is now eligible to receive a more lucrative contract. The first-year salary of George's extension (which has already been signed and kicks in next season) can technically be valued up to 30 percent of the 2014-15 adjusted salary cap as opposed to the standard 25 percent.
George and the Pacers have already struck a compromise that he will take 27 percent of the cap on his new deal, according to Grantland's Zach Lowe, which should translate to a difference of about $1.2 million in 2014-15 salary and roughly $7 million over the life of the contract. In exchange for leaving that three percent on the table, George was given a team option for the final year of his extension (2018-19), per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com. The specifics of George's pay raise are especially pertinent in Indiana's efforts to re-sign Lance Stephenson, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer and could demand the kind of salary that would push the Pacers into the luxury tax.
Similarly, as outlined by Dan Feldman of ProBasketballTalk, Noah's selection to the All-NBA first team very nearly pushed the Bulls into luxury tax territory. Had the Jazz not claimed former Bulls big man Erik Murphy off of waivers or had Taj Gibson made first team All-Defense, Chicago would likely be set to pay the tax. Instead, Noah's $500,000 bonus for making the All-NBA first team should bring the Bulls closer to the luxury tax threshold but not over it.
Other players who received All-NBA votes, along with their corresponding point totals: Carmelo Anthony, New York, 86 (1 First Team vote); John Wall, Washington, 70; Tim Duncan, San Antonio, 63 (1); DeMar DeRozan, Toronto, 56; Anthony Davis, New Orleans, 40 (1); Dirk Nowitzki, Dallas, 37 (1); Russell Westbrook, Oklahoma City, 32 (1); Kyle Lowry, Toronto, 29; DeAndre Jordan, L.A. Clippers, 21; Roy Hibbert, Indiana, 17; Marc Gasol, Memphis, 16 (2); DeMarcus Cousins, Sacramento, 14 (1); Kyrie Irving, Cleveland, 7; Dwyane Wade, Miami, 6; Mike Conley, Memphis, 4; Serge Ibaka, Oklahoma City, 4; Zach Randolph, Memphis, 4; Joe Johnson, Brooklyn, 4; Lance Stephenson, Indiana, 3; Ty Lawson, Denver, 2; Paul Millsap, Atlanta, 2; Chris Bosh, Miami, 1; Andre Drummond, Detroit, 1; Monta Ellis, Dallas, 1; Kawhi Leonard, San Antonio, 1.
The All-NBA teams were selected by a panel of 125 sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the United States and Canada.
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