OKLAHOMA CITY — Carmelo Anthony is a fan of the NBA's new All-Star Game format.
The league will change All-Star this year, getting away from Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference and replacing it with a system that appoints the top two vote-getters as captains who can choose their own teams from the All-Star pool. It’s the same thing as when a group shows up to the playground and two guys draft teams.
The NBA, however, has indicated the draft might actually not be televised. Anthony is for that.
“If that’s what’s going on, I don’t think you should televise that,” he said. “I think that’s something you should keep in house. I don’t think everybody, the outside world needs to kind of be on the inside of that.”
Anthony is, though, excited to see what exactly could go down with the personalities involved in picking teams, a change the NBA made in order to spark some more competition in a game that’s been mostly lackadaisical during recent seasons.
“The flip side of that, you’ll have a lot of players that’s kind of mad at whoever the captains are. Guys are going to be mad, guys are going to be upset. Friendships could come into to play,” he said. “But I think it’s a fun thing to do.
"I think it’s time that you've got to switch it up. It’s time that you've got to figure it out for the All-Star Game, bring back that excitement — not just for the weekend, but for the game itself. They’re going to try it. If it works, then they came up with a hell of an idea.”
• Playing it smart: Anthony has branded himself in a few versatile ways. Probably the most well-known is with a hashtag: #StayMe7o.
He’s certainly stayed true to that — even when his teammate, Russell Westbrook, got a little handsy with Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valanciunas during Wednesday’s 124-107 Thunder win. Westbrook and Valanciunas started swiping at each other as Anthony was laying on his back, hands behind his head by the bench. As the drama started to ensue, he ticked his head up a tad and swiveled to a better angle for him to watch the action.
He never left his back. Maybe a younger Anthony wouldn’t have been so mellow.
“Yeah, maybe,” Anthony, who once played a central figure during a brawl at Madison Square Garden, said. “I still wanted to be in the middle of it, but it was a little bit too late. I was laying down. I saw it. Nothing was really going to happen. So, keep my money.”
• Another trip: The Thunder have assigned rookie wing Terrance Ferguson to the Oklahoma City Blue, the team announced Thursday.
Ferguson has previously played two games with OKC’s G League affiliate, but both have been at home. The Thunder have been able to recall him in time for NBA games. With the Blue on the road now, scheduled to play in Salt Lake City on Friday, he will miss Friday’s Thunder game against the Milwaukee Bucks.
Katz is the Thunder beat writer for the Norman Transcript and CNHI Oklahoma as well as the host of the postgame show, Thunder After Dark, and the OKC Dream Team, a weekly Thunder podcast that runs every Tuesday. Follow him on Twitter: @FredKatz.