Charlotte Hornets point guard Kemba Walker could be an All-Star after all.
With the Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love suffering a broken hand, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will name a substitute for Love among Eastern Conference players to fill out the roster for the All-Star Game Feb. 18 in Los Angeles. Walker, a first-time All-Star last season, could be in contention for that spot.
Silver has already filled a spot for an Eastern Conference player; Washington Wizards guard John Wall, who will have surgery on his left knee, is out six to eight weeks, so Silver named Detroit Pistons center Andre Drummond as Wall’s All-Star replacement.
Silver has final authority to pick All-Star substitutes. Among viable possibilities: The Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic, the Philadelphia 76ers’ Ben Simmons and Walker. Perhaps, though this is a long shot, Hornets center Dwight Howard is a possibility, based on his productivity this season.
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Walker’s statistics are impressive: He averages 22.1 points, 5.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds. However, it would work against Walker that the Hornets are nine games below .500 at 20-29, while Dragic’s Heat and Simmons’ 76ers both have winning records and would qualify for the playoffs had the regular season ended Thursday.
Silver is under no obligation to replace a frontcourt player with another frontcourt player.
It’s likely Silver will act quickly in extending an invitation to another player to replace Love. The Hornets have a week off from games for the All-Star break, and typically players make vacation plans, so there is a sense of urgency to get a commitment to replace an injured All-Star.
Currently, the Hornets have no representative in the All-Star Weekend activities, which include a Rising Stars game (for players in their first or second NBA season), a Saturday-night skills competition, and the Sunday All-Star Game at Staples Center.
Bonnell: 704-358-5129: @rick_bonnell