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Paul George Fined $35,000 For Public Criticism Of Referees

Paul George has been fined $35,000 for public criticism of the officiating.

George made his comments to the media following the Clippers' 110-103 loss to the Philadelphia 76ers on Feb. 11 at Wells Fargo Center. The amount of George's fine also reflects his multiple prior violations of the rule prohibiting public criticism of the officiating.

Nicolò Melli Named As Injury Replacement For Rising Stars Game

Nicolò Melli has been added as an injury replacement for the Rising Stars Game at NBA All-Star Weekend. Melli, a native of Italy, will replace DeAndre Ayton (Bahamas) on Team World due to an ankle injury. Melli will join fellow Pelicans rookies Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Team World - Canada) and Zion Williamson (Team USA) in the Rising Stars Game, which will take place at the United Center on Friday, February 14 at 8:00 p.m.

Melli, 6-9, 235, has appeared in 42 games this season (six starts), averaging 6.1 points while shooting .373 from three-point range, ranking him 6th among rookies, 2.8 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Over his last 13 games, Melli is averaging 8.3 points on .532 shooting from the floor, including .478 from three-point range.

Prior to joining the Pelicans, Melli spent 12 years overseas, most recently playing for Fenerbahçe (Turkey). Melli has becomes the sixth player in team history to be named to the Rising Stars game, joining Alexander-Walker and Williamson this season, as well as Chris Paul, Anthony Davis and Buddy Hield.

Melli is 29 years old.

Wolves Haven’t Considered Firing Ryan Saunders

Glen Taylor hasn't considered firing Ryan Saunders as head coach of the Minnesota Timberwolves despite a disappointing season in which they had a 5-27 streak before the trade deadline.

Saunders is in the first season of his contract.

"No, no, no, he is hired," Taylor said. "A young guy and he is going to get better as time goes on and we just have to give him that time."

Taylor believes Minnesota's deadline acquisitions are a better fit for the roster.

"[Saunders] is excited about this change that now he has guys that can play the kind of basketball he wants," Taylor said. "He is really a believer in the three-point shot, moving the ball fast, and getting up and down the court. He needed some players that were better three-point shooters than what we had previously."

Devin Booker Named To 2020 All-Star Game As Injury Replacement

Devin Booker has been named by Adam Silver as an injury replacement to the 2020 All-Star Game for Damian Lillard. Booker will also replace Lillard in the Three-Point Contest.

Booker is averaging 26.4 points (10th in NBA) and 6.3 assists (19th) while shooting career bests of 49.6% from the field (30th) and 92.0% from the free throw line (2nd) in this his fifth season.

Booker's selection is the 63rd all-time for the Suns and first since Steve Nash in 2012.

Chinese Basketball Association To Resume Play On April 1st

The Chinese Basketball Association will resume games on April 1st, sources told Sportando.

The league indefinitely postponed games on January 30th due to the ongoing coronavirus epidemic.

There are approximately 40 American-born players in the CBA.

Mike Miller Could Remain With Knicks Outside Of Coaching Role

Mike Miller has impressed several members of the New York Knicks front office during his time as interim head coach, league sources told Ian Begley of SNY.

Miller could remain with the Knicks organization regardless of what happens during this summer's coaching search.

The Knicks are 13-20 under Miller, who took over following David Fizdale's firing.

The topic of Miller's future with the Knicks was re-ignited on Tuesday due to Steve Stoute's comments implying that the team will look for a new coach this offseason.

Damian Lillard Pulls Out Of All-Star Game With Strained Groin, Will Get MRI On...

Damian Lillard said he will miss the All-Star Game after straining his right groin during the Portland Trail Blazers' 111-104 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.

Terry Stotts added that Lillard will get an MRI on Thursday.

Lillard said he will also pull out of the 3-point shootout. Lillard was set to play for Team LeBron in the All-Star Game.

The Blazers next game is on February 21st against the Pelicans.

Magic ‘Tried Hard’ To Trade Aaron Gordon Before Deadline

The Orlando Magic had trade discussions involving Aaron Gordon ahead of the deadline last week. The Golden State Warriors were one of the teams engaged in talks as the Magic had interest in D'Angelo Russell during the 2019 offseason.

"They were trying, and they tried hard to get something done with him at the deadline," a source said of Gordon. "All that gets brought back into focus once the season is over and you have a good idea what the market is for him."

Gordon has not been trying to get traded as he's been content with the situation.

Gordon signed a four-year, $76 million contract with the Magic in 2018, but his fit with Jonathan Issac in the Orlando frontcourt is less than optimal.

The Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix Suns, Denver Nuggets and Dallas Mavericks are mentioned as three teams who could pursue a trade for Gordon in the offseason.

Kobe Bryant, Gianna Bryant Were Buried On Feb. 7 In Private Ceremony

Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna Bryant, were buried on Feb. 7 in a private ceremony.

The burial occurred at Pacific View Memorial Park, which is near the family's home in Orange County.

A public memorial service for Kobe and Gianna Bryant is planned for Feb. 24 at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Buddy Hield Could Request Trade From Kings If He Remains Out Of Starting Lineup

The Sacramento Kings replaced Buddy Hield in the starting lineup last month with Bogdan Bogdanovic.

Hield signed a four-year, $94 million extension with the Kings before the start of the season, but Bogdanovic will be a restricted free agent this offseason and the franchise would like to retain him.

A source with knowledge of Hield's thinking said he could request a trade if he remains displeased with his role. Hield is paid starter money and believes he should be a starter in the NBA.

Hield has already shown a willingness to be publicly critical of Luke Walton.

Bogdanovic is one of Hield's best friends on the team.

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