Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden have been named to a staggering 27 combined NBA All-Star Games. But when this year’s event tips off Sunday in Atlanta (8 p.m., TNT), not one of the Nets’ Big 3 will be taking it for granted.
For the superstar trio, being All-Stars may be old hat, but it never gets old.
“For the All-Star Game, that’s always a blessing,” Harden said. “That means you’re doing something right. That means you’re playing extremely well up to that point. You never want to take opportunities like that for granted. So I’m blessed. I’m fortunate to be a part of my ninth All-Star Game.”
Playing well might be an understatement. Harden leads the league in assists through the first half of the season and has thrust himself into the MVP conversation. His string of nine straight All-Star berths — dating to 2013 — is the second-longest active streak in the NBA, behind only Lakers star LeBron James’ 17 in a row.
Durant — the leading vote getter in the Eastern Conference, despite being sidelined with a left hamstring strain — has been named an All-Star for the 11th time, each of the last 11 seasons he has played. He drafted and will captain Team Durant, choosing Irving with his first available pick from the starters in the first round, and tapping Harden from the pool of reserves with the top pick in the second.
Irving will be an All-Star for the seventh time, but he’s not taking it for granted.
“Well, first off, I’m really grateful that I have the support not only from the community that I come from but communities all over to be able to vote my teammates in,” Irving said. “We just want to always put on a great performance after we take the hours to go home and work on our craft, and then we get selected of the best of the best in the world. So that honor doesn’t just go over my head.”
This marks the first time in the Nets’ NBA history they’ve ever had three All-Stars. They are the first trio from any Eastern Conference team to be picked since Irving joined Cavaliers teammates James and Kevin Love in 2017. (That triumvirate were reigning NBA champs, and went back to the Finals that year.)
“Like I said in the beginning of the season, I know how much I care about being validated culturally, just my culture in terms of the hooping culture,” Irving said. “That’s where I came from, the NBA culture in terms of the fanatic and all the awards and accolades, they mean a lot, too.
“But I do it for the love, so anytime I get a chance to do it on a bigger stage in front of millions of people, I’m going to take full advantage of that. All glory to God for the talent that he’s given me. And then, we have fun just building camaraderie as a brotherhood in the NBA and the All-Star Game. So it’s fun.”
The Nets transferred two-way forward Reggie Perry to Brooklyn from G-League affiliate Long Island. He played in all 15 of Long Island’s games in Orlando, averaging 18.1 points on 52.1 percent shooting and a team-high 8.9 rebounds.
That won’t impact a potential signing of Blake Griffin, or a move by the March 25 trade deadline or the April 9 buyout market. All three 10-day contracts — Tyler Cook, Andre Roberson and Iman Shumpert — expire over the weekend, but with play not resuming until March 11, there’s no rush to re-sign any of them.
Sunday is the last day to make changes on two-ways (and the deals becoming guaranteed), so the Nets must make a decision on point guard Chris Chiozza.