The NBA announced the 2019 All-NBA Teams Thursday afternoon. The selections are much more than just recognition, though. They also dictate whether or not players are eligible for supermax extensions in the future.
2019 All-NBA Teams
The announcement came with a few surprises and a handful of potential snubs. Without further ado, here are the 2019 All-NBA selections.
All-NBA First Team
- Stephen Curry, G, Golden State Warriors
- James Harden, G, Houston Rockets
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, F, Milwaukee Bucks
- Paul George, F, Oklahoma City Thunder
- Nikola Jokic, C, Denver Nuggets
— NBA (@NBA) May 23, 2019
MVP finalists Giannis Antetokounmpo, James Harden, and Paul George earned first-team honors alongside Stephen Curry and Nikola Jokic. Voters selected Antetokounmpo and Harden unanimously.
Antetokounmpo, George, and Jokic are First Team selections for the first time in their careers, while Curry and Harden return to the list for the third and fifth times, respectively.
Jokic is the newest member of the elite group that can claim All-NBA status.
All-NBA Second Team
- Damian Lillard, G, Portland Trail Blazers
- Kyrie Irving, G, Boston Celtics
- Kevin Durant, F, Golden State Warriors
- Kawhi Leonard, F, Toronto Raptors
- Joel Embiid, C, Philadelphia 76ers
The argument that the second team is better than the first team has already made rounds on social media. Some consider Kevin Durant (nine All-NBA selections) the best player in the league, while Kawhi Leonard (three) is challenging that narrative. Joel Embiid (two) is arguably the most dominant big man in the game while Kyrie Irving (two) and Damian Lillard (four) fight for the title of second-best point guard in the league.
All-NBA Third Team
- Russell Westbrook, G, Oklahoma City Thunder
- Kemba Walker, G, Charlotte Hornets
- LeBron James, F, Los Angeles Lakers
- Blake Griffin, F, Detroit Pistons
- Rudy Gobert, C, Utah Jazz
LeBron James has now tied Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the most All-NBA selections in history with 15. James has claimed First Team honors 12 times, Second Team twice (2005, 2007), and now a Third Team spot. Voters have selected him to an All-NBA team every season since his rookie campaign (2003-04).
Russell Westbrook (eight) was also relegated to the Third Team for the first time in his career, despite nearly averaging a triple-double for the third-straight year. Kemba Walker notched his first-ever All-NBA selection after eight seasons in the league.
The All-NBA team determines which players are eligible for a supermax extension. Without diving into NBAPA jargon, if a player is named to an All-NBA team in the season prior to their contract expiring, they can get a boatload of money. This also applies if a player is selected to two All-NBA teams over the final three years of their contracts. However, if a player leaves in free agency or gets traded after their rookie deal expires, they are ineligible for a supermax extension.
The biggest winners are the players that can now ink a supermax deal in the near future. Antetokounmpo fits the bill, and could potentially sign the biggest contract in NBA history next summer, a five-year deal worth $247 million.
— NBA The Jump Fanpage (@NBATheJumpFP) May 23, 2019
Walker is now eligible to make an extra $80 million if offered the supermax by the Charlotte Hornets, while Lillard can now sign either a four- or five- year extension worth either $190 million or $250 million, respectively.
A few notable snubs include Klay Thompson (who found out during an interview), Karl-Anthony Towns, and Bradley Beal. None of the three will be eligible for supermax extensions during their next contract negotiations.
LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 18: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of Team Stephen goes for the lay up in the third quarter, during the 2018 NBA All-Star Game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, California on February 18, 2018. (Photo by Philip Pacheco/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)