Wednesday’s roundup: All-Star Game returns to Charlotte

Associated Press

Charlotte, N.C. — The NBA All-Star Game is headed back to Charlotte in 2019, a couple of years later than anticipated.

The NBA announced the All-Star weekend will be held Feb. 15-17 in Charlotte and the game will be played at the Spectrum Center, home of the Charlotte Hornets.

The league had selected Charlotte to host the 2017 All-Star Game, but later moved the game to New Orleans because of the state law restricting the rights of LGBT people. However, a compromise was struck in March to partially erase the impact of the House Bill 2 law limiting anti-discrimination protections for lesbians, gays, bisexual and transgender people.

“While we understand the concerns of those who say the repeal of HB2 did not go far enough, we believe the recent legislation eliminates the most egregious aspects of the prior law,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a release.

“All venues, hotels and businesses we work with during All-Star will adhere to these policies as well.”

The NBA is the latest sports entity to return events to North Carolina; the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference also are bringing events back to the state after changes were made to the law.

The now-repealed House Bill 2 required transgender people to use restrooms corresponding to the sex on their birth certificates in many public buildings.

Hornets owner and longtime NBA great Michael Jordan said in a release he is “thrilled” the game is coming back to Charlotte.

Weltman takes over Magic

Jeff Weltman was perfectly content as the general manager of the Raptors two weeks ago.

He was working alongside someone he considers a close friend, the ownership was first rate and his family was enjoying life in Toronto. A call from Magic president Alex Martins, however, convinced the veteran NBA executive to step out of his comfort zone and accept the challenging task of rebuilding a struggling franchise.

Weltman was hired this week as the Magic’s new president of basketball operations and Wednesday was formally introduced by the team.

“I was not looking to leave Toronto, I was in a great situation,” said Weltman, who had been with the Raptors the last four seasons and was promoted to GM last September.

Weltman has already made his first major move in hiring former Bucks GM John Hammond to be the Magic’s general manager. Hammond and Weltman worked together with the Pistons.

Cavaliers look to advance

It took 10 games and halfway through the third round of the NBA playoffs before the Cavaliers finally encountered their first true dose of resistance this postseason.

After cruising to a 2-0 Eastern Conference finals lead over Boston, the Cavs were humbled at home in a Game 3 loss, and needed a 42-point night from Kyrie Irving to battle back from a 16-point hole and win Game 4.

The chatter about an NBA Finals’ matchup of two teams with unblemished playoff records is gone, but the challenge from the Celtics has sharpened the focus of the defending champs. Cleveland is expecting another unflinching effort in Game 5 from a Celtics team that isn’t backing down despite facing a 3-1 deficit in the series.

“The closeout game is always the hardest.and Boston is going to make it even harder,” said LeBron James, who rebounded from a playoff-low 11 points in Game 3 to score 34 in Game 4.

James had been saying he felt like the Cavs needed to go through some adversity.