NEW YORK -- For Cleveland's LeBron James, there was history.
For Houston's James Harden, there was affirmation.
And for Indiana's Paul George and Utah's Gordon Hayward, a chance at signing contracts exceeding $200 million this summer is gone.
James and Harden headlined the All-NBA first team that was unveiled by the league on Thursday. James made the first team for a record-tying 11th time, matching the mark set by Kobe Bryant and Karl Malone. And Harden was the only player to be unanimously selected by a global panel of sportswriters and broadcasters as a first-teamer this year, returning to that group for the third time in the last four seasons.
Joining James and Harden on the first team were Oklahoma City's Russell Westbrook, San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and New Orleans' Anthony Davis. Westbrook, Leonard and Davis all are first-teamers for the second time.
Harden was not an All-NBA team pick last season, after averaging 29 points, 7.5 rebounds and 6.1 assists, which prompted Rockets general manager Daryl Morey to tweet his reaction.
"Happy (at)James Harden was able to bounce back from his tough 29/8/6 performance last season to prove again he is one of the 15 best NBA players," Morey wrote.
James and Westbrook were on 99 first-team ballots, and second-team on the lone other. Leonard was a first-teamer on 96 ballots, second-team on three and third-team on one (see full story).
Jazz: GM focused on retaining own players
SALT LAKE CITY -- The Utah Jazz took the long stride from lottery team to the No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoffs this season but general manager Dennis Lindsey knows significant hurdles remain before the team becomes a true contender.
His first priority is making sure the Jazz are able to retain key players.
"Player retention would be the next step," Lindsey said Thursday. "Player development. A strategic add that can complement the group where there's just a really good fit. Whether that fit is mentality, experience or skill-set."
The Jazz rose to this moment with a patient rebuild that included allowing a young core to develop and not adding outside pieces too soon that would stunt that growth. This is a draft and develop program and that is most visible in Gordon Hayward and Rudy Gobert.
Hayward was named a first-time All-Star and had the best season of his career while Gobert has gone from the Development League to second-team All-NBA. Gobert signed a four-year, $102 million extension in the fall.
The addition of George Hill, Joe Johnson and Boris Diaw helped get the Jazz get over the playoff hump, but internal growth was the biggest difference and Lindsey is banking on more of the same.
And when the Jazz talk retention, Hayward is at the top of that list (see full story).
Magic: 7-foot-6 Fall works out for team
ORLANDO, Fla. -- The deadline for Tacko Fall to make his NBA decision is fast approaching and the UCF center still isn't sure what he is going to do.
The 7-foot-6 post player has not hired an agent and has until next Wednesday to decide whether to remain in the NBA draft or return to the Knights for his junior season. Fall is going through pre-draft workouts and interviews for several teams, and the nearby Orlando Magic was his latest stop Thursday.
"It has been really stressful just really thinking about it," Fall said following his workout at the Magic's practice facility. "It's a great decision, the most important decision I've ever since I chose a college really."
There have been indications during this process that the Senegal native should return to school and continue to grow under UCF coach Johnny Dawkins and his staff. Fall arrived at UCF two years ago as a raw player who had only played three years of organized basketball in the United States.
He made impressive strides as a sophomore, averaging 10.9 points, 9.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocked shots while earning American Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors. But in the NBA where the trend now favors smaller line up with quick centers who can also play on the perimeter, Fall isn't the commodity he once might have been.
Fall said he was "kind of" invited to last week's NBA Combine in Chicago, but he did not attend, instead opting for the team workouts and interviews like Thursday's Orlando session.