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Lakers’ Anthony Davis makes All-Star cut, but is unlikely to play

Anthony Davis hasn’t had the season that he wanted, but in the eyes of NBA coaches, he’s still an All-Star.

The Laker forward was selected as an All-Star reserve on Tuesday night, as voted on by the league’s coaches. It’s Davis’ eighth consecutive selection to the NBA’s marquee midseason exhibition, which will be played on March 7 in Atlanta in a pared-down format that won’t involve the event’s usual flair.

Davis hit the game-winning free throw in last year’s exhibition, but he is unlikely to participate this year due to his ongoing struggles with a right calf strain that has affected his Achilles tendon. It is unclear if he will travel to Atlanta to participate in any events. Commissioner Adam Silver selects injury replacements for the game.

Davis, 27, has averaged 22.5 points, 8.4 rebounds, 3 assists and 1.8 blocked shots in 23 games this season. The Lakers aren’t expecting him to return until after the All-Star break, and he could miss games in the second half of the season as well.

He joins a list of Western Conference All-Star reserves that includes Portland’s Damian Lillard; Utah’s Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell; the Clippers’ Paul George, New Orleans’ Zion Williamson and Phoenix’s Chris Paul. Notable misses who could replace Davis include Phoenix’s Devin Booker, Utah’s Mike Conley, New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram and San Antonio’s DeMarcus DeRozan.

Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden highlighted the Eastern Conference reserves. He’s joined by Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown; Chicago’s Zach LaVine; Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons; and Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic. Julius Randle, the Lakers’ No. 7 overall draft pick in 2014, made the All-Star roster for the first time as a New York Knick.

LeBron James, one of the team captains pitted against Kevin Durant, theoretically will have the chance to pick his teammate again when they draft their teams from the pool of available starters and reserves on March 4 (5 p.m. PT): He has chosen Davis in three previous All-Star games. Utah’s Quin Snyder is already set as the coach of Team LeBron.

Enthusiasm for the All-Star Game has waned greatly among its participants this year. James said earlier this month that he didn’t understand why an All-Star Game was being played in light of the pandemic and compressed schedule, and said he had “zero energy” for the exhibition. He referenced that response on Monday night when talking about the All-Star break: “I really don’t have too much of a comment about the All-Star break. You guys know how I feel about that.”

LAKERS REPORTEDLY RELEASING QUINN COOK

The Athletic was first to report that the Lakers are anticipating waiving Quinn Cook, a well-liked but seldom-used guard who was a light-hearted locker room presence during the championship run.

Cook, 27, has appeared in just 16 games totaling 62 minutes this season. His veteran’s minimum contract was set to become guaranteed this week.

The Lakers can use the space generated by cutting Cook to sign a player or players for two remaining roster spots. The Lakers are limited under the hard salary cap this season because they used exceptions to sign free agents Montrezl Harrell and Wesley Matthews.

Cook was a lifelong Lakers fan who brought previous championship experience from his time at Golden State and in college at Duke. Apart from occasional regular-season games when he stood out, Cook never found much of a role in the Lakers’ rotation and played just 24 minutes during the playoffs last season. The Maryland-raised Cook is widely considered one of the NBA’s better networkers, close with stars including Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant who Cook recently cited as an important source of encouragement.

“He always tells me to stay ready,” Cook said. “He always builds me up. He knows I belong in this league.”

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