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Trade talk meshing with fun as players arrive for All-Star Weekend

Brooklyn Nets

It was a fan friendly day at All-Star weekend, with players who'll participate in the RIsing Stars Challenge and Slam Dunk contest mingling with those who came to Brooklyn's LIU campus seeking autographs and selifies.

Bojan Bogdanovic joked that as the oldest "rising star" at 25, he's a role model.

"I mean, I am one of the oldest guys so they have to learn from me," Bogdanovic said. "No, I'm joking. There are so many good players. We can all learn something from each other."

Mason Plumlee talked about having only 20 minutes --so far-- to practice dunks as speculation increased that he would try the three-ball dunk.  He spoke as well about how he wanted to be MVP of the Challenge.

"I was going for it last year [in New Orleans]," Plumlee said with a smile. "I just didn't come up with it."

Then, there was the trade talk.  Plumlee once again put in another pitch for Lance Stephenson, his second in two days.

"I've known Lance since high school," Plumlee said during a break in practice for the Rising Stars Challenge at LIU on Thursday. "I know he's a competitor. He plays hungry and I always respected that about him ... I could go through a lot of guys in the league you would love to play with but he gets brought up because he's a Brooklyn guy. I'm sure the city would love to have him. But he's not helping us right now. I respect him as a player."

Meanwhile, Chris Mannix of SI once again suggested that Brook Lopez could be traded between now and next Thursday.

"The one big name that's out there at the trade deadline is Brooklyn's Brook Lopez. It feels you like we talk about him every week but he is the target of a lot of teams who are out there looking to upgrade the center position. He's been pretty over the last several weeks for Brooklyn, but there are going to be teams coming at him up to the deadline.

"Keep a strong eye on the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets are trying to reinvent themselves under Brian Shaw and GM Tim connolly as more of a halcourt-based team. They don't have the personnel to do that right now, but Lopez because of his ability to play through the low post and shoot jump shots from the outside would seem to be a pretty good fit."

On the corporate side of things, it appeared that neither owner of the two sponsoring teams --Mikhail Prokhorov and James Dolan-- would make an appearance this weekend.  Prokhorov, it appears, will be staying home in freezing Moscow rather than flying into freezing New York.