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LEAGUE MAY FORCE BRYANT TO PLAY; KIDD DEAL MURKY

Kobe Bryant will start for the Western Conference in the All-Star Game, and Jason Kidd will be in the lineup for the East. Probably.

But with Bryant's right pinkie in a splint and Kidd stuck somewhere between New Jersey and Dallas in the midst of a trade on hold, nothing was a guarantee for either player Friday.

Bryant said he would "rather not play" Sunday night.

But according to NBA policy, a selectee who plays in his team's last game - as Bryant did, scoring 29 points Wednesday - has to play in the All-Star Game or sit out his next game.

"But what can you do?" said Bryant, who was diagnosed with a torn ligament in the finger but has declined to have surgery. "I don't want to be suspended, miss a game."

Meanwhile, the Mavericks and Nets had agreed to a deal Wednesday that would have sent Kidd to Dallas. But Devean George exercised his right to block the trade.

Then Nets president Rod Thorn said Friday that he has no side deal with Mavericks swingman Jerry Stackhouse, an illegal arrangement that could put the deal in jeopardy.

In his response to the deal earlier in the week, Stackhouse had said he may be able to rejoin the Mavs, an indication the Nets planned to buy out his contract.

"I get 30 days to rest, then I'll be right back," Stackhouse said.

Not so, Thorn said. "I'm perfectly willing to take Stackhouse on my team. You can't make deals like that," he said.

Further complicating matters, Mark Bartelstein, George's agent, said his client is not considering rescinding his decision, ESPN.com reported. A trade would cost George his "early Bird rights" and therefore the bulk of his leverage as a free agent in the summer.

Sophomore rout: Daniel Gibson made a record 11 3-pointers and scored 33 to lead the sophomore stars to a 136-109 win over the top rookies at the All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Gibson, who is in today's 3-point shootout, finished three points shy of the game record, set by Amare Stoudemire in 2004. For the rookies, Seattle's Kevin Durant led the way with 23, and Atlanta's Al Horford, the former UF standout, had 19.

Hall of Fame: Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing, who battled for NCAA and NBA titles, and Heat coach Pat Riley were selected among the 15 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

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