Kobe Bryant is the leading vote-getter for the NBA All-Star game and Tracy McGrady is on track to join him in the Western Conference backcourt despite not playing yet this season.
Bryant had more than 692,000 votes in the first set of returns announced Thursday, about 20,000 more than East leader Dwyane Wade. Also on track to start for the West in the Feb. 14 game are NBA leading scorer Carmelo Anthony and Dirk Nowitzki at forwards, and Amare Stoudemire at center.
McGrady is nearing a return from microfracture knee surgery.
LeBron James and Kevin Garnett lead at the East forward position, Dwight Howard has a huge advantage over Shaquille O'Neal, and his Orlando teammate Vince Carter is second among guards.
WIZARDS TO WEAR POLLIN PATCH: The Washington Wizards will honor late owner Abe Pollin by wearing a patch on their jerseys for the rest of the season.
The black patch just under the jersey's right shoulder features the name "Abe." Two identical logos also appear on each side of the court at Verizon Center, the downtown arena built mostly with Pollin's money.
The team planned to wear the patch for the first time Thursday night for the Wizards' home game against the Boston Celtics.
Washington coach Flip Saunders thinks the team has picked a fitting way to pay tribute to Pollin.
"I wish we didn't have to wear it. I wish he was still here to watch us play," Saunders said. "We know he's always going to be watching us."
Pollin died Nov. 24 at 85. He bought the Wizards in 1964 and was the NBA's longest-tenured owner.
REF LEADER CALLS DONAGHY A LIAR: The lead negotiator and spokesman for the NBA's referees says Tim Donaghy made threats against him, and says the disgraced former official's accusations about his colleagues shouldn't be believed because he is a "compulsive liar."
Lamell McMorris also says this was a difficult week for the referees union, with Donaghy appearing on "60 Minutes" and ESPN to give interviews to coincide with the release of his book. They included claims of misconduct among officials that Donaghy had made previously.
But McMorris says in a statement Thursday that all the league's officials cooperated in both league and federal investigations that found no criminal activity by anyone other than Donaghy, who admitted betting on games he officiated.