But that hope was quickly wiped away after NBA Commissioner Adam Silver picked Pistons center Andre Drummond to replace injured Wizards guard John Wall on Team LeBron in the February 18 All-Star Game.
Both things have come under some amount of criticism.
Simmons, who would become the first Australian selected as an All-Star, has averaged 16.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.3 assists.
The Heat were the lone team among the Eastern Conference playoff seeds without a selection when the All-Stars teams were rounded out last week with the announcement of coaches' selections for the reserves. The Hornets have a week off from games for the All-Star break, and typically players make vacation plans, so there is a sense of urgency to get a commitment to replace an injured All-Star. He was an All-Star in 2016 but was absent a year ago. Drummond seems to be a Simmons fan, though, as he added, "Got a lot of respect for Ben, his time is coming sooner than he knows". He's averaging 14.7 points, 15.1 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.4 blocks per game.
Named as Eastern Conference reserves were Love, Beal, Kristaps Porzingis, Kyle Lowry, Wall, Al Horford and Victor Oladipo. The All-Star Game might turn out to be more like like the All-Star replacements vs. the original All-Stars than Team LeBron vs. Team Steph Curry.
Currently, the Hornets have no representative in the All-Star Weekend activities, which include a Rising Stars game (for players in their first or second National Basketball Association season), a Saturday-night skills competition, and the Sunday All-Star Game at Staples Center.