2017 All-Star Game
The NBA announced that its making major changes its All-Star game format. NBA Players are pictured on Feb.19, 2017 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Getty Images

With the 2017-18 season just 15 days away, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced a major format change to the annual All-Star Game.

The league decided to toss out the traditional Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format. In its place will be two captains picking teams, which means conference rivals LeBron James and Steph Curry could play on the same team.

"Under the revamped format, two captains will draft the 2018 All-Star teams from the pool of players voted as starters and reserves, making selections without regard for conference affiliation," the NBA said in a statement. "The captains will be the All-Star starter from each conference who receives the most fan votes in his conference."

The new format will allow players with the most votes from each conference to be captains of the two teams and pick players as they see fit, despite their conference affiliation. Lineups will still consist of 12 All-Stars, however, fans and the media will vote for five players from each conference as starters. Top coaches from each conference will pick seven reserves to round out the teams.

The change to the All-Star Game comes after last year’s record-setting 192-182 match, which left some fans frustrated. The league looked to add more excitement as the exhibition game had turned into a high-scoring affair that featured very little defense.

The change comes after previous East All-Stars, like Carmelo Anthony, Paul George and Jimmy Butler, had moved on to Western Conference teams. The league’s decision caused a stir on social media, as some users suggested the league was imbalanced and blamed the Eastern Conference for a lack of talent.

While social media largely criticized the change, some NBA stars welcomed the new format.

"I think it mixes it up," Cleveland Cavaliers star Kevin Love told reporters after Wednesday’s shootaround. "I think in some way it will make it more competitive and also it will be interesting to see who picks who. It is an elite fraternity in this league."

"I think it's the two leading vote-getters from each side, right? And then they'll be picking their teammates or their boys and it will be like out on the blacktop in grade school back in the day. So, it will be fun."

"I'm thrilled with what the players and the league have done to improve the All-Star Game, which has been a priority for all of us," said NBPA President Chris Paul of the Houston Rockets during the announcement. "We're looking forward to putting on an entertaining show in L.A."

Not everyone embraced the league’s format change. Cavaliers veteran Richard Jefferson shared his issues with the decision.

"It doesn't do anything," Jefferson said. "Picking once or twice or East vs. West, it's not as competitive as it once was so you're doing something to change it because it's really kind of a joke. It's sad from the standpoint of, 'Oh, this is the most points since Michael Jordan scored 35 in '87.' Well, it was a completely different game."

Besides the change in format, 2018 All-Star teams will play for charity. Each team will pick a national organization or a Los Angeles-based charity where donations will be sent to help local efforts.

The 67th All-Star Game will be played at Staples Center in Los Angeles on Feb. 18.