The 31-year-old forward who played in 10 of the past 11 All-Star Games for the Western Conference before being traded from Minnesota before this season has 1,186,690 votes to set the pace among Eastern Conference forwards.

Garnett was the All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 2003, his 37 points the best total among his All-Star appearances, and was the league MVP in 2004.

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Cleveland's LeBron James ranks second overall and among East forwards with 1,005,733 votes to join Garnett in a starting position. Toronto's Chris Bosh is a distant third at 313,983 votes and unlikely to overtake either superstar.

Chinese center Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets is the top vote-getter among non-US players. He leads the Western Conference center balloting with 813,305 votes with Phoenix's Amare Stoudamire second on 463,916.

Yao, 27, was voted an All-Star starter each of the past five years but missed this year's match with an injury. His vote total ranks fifth overall.

Orlando center Dwight Howard leads Eastern Conference big men with 970,778 to stand third overall while fourth overall is Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant, the Western Conference's top vote-getter with 914,716.

Joining Bryant in the West backcourt is Yao's Houston teammate Tracy McGrady with 663,141. Phoenix's Steve Nash, a Canadian, is close behind for the second West starting spot with 526,493 along with Denver's Allen Iverson at 514,291.

Miami's Dwyane Wade leads East guards with 777,764 while New Jersey's Jason Kidd ranks second with 559,333. New Jersey's Vince Carter is third on 468,051 with Boston's Ray Allen next at 464,810.

Setting the pace among West forwards are Denver's Carmelo Anthony at 767,722 and Tim Duncan of defending NBA champion San Antonio with 722,059. German star Dirk Nowitzki of Dallas ranks third at 686,853.

The NBA All-Star Game will be staged February 17 at New Orleans.

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