Any number of top NBA players are acting like the 15-year-old daughter trying to get out of the family vacation. “But Dad, I don’t want to go to Turkey.”
Kobe Bryant, however, has stepped up and told Yahoo Sports that he plans on playing in the FIBA World Championships in Istanbul.
When asked Thursday if he plans to play, Bryant said: “As far as I know. Obviously, I got a couple of health issues, one being a cracked finger. We’ll see how it goes.”
At the same time, Dwyane Wade told Sports Illustrated he is still on the fence.
“I’m undecided,” said Wade. “There’s no question about it…. “I have a lot of personal things going on this summer. I would love to compete but I might not be able to because of the personal things in my life. It’s no secret that I’m going through a divorce. I have to take care of that. My kids come first. I’ve given a lot of time to USA Basketball and I think they understand my dedication to it, but the Wade family comes first.”
Of course, it’s also about the money. Kobe got his, recently signing a three-year extension to his deal keeping him in Los Angeles. Wade is a free agent this summer. So is LeBron James, who has said he does not plan to play. While their contract dance likely will not string out until August, they are playing it safe.
Which is fine, both have played a lot for Team USA in recent years. They deserve to a pass stay home from this family summer vacation.
The Chicago Bulls are one of the teams getting a D-League affiliate franchise this season. The Windy City Bulls will play in the suburb of Hoffman Estates, and now they have a head coach: North Carolina State assistant Bobby Lutz.
Via Upside & Motor‘s Chris Reichert:
Lutz was previously linked to the Bulls’ D-League job in July but there was confusion as to whether he would actually get the job. Now, it appears he has. And he has familiarity with the coaching staff, having served as an assistant coach at Iowa State under Fred Hoiberg in 2010-11, prior to going to NC State.
The release of NBA 2K17, the latest edition of the popular 2K video-game series, is less than a month away. Players are starting to get their likenesses in the game, as well as their player ratings, and tweet them out. Magic forward Evan Fournier wasn’t too happy with the way his came out.
Fournier’s countryman Rudy Gobert got in on the fun, too, changing his Twitter avatar to Fournier’s screenshot and encouraging others to do the same. He even created a hashtag for it.
At least they’re having fun with it.
On Friday, the Jazz traded German center Tibor Pleiss to the Sixers along with two second-round picks for Kendall Marshall. The big draw of the trade for Philly was the picks, and Pleiss is not expected to stay with the Sixers, according to Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia’s Jessica Camerato.
Pleiss had a forgettable season with Utah, and the Sixers have a glut of bigs including Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Dario Saric. It would have been virtually impossible for Pleiss to crack the rotation, and it’s unlikely another team picks up his contract, which has $3 million guaranteed this season.
As a Jordan Brand athlete, Russell Westbrook is under the same Nike umbrella as former teammate Kevin Durant. But his latest Jordan spot, released Friday, has a very pointed tagline: “Some run, some make runways.”
Given the circumstances, it’s hard to interpret that as anything other than a reference to Durant signing with the Warriors and Westbrook signing an extension with the Thunder.