Danilo Gallinari to skip international play this summer

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nba_gallinari.jpgNBA players are dropping out of the their commitments to international competition like flies, and though the Americans will still be fielding a team of Superfriends from around the league in the FIBA World Championships, a number of factors should keep plenty of top-notch players out of international competition this summer.

Danilo Gallinari doesn’t quite qualify as a top-notch player and he wouldn’t have been playing in the World Championships anyway, but he is an NBA talent and pretty damn entertaining. He also is falling right in line with his NBA brethren, many of whom (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Manu Ginobili, etc.) are choosing to skip out on this summer’s festivities for a variety of reasons.

For what it’s worth, the excuses of those playing for Team USA seem far more flimsy than those playing for other countries, as Ginobili looks to preserve all he can from his aging body given the new extension he signed with the Spurs and Gallinari, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport (via Alan Hahn of Newsday), will take the summer off to continue strengthening his surgically-repaired back. LeBron James, on the other hand, is just really, really, really, really, really busy and wants to make Kazaam 2.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that — I love Kazaam as much as the next guy with slightly masochistic movie-watching tendencies. It’s just clear that even given Team USA’s commitment to developing consistency in its program, it’s not even remotely the same dynamic as the one that exists between foreign-born NBA players and their national teams.

As mentioned before, there is a slight difference in Gallinari’s case, as Italy didn’t even qualify for the 2010 FIBA World Championships. He would be competing to help his country earn a spot in the 2011 Eurobasket tournament, which is still a high-prestige event even if it’s not quite on the level of the Championships. 

So it’s a no-go for Gallo, even if he wishes it were otherwise. Hahn does note that Gallinari’s two fellow countrymen in the NBA — Andrea Bargnani and Marco Belinelli — will represent l’Italia this summer.

This is definitely good news for the Knicks, who will need a fully healthy and refreshed Gallinari as a centerpiece of their 2010-2011 team. If New York is really going to overhaul the roster in free agency, guys like Gallinari, Wilson Chandler, and Toney Douglas are going to have to play very well next year for the Knicks to have a shot at taking a legitimate step forward. Acquiring some serious talent in free agency obviously helps, but without at least some depth in the rotation, you’re looking at an early playoff out for the Knicks at best.

Report: Joakim Noah tells teammates he’s leaving Bulls

CHICAGO, IL - JANUARY 15:  Joakim Noah #13 of the Chicago Bulls runs off of the court after dislocating his left shoulder against the Dallas Mavericks at the United Center on January 15, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Mavericks defeated the Bulls 83-77. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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Joakim Noah said in January he wanted to re-sign with the Bulls. Chicago reportedly wants to keep him.

A perfect match?

Not quite.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

According to a Bulls player, Noah has been telling teammates the last few weeks that he was done with the organization once free agency begins, and “has no trust in the front office getting this in the right direction.’’

The player was asked if Noah’s feelings had anything to do with first-year coach Fred Hoiberg and the he said, he said that went on early in the season when Noah lost his starting job, and insisted that Noah didn’t offer up that as an explanation.

What was offered up, however, was the fact that there seems to be a complete mistrust that multiple players have toward general manager Gar Forman, with Noah leading the way.

Noah and Hoiberg publicly disagreed about whose choice it was for Noah to come off the bench. Hoiberg said it was Noah’s. Noah said it was Hoiberg’s.

That looked like a petty problem, one both sides could – and maybe did – get over. But it seems Noah has deeper concerns.

This has been a rough year for the Bulls, who missed the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons. That unexpected downturn takes a toll on chemistry and brings buried problems to the surface. That’s especially true considering Chicago fired Tom Thibodeau – a coach who looks better in hindsight. If players miss Thibodeau, that opens the door for them to turn on Forman, who forced out Thibodeau.

That said, the Bulls are probably better off letting Noah walk. He’s 31 and has been banged up the last couple years. I wouldn’t commit big money to him with Taj Gibson, Nikola Mirotic and Bobby Portis under contract and the need for faster players to run Hoiberg’s system. Chicago can’t quickly solve its Jimmy ButlerDerrick Rose issue, because Butler is worth keeping and Rose is under contract another year on a difficult-to-trade deal. But shedding Noah and using the resulting cap flexibility elsewhere gets the team headed in the right direction.

For his part, Noah can seek a fresh start – how about with Thibodeau in Minnesota? – and find a team that suits him, either a win-now squad or a younger group seeking veteran leadership.

Report: Indiana junior Troy Williams staying in NBA draft

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MARCH 25:  Troy Williams #5 of the Indiana Hoosiers reacts in the second half against the North Carolina Tar Heels during the 2016 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament East Regional at Wells Fargo Center on March 25, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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An Indiana player – Thomas Bryant – who likely would’ve been a first-round pick didn’t even declare for the draft without an agent.

Another Indiana player – Troy Williams – who might not even get picked will stay in the draft.

Gregg Doyel of The Indianapolis Star:

Williams, a 6-foot-7 small forward, is an excellent athlete. He’s not strong enough and hasn’t shown enough awareness to project him defending well in the NBA yet. But his length, quickness and leaping ability give him potential on that end. That and transition offense will have to carry him for now, because his outside shot is unimpressive.

There are players like Williams in every draft. It’s on him to convince a team that he has the work ethic and intelligence to refine his game.

Klay Thompson gives most depressing interview answer (video)

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The Warriors are taking a beating on the court, but their turmoil reached heartbreaking levels in Klay Thompson‘s press conference after Game 4.

Thompson, scanning the box score for any semblance of hope, applauded Golden State’s “40 assists” – which would have been the most in a playoff game since 1994. But he quickly realized that couldn’t be right, looked again and sadly announced Golden State had just 15 assists.

Thompson was probably looking at the Warriors’ rebounding total (which was 16 below the Thunder’s).

Report: Steven Adams suffered testicular contusion

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When Draymond Green kicked Steven Adams in the groin, it did more than create mass debate about the appropriate punishment.

Green hurt Adams badly, it sounds like.

John E. Hoover of The Franchise Tulsa:

Once you finish wincing, take a moment to appreciate how tough Adams is. He kept playing in the game and then came out in Game 4 throwing bullet passes.