With some key players hinting they are not going to play this summer, the team USA Roster — and invites to camp this summer in July — is in flux.
Today USA Basketball added two star rookies — Stephen Curry and Tyreke Evans — and another young player in Jeff Green to the roster. Then they also brought back a veteran: 2008 gold medalist Tayshaun Prince.
The Team USA Roster is now at 31, clearly more than they are going to take to Turkey for the FIBA World Championships this summer. Not all of those 31 will show up for camp. Of those that do, the number will be whittled down at a training camp in Vegas this July to 15. Clearly some of the invitees — such as Curry and Evans — were about getting people involved in the system rather than plans for this summer.
Just for fun, here are the other 27 invitees to the camp this summer:
Carmelo Anthony (Denver Nuggets); Carlos Boozer (Utah Jazz); Chris Bosh (Toronto Raptors); Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers); Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic); LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers); Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets); Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat); and Deron Williams (Utah Jazz); Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers); Amar’e Stoudemire (Phoenix Suns); LaMarcus Aldridge (Portland Trail Blazers); Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies); Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers); Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers); Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers); Al Jefferson (Minnesota Timberwolves); David Lee (New York Knicks); Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets); Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves); O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies); Kendrick Perkins (Boston Celtics); Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls); Gerald Wallace (Charlotte Bobcats) and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Spurs to give Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili Friday night off in Denver
That is the first night of a back-to-back, with former Spurs’ assistant coach Mike Budenholzer and his Atlanta Hawks coming to San Antonio on Saturday. Popovich is saving his two veterans for that game.
Duncan and Ginobili have looked like they found the fountain of youth this season. Duncan is taking on less of the offense but has been very efficient in those moments. Ginobili has the impact he did a few years back in his bench role.
What Gregg Popovich cares about is them playing like that come the postseason. So they will rest on Friday.
Rejecting the tender is a favor to the drafting team, which gets to keep the player’s exclusive rights for a year. If Thornton tries to join the NBA now, he’s stuck negotiating with only the Celtics.
By accepting the tender, the player typically gets one of two outcomes. He either plays on that contract and draws an NBA salary or he gets waived. But even getting waived is better than rejecting the tender, because at least the player becomes a free agent and can negotiate with any team.
Players who reject the tender go to another league and play for less money. In Thornton’s case, that mean Australia.
How’s that going?
(Almost) never reject the required tender as a second-round pick.
Byron Scott says they just have to get Kobe Bryant better looks
Kobe Bryant is averaging 15.2 points a game at age 37. It’s just taking him 16.4 shots per game to get there. After his 1-of-14 shooting performance against the Warriors the other night — with too much isolation and too many plays run just for him — there has been a lot of talk about his shot. With reason, this is his shot chart so far this season.
So what do the Lakers’ do? Get Kobe to shoot less and get the ball in the hands of the young stars they supposed to be developing more? Nah.
“I know his mentality is that he can still play in this league,” Scott said. “And we feel the same way….
“Obviously he’s struggling right now with his shot, and I think everybody can see that,” Scott said. “So it’s trying to get him in better position to be able to have an opportunity to knock those shots down on a consistent basis. That’s No. 1.
“I don’t know if it’s his legs. I don’t think so. Again, our conversations are pretty blunt. … He tells me when he is tired and he tells me when he’s not tired. And the last few days, he said he feels great. So, I don’t think it’s a matter of him being tired or his legs being tired. I think it’s a matter of his timing being a little off.”
Yes, how could it be his legs? It’s not like he’s a 37-year-old with more than 55,000 NBA minutes played, and coming off an Achilles rupture and major knee surgery.
Honestly, I hope the Lakers and Kobe find a balance soon, because they have become just hard to watch. And I don’t want Kobe to go out this way.