The veterans are on the fence. And the Team USA roster is in flux.
This summer isn’t the Olympics, this is the FIBA World Basketball Championships (which some countries see as the bigger deal, but we don’t). It’s in Turkey, which is a great place to visit but, again, not sexy to the American audience. Then there is the fact that a lot of top free agents are focused on that and staying healthy, not playing more this summer.
LeBron James and Dwyane Wade are expected to stay home. Kobe says he wants to play but the man is injured and basically held together by tape at this point, plus his team has played to the Finals three straight years now, so he may take a summer to recuperate. Other players like Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh well may not go.
So what is team USA going to look like in Turkey? Yahoo asked USA Basketball Grand Poobah Jerry Colangelo.
“I’m predicting that we would have a lot of young guys,” USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said. “But we have a very deep roster. We will see who shows up. There will be a number of them who might not play because of free agency and personal issues. There could be five or six from the Olympic team that won’t be there. We’re prepared for that.”
Guys like Kevin Durant, Tyreke Evans, Stephen Curry (who can’t use a dead-eye outside shooter in international ball?) deserve their chance and are now going to get it. Which is good. Because whether it is in London in 2012 or Rio de Janeiro in 2016 –that is going to be a party — the USA is going to need these players to come through. The more exposure to the international game and it’s unique set of challenges and pressures. The better.
Report: Celtics, Cavaliers talking Kevin Love trade; could include Knicks, ‘Melo
The Daily News has learned that the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers have discussed a blockbuster trade centered around Kevin Love. There were very preliminary discussions about expanding the deal to include the Knicks and Anthony, who would have to waive his no-trade clause in order to facilitate a deal to the Cavs.
The Knicks would receive draft picks and players in return. One of those players is believed to be Timofey Mozgov, who five years ago was traded by the Knicks to Denver in the Anthony deal.
This is a longshot, but the report has some legs.
Here's what I'm hearing: #Knicks unlikely to move Melo but #Celtics have assets to draw NYK interest. Melo intrigued about playing w LBJ
It’s not clear how far along these talks are. The trade deadline is Feb. 18 (next Thursday) and conversations tend to move past the theoretical/value judging phase and get real come All-Star Weekend, when many GMs and decision makers are in one place (and nobody can go outside because it is too cold in Toronto). This trade works for the Cavaliers if they get a quality stretch four in return — Kelly Olynyk? — plus some depth and a quality pick. The question for the Cavs is simply how much can they get back — this is a win-now team and Love helps that, so how does a trade make them better?
Would Danny Ainge move the unprotected Brooklyn Nets pick to get Love? Jae Crowder? How much would Boston surrender to get an elite star, especially one under a reasonable, long contract?
Carmelo Anthony wants a ring, if he could end up playing with LeBron and be much closer to it than he is now, he would waive his no-trade clause.
That said, this trade sounds like a longshot. At least at the deadline. Next Summer… who knows?
Watch Kevin Hart be Kevin Hart at the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game
You knew Canadian hip-hop star Drake was going to be involved directly in the All-Star Game in a way more than just having his back-and-gold OVO owl gear sold at the Air Canada Centre. Now we know how.
Drake will introduce the NBA All-Star players Sunday.
Drake has experience with this, he has introduced the Raptors — for whom he is a “global ambassador” — before.
This works for me. However, just to be clear, Drake is going to be introducing the players and Sting will headline the halftime show Sunday. Because nothing says NBA and millennials like “Fields of Gold.”
LeBron James says he’s undecided on 2016 Rio Olympics
As you might expect, LeBron was asked about that during All-Star media day Friday in Toronto. Also, as you might expect, he dodged the question, saying he doesn’t know what he’s going to do this summer.
“Well, for me, I haven’t quite decided if I’m on the fence of going or not,” LeBron said. “But I’ve always loved representing my country. I’ve been playing in the Olympic games since 2004. So, no, I haven’t made a decision yet.”
My guess is LeBron’s body would love him to take the summer off — he’s played in five straight Finals with an Olympics in that mix — but his brand managers (and Nike) would love to see him play.
With him, the USA will win a gold medal. Without him, the USA will win the gold medal. The Americans are clear and away the best team in the world and only they can beat themselves. LeBron’s leadership can help make sure that happens, but it’s not required.
In the end, LeBron needs to do what’s required to bring a championship “to the ‘Land.” The playoffs, and how he feels after them, will likely determine where LeBron is in early August more than anything else.