This summer is throwing a serious wrench at Jerry Colangelo and his plans for the World Championships. After LeBron James indicated that he will not be participating in the FIBA games in Turkey, Dwyane Wade confirmed to our own Ira Winderman in the Miami Sun-Sentinel that he will not participate in the World Championships.
Wade cited his ongoing divorce (which makes the world championships seem like a tea party in terms of intensity), his free agency tour, and all of his business concerns. Wade is likely to join James, Dwight Howard, and several others as absent this summer.
There seems to be an ongoing sentiment among the NBA stars that their victory in the 2008 Olympics in Bejiing has given them the world competition legacy they need and there’s no need to follow up with this year’s championships. It calls into question their commitment to their country, but really, you can understand their situation. We all have things in our personal lives that interfere with our commitments to greater causes, and NBA players don’t deserve any further scrutiny because of it.
But beyond the All-Star dropouts is something looming. Kevin Durant is expected to be part of the team, and will likely be the biggest star for the US team. Durant’s progression to the top of the league has been evolving. First he won the HORSE contest at the All-Star Game in 2009, then took over the Rookie-Sophomores game. This year he led his team to the playoffs and pushed the Western Conference (and Finals?) champs to the limit. The next obvious step is for him to lead his country to victory, and his game is well suited to take over the FIBA games.
Even as Wade and his superstar brethren bow out, someone will take their place. Durant may be that player.
Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.
Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.
The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Center Anderson Varejao will miss the Olympics for host Brazil because of a herniated disc in his lower back.
The Golden State Warriors announced the injury Wednesday and say that Varejao should be ready for the start of training camp but will not be healthy enough to play in the Olympics. Varejao recently experienced back pain while training with the Brazilian National Team and returned to California to be examined by Dr. Robert Watkins earlier this week.
Varejao averaged 2.6 points and 2.3 rebounds in 22 games after signing with the Warriors on Feb. 22. He re-signed with the team earlier this month.
PHOENIX (AP) — Phoenix Suns coach Earl Watson completed his staff Wednesday, naming Jay Triano associate head coach and Tyrone Corbin and Nate Bjorkgren assistant coaches.
Triano spent the last four seasons as assistant coach with the Portland Trail Blazers, including Watson’s final season as a player in 2013-14. The first Canadian-born head coach in NBA history when he directed Toronto, he also is the coach of Canada’s national team.
Corbin was Sacramento’s interim head coach for 28 games in 2014-15. He played the Suns in 1987-89.
Bjorkgren remains with the Suns after spending last season as assistant coach/player development coordinator. He also was head coach of the Suns’ NBA Summer League team the past two years.
The Suns also named Marlon Garnett assistant coach/player development coordinator, and Scott Duncan and Jason Fraser player development coaches.