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.
Utah’s Gordon Hayward abused the Lakers’ Jordan Clarkson on this play.
First, Hayward reads and steals Clarkson’s poor feed into the post intended for Kobe Bryant, then going up the sideline he takes his dribble behind Clarkson’s back to keep going. It all ends in a Rudy Gobert dunk.
Three quick takeaways here:
1) Gordon Hayward is a lot better than many fans realize. He can lead this team.
2) It’s still all about the development with Clarkson, and that’s going to mean some hard lessons.
3) Hayward may have the best hair in the NBA, even if it’s going a bit Macklemore.
(Hat tip reddit)
VIZZINI: “So, it is down to you. And it is down to me.”
MAN IN BLACK nods and comes nearer…
MAN IN BLACK: “Perhaps an arrangement can be reached.”
VIZZINI: “There will be no arrangement…”
MAN IN BLACK: “But if there can be no arrangement, then we are at an impasse.”
That farcical scene from The Princess Bride pretty much sums up where we are with the Tristan Thompson holdout with the Cleveland Cavaliers, minus the Iocane powder. (Although that scene was a battle of wits in the movie and this process seems to lack much wit.) The Cavaliers have put a five-year, $80 million offer on the table. Thompson wants a max deal (or at least a more than has been offered), but he also doesn’t want to play for the qualifying offer and didn’t sign it. LeBron James just wants the two sides just to get it done.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN thinks LeBron could be very disappointed.
Windhorst was on the Zach Lowe podcast at Grantland (which you should be listening to anyway) and had this to say about the Thompson holdout:
“I actually believe it will probably go months. This will go well into the regular season.”
Windhorst compared it to a similar situation back in 2007 with Anderson Varejao, which eventually only broke because the then Charlotte Bobcats signed Varejao to an offer sheet. Thompson is a restricted free agent, meaning the Cavaliers can match any offer, but only Portland and Philadelphia have the cap space right now to offer him a max contract. Neither team has shown any interest in doing so.
And so we wait. And we may be waiting a while.