According to NBA FanHouse’s Chris Tomasson
, there is a distinct possibility that none of the members of the 2008 USA Olympic Basketball will represent the United States in the FIBA World Championships this summer:
So [the fact that Chris Paul and Deron Williams may miss the games due to injury] means LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Tayshaun Prince, Michael Redd and Jason Kidd are all out of the picture for USA Basketball this summer. Kidd (retired from USA basketball competition) and Redd (injured knee), though, were not candidates due to not being on the 31-man roster.
“It’s a combination of three things, free agency, injuries and having gone hard for a long time,” Colangelo said of 2008 Olympians not playing. “And I’m OK with that.”
Most of the big stars have legitimate reasons for missing the FIBA games — James, Wade, and Bosh have huge decisions to make. Bryant is recovering from injuries, as is Redd. Dwight Howard has played in 489 regular-season games (out of a possible 492) in his six-year career, and could use work on his individual game.
Team USA has not won a FIBA championship since 1994, largely because of the increasing talent levels of Team USA’s opponents and American players’ ambivalence about the tournament. In 2006, Team USA had plenty of talent, but a lack of shooters ultimately led to a disappointing 3rd-place finish for team USA.
The challenge now will be for Coangelo and Co. to build a real team around Kevin Durant for this summer. Instead of allowing any big-name player kind enough to volunteer onto the team, team USA should consider the floor balance, how the team would work defensively, what players would work in the system, and how each player would compliment the other eleven guys on the roster. If team USA does that, they have a great chance at following up their Olympic victory with a FIBA triumph. If they don’t, they may well come up empty for the 4th straight time at the FIBA games.
Paul George – who told the Pacers he’d leave in free agency, prompting them to trade him to the Thunder – expected boos in his return to Indiana.
Pacers fans delivered.
They’ve also booed him every time he has touched the ball, which will certainly persist.
WASHINGTON (AP) — Point guard John Wall was in the Washington Wizards’ lineup Wednesday night against the Memphis Grizzlies after missing nine games with a sore left knee.
Coach Scott Brooks said Wall would play in the mid-20-minute range, perhaps a bit more.
The Wizards (14-13), currently in first place in the Southeast Division, went 4-5 in Wall’s absence.
“He such a force offensively,” Brooks said of Wall. “He’s a two-way player and he’s one of the few guys in the league that can find open 3-point shooters going 100 miles an hour in transition.”
Wall, 27, is averaging 20.3 points and 9.2 assists per game.
Pacers general manager Kevin Pritchard was widely panned – including by me – for trading Paul George for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.
Oladipo and Sabonis are killing it while George has underwhelmed.
Upon George’s return to Indiana, Pritchard took the opportunity to gloat. The Pacers general manager recently liked these tweets (hat tip: Matt Ellentuck of SB Nation):
This is petty – and I love it. Pritchard earned the victory lap.
Paul George has been pretty open about his plans.
He told plenty of people – including the Pacers – he planned to leave for the Lakers in the summer of 2018. Even after the Thunder traded for him, George spoke of the lure of playing for his hometown team.
Of course, George also left the door open to re-signing with Oklahoma City. He proclaimed he’d be dumb to leave if the Thunder reached the conference finals or upset the Warriors.
So far, Oklahoma City (12-14) doesn’t even look like a playoff lock, let alone a team capable of knocking off Golden State or reaching the conference finals. So, cue the inevitable speculation.
Sam Amick of USA Today:
Rival execs still expect Paul to head for the Lakers in free agency
Do these executives have inside information into George’s thinking, or are they just speculating based on already-available information? Some executives are incentivized to drum up the Lakers threat, because they want to trade for George themselves now. If these executives insist George will leave for Los Angeles regardless, they might pry him from Oklahoma City for less.
There’s also a theory George is hyping his desire to sign with the Lakers so a team would have to trade less for him. That got him to the Thunder for what looked like a meager return (but hasn’t been). It might get him to a more favorable situation before the trade deadline without hampering his next team long-term. Of course, this theory isn’t mutually exclusive with George actually signing in Los Angeles. It could just get him better options to choose from this summer.
Surely, the Thunder are trying to parse all this noise. If their season doesn’t turn around, they should explore flipping George rather than risk losing him for nothing next summer. But they should also be wary that he’ll bolt for Los Angeles at first opportunity just because rival executives predict it.