Jason Kidd won't play for Team USA, but he'll be around

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It was understood going in that the 2008 Olympics would be Jason Kidd’s last hurrah as a member of Team USA, but it looks like he’ll remain a part of the program even if he forgoes the whole playing thing. According to Marc Stein of ESPN.com, Kidd has been invited to act as an adviser for this year’s team, after USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski specifically requested his involvement.

Not a bad move. Kidd played his role perfectly in Beijing, and though overall he was one of the least productive members of the Redeem Team, his involvement in the program was still a crucial part of Team USA’s resurgence. Kidd was the point guard that the stars among stars — Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade — wanted to play with, and while America’s 2008 gold obviously had more to do with Team USA’s more productive players, Kidd was still important as a point man, a positive on-court influence, and a symbol for the program.

Now Team USA will continue to benefit from Kidd’s experience in international play, but while also playing a better scorer at point guard. The Americans could afford to start a pass-first, pass-second, and pass-third PG in 2008 (Kidd took just seven shots in eight games during the gold medal run), but with a new-look roster, it’s unlikely they’ll still have that luxury. Team USA will still feature some of the world’s most talented players, but with James, Bryant, Wade, Chris Bosh, Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, and Deron Williams not among them, I think it’s fair to assume a slightly different offensive approach may be in order.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.