You don’t think of France as an international basketball powerhouse — because they are not — but they were going to roll out an impressive and long NBA front line in Turkey next month: Joakim Noah (Chicago), Boris Diaw (Charlotte) and Ian Mahinmi (Dallas).
Well, they still have two thirds of that.
French coach Vincent Collet said Noah will not play for the team at the FIBA World Championships.
“I was pessimistic and now I can tell you it’s a done deal,” he said. “We must turn the page. That is what I have done.”
Noah has had talks with the Bulls about a possible contract extension (he is heading into the last guaranteed year of his rookie deal). He was hesitant to risk injury playing in the World Championships while trying to negotiate a new deal.
France also will be without Tony Parker, but that might be fine with Rodrigue Beaubois on the team. And there is a chance Collet may actually play Beaubois in key minutes (you listening, Rick Carlisle).
France is in a tough group, with powerhouse Spain, Lithuania, New Zealand, Canada and Lebanon. That’s one they should advance from, however, but the loss of Noah does not make that easier.
Everything LeBron James does and says gets magnified and scrutinized.
So when he put out this photo on Instagram standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Tristan Thompson and the caption “get it done” it seemed a message to the Cavaliers.
LeBron clarified that on Sunday, saying this has become a distraction, and the message was for both sides to bend, as reported by Dave McMenamin of ESPN and Chris Haynes of the Plain Dealer.
When Thompson didn’t sign the qualifying offer he surrendered a lot of leverage, the Cavaliers don’t have to raise their five-year, $80 million offer — but reportedly they still would, a little. Thompson and his agent Rich Paul have pushed for a max contract, but that’s not happening.
At some point, the two sides will come to an agreement. For the Cavaliers, this is a distraction, their star is unhappy with that, and ultimately if they are going to make a title run they need the energy and rebounding Thompson brings (even if it is just off the bench). For Thompson, he can’t make up a year of lost salary, he has to come in and start getting paid at some point.
The two sides will get it done. Eventually. Likely before the season tips off.
China has secured the ninth and final Olympic men’s basketball berth awarded this year.
China earned the bid to the 2016 Rio Games with a 78-67 win over the Philippines. 2016 first-round draft prospect Qi Zhou had 16 points and 14 rebounds, setting up the Olympics to be his big introduction to American fans.
Former NBA player Yi Jianlian won tournament MVP by averaging 16.7 points, 8.8 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 1.2 blocks per game.
This will be China’s ninth straight Olympic appearance.
The Philippines, who got 17 points from Andray Blatche in the final, will still go to an Olympic Qualifying Tournament next summer with a chance to reach Rio.