Right now, Team USA for the 2012 Olympics in London looks like Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and… LeBron James. Those three alone could go 3 on 5 and get out of group play.
LeBron is in, he told Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel. The other two/thirds of the Miami triad are not deciding yet.
“I would love to be a part of that team,” James said. “I think it’s an unbelievable thing to represent your country, and if Coach K needs me to be a part of that team and I’m available, hopefully I’m healthy enough to be part of that team.
“I would love to be a part of that team,” James said. “I think it’s an unbelievable thing to represent your country, and if Coach K needs me to be a part of that team and I’m available, hopefully I’m healthy enough to be part of that team.”
This whole silliness of players saying they are in for London 19 months before the camp decide who gets on the team started because of Mike Krzyzewski himself. He had Kobe Bryant on his national radio show and asked, and Kobe said he was in. Then Dwight Howard jumped in with the same thoughts.
Wade said something totally reasonable. Which was a nice bit of reality rather than spin.
“It is a ways off,” Wade said. “I’ve got a lot of other things to worry about that I deal with off the court.
”I’m not there to where I have to make a decision. I’m glad those guys said that and they’re going to play for our team. When the time comes, it will be made, but it will be a collective decision that I’ll make with my family.”
It is a ways off. Maybe in February 2012 — when we are six months out from USA Basketball camp — we can start talking about who is going. Oh, who am I kidding, let’s ask everyone now, make them commit today.
Aaron Gordon may not have had the best dunk contest this year — apparently drones and dunks don’t mix well — but the guy can still get up and finish with the best in the league.
As he did on this alley-oop against Detroit.
Elfrid Payton had to throw a lob that would get over Andre Drummond, but how many guys in the league can get that high, reach back and finish that? Damn.
Former Atlanta Hawk Pero Antic is now playing for Turkish powerhouse Fenerbahce, in case you were not aware.
Fenerbahce was facing Anadolu Efes in a EuroLeague game, it was tight late and former NBA player Ekpe Udoh was at the free throw line for Fenerbahce. He missed his second shot, but the rebound caromed out-of-bounds off an Anadolu Efes player. Antic was pumped.
Maybe a little too pumped.
That was Nikola Kalinic, by the way, the guy Antic now owes dinner to. Kalinic would like the dinner more than the hug and kiss he got from Antic right after the play.
Also, Anadolu Efes held on to win 80-77.
(Hat tip to Ball Don’t Lie.)
The Lakers had been shopping Lou Williams around in the run-up to the trade deadline, the only question was would they get a first-round pick for him. Rumors around the league say that Houston had offered them one weeks before, it was on the table, but the Jim Buss/Mitch Kupchak front office held their cards close and hoped a better deal would come through.
While all that was going on James Harden decided to ease the process and did a little recruiting calling up Williams, the sixth-man guard told Shams Charania of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.
“When James called, he asked me if I was interested in playing with them,” Williams told The Vertical. “I told him that I loved the Lakers, but James and them have a group that fit my personality, fit how I play. He said he was going to make it happen.”
Williams then laughed, sitting on the edge of a visiting court following a recent practice. “I’ve heard that before, so I didn’t really put stock into it,” Williams told The Vertical. “I guess James did put the word in, and the team made it happen.”
We all know what happened, Jeanie Buss removed her brother and Kupchak a few days before the trade deadline, Magic Johnston stepped in, called around, and quickly pulled the trigger on a trade that sent Williams to Houston (the Lakers also got Corey Brewer). Williams has averaged 14.5 points per game and had some strong performances with the Rockets, although he’s still finding his groove with the team on the court. Still, he’s been an upgrade for the Rockets’ bench.
Harden knew he would be, so he did his part to make sure it happened.
Shaquille O’Neal was as dominant a force as the NBA has ever seen.
His peak years came with the Lakers, when paired with Kobe Bryant one the court — and Phil Jackson manipulating both of them — they won three titles (and arguably would have had more if they stayed together). Those Lakers teams were one of the NBA’s great teams.
Friday night, the Lakers unveil Shaq’s statue at Staples Center. Take a look back at some of Shaq’s Lakers highlights.