We’ve been giving you regular updates on what is happening with the Olympic qualifying tournaments taking place in Europe and South America right now.
But we haven’t really discussed the Oceania qualifier that just wrapped up — because it is pretty much always won by Australia. And was again Friday, with the Aussies beating New Zealand 81-64 in a game that was close until the fourth quarter (New Zealand was actually ahead by a bucket after three quarters).
That means Australia is headed to London to be part of the 2012 Olympics. They were able to qualify without having Andrew Bogut suited up — he had a second elbow surgery this summer and could not play (but was an assistant coach). Next year in London he and Patty Mills should suit up, which makes the Aussies a threat on any given day.
New Zealand will be headed to next summer’s pre-Olympic qualifying tournament where they will face off against other teams that just missed out and try to win one of the final Olympics berths.
There are 12 spots in the Olympic tournament (there should be more, but that’s an issue for another day) and four teams have qualified. They are the United States (won FIBA World Championships last summer), Great Britain (host), Tunisia (won FIBA African Championships) and now Australia. Two more teams out of South America will be added to that list Saturday.
On Monday, Dion Waiters agreed to a one-year, $2.9 million deal with the Heat, far less than most people thought he would get as one of the few significant free agents still on the market. Tuesday afternoon, he posted an explanation on Instagram for his deal.
Here’s what he said:
I didn’t do it for the money… I did it for the opportunity to go out & ball & have fun. Everything else will take care of its self!!! I just felt like it was the best situation for me…& my family. I could have waited & got wat I wanted. But I rather be happy then miserable at the end of the day!!! Meaning Yu can have everything & still not be happy… #heatnation let’s get it!!! #provethemwrong #stamped #Philly
It seems clear, based on the market, that the kinds of offers Waiters was hoping for weren’t out there for him. In Miami, with Dwyane Wade gone, he’ll probably start at shooting guard and have plenty of opportunities to prove himself in hopes of landing a long-term deal next summer.
While we wait for the Celtics to make a bigger move to trade for another star, they’re filling out the end of their roster. Sheridan Hoops’ Michael Scotto is reporting that they’ve signed Demetrius Jackson, the No. 45 pick in last month’s draft, to a four-year deal.
Jackson declared for the draft after his junior season at Notre Dame. Talent-wise, he has the chance to be a major steal for Boston — DraftExpress has him ranked as the 17th-best overall prospect in this year’s draft class. But he might not play much his first year. The Celtics’ roster is already crowded and there’s still the chance that they’ll make another move with some of their much-vaunted assets if the right star becomes available.
ATLANTA (AP) — The Atlanta Hawks have signed undrafted rookie free agent center Matt Costello of Michigan State.
The 6-foot-9, 245-pound Costello averaged 5.7 points and 5 rebounds on the Hawks’ summer league team in Las Vegas.
Costello averaged 10.7 points and 8.2 rebounds as a senior at Michigan State. He holds the school’s career record with 146 blocked shots.
Terms of the deal were not released.
Jamal Crawford knows how to get buckets.
He does it against NBA level defenders, so put him in a free-flowing pro-am — let’s say the Seattle pro-am in his hometown — and he barely breaks a sweat dropping 44. And nailing the game winner.
Doc Rivers hopes to see a lot of that next season.