Tuesday And-1 links: Kyrie Irving will not play for Australia

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Here is our daily look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

Kyrie Irving is not going to be on Team USA in London in 2012, but he had a standing offer from Australia (he was born in a land down under while his father played professionally there so he is a dual citizen). After talking it over with Mike Krzyzewski, Irving has decided not to play for Australia in 2012 in hopes of playing for Team USA in 2016.

The Bulls are likely going to be without C.J. Watson for a few games due to his ankle injury. Great, just what Tom Thibodeau needs, an excuse to play Derrick Rose more minutes.

Tyson Chandler’s wrist is probably going to bother him for about six more weeks, but he is just going to play through it.

There are a lot of efforts to get Dwight Howard to stay in Orlando, but none funnier than this.

In case you missed it, both Nene and Danilo Gallinari were back on the court for the Nuggets last night.

Zach Randolph participated in a full scrimmage Monday, he is close to coming back.

Milwaukee Bucks coach Scott Skiles has put his home up for sale. He has another year on his contract and there have been no rumblings about his job being in jeopardy, so read into this what you want.

Legendary NBA photographer Andy Bernstein talks about his career, his favorite subjects and more. This is a great read.

Barack Obama said that Michael Jordan is the greatest NBA player ever. What did you expect the Chicago guy to say?

The Bobcats Reggie Williams had his knee drained and likely will not play Tuesday.

Al Horford is starting his rehab but is a month away from being re-evaluated.

Fifty photos of NBA players just being dads.

The fact Clipper Darrell and the Clippers are no longer tied to one another is just stupid. Bad for Darrell, and bad for the Clippers (both PR and opportunities missed). Watch this video, clearly this is hurting him.

LeBron James’ mom reached a plea deal in regards to her summer altercation with a valet.

Spurs guard TJ Ford is going to do a rehab stint in the D-League.

Danny Green: Kawhi Leonard report ‘couldn’t be anymore incorrect’

AP Photo/Eric Gay
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A pattern is emerging.

A report said there’s a disconnect between Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs. Leonard’s uncle denied it.

A report said San Antonio held a players-only meeting to implore Leonard to play. Danny Green denied it.


Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN wrote the latest article. Michael C. Wright and Ramona Shelburne contributed. These are credible reporters.

At minimum, someone wants the information out there. That alone makes this an issue. The Spurs, so unaccustomed to dealing with this noise, are facing it now.

Is every detail in the report accurate? Is it accurate overall? I don’t know.

But Green is loyal to San Antonio. Him shooting down a report of disarray means something, but it doesn’t mean everything.

Report: Spurs held players-only meeting imploring Kawhi Leonard to play

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Gregg Popovich’s thinly veiled attempt to pressure Kawhi Leonard into playing apparently had an effect – on Leonard’s Spurs teammates.

They, apparently led by Tony Parker, confronted Leonard.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The San Antonio Spurs held a players-only meeting to implore All-NBA forward Kawhi Leonard to return to the lineup and help the team in its push for the playoffs, league sources told ESPN.

Spurs guard Tony Parker, a four-time NBA champion, quarterbacked the meeting with his teammates and Leonard after Saturday night’s victory over Minnesota, league sources said.

The conversation was described as tense and emotional at times, league sources said.

Several teammates spoke up, expressing frustration and confusion over a growing divide with Leonard that has created significant tension between the franchise star and the Spurs, league sources said.

Leonard, 26, was resolute in response, insisting that he had good reason for sitting out all but nine games with a right quad injury this season, league sources said.

That optimism around Leonard? It just went up in flames like Nick Young‘s Forever 21 clothing.

The Spurs have cleared Leonard to play, but he and his medical team don’t feel he’s ready. That’s an uneasy disagreement, but not necessarily illegitimate. Players know their own bodies and can sometimes sense problems doctors can’t identify. As of a few weeks ago, Popovich said Leonard was doing what he’s supposed to do.

So, a locker room full of players telling Leonard to play anyway sounds pretty unhealthy. It’s a shocking development in San Antonio, where the Spurs’ culture is recognized as arguably the NBA’s best and where the team is known for erring on the side of caution with injuries.

Fairly or not, Leonard probably invited this showdown with his handling of the injury. He told teammates he’d return to play then repeated the message publicly while adding soon. He reportedly targeted last Thursday, but a week later, he remains out. The disconnect between him and the franchise certainly didn’t help his teammates understand his point of view.

That disconnect was largely pinned on Leonard’s quiet nature, which makes it so rattling to imagine him facing a room of frustrated and confused teammates. Good for Leonard for standing up for himself if he truly isn’t ready to play.

But his teammates’ questioning will only increase the belief he’s just malingering. After all, if anybody could relate to him, it’s other professional athletes – especially Parker, who had a similar injury and recovered much more quickly (which doesn’t prove anything about Leonard, but certainly could influence opinion).

After the meeting, Manu Ginobili said, via Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

“He is not coming back,” veteran guard Manu Ginobili said. “For me, he’s not coming back because it’s not helping [to think Leonard is returning]. We fell for it a week ago again. I guess you guys made us fall for it. But we have to think that he’s not coming back, that we are who we are, and that we got to fight without him. That shouldn’t be changing, at least until he is ready for the jump ball.”

That sounded as if Ginobili were just trying to talk him into that mindset, so he’d stay sharp while Leonard remained out and wouldn’t be disappointed by a continued absence. But after knowing Ginobili got information straight from the source, that comment looks much more telling.

Kelly Olynyk nutmegs Kyle O’Quinn to set up Josh Richardson dunk (video)

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In the Heat’s rout of the Knicks last night, Kelly Olynyk scored 22 points and dished a career-high 10 assists.

This was the prettiest, a pass between Kyle O'Quinn‘s legs to Josh Richardson, who dunked.

Malik Beasley stumbles, bumbles, fumbles during turnover (video)

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Malik Beasley isn’t a point guard, but he was playing the position for the Nuggets in garbage time of their win over the Bulls last night. And Torrey Craig‘s pass was low and behind Beasley, which is why Craig was assigned the turnover.

With those caveats acknowledged, Beasley’s contortions as he tries to corral the ball are something to behold.