Deron Williams is going to London this summer — Team USA is bringing a crazy-good point guard lineup to the Olympics.
Williams has told the Nets he is going to opt out and test the free agent market this summer, which means come July 1 he is going to have a lot of suitors.
Come July 5 he will be in Las Vegas for the start of USA Basketball training camp. Come July 27 he will be in the Opening Ceremonies in London.
By the time he walks in the parade of nations in those Opening Ceremonies, Williams wants to have a deal done, he told the Associated Press.
“The season just ended yesterday,” Williams said. “We have time, playoffs. A lot of stuff is going to happen. Just take my time. But I don’t want to take too much time. I want to try to have something done by the Olympics.”
The smart money is on him landing in his hometown of Dallas to play with Dirk Nowitizki and the Mavericks. But he said the Nets, with their impending move to Brooklyn, still have a shot.
“I’m still looking at all the possibilities here,” Williams said. “I went to the arena a couple days ago and saw how it was and it’s going to be an exciting arena, a great place to play, and I’ve always been confident in this organization. Even though I was opting out, I never said I wasn’t re-signing with the Nets and that still remains the same.”
“(Winning is) first and foremost. I want to go where I feel we have the best chance to win,” he said. “I know we might not win a championship in the first year or two, but hopefully as the chances of building something special and have flexibility and somewhere where I believe they’re headed in the right direction.”
Is that the Nets?
The National Basketball Players Association has talked for more than a year about covering medical expenses for retired players.
Today, the union announced a formal plan.
The National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) announced today that its player representatives have voted unanimously to fund health insurance for all retired NBA players with at least three years of service in the league. This program is the first of its kind among North American professional sports. It also exemplifies the NBPA’s focus on the health and welfare of its current, retired and future members.
“The game has never before been more popular, and all the players in our league today recognize that we’re only in this position because of the hard work and dedication of the men who came before us,” said Chris Paul, NBPA President and nine-time All-Star. “It’s important that we take care of our entire extended NBA family, and I’m proud of my fellow players for taking this unprecedented step to ensure the health and well-being of our predecessors.”
The unanimous vote – which took place during the NBPA Summer Meeting in New York on June 26 – established a multi-faceted health insurance program through UnitedHealthcare, the country’s leading health benefits provider. The current proposal includes:
Retired players with between three and six years of NBA service time but who are not yet eligible for Medicare would be offered a plan that includes medical, hospital and prescription drug coverage with modest out-of-pocket costs for deductibles and co-pays;
Those with between seven and nine years of service would be offered the same coverage with even lower out-of-pocket costs;
Retired players with at least 10 years of service would be offered the same coverage as the seven-to-nine year players, and would include coverage for their entire family;
Retired players with three-nine years of service who are eligible for Medicare would be offered a $0 deductible and $0 co-pay plan along with a low-cost prescription drug plan; those with 10+ years of service to receive this coverage for themselves and their spouse.
The open enrollment period for retired players would begin this fall, with coverage beginning on January 1, 2017.
This is a good thing.
It also could become a bargaining point in Collective Bargaining Agreement negotiations. Should current players face the entire burden of insuring retired players, or should owners split the cost? (The fact that the question is even being posed paints players in a positive light.)
But back to the bigger point: This is a good thing. It’ll help retired players who need it, retired players who helped position the current generation to afford this. Kudos to the union for stepping up.
Warriors center Anderson Varejao will miss the Rio Olympics due to a back injury.
Where will Team Brazil turn now?
Likely to Bulls center Cristiano Felicio.
Marc Stein of ESPN:
Felicio came on strong late last season. He puts his 6-foot-10, 275-pound frame to good use protecting the paint and rebounding. He showed potential as passer and mid-range shooter, too.
At age 24, he’s a candidate to break out in the Olympics.
If he’s not ready, Brazil can turn to a steady veteran at center, Nene.
Blake Griffin broke his hand punching Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi in January.
Make that former Clippers equipment manager Matias Testi.
The L.A. Clippers equipment staffer who was punched in the face by Blake Griffin during a fight in Toronto earlier this year is off the team — and will NOT be back for the ’16/’17 season … TMZ Sports has learned.
We spoke with a rep for the Clippers who confirmed Matias Testi “no longer works for the team.”
The report that Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder before choosing the Warriors?
Royce Young of ESPN:
I misspoke in saying that Durant specifically told Westbrook he was coming back.