Long shot Odom pulls self out of Olympic consideration; Lin leaves USA Select Team

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He was a long shot anyway after the disaster of a season he just had, but Lamar Odom — who had an invite to Team USA Training Camp — is dropping out of consideration.

Via the only other national media member that went to my high school, ESPNLosAngeles’ Arash Markazi, on twitter:

Lamar Odom tells ESPNLA he will skip Team USA this summer and work with trainers in L.A. and focus on this season.

After what can kindly be called a wasted season in Dallas (Mavs fans use less kind words, with good reason) Odom is not in the shape he needs to be in for the London games. After his past season he was likely not making the roster anyway, something that was leaked long ago. Odom was just traded from Dallas back to the Los Angeles Clippers in a four-team deal.

If you’re asking why he even has an invite, you need to go back and watch how he played in the 2010 FIBA World Championships, when his versatile game was a key for Team USA to create matchup nightmares. He was the Odom that won Sixth Man of the Year.

With bigs Odom and very likely Anthony Davis out — along with Dwight Howard, Chris Bosh and LaMarcus Aldridge — it seems almost a certainty that Blake Griffin will get a spot on Team USA. When Bosh pulled out coach Mike Krzyzewski said he wanted to have Davis, Odom and Griffin in for a special pre-camp workout, but now two-thirds of them are out.

It is highly unlikely that anyone is added to the team at this point as it is past the first drug-testing deadline for the games and it would take special dispensation to get any players added.

Also out for Team USA are Derrick Rose, Dwyane Wade and Chauncey Billups.

Don’t shed any tears for a team that will could well start Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, LeBron James and Tyson Chandler and bring Kevin Love, Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook off the bench, with Andre Iguodala as a defensive stopper if you want.

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On other news, USA Basketball has confirmed that both Jeremy Lin and Greg Stiemsma have pulled out of the USA Select Team — the team that practices against Team USA in camp and is looked at for future United States teams — because of their contract status.

Lin is currently a restricted free agent negotiating a deal and an injury in camp could radically change that. Lin is expected to re-sign with the Knicks but there are scenarios that could pull him away from New York.

“Unfortunately, I am not going to be able to participate in the 2012 USA Men’s Select Team this summer,” said Lin in a released statement.  “It was such an incredible honor to be selected, but I have withdrawn my name from the team because of my status as a free agent.  I hope to have the opportunity to participate with USA Basketball at some point in the future.”

Stiemsma is expected back with the Celtics but is in a similar situation as a restricted free agent.

Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Bucks-Suns Eric Bledsoe revenge game

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Giannis Antetokounmpoone of the NBA’s best players – won’t help new Bucks teammate Eric Bledsoe in a revenge game against the Suns tonight.

Not only is Milwaukee missing Mirza Teletovic and John Henson (and Matthew Dellavedova and Jabari Parker), Antetokounmpo is out.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Antetokounmpo will miss Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right knee soreness.

Antetokounmpo says his knee soreness is the same injury he dealt with in the off-season, which caused him to withdraw from the Greek national team.

“It feels good,” Antetokounmpo said after sitting out shootaround. “I’m just trying to be careful with it and not make any damage. That’s it, because it’s a long season and I’m trying to be careful.”

The Bucks have been outscored by 18.6 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo this season (and are +2.3 without him). Phoenix isn’t good, but neither is Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo.

I don’t think Bledsoe will mind a chance to get more aggressive tonight, though.

Report: Mexico City could host NBA’s 31st minor-league team

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said his league would look into placing a franchise in Mexico City.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s minor-league has affiliates for 26 of 30 NBA teams and counting. The league also has youth academies in China, India, Australia and Senegal – and also counting.

Jonathan Givony of  ESPN:

The NBA will announce a new basketball development and training academy in Mexico City during the Global Games December 7th and 9th, in conjunction with CONADE (Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport) and the Mexican Basketball Federation, sources told ESPN.

Mexico City could emerge as the 31st G League franchise, where prospects from the seven academies graduate up to, according to sources.

A minor-league team in Mexico City could be a nice testing ground for an NBA franchise. An unaffiliated minor-league team is also an interesting wrinkle, especially how it’d be stocked.

Ultimately, experimentation is a purpose of the NBA’s minor league. This would be running multiple test cases at once.

Lonzo Ball on his shot: “I feel like they’re going to fall. Just have to keep shooting.”

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Lonzo Ball‘s shooting woes this season have been well chronicled. Maybe even beaten to death — but when your father is a hype man, and Magic Johnson says you’re the “face of the franchise” it invites a whole new level of scrutiny. Doesn’t matter if it’s fair, it’s reality.

Rather than a cold recitation of the numbers, a look at Ball’s shot chart for the season says a 1,000 words worth.

Ball has admitted frustration but has said throughout he expects things to turn. He reiterated that in an interview on the Mason and Ireland Show on ESPN LA Radio. He likes the looks he’s getting, thinks they will start to go down. (Hat tip Lakers’ Nation.)

“I’m just missing shots. I definitely like the looks I’m getting. Most of them are wide open, people are going under screens. I feel like they’re going to fall. Just have to keep shooting and shooting with confidence.”

Ball is right. He is shooting 28.2 percent on shots where the defender is 4-6 feet away (22.9 percent from three on those), and 21.3 percent when the defender is 6 or more feet away (19.1 percent from three).

Those shots may start to fall — Luke Walton has preached the same thing to Ball, just keep shooting and it will come around. Right now Ball is in his own head about this, maybe guiding the shots rather than just firing away, but the Lakers aren’t going to rebuild his shot mid-season. He should just keep shooting.

Maybe of more concern is that 42.5 percent in the restricted area — if he isn’t a decent scoring threat on drives, it will hamper his entire passing game. He’s a rookie, he needs time to adjust to the speed, length, and physicality of the NBA, it’s far too early to say what he is and isn’t yet. But those finishing numbers are ones to watch.

Kevin Durant says “I plan on playing” against Thunder Wednesday

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After Kevin Durant missed the Warriors’ last game with a sprained ankle, there was some question about whether he would play on his latest return to Oklahoma City on Wednesday.

Doubt no more, he will play. Like we all expected.

Durant has a ring now and says he wants to move on from the drama surrounding his departure from Oklahoma City, but you can be sure plenty of Thunder fans don’t feel that way. KD will again have boos rained down on him all game.

This is obviously a very different Thunder team than the one Durant left, with the additions of Paul George and Carmelo Anthony. While the Thunder have stumbled and blown leads (in six of their nine losses OKC had double-digit leads) this is a team with a lot of potential, as Durant discussed.