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.

It’s not about the shoes: Kevin Durant loses his, blocks two shots anyway

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Shoes? Kevin Durant don’t need no stinkin’ shoes.

Early in the second quarter of the Warriors win in New Orleans Friday, Durant came out of his shoes on a layup in the lane. He then picked up his shoe, carried it to the other end, flipped it to the bench, and played defense without it, and while he got moved out of the way allowing an offensive rebound for the Pelicans he then proceeded to block Tony Allen twice at the rim.

Durant — after deciding to play the rest of the game in shoes — had seven blocks on the night, to go with 22 points.

Joel Embiid frustrated, wants more post touches, to play back-to-backs

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Joel Embiid remains a frustrated man.

He wants to be unleashed on the NBA, and he feels he’s being held back.

Part of that is not playing in back-to-backs — Embiid started Friday night against Boston but will sit out by plan Saturday night against the Raptors in Toronto. Embiid knows the plan to help protect a body that has played only 31 games in three seasons before this one and was not cleared for most of training camp, but that doesn’t mean he likes it, as he told Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

“I just want to feel like an NBA player,” Embiid said.  “I feel like I’m not an NBA player because I can’t play back-to-back.”

I get his frustration, but can you blame the Sixers for treating the guy like he’s made of glass at this point? Hopefully, later in the season, he can be cleared to play on both ends.

His second frustration came from the loss to the Celtics on Friday — he wants more post touches. In the video above he is clear, “I didn’t get the ball enough in the post.”

He’s right here. Embiid had three post-ups all game, one in each of the game’s first three quarters (stat via Synergy Sports). Embiid is efficient in the post — he has shot 9-of-12 on those plays overall this season and the Sixers score 1.33 points per possession when he does. That will work especially well against teams going small (for example, the Cavaliers with Kevin Love at the five), although Friday night Boston had big man Aron Baynes starting at center (in part because of Embiid, in part because Marcus Smart was out injured). Still, Embiid can score on Baynes.

Take a look at Embiid’s shot chart from Friday night.

Part of this is on him with all the threes, but they have to utilize him better. It’s part of the Sixers growing pains that will come this season.

Nets’ national anthem singer kneels to finish performance

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NEW YORK (AP)—  The national anthem singer at the Brooklyn Nets’ home opener took a knee at the end of her performance.

Justine Skye was nearing the completion of the song Friday night when she went to one knee for the finish. There were some cheers, but appeared to be more boos from the crowd at Barclays Center to see the Nets play the Orlando Magic.

NBA players have continued to stand during the playing of the anthems, as required by league rule.

Mavericks’ rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr. misses game with knee swelling

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DALLAS (AP) — Dallas Mavericks rookie point guard Dennis Smith Jr. missed Friday’s game against the Sacramento Kings with swelling in his left knee.

Smith, the ninth pick in the NBA draft out of North Carolina State, had 16 points and 10 assists in the Mavericks’ season-opening loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

Smith participated in the Mavericks’ shootaround on Friday morning and was a late scratch. It is not known if Smith will play Saturday for Dallas.

The Mavericks were also missing guard Devin Harris, who was granted leave of absence after his brother died on Thursday.