Anthony Davis is the Team USA human victory cigar. When you see him getting serious minutes, the game is in hand.
Expect to see a whole lot of Davis this week.
After a nice win over France to open the Olympics, Team USA enters the softer part of their schedule this week, starting with Tunisia on Tuesday. That is followed by Nigeria on Thursday then a decent Lithuania team on Saturday. (Things get more serious next week when it is Argentina to close out group play then the one-and-done medal tournament portion of the Games begins.)
Tunisia is the weakest team in the Olympic field. Give them some credit for making a push in the fourth quarter against Nigeria to make a game of their opener (they lost 60-56). Thing is, Nigeria is arguably the second worst team in the entire Olympics. As pointed out at The Painted Area blog, if Nigeria had this full roster (with Ike Diagu and Al-Farouq Aminu) at the AfroBasket qualifying tournament last summer Tunisia might not be at the games at all.
As for guys to watch, Tunisia has 7’1” center Salah Mejri who played for Utah in the just completed Orlando Summer League. He is a defensive specialist. And that’s as close as anybody on this roster has gotten to the NBA. As for guys to look for, we’re with Trey Kerby in wanting to see Jack Rebel Slims get in the game.
For Team USA, Tuesday is a chance to work on any sets or schemes you think need some polish. Want to practice playing some zone defense? Do it here. Ever wonder what a Deron Williams/Carmelo Anthony pick-and-roll looks like? Try it out now. Work out the kinks. Because once Team USA cranks up the defensive pressure this one will get ugly fast.
Just stay focused on the big picture and have some fun.
And get Anthony Davis some real run.
The Timberwolves are looking to trade a point guard or two.
The Cavaliers are looking to trade for a point guard or two.
Could it be a match?
Shumpert seems like Cleveland’s most likely trade bait, and Minnesota – dangling Tyus Jones and maybe soon Ricky Rubio – is apparently interested.
Zach Lowe of ESPN:
Keep an eye on Iman Shumpert. Several teams, including Minnesota, have inquired about his availability in the past few weeks and gotten the impression Cleveland is ready to talk, according to several league sources. The Cavs won’t salary-dump Shump for nothing, but given their tax situation, cutting payroll by a few million promises exponential savings.
Shumpert is more valuable than Jones, less valuable than Rubio. Draft picks and/or other players can bridge the gap in any deal, but neither point guard makes much sense in Cleveland. Rubio is too good to back up Kyrie Irving. Jones is not proven enough to be significantly more dependable than Kay Felder.
What could make a lot of sense: A team trades for Rubio, displacing its current point guard, who goes to the Cavs in a three-way trade. With the Kings a known Rubio suitor, Darren Collison could fit in Cleveland – at least after his eight-game suspension. Similar iterations could work with other teams that have a decent point guard but want to upgrade to Rubio.
Tristan Thompson is doing his best to ensure the Cavaliers live up to Joakim Noah‘s “Hollywood as hell” billing.
Just as they begin a high-profile title defense behind stars LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, Thompson is bringing even more attention to Cleveland by taking his relationship with Khloe Kardashian to the next level.
Katherine Santana of In Touch:
Now that Khloé Kardashian and Tristan Thompson are engaged, In Touch can exclusively reveal details on the couple’s wedding. Khloé and Tristan are now in the works of getting their own reality show, and are planning to marry in front of the cameras!
Thompson and Kardashian are adults and should be free to live their personal lives as they see fit under the law. I just hope Thompson understands what he’s getting himself into.
The Lakers must drop two players before the regular season. The
four five primary candidates:
- Nick Young, the only one of the four with a guaranteed salary. There was talk of waiving him anyway, but he has seemingly played his way onto the team in the preseason.
- Yi Jianlian, who has the highest salary of the group. His partially guaranteed, incentive-laden contract makes him an intriguing trade chip.
- Thomas Robinson, the youngest of the bunch. The 25-year-old might be the best center in a few years of anyone on the Lakers’ roster.
- Anthony Brown, the No. 34 pick just last year. He has a guaranteed salary.
- Metta World Peace, the oldest player on the team. He turns 37 next month and hasn’t been productive in years.
The Lakers face one tough choice. Waiving World Peace should be the easy one – and it seems they know it.
Marc Stein and Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
The odds are against Metta World Peace making the Los Angeles Lakers’ Opening Night roster, but the Lakers have interest in keeping the veteran forward around as an assistant coach if they can’t make room for him as an active player, according to league sources.
If the Lakers want to keep World Peace to mentor young players, assistant coach is the right role for him. It’s not worth wasting a roster spot on someone who’s no longer NBA caliber.
World Peace wants to keep playing, and he could lobby other teams. I’d be surprised if he gets another NBA contract, but I was also surprised the Lakers signed him the last two years.
More likely, World Peace must decide between being a Lakers assistant and playing overseas again.
The Heat and Kings reportedly discussed a trade that would send Goran Dragic to Sacramento for Rudy Gay and Darren Collison.
Could such a deal happen?
Miami is clearly sending out word from its end: No.
Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald:
Dragic on Erik Spoelstra, via Ira Winderman of the South Florida SunSentinel:
“He just said those rumors, they’re not true.”
Reminder: Mario Chalmers said the Heat told him they would keep him shortly before they traded him.
Teams get the most from players when they’re happy, and job security pleases most people. So, teams often assure players they won’t be traded. If a team violates that trust by dealing a player anyway… that’s no longer the team’s problem. The player is fuming elsewhere.
I don’t know whether the Heat will trade Dragic this season. Their assurances and signals mean something, but only so much.
I do know Dragic is on the wrong side of 30 and has a long-term contract that makes little sense on a rebuilding team.