Report: There will be no age limit for 2016 Rio Olympics

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FIBA is a beurocratic institution of the old-school order. The Olympics even more so.

So it shouldn’t be a shock that the idea of change — turning the Olympic men’s basketball tournament into an under-23 event — is not something that is going to happen quickly.

Meaning not by the games in Brazil in 2016, according to a report by Ian Thompson at Sports Illustrated.

The NBA’s interest in pursuing an age ceiling for Olympic basketball is “unlikely” to be instituted in time for the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro, according to the source, who has direct knowledge of the talks involving the International Olympic Committee and FIBA, the international ruling body for basketball….

But the source stressed that quick action on an age limitation is highly unrealistic for FIBA. Passage of the new rule will require the ratification of 213 national basketball federations around the world — the sporting equivalent of the United Nations. The involvement of the IOC will further complicate the talks.

Players have almost universally opposed the idea of changing the Olympics, an idea pushed by David Stern on behalf of the NBA owners. Players like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and even guys who missed out this year (Derrick Rose, Dwight Howard) want to have the control and the option.

This is a money grab by the owners — they don’t like “their” star players taking part in a big tournament that generates a lot of money and they don’t get a piece of it. The NBA wants to partner with FIBA to boost the World Cup (or start their own event).

The NBA stars have the ultimate power here — if they promise to boycott a World Cup event this idea will die fast. It may anyway, it’s going to take a lot of persuading (meaning money) to get the other countries on board.

Meaning, it’s not happening in the next couple years before qualification for Rio begins.

Kawhi Leonard returns Tuesday on minutes restriction

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The Spurs have been the Spurs this season, going 19-8 with an elite defense and offense that’s good enough to get them wins, thanks to LaMarcus Aldridge playing at an All-Star level.

Starting Tuesday, they add Kawhi Leonard back to the mix.

He will return to the lineup against Dallas, but will be on a minutes restriction, coach Gregg Popovich said on Tuesday. He would not say how many minutes, although around 20 seems a logical starting spot.

Leonard is one of the five best players in the NBA (and that may be selling him short). He averaged a career-high 25.5 points a game last season, he’s arguably the best perimeter defender in the NBA, and he finished third in the MVP voting last season.

However, there are going to be adjustments. LaMarcus Aldridge has been the focal point of the offense, but he could see fewer touches, particularly in crunch time. Kyle Anderson could see fewer minutes, and Rudy Gay may as well because Popovich liked some small-ball lineups last season with Leonard at the four. A lot of players will see their rotations change.

That said, it’s the Spurs. Do we really expect them to be anything but an incredibly good regular season team? One that is about to get better?

 

 

 

Pelicans’ Tony Allen out 3-4 weeks with fibula fracture

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The injuries just keep hitting the Pelicans. Guys like Solomon Hill and Alexis Ajinca are out for extended periods of time. Anthony Davis has missed four of the team’s last six games and is questionable for Wednesday night due to a left adductor injury.

Now comes the news that reserve guard Tony Allen will be out three to four weeks due to a nondisplaced left proximal fibula fracture, the team announced Tuesday. This is the part of the bone near the ankle.

Allen has played a limited role for New Orleans off the bench this season, averaging 12.4 minutes a game, and averaging 4.7 points. His reputation is that of a defensive stopper, and when he is on the court this season the Pelicans’ defense has been 5.6 points per 100 possessions better. However, father time has started to catch up with him and he is not the defender he once was.

Expect the minutes to bump up for Jrue Holiday and E'Twaun Moore with this injury, which is not a bad thing as they have played well (they were knocking down threes against the Rockets Monday like they were named Curry), plus Ian Clark could get a little more run.

Watch Kawhi Leonard chop boards ‘karate styyyle’ (video)

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Kawhi Leonard, enabled by the Spurs’ no-nonsense culture, is probably the NBA’s most boring superstar.

He’s widely recognized as the league’s best defender, and he has worked himself into an elite offensive threat. He has already won a Finals MVP, and regular-season MVP could eventually be in the cards.

But Leonard is notoriously reserved. For someone who has been on this stage for so long, we know little about him.

Except we now know he apparently likes karate.

Leonard:

Gonna chop y’all up. Look at all of us. Karate styyyle.

If “karate styyyle” doesn’t become Leonard’s catchphrase, I don’t even know what we’re doing.

Leonard will finally have the chance to chop up an NBA opponent tonight, when he makes his return from injury.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

Kevin Durant brings fan to tears with autographed shoes (video)

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Kevin Durant has become a villain to many.

Clearly not to this Warriors fan, though.