Olympics Day 4 - Basketball

Pau Gasol confirms he won’t play for Spanish national team at Eurobasket this summer


After undergoing a procedure in both knees just last week, and with an announced recovery time of three months before he could return to basketball-related activities, most weren’t expecting Pau Gasol to be ready in time to join the Spanish national team for Eurobasket this summer.

On Tuesday, Gasol confirmed it by posting an open letter to fans on his website.

Here it is in its entirety, just the way it was published:

“To all the basketball fans: In order to avoid future problems, on May 9 I underwent a simple procedure to debride degenerated tissue of the patellar tendons of my knees non-surgically.

After valuing the period of the rehabilitation, which I have already initiated, with my medical team of confidence, I sadly confirm that I won’t play in the next European Championship of Slovenia despite I wished it.

My priority aim is to recover myself thinking in the next season and to be ready, if I’m asked to, for the next challenge with the national team, the World Cup of Spain 2014.

Wishing the best for the Team in Slovenia”,

Pau Gasol

Sounds like someone may have translated that from Spanish to English and posted it, but you get the idea.

Gasol has had a long and successful history in playing for Spain in international competition, most recently helping them to a silver medal in the 2012 Olympics.

Injuries limited Gasol to playing just 49 regular season games for the Lakers, and his scoring, rebounding, shooting percentage, and minutes played were all significantly below his career averages.

Eurobasket 2013 is scheduled to take place in Slovenia from September 4th through the 22nd.

PBT Extra bold prediction previews: Don’t expect more wins in Toronto

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After winning the Atlantic Division then getting thumped in the playoff two years running, the powers that be in Toronto decided it was time for a change.

The added DeMarre Carroll and made shifts to make this a more defensive-minded team, all because of dreams of playoff success (which for the Raptors would be making the second round). What this changeover is not going to mean is an improvement off the 49 regular season wins the Raptors had last season — they sacrificed some scoring to get this defense, and there is a trade-off.

That said, I still expect the Raptors to win the Atlantic. Maybe they make the second round of the playoffs (way too early to make that call).

How many regular season wins they get — and if they win a postseason series — for me is going to come down to if Jonas Valanciunas takes a step forward. Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan will be strong, Carroll is an upgrade, but the big man in the middle will be the hinge for everything.

Mike Budenholzer smirks at lawyer calling Thabo Sefolosha ‘NBA superstar’

Mike Budenholzer, Thabo Sefolosha
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The funny part, via Robert Silverman:

The substantive part:

NEW YORK (AP) — NBA player Thabo Sefolosha, who was arrested outside a New York City nightclub in April following a confrontation with police officer, has a character “of the highest order,” his head coach, Mike Budenholzer, testified Thursday.

Taking the stand as the final defense witness in Sefolosha’s trial, Budenholzer described the Atlanta Hawks guard-forward as “highly intelligent” and a “hard worker.”

When asked by defense attorney Alex Spiro to describe his character, he said it was, “of the highest order.”

“Thabo is of the highest character,” he said during brief testimony in Manhattan Criminal Court.

The Swiss national is charged with misdemeanor obstructing government administration, disorderly conduct and resisting arrest charges stemming from a confrontation with officers outside a trendy Manhattan nightclub early in the morning on April 8. He has pleaded not guilty.

Officers testified this week that Sefolosha and former teammate Pero Antic repeatedly disobeyed their orders to move off the block and away from a crime scene that had been established following the earlier stabbing of another NBA player, Chris Copeland, and two women.

One of the officers also said Sefolosha lunged at an officer with his arm extended but was intercepted before making contact, eventually taken to the ground and arrested.

Sefolosha has testified that he was complying with orders and moving up the block as a particularly aggressive officer screamed profanities at him.

His attorney has argued that his client was singled out by the officer, who is white, because Sefolosha is black.

Sefolosha testified Thursday that he was trying to give money to a panhandler before entering an awaiting car when he was grabbed by police. He said his leg was kicked in the scuffle and he was taken to the ground, handcuffed and hauled to a police precinct. He suffered a fractured right leg, which forced him to miss the playoffs.

The case is the second one involving high-profile athletes accusing New York Police Department officers of wrongdoing this year. On Wednesday, the city agency charged with investigating police misconduct substantiated claims by former tennis star James Blake that an officer used excessive force when he took him to the ground last month after mistkaing Blake for a fraud suspect.