USA Basketball wants Roy Hibbert, but probably can’t have him

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When USA Basketball held its four-day mini-camp in Las Vegas last week, Roy Hibbert was a noticeable omission from the roster.

There’s a reason, of course, and it has nothing to do with Hibbert’s level of talent or ability to commit to the program. The fact that he’s played for another country in the past, even at a junior level, is likely to prevent him from joining Team USA for the 2016 Olympics, or at any point in the future.

From Marc Stein of ESPN.com:

Vegas leftover morsel: USA Basketball still covets Roy Hibbert but all FIBA signals lead USAB to believe @Hoya2aPacer locked into Jamaica

Much as both sides want to find workaround, Hibbert HAS played for Jamaica senior NT. FIBA rules make switch to Team USA near impossible

It’s an unfortunate situation for the USA squad, whose only true weakness is in the front court positions.

Last week’s mini-camp had guys like Ryan Anderson, Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe, Kenneth Faried, Larry Sanders, and even Tyler Zeller working out for Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski in hopes that one of them would show something that would make adding them to the roster a necessity.

Anthony Davis would appear to be a lock to make the team, and DeMarcus Cousins would too, at least from a talent perspective — but attitude, work ethic, and team chemistry are all areas where Cousins has been historically deficient.

No one is going to shed a tear for USA Basketball here, but it’s clear that the team could certainly use a player of Hibbert’s talents.

Friday afternoon fun: Watch James Harden’s 10 best plays from last season

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James Harden had a historic season in Houston.

Since it’s Friday afternoon and your sports viewing options consist of watching guys about to be cut from NFL rosters try to impress, why not check out Harden’s best plays from last season. It’s worth a couple minutes of your time.

Mavericks sign Jeff Withey to one-year contract

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Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.

That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.

Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.

Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.

Marc Gasol: If Grizzlies don’t share my goal of continued growth, we might have to revisit things

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The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.

Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.

Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:

I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.

Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.

But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.

Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction

On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.

Celtics to retire Paul Pierce’s number after Cavaliers game in February

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The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.

Now, we know when.

Celtics release:

The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11

After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.