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.

LeBron James all good with Reggie Jackson’s free throw gamesmanship, “I’ve done it before”

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Let’s set the stage: Sunday night, the fast-rising Pistons led the fast-rising Timberwolves by three with  6.2 seconds left when Jimmy Butler drew a foul on a 3-pointer. Butler drained the first two free throws. Before the third, Reggie Jackson interrupted to talk to Stanley Johnson, who was in rebounding position. Butler missed the free throw, and Detroit held on to win 100-97. Here’s the play in question.

It was a bit of gamesmanship by Jackson.

LeBron James was asked about the move at Cavaliers shootaround and endorsed it with a smile on his face.

“I’ve done it before. I won a playoff series before doing that actually. So, I’m all for it.”

That series was in 2007, overtime of game 6 of a first-round playoff series against Washington, and the victim was the Hibachi, Gilbert Arenas. The Cavaliers were down 1, Arenas had two free throws, missed the first, then LeBron stepped in. Arenas missed the second, and the Cavs went on to get the win.

Is interrupting free throws about to become an NBA thing? If it works, players will do it.

Warriors pose for photos with Jahlil Okafor’s dad’s ‘FREE JAH’ shirt

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Jahlil Okafor‘s father has not been shy about speaking out on his son’s behalf. NBA players are advocating for the 76ers to grant Okafor, who’s out of the rotation and on an expiring contract, his desired trade or buyout.

When both join forces…

Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Stephen Curry appear to really enjoy Chukwudi Okafor’s shirt. That doesn’t mean they’re necessarily calling on Philadelphia to do anything. But they hadn’t to know how it’d be perceived.

It’s easy to predict free agents will avoid the 76ers as a result of the Okafor situation, but few anticipate getting stuck similarly. Players overwhelmingly value money, winning, role and location. If Golden State’s stars are applying any external pressure, it shouldn’t really move Philadelphia more than anything that has already been said and done.

A couple of Lonzo Ball’s triple-double assists look dubious (video)

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Lonzo Ball draws outsized attention because his father, LaVar Ball, lures onlookers and because the rookie plays for the high-profile Los Angeles Lakers.

So, when Lonzo gets a triple-double – like his 11-points, 16-rebound, 11-assists game against the Nuggets yesterday – it draws scrutiny.

Mo Dakhil of The Jump Ball:

The NBA defines an assist as a “pass that directly leads to a basket. … An assist can be awarded for a basket scored after the ball has been dribbled if the player’s pass led to the field goal being made.”

I wouldn’t describe either of those passing as leading directly to a basket. Ball’s teammates each hold the ball for a moment after receiving the pass then take two dribbles against set defenses.

But assists are subjective, and the Lakers aren’t alone in offering a home-court scorekeeping advantage.

Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice

So, criticize/laugh at the Lakers. But your favorite team probably manipulates assists in its favor, too.

Robin Lopez and T.J. Warren exchange contact, heated words (video)

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Robin Lopez whacked T.J. Warren in the head while chasing an offensive rebound. Warren didn’t like that, so he ran to the opposite end of the court and shoved Lopez to the floor. A heated confrontation ensued, though it didn’t escalate beyond yelling.

Warren received a flagrant foul, and Lopez was hit with a technical in the Suns’ 113-105 win over the Bulls.