Marcin Gortat suffered a foot injury in March that left him in the same situation as his Phoenix Suns — broken and unable to compete by the time the regular season was finished.
Gortat planned to spend the summer with the Polish national team preparing for Eurobasket, which tips off in September. He recently returned to the states to have the foot checked out as a precautionary measure, but it now appears that he’ll be good to go by the time the tournament begins.
Now the squad has been heartened by the news that their most important player, Marcin Gortat, is to join Poland on Sunday in Belgium, where they are facing Israel, the hosts andItaly in a warm-up tournament for the EuroBasket in Slovenia.
The 2.11m pivot had been with Poland in July but travelled to the United States earlier this month so doctors could examine the metatarsal injury that he suffered in March while playing for the Phoenix Suns.
The Polish federation said: “Gortat will on Sunday, 18 August, fly to Belgium where on 17-19 August the Poles will play in a tournament with Israel, the hosts and Italy.”
Plenty of internationally-born players take the responsibility of suiting up for their country extremely seriously, and Gortat is no exception. He just needed to make sure that his foot was healing properly and that he wouldn’t be exposed to a setback that could cost him more playing time in the NBA next season.
The rebuilding Suns selected Alex Len with the fifth overall pick in this year’s draft, which led to early speculation that Gortat might become expendable. But while the team’s new GM Ryan McDonough will of course listen to offers, he’s said repeatedly this summer that the plan for now is to retain him for the foreseeable future — which essentially means through the end of next season.
The Suns can simply let Gortat walk after this season, of course, but he has just one year at $7.7 million remaining on his contract. And those expiring deals can be of great interest to teams as the midseason trade deadline approaches.
The Los Angeles Clippers had a rough go of things against the Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Up by 18 with more than five minutes to go, LA blew their lead and were left to watch as the Kings sealed the game late.
The final possession for Sacramento came on a missed corner 3-pointer by Clippers guard Jamal Crawford. The Kings got the outlet pass out on the rebound, but Ben McLemore took it to the rack and missed. That’s when Willie Cauley-Stein stepped in, cleaned up the board, and put the game-winning shot home with less than two seconds left.
Los Angeles lost in spectacular fashion, and became the only team this season to lose given their game situation.
Here’s a compilation the NBA put together of Sacramento’s epic comeback:
Meanwhile, Chris Paul called it the worst regular season loss of his career.
The Clippers peaked too soon. Like, the first 20 games of the season too soon.
Russell Westbrook had yet another triple-double on Sunday. The Oklahoma City Thunder star notched 13 assists in the loss to the Houston Rockets, 137-125, and one of them came on a nifty pass to teammate Victor Oladipo.
The play happened with the Thunder on the fastbreak early in the third quarter. Westbrook was moving from left-to-right across the middle of the floor with the ball while Oladipo streaked down the right wing.
With the Rockets defense collapsing, Westbrook reached halfcourt and fired a bounce pass that sliced through the opposition.
Oladipo finished with the clean dunk.
Still not sure it beats this one, but I think we’ll have to compare once the season comes to a close.
The race between James Harden and Russell Westbrook for the 2017 NBA MVP has narrowed to a two-man race toward the end of the season. The Oklahoma City Thunder star is averaging at triple-double this year, and the Houston Rockets guard is doing things nobody has ever done on a basketball court before.
It’s a tough decision to decide between them, so much so that even former Los Angeles Lakers great and 2008 NBA MVP Kobe Bryant can’t do it.
Speaking on ESPN on Sunday, Bryant said he thought the league might have to just bite the bullet on Westbrook vs. Harden.
“We might see our first co-MVPs this year,” said Bryant.
That would be a huge step for the league, but I’m not entirely sure they would do it. There have been co-NBA All-Star Game MVPs in years past, but never league MVP.
Still, can you decide between Russ and Harden? The Mamba can’t.
Houston Rockets center Nene is from Brazil, but on Sunday against the Oklahoma City Thunder the South American native went full euro.
On a fastbreak possession, Nene took on Thunder big man Enes Kanter near the rim and absolutely shook him with a nasty eurostep.
The play was so good that it forced Oklahoma City to call a timeout as James Harden and the rest of the Rockets bench met Nene on the court to celebrate.