The 2013 FIBA Americas Championship tournament will wrap up this week, but the important part was concluded on Sunday when the semifinalists were finalized. The top four teams of the tournament automatically earn berths to next year’s FIBA World Cup (an Olympic qualifier) meaning Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, Argentina and Mexico are one step closer to appearing at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.
The first three teams were all expected to be in this position, but Mexico’s bid comes as a surprise considering they weren’t even going to play in the tournament until Panama was ruled ineligible. North America’s neighbors to the south earned their surprising bid, though, with back-to-back victories over Jamaica and Puerto Rico over the weekend.
For USA fans wondering about recognizable names on the rosters of the qualifying teams, Puerto Rico has J.J. Barea, Carlos Arroyo and Renaldo Balkman; Mexico features Gustavo Ayon, Jorge Gutierrez, Orlando Mendez-Valdez and Lorenzo Mata-Real; the Dominican Republic had internet sensation Jack Michael Martinez and Francisco Garcia; and Argentina was dragged to the semifinals on the back of Indiana Pacers big Luis Scola.
Two teams eliminated at the FIBA Americas tournament could be in the running for a wild card bid for next year’s world cup, but their early-round losses at the FIBA Americas tournament have hurt their chances of having an easy path in the 2016 Olympics. Team Canada featured four NBA players, but were missing Anthony Bennett, Andrew Wiggins and Kelly Olynyk due to injury — and eventually were eliminated with a loss to the Dominican Republic squad. Brazil is the one of the best teams in international competition, but they went 0-4 with a roster decimated with the absence of Nene, Anderson Varejao, Tiago Splitter and Leandro Barbosa.
The two semifinals are for bragging rights, mostly, but will tip-off Tuesday with Mexico taking on Argentina and Dominican Republic facing Puerto Rico for a berth in Wednesday’s championship game.
Phil Jackson asked Carmelo Anthony whether the star forward wanted to remain with the Knicks.
Apparently, what Anthony said publicly over and over and over and over and over was true.
Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:
This further proves Anthony’s loyalty to New York.
A trade could’ve sent him to a better team with a more-desirable boss and netted him a $10 million trade bonus. But Anthony enjoys living and playing in New York, even with the tumult – including Jackson – that follows.
Now, it’s on Jackson to improve the roster around Anthony, repair player-coach relations and create a culture where the starting point guard doesn’t go AWOL.
Carmelo Anthony finally got his desired meeting with Knicks president Phil Jackson.
Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
At turn after turn after turn after turn after turn, Anthony has stated his loyalty to the Knicks. What has he done since to indicate he wants to leave New York?
Jackson, not Anthony, has fostered all this recent controversy.
Jackson built a crummy roster that faced a difficult path to the playoffs. Jackson used the code word “posse.” Jackson publicly critiqued Anthony for being a ball hog. Jackson mouthpiece Charley Rosen wrote “Anthony has outlived his usefulness in New York.”
Anthony just wants to play basketball for a good team in the world’s biggest market – not work under a black cloud. Jackson is making it impossible for Anthony to get all his wishes, though.
So, the question falls to Anthony: Would he rather keep playing for the Knicks – and all that comes with it – or waive his no-trade clause to join another team?
For years, he has unequivocally answered that question publicly with devotion to New York. But the act of Jackson asking might invite a different response.
LeBron James said Warriors-Cavaliers isn’t a rivalry.
After Golden State beat Cleveland last night, Draymond Green interrupted a reporter’s question in his urgency to disagree.
Green, via CSN Bay Area:
Yeah, I think it’s a rivalry. So, yeah. Just me, though.
It’s definitely fun, you know? A team that you beat, that’s beat you – it’s definitely fun. I think, if you look at the last two years and this year, we’ve been the top two teams in the league each year. So, I look at it as a rivalry, and it’s definitely a fun game to play in.
But I don’t really care if anyone else see the game the game the way I see it. I see it how I see it, and they can see it how they do. I don’t really care. It’s fun, though.
This is a competitive game, a fun game to play in. And regardless of Bron thinks this a rivalry or not, I know he wants to beat us – and we want to beat them. And that’s enough in itself.
Of course, Warriors-Cavaliers is a rivalry. Green and LeBron have personally fueled it.
Maybe Green was just trying to knock some sense into LeBron last night.
Months into his first and only season with the Kings, Rajon Rondo declared himself to be the first veteran teammate ever respected by DeMarcus Cousins.
As he deals with new problems with the Bulls, Rondo is again trashing his former Sacramento teammates.
Rondo, via David Aldridge of NBA.com:
“It’s just, maybe, the personnel in this situation,” Rondo says in response. “I mean, last year — I hate to keep talking about last year — but you couldn’t name three people on my team, the Sacramento Kings, and I led the league in assists. You know? I don’t know. I believe so (that his skill set still has value), given the right personnel and the flow of the game.”
Rondo is right: Playing with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade is not ideal, and his passing was an asset to the Kings.
He’s also proving his critics right: He’s too often a jerk.
Rondo has declined significantly overall, particularly on defense. His plus passing is barely enough to make him rotation-worthy. It’s not enough for teams cast aside his hardheadedness.
But is Rondo right that you can’t name three members of the 2015-16 Kings? Take this quiz to find out: