Report: Dwight Howard to play for Team USA at World Championships, maybe Olympics

6 Comments

The last time Dwight Howard played for Team USA he was a 22-year-old helping the United States win gold at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

But that appears likely to change this summer with the World Championships in Spain, Howard will be in the pool of players coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball will choose from, reports Adrian Wojnarowski at Yahoo Sports.

If you’re asking why now, Wojnarowski has a potential answer.

Howard’s return to the Team USA pool of players for the World Cup in Spain this summer could clear the way for the seven-time All-Star center to be part of the national team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Brazil…

For Howard, USA Basketball could have a cleansing impact on his reputation. In the past, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James have found playing for USA Basketball a way to redeem themselves in the public eye.

Howard would need to accept somewhat of a role on Team USA — his post game is not really how the international game is played, he’s going to spend a lot of time chasing other team’s bigs out to the arc. That said, Howard’s mobility, defense and rebounding could be something that would pair well with Kevin Love, Kevin Durant and LaMarcus Aldridge along Team USA’s front line.

The USA Basketball pool of players for the World Championships — as well as the 2016 Olympics (it’s the same pool of guys) — will be released on Thursday. Kevin Durand and Kevin Love have already said they plan to play this summer. Expect fewer of the old school — no Kobe Bryant — and more of the new school such as Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Pau George and DeMarcus Cousins.

Here are tweets from Wojnarowski and Yahoo’s Marc Stein on the issue.

Jazz boost international bona fides with new minor-league coach

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Martin Schiller has been named coach of the Salt Lake City Stars, the Utah Jazz’s NBA G League affiliate.

Schiller previously served as an assistant coach of MHP Riesen Ludwigsburg in Germany and replaces Dean Cooper. He was an assistant coach for the Artland Dragons from 2010-15.

Schiller has also been an assistant coach on the German National Team since 2015, where he worked with Jazz assistant coach Alex Jensen.

Schiller hails from Vienna, Austria, and Stars vice president of basketball operations Bart Taylor lauded him for his international experience and player development background.

The Jazz organization is known to have close relationships with the international basketball community. The Jazz currently have eight international players.

Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 with Celtics

AP Photo/Tony Dejak
Leave a comment

BOSTON (AP) — Newly acquired guard Kyrie Irving will wear No. 11 in Boston because the Celtics already have retired the numbers he wore in college and with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Irving wore No. 11 at two New Jersey high schools before switching to No. 1 at Duke. He wore No. 2 with the Cavaliers for the first six years of his NBA career.

The Celtics retired No. 1 for founder and original owner Walter Brown. They retired No. 2 for former coach and general manager Red Auerbach.

In all, the Celtics have retired 21 numbers, with Paul Pierce’s No. 34 next in line for the TD Garden rafters.

 

PBT Extra: Cavaliers’ new GM aces first big test with Kyrie Irving trade

2 Comments

Everyone in the NBA — heck, nearly everyone living in the Western hemisphere — knew Kyrie Irving wanted out of Cleveland. That should kill the Cavaliers’ leverage and make it hard to get enough quality back.

New GM Koby Altman — the guy thrust into the job when David Griffin was shown the door — pulled it off brilliantly.

That’s what I talk about in this new PBT Extra. With Isaiah Thomas and Jae Crowder, the Cavaliers remain the team to beat in the East this season. The Brooklyn Nets pick gives them flexibility going forward, whatever LeBron James decides to do next season.

First time at the plate in the big leagues and Altman crushed it to straight away center field.

Cavaliers-Celtics deal first offseason trade involving players who just met in NBA Finals or conference finals

Elsa/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The Cavaliers and Celtics played in last year’s Eastern Conference finals. The teams were widely expected to meet there again.

Yet, Cleveland and Boston just completed a blockbuster trade – Kyrie Irving for Isaiah Thomas, Jae Crowder, Ante Zizic and the Nets’ 2018 first-round pick.

That seemed odd.

In fact, it’s unprecedented.

That is an incredible fact, one which speaks to LeBron Jamescachet. The Cavs are emphasizing this season, LeBron’s last before a player option, by loading up with veterans Thomas and Crowder. With LeBron still reigning in Cleveland, the Celtics are delaying their peak by acquiring the younger Irving.

Adding to the intrigue: the Cavs and Celtics are still favored to meet in this year’s conference finals. At minimum, they’ll face off in a(n even more) highly anticipated opening-night matchup.