USA Basketball announces training and exhibition schedule in advance of 2014 FIBA World Cup

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USA Basketball announced its training schedule in advance of the 2014 FIBA World Cup, and it will include exhibition games versus Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Slovenia, along with training camps in Las Vegas, Chicago, and New York.

From the official release:

“Our training sessions and our exhibition games are vital in our preparations for defending our gold medal at the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup,” said Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball chairman and national team managing director. “We have again scheduled a challenging lineup of exhibition opponents for our USA Men’s National Team. We’re excited to give USA fans and basketball fans in general the opportunity to see their USA National Team play in Las Vegas, Chicago, New York and Gran Canaria.”

“The 2014 USA National Team tour will offer our players and coaches the opportunity to get familiar with each other and to gain critical international game experience against a variety of differing styles,” said USA and Duke University head coach Mike Krzyzewski. “Playing games at the Thomas & Mack Center, the United Center, Madison Square Garden and in Gran Canaria will be memorable for fans and valuable preparation for our team prior to competing in the FIBA World Cup.”

“The 2014 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Cup, featuring a total of 24 national teams, is slated to be held Aug. 30-Sept. 14 in Spain. The 2014 USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Team will play its preliminary round games in Bilbao, Spain, after being drawn into Group C along with teams from the Dominican Republic, New Zealand, Turkey and Ukraine.”

The USA team will consist of players selected from the group that was named to the squad back in January:

LaMarcus Aldridge; Carmelo Anthony; Bradley Beal; Tyson Chandler; DeMarcus Cousins; Stephen Curry; Anthony Davis; Andre Drummond; Kevin Durant; Kenneth Faried; Paul George; Blake Griffin; James Harden; Gordon Hayward; Dwight Howard; Andre Iguodala; Kyrie Irving; LeBron James; Kyle Korver; David Lee; Kawhi Leonard; Damian Lillard; Kevin Love; Chris Paul; Derrick Rose; Klay Thompson; Russell Westbrook; and Deron Williams.

The complete USA Basketball training and exhibition schedule is reprinted below.                                                                                                                       

July 28-August 1                   Las Vegas Training / Exhibition Game – Las Vegas, Nevada

July 28-31 (12-3 p.m.)             USA Team Training                                University of Nevada-Las Vegas

August 1                                   USA Basketball Showcase                       Thomas & Mack Center, UNLV,

Blue-White Exhibition Game                  Las Vegas, Nevada

 

 

August 14-16                         USA Training / Exhibition Game – Chicago, Illinois

August 14-15                           USA Team Training                                Chicago, Illinois

August 16                                 USA vs. Brazil                                         United Center, Chicago, Illinois

 

 

August 18-22                         USA Training / Exhibition Games – New York, New York

August 18-19, 21                     USA Team Training                                New York, New York

August 20                                 USA vs. Dominican Republic                  Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

August 22                                 USA vs. Puerto Rico                                Madison Square Garden, New York, New York

 

 

August 24-26                         USA Training / Exhibition Game – Gran Canaria (Canary Islands), Spain

August 24-25                           USA Team Training                                Gran Canaria, Spain

August 26                                 USA vs. Slovenia                                     Gran Canaria Arena, Gran Canaria, Spain

 

 

August 30-September 14      FIBA Basketball World Cup – Spain

Aug. 30                                    USA vs. Finland                                      Bilbao, Spain

Aug. 31                                    USA vs. Turkey                                      Bilbao, Spain

Sept. 2                                     USA vs. New Zealand                              Bilbao, Spain

Sept. 3                                     USA vs. Dominican Republic                   Bilbao, Spain

Sept. 4                                     USA vs. Ukraine                                     Bilbao, Spain

Sept. 6                                     Round of 16                                            Barcelona, Spain

Sept. 9                                     Quarterfinals                                           Barcelona, Spain

Sept. 11                                   Semifinals                                               Barcelona, Spain

Sept. 13                                   Bronze Medal Game                                Madrid, Spain

Sept. 14                                   Gold Medal Game                                    Madrid, Spain

 

Report: Dennis Smith Jr. planned to have J. Cole dunk in dunk-contest routine

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Mavericks rookie Dennis Smith Jr. seemed pretty steamed about getting eliminated in the first round of the dunk contest:

The dunk-contest scoring system – five judges ranking dunks on a scale of 6-10 – is plenty flawed. There should have been a larger difference between the Smith and Victor Oladipo dunks the Dallas point guard mentioned. But Oladipo didn’t advance, either. Personally, I thought the right two players – eventual-winner Donovan Mitchell and runner-up Larry Nance Jr. – advanced.

Maybe Smith was more upset about the missed opportunity – dunks (plural!) involving rapper J. Cole.

Amin El-Hassan of ESPN on Black Opinions Matter:

If Dennis had made it to the finals, Cole was going to throw him the alley-oop. But then the plan was, he was going to throw him the oop, Dennis would dunk it, and then Cole would catch the ball, and then he’d dunk it too. That was going to be the ill, craziest dunk-contest use of a prop or a person ever. But we never got to saw it, because they were holding out until the final round. They didn’t want to bring it out in the first round.

This certainly would have been unprecedented and cool. But unless Smith had something amazing planned for the alley-oop, the best element would have been Cole dunking. That would have upstaged Smith, who’s presumably the one being judged.

For what it’s worth, Cole can dunk. We’ve seen it in the celebrity game:

Spurs coach Gregg Popovich says he’d be surprised if Kawhi Leonard returns this season

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When announcing last month Kawhi Leonard was out indefinitely due to a lingering quad injury, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich dismissed the idea his star forward would miss the rest of the season:

Apparently, Popovich’s expectation has changed.

Michael C. Wright of ESPN:

The Spurs (35-24) are third in the West despite Leonard playing just nine games. Popovich has done a great job (maybe Coach of the Year-worthy). LaMarcus Aldridge is having a bounce-back season in a leading role. Pau Gasol leads a supporting cast of players good in their roles.

But San Antonio’s ceiling is so much lower without Leonard.

He’s an elite defender who shuts down opposing scorers on the perimeter and can comfortably switch inside. He can isolate offensively to score efficiently, and he spaces the floor off the ball with strong 3-point shooting. Those are all skills that translate to the playoffs.

Without him, the Spurs rely too heavily on older, slower defenders. That’s ripe to be exploited in the postseason.

Teams might even jockey to match up with San Antonio – the most vulnerable-appearing Western Conference team in line to get home-court advantage in the first round.

Of course, this doesn’t eliminate the possibility of Leonard returning. Popovich could just be trying to shut down speculation. He clearly doesn’t like discussing this issue.

But the Spurs are the most cautious team on injuries. If Leonard risks further injury, they’ll keep him sidelined.

This injury has already caused tension. This won’t help.

Mark Cuban’s fine third-largest known fine in NBA history

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While explaining how he told his players the team was better off losing this season, Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said “I’m probably not supposed to say this” and “Adam would hate hearing that.”

Cuban was right.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver fined Cuban $600,000 for “public statements detrimental to the NBA.” The league doesn’t announce all its fines, but that’s the third-largest known fine in NBA history.

The leaderboard:

1. Timberwolves, $3.5 million in 2000 (signing under-the-table agreement with Joe Smith)

2. Clippers owner Donald Sterling, $2.5 million in 2014 (making racist comments)

3. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, $600,000 in 2018 (saying he told his players the team is better off losing)

4. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, $500,000 in 2002 (criticizing officiating)

4. Knicks, $500,000 in 2006 (fighting Nuggets)

4. Nuggets, $500,000 2006 (fighting Knicks)

4. Vladimir Radmanovic, $500,000 in 2007 (injuring his shoulder while snowboarding)

4. Pistons general manager Joe Dumars, $500,000 in 2010 (leaking confidential league memos)

4. Heat owner Micky Arison, $500,000 in 2011 (tweets during the lockout breaking rank with other owners)

I’d be on Cuban (and/or the Mavericks) getting yet another spot on this list following the investigation of the franchise for a culture tolerant of sexual harassment and domestic abuse. That one will probably be deserved – not just the league trying to preserve the illusion of pure competition amid a system that incentivizes losing.

Mark Cuban fined $600,000 for telling team “losing is our best option”

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Of all the hot water Mark Cuban is in right now with the Mavericks and the NBA league office, this is probably the smallest tub. And the least expensive fine.

Cuban recently went on Julius Erving’s podcast, House Call with Dr. J, and said:

“I’m probably not supposed to say this, but I just had dinner with a bunch of our guys the other night. And here we are, we weren’t competing for the playoffs. I was like, “Look, losing is our best option.” Adam would hate hearing that, but at least I sat down, and I explained it to them. And I explained what our plans were going to be this summer, that we’re not going to tank again.”

You were not supposed to say that — the NBA Wednesday fined Cuban $600,000 for “for public statements detrimental to the NBA.”

Cuban’s not wrong, it’s just a matter of perception. The NBA has worked very hard to lessen the image that teams are tanking for draft position (why do you think there was pressure on the Sixers to replace Sam Hinkie?), they don’t need an owner saying it’s the smart thing to do. Even though it is. Teams tank — it is still the only way for a small or medium market team to get a superstar, get high in the draft and hopefully pick one (it’s not that simple, ask the Magic) — but the league wants at least the facade that all of its teams are competitive. All the way through the end of the season.

As you read this, the bottom eight teams in the NBA are within three games of each other for the worst record — and a higher lottery slot. Does anyone think any of them are not going to roll out young, less-talented rosters in the name of development when the real goal is to lose as many games as they can the rest of the way? Most scouts think there is some real talent at the top of this draft, and teams are going to try to get up there and get it.

Just nobody can talk about it.