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Team USA announces player pool for 2014 World Cup team

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In January, USA basketball announced a 28-man pool for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympic rosters. That field was flexible, and it’s been narrowed and expanded for the World Cup.

In addition to previously named players, DeMar DeRozan and Chandler Parsons were added to the pool – and other players were trimmed.

Here are all 19 players in contention for the World Cup roster:

And here are the players left off from the initial pool. Remember, some of this group could still make the Olympic team:

“Looking at the roster of players who will be participating in the training camp I’m impressed by the success they had this past season and by what they have achieved in their careers,” team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a released statement. “It’s valuable to have some veteran leadership who has won gold at the highest levels internationally. The list also includes some of the most exciting young players who could definitely contribute to this team. Myself and the entire coaching staff are excited to get things underway and as we’ve done each summer our team will strive to represent the United States with respect and a commitment to excellence that hopefully will make every American proud.”

Here’s my early guess at the World Cup roster:

PG: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard

SG: Stephen Curry, James Harden

SF: Kevin Durant, Paul George, Kyle Korver

PF: Kevin Love, Blake Griffin

C: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins

Cousins-Drummond will be an interesting matchup for backup center. Thompson-Beal for third shooting guard and Korver-Hayward-Parsons for specialist will also be intriguing – and the winner of each battle might even have to prove that position warrants a roster spot.

Lou Williams hits halfcourt buzzer-beater (video)

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Yeah, the Lakers lost to the Rockets, 134-95, Wednesday. But consider how lopsided that margin would’ve been without Lou Williams‘ halfcourt buzzer-beater.

And if this headline looks familiar, it is.

LeBron James, Cavaliers do water-bottle challenge on bench during blowout win over Knicks (video)

Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, left, and Cavaliers forward Richard Jefferson entertain themselves by flipping a water bottle trying to get it to land on it's flat bottom during the fourth quarter of an NBA basketball game against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016. The Cavaliers defeated the Knicks 126-94, and most starters left the game for the bench at the end of the fourth quarter. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
AP Photo/Kathy Willens
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LeBron James did his part – scoring 25 points (on just 10 shots!), dishing seven assists and grabbing six rebounds – to give the Cavaliers an insurmountable lead over the Knicks through three quarters. So, he didn’t even play in the fourth quarter.

As Cleveland put the finishing touches on its 126-94 win, boredom set it. LeBron and a few of his teammates tried to flip a water bottle and have it land upright on the floor. LeBron even dove onto the court to pull the bottle back in after an errant flip!

No, Phil Jackson should not have used the word “posse” to describe LeBron’s business associates and friends. But this is the most disrespectful thing I’ve ever seen – and I love it.

DeMarcus Cousins says Mavericks’ rumored interest flatters him, but he loves Kings

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins (15) receives a blow to the head from Dallas Mavericks' Dwight Powell as Cousins works to get to the basket in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez)
AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez
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The Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in DeMarcus Cousins took its most direct public turn before the season, when Dallas signed Cousins’ brother, Jaleel Cousins. Jaleel is now on the Mavericks’ D-League affiliate, and I bet he will remain there as DeMarcus approaches 2018 free agency.

Brad Townsend of The Dallas Morning News:

So, DeMarcus Cousins, what do you think about the Mavericks’ long-rumored interest in acquiring you?

“It’s flattering,” Cousins told me, with a laugh, after the Kings’ Wednesday shootaround at AAC. Then, turning serious, he added of the Mavericks, “I respect them.”

“But,” I said, “I’ve also heard that you like it in Sacramento.”

“No,” Cousins corrected, “I love Sacramento.”

Cousins is getting good at this, toeing the line between appreciating another team’s interest and expressing his satisfaction with the Kings.

And give Cousins credit. He keeps producing at a star level for a team that hasn’t provided him with the proper support. Sacramento again appears headed toward the lottery, even as Cousins averages 29-10.

Questions remain, though: How much of Cousins’ attitude is him trying to make the best of an inescapable situation, and will expanded options in the summer of 2018 test his loyalty?

LeBron James dunks, struts past camerapeople and toward crowd, spooks fan (video)

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LeBron James is dominating, and the Cavaliers are rolling over the Knicks.

It’s almost as if something has LeBron particularly riled up. But maybe ease up a little? That cowering fan isn’t Phil Jackson.