Drew Gooden will not play for Finland in World Cup

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Finland is playing in the FIBA World Cup this summer. Sure they are the 39th ranked team in the world and FIBA chose them as a wild card instead of China, Russia (2012 Olympic bronze medalists) and Germany, but Finland travels well and will sell more tickets at the gate. And isn’t that what international basketball really should be about?

Anyway, the Wizards’ Drew Gooden’s father, a former professional basketball player, met his mother while playing in Finland. Which because she had citizenship in Finland made Gooden eligible to get it, which would make him eligible to play for Finland in the World Cup…

Not so fast. The paperwork to grant Gooden dual citizenship will not be ready in time, reports Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post. Gooden’s name was not on the 12-man roster Finland submitted to FIBA.

Gooden said he had been to Finland many times but didn’t apply for the dual citizenship until April, that was not early enough for the paperwork to get done.

In an interview before the plan fell apart, Gooden told the Post he still would go to cheer on the Finnish team in Spain at the tournament.

“If something happens and there’s a bump in the road where this is not possible this year, I’m still going to be going there and supporting the team, supporting the players in Spain and start to build a relationship for the future for years to come,” Gooden said. “Either way you want to see it, I’m still going to get my dual citizenship and I am going to become a Finnish citizen, whether I’m playing on the team or not, eventually.”

Finland could, in theory, qualify for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. In theory I could qualify to run the 100 meter dash for the USA in the Olympics. Only 12 teams get invites to the Olympic basketball tournament (half of the World Cup number) and it’s a much more difficult hurdle to clear just to get in.

Gooden played the second half of last season with the Washington Wizards and will return to them this season on a veteran minimum contract.

Suns GM Ryan McDonough: Eric Bledsoe hair-salon claim about tweet was unbelievable

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Eric Bledsoe reportedly requested a trade from the Suns before the season then tweeted yesterday:

Clear message?

Apparently not.

After sending home Bledsoe today, Suns general manager Ryan McDonough explained his rationale:

The hair salon! What a wonderful excuse.

Is it true? I’m not going to call Bledsoe a liar. It might be.

It’s also probably true that Bledsoe isn’t long for Phoenix.

Report: Suns send Eric Bledsoe home, expect to trade him

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In a shocking twist, the Suns firing Earl Watson did not end the dysfunction in Phoenix.

Chris Haynes of ESPN:

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

Bledsoe:

That is a first-rate tweet by Bledsoe. It’s great that he’s having fun with the wild situation, because the rest of us sure are amused peering in.

This was always going to be a long season in Phoenix, but things got out of hand in a hurry. The 0-3 Suns have been outscored by 92 – the worst three-game start in NBA history by 16 points. Now, comes the fallout.

At 27, Bledsoe was getting to be a little too old for a rebuild centered on Devin Booker, Josh Jackson, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender and T.J. Warren. The Suns could have dealt Bledsoe in the offseason. Now, they’re negotiating from a position of weakness.

Bledsoe is a good starting point guard when healthy. He’s earning a reasonable $14.5 million this season and due $15 million in the final year of his contract next season. There should be suitors, and Phoenix can gain long-term assets while stepping up its tank.

But this sure seems like a crisis-control move more than anything else.

Willy Hernangomez ‘mad’ about falling from Knicks rotation

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Knicks president Steve Mills started his second tenure talking about rebuilding and listed Willy Hernangomez as a core piece.

But Hernangomez, coming off an All-Rookie first-team season, barely played in New York’s season-opening loss to the Thunder– drawing scrutiny.

Then, he didn’t play at all in a loss to the Pistons – eliciting a strong reaction from Hernangomez himself.

Hernangomez, via Fred Kerber of the New York Post:

“The same. I’m still mad,” Hernangomez said. “I cannot help the team win if I’m sitting on the bench. Two games in a row. It’s tough. I have to wait my moment. I cannot say nothing more.”

The Knicks are moving in different directions. Management is talking about building for the future. Coach Jeff Hornacek, who was hired by previous president Phil Jackson, is trying to win now.

There’s a fine line between developing Hernangomez through playing time and making him earn his minutes. Enes Kanter and Kyle O'Quinn might be better right now.

But being marginally better this season won’t get the Knicks anywhere meaningful except lower in the lottery. On the other hand, even on rebuilding teams, winning is most important to a coach’s job security. Earl Watson implemented the Suns’ tanking scheme, and look where that got him.

Hornacek is backed into a corner, and now one of the team’s most important young players is publicly expressing his displeasure. It’s the latest troubling sign in a locker room already suspicious of Hornacek.

Report: Eric Bledsoe requested trade from Suns before season

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Suns guard Eric Bledsoe tweeted yesterday:

In light of Phoenix’s 0-3 start and Earl Watson getting fired yesterday, that sure looks like a trade request. Still, there’s risk in making assumptions about vague tweets.

John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7:

Why wouldn’t Bledsoe want out? The 27-year-old is in his prime and stuck on a young team that would rather tank than play him.

It’ll be interesting to see how Bledsoe explains the tweet. He previously paid lip service to his situation in Phoenix, but it appears he’s ready to open up. On the other hand, public trade requests typically draw fines from the NBA.