Team USA will make (potentially final) cuts Saturday

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Andrew Wiggins can be traded Saturday, allowing the Cavaliers and Timberwolves to complete the long-anticipated Kevin Love deal (with the 76ers also participating).

That won’t be the only NBA news of the day.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN.com that team officials, after initially weighing the prospect of announcing some roster moves before Thursday’s practice, will huddle late into the night after Friday evening’s exhibition against Puerto Rico at Madison Square Garden to finalize the roster decisions that can be delayed no longer.

The players who aren’t selected will be notified of their fates Saturday morning, Colangelo said, with the rest of the traveling party heading directly to Europe on a team charter in the afternoon.

The bad news, as always, will be delivered face-to-face to the unlucky twosome, trio or quartet first by Colangelo, which is a chore he describes as “distasteful” but a step he regards as “my personal responsibility.”

And we say twosome, trio or quartet because Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski are still deciding whether to take 12, 13 or even 14 of the 16 players currently in camp to Spain to buy an extra week of evaluation time, since the roster doesn’t have to be officially sliced to 12 for the World Cup until Aug. 29.

As a reminder, here are the 16 players contending for the final 12 roster spots:

  • DeMarcus Cousins
  • Stephen Curry
  • Anthony Davis
  • DeMar DeRozan
  • Andre Drummond
  • Kenneth Faried
  • Rudy Gay
  • James Harden
  • Gordon Hayward
  • Kyrie Irving
  • Kyle Korver
  • Damian Lillard
  • Chandler Parsons
  • Mason Plumlee
  • Derrick Rose
  • Klay Thompson

    Curry, Harden, Faried, Davis, Rose and Irving have started exhibition games, so they’re in good shape. Plumlee and Klay Thompson are Mike Krzyzewski favorites, putting both players in good spots.

Beyond those eight, the remaining four spots are up for grabs. I think DeMarcus Cousins has demonstrated enough, and his injury gives Team USA room to pick him and Plumlee for center depth. Gay has USA Basketball experience, and he’s impressed as the carefully chosen Kevin Durant replacement. I also believe Damian Lillard, regardless of Team USA’s fill of NBA point guards, is too talented to keep off the roster.

That leaves Korver, Parsons, Hayward, Drummond and DeRozan for one spot – and that’s the order I’d list their chances. Either Parsons or Hayward could give Team USA another stretch four, but if necessary Gay could handle that job alone. That would allow the luxury of using Korver as a designated shooter. Drummond can’t fall that far out of the mix at center, though I think he ultimately falls short.

Rose’s injury could throw a loop into the equation, but here’s my best guess at the final roster after cuts tomorrow and maybe more later:

  • Point guard: Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving
  • Shooting guard: Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard
  • Small forward: James Harden, Klay Thompson, Kyle Korver
  • Power forward: Kenneth Faried, Rudy Gay
  • Center: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins, Mason Plumlee

Report: Raptors’ Delon Wright out a month

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Raptors guard Delon Wright dislocated his shoulder, but at least he won’t need surgery.

Raptors media relations:

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

The Raptors (11-5), off to a surprisingly strong start, are second in the Eastern Conference. They’ve bought themselves margin for error. All in all, a month-long absence for Wright isn’t so bad.

Wright had been a key part of an excellent all-bench unit that included Fred VanVleet, O.G. Anunoby, C.J. Miles and Jakob Poeltl. Two-way player Lorenzo Brown has assumed Wright’s role, and Norman Powell – returning from his own injury – will provide a boost. Toronto can also stagger Kyle Lowry and DeMar DeRozan more.

The chemistry of the bench mob was something to behold, but the Raptors should withstand this.

Report: Clippers PG Patrick Beverley out rest of season

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Clippers point guard Patrick Beverley underwent knee surgery – never a great sign.

The prognosis is about as bad as could be expected.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This injury isn’t just a setback for this season. It could derail the Clippers’ long-term plan.

They’ve already lost nine straight, and Danilo Gallinari and Milos Teodosic are injured. If they fall further out of playoff position, they could become sellers before the trade deadline, especially with DeAndre Jordan ($24,119,025 player option for next season) and Lou Williams ($7 million salary on expiring contract).

Health was always the major question with this team, and it won’t soften as Blake Griffin and Danilo Gallinari age through lucrative contracts.

The final year of Beverley’s contract is guaranteed for just $5,027,028 next season, and the 29-year-old will spend most of the summer recovering from this injury. That salary is probably low enough that the Clippers will keep him without hesitation.

Until then, down a couple point guards, the Clippers have no choice but to continue leaning more on Austin Rivers. That also means greater roles for second-round rookies Jawun Evans and Sindarius Thornwell. That’s just too many players facing outsized responsibility.

The Pelicans, Grizzlies, Jazz and any other team competing for the final playoff spots in the Western Conference ought to feel better about their chances. They’re still competing with each other, and it’s doubtful all three make it. But Beverley’s injury helps clear the way.

The Clippers, who didn’t want to take a major step back after Chris Paul‘s departure, must confront an even more uneasy reality.

Giannis Antetokounmpo out for Bucks-Suns Eric Bledsoe revenge game

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Giannis Antetokounmpoone of the NBA’s best players – won’t help new Bucks teammate Eric Bledsoe in a revenge game against the Suns tonight.

Not only is Milwaukee missing Mirza Teletovic and John Henson (and Matthew Dellavedova and Jabari Parker), Antetokounmpo is out.

Matt Velazquez of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Antetokounmpo will miss Wednesday’s game against the Phoenix Suns due to right knee soreness.

Antetokounmpo says his knee soreness is the same injury he dealt with in the off-season, which caused him to withdraw from the Greek national team.

“It feels good,” Antetokounmpo said after sitting out shootaround. “I’m just trying to be careful with it and not make any damage. That’s it, because it’s a long season and I’m trying to be careful.”

The Bucks have been outscored by 18.6 points per 100 possessions without Antetokounmpo this season (and are +2.3 without him). Phoenix isn’t good, but neither is Milwaukee without Antetokounmpo.

I don’t think Bledsoe will mind a chance to get more aggressive tonight, though.

Report: Mexico City could host NBA’s 31st minor-league team

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver said his league would look into placing a franchise in Mexico City.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s minor-league has affiliates for 26 of 30 NBA teams and counting. The league also has youth academies in China, India, Australia and Senegal – and also counting.

Jonathan Givony of  ESPN:

The NBA will announce a new basketball development and training academy in Mexico City during the Global Games December 7th and 9th, in conjunction with CONADE (Mexico’s National Commission for Physical Culture and Sport) and the Mexican Basketball Federation, sources told ESPN.

Mexico City could emerge as the 31st G League franchise, where prospects from the seven academies graduate up to, according to sources.

A minor-league team in Mexico City could be a nice testing ground for an NBA franchise. An unaffiliated minor-league team is also an interesting wrinkle, especially how it’d be stocked.

Ultimately, experimentation is a purpose of the NBA’s minor league. This would be running multiple test cases at once.