The FIBA World Cup is in the group play stage, but you’re probably choosing to spend your time watching College Football. We get that. Which is why we’re here to give you a wrap up of the games you didn’t watch today.
• Team USA couldn’t coast on Day 2. A veteran Turkish team (eight of their players were on the 2010 team that went to the World Championship final) came in with a plan — play zone, foul when the USA was trying to get out on the fast break, and just make the game ugly. It worked for a half because the Turks were nailing threes, plus the USA contributed by committing a lot of fouls (and the refs helping on a few). Turkey led But in the second half Anthony Davis started to come alive (19 points) and Kenneth Farried was a scoring machine on his way to a team best 22 points on 11-of-14 shooting and that was enough. The USA pulled away for a 98-77 win. (By the way, Derrick Rose didn’t look great on the back-to-back, for those keeping score of such things.)
• The Philadelphia 76ers traded for Dario Saric (the No. 12 pick in last June’s draft) in part because he has potential as a point forward and in part because they knew he would play overseas for a couple years to develop, all part of their “be bad now and accumulate assets” plan. We saw the Croatian’s potential Sunday — an elbow from Argentina’s Andres Nocioni (you expected someone else?) knocked out a couple of Saric’s teeth but he kept on playing and finished with 17 points and 9 rebounds. He moves well for a big and has skills, there is legit potential there. Saric and Croatia picked up a key win 90-85 in the game thanks to Saric and the Nets’ incoming rookie Bojan Bogdanovic who had 19 points (3-for-6 from three). Luis Scola had 30 for Argentina in a losing effort.
• France bounced back from a rough loss to Argentina by coming back from 11 points down against Serbia to win 74-73 on Joffrey Lauvergne’s free throws with 1.1 seconds left. He was fouled by Serbia’s Miroslav Raduljica — the guy the Clippers just traded for a cut to save money, a guy who is a free agent and had another nice game with 21 points and 7 rebounds. Somebody should give the 7 footer a chance.
• Goran Dragic had 18 points and his brother Zoran Dragic added 22 points — and combined they were 14-of-16 shooting — to lead Serbia to an easy 89-68 win over Mexico.
• Senegal looks like it could make the knockout stage (finishing in the top four in Group B) after an 82-75 win over Puerto Rico. They can thank Gorgui Dieng who had 18 points and 13 rebounds, plus a couple of blocks.
• In other games on Sunday: Brazil beat Iran 79-50; host Spain had another easy win, 91-54 over Egypt (Serge Ibaka played and had 18 and 8); Greece beat the Philippines 82-70; the Dominican Republic bested New Zealand 76-63; Finland picked up a nice win over Ukraine 81-76; Australia thumped Korea 89-55; and Lithuania dismissed Angola 75-62.
About a month ago, the Bulls said they hadn’t discussed a buyout with Dwyane Wade.
Have the two sides progressed since?
Nick Friedell of ESPN:
Dwyane Wade isn’t long for the organization’s future and is expected to reach a buyout agreement at some point in the next few months.
Expected by whom?
People with direct knowledge of momentum toward a buyout?
Or everyone who can see that a 35-year-old earning $23.8 million fits poorly on a rebuilding team?
For the Bulls to now drop their biggest name and a large expiring contract that could prove useful in trades should require Wade surrendering a large portion of his salary. He doesn’t sound like someone inclined to do that yet.
A few months is a long time. As long as Wade gets bought out by March 1, he could join another team’s playoff roster. It’d surprise nobody if he gets bought out after the February trade deadline, which we already knew. I don’t see strong indication of something more imminent.
LeBron James has done a terrible job shooting down rumors about him leaving the Cavaliers
Except this one from Chris Sheridan, who cited a source saying LeBron would “100 percent” leave Cleveland next summer due to a rift with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert.
Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com:
Sheridan’s source saying LeBron is leaving doesn’t make that true. But other anonymous sources denying it doesn’t make the denials true, either.
The Pelicans have been crushed by injuries the last few years.
Why? That’s an incredibly complex question.
But the New Orleans Saints – who share an owner (Tom Benson), a front-office leader (Mickey Loomis) and other staff with the Pelicans – have found culprits for their own injury woes.
Mike Triplett of ESPN:
The Saints have fired team orthopedists Deryk Jones and Misty Suri, per source, after it was discovered that CB Delvin Breaux has a fractured fibula and will require surgery expected to sidelined him for 4-6 weeks. Breaux was originally diagnosed with a contusion
Suri is a Pelicans team physician.
Scott Kushner of The Advocate:
Fairly or not, Suri – after the Saints deemed him unacceptable – will be in the crosshairs if he keeps his job with the the Pelicans and their injury woes continue.
Chris Sheridan was ahead of the crowd in 2014, reporting LeBron James would likely leave the Heat for the Cavaliers – which obviously happened.
But Sheridan called it a “90 percent chance,” a small – but large enough – hedge. He also said LeBron would announce the decision on LeBron’s personal website. Of course, LeBron revealed his choice in a Sports Illustrated essay.
So, maybe Sheridan knows what he’s talking about. Maybe he doesn’t.
But the longtime NBA writer just fanned the flames of the already hot LeBron-leaving-Cleveland rumors.
Of course, the denials came quickly.
There have already been plenty of warning signs about LeBron’s relationship with Cavs owner Dan Gilbert, which didn’t restart in a great place.
It’s entirely believable LeBron would leave Cleveland, in large part due to Gilbert.
But it’s also fun to speculate about that salacious storyline.
Maybe Sheridan or his source got carried away for that very reason. Or maybe they know something.
Neither possibility should be discounted.