Author: Brett Pollakoff

Utah Jazz v Chicago Bulls

Jimmy Butler, Draymond Green among new players invited to play for USA Basketball


USA Basketball is holding a minicamp in Las Vegas later this summer, and seven new players have received invitations to participate.

Marc Stein of

Sources told that USAB has extended invitations to Chicago’s Jimmy Butler, Memphis ‘ Mike Conley, Golden State’s Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, Orlando’s Tobias Harris and Victor Oladipo and Utah’s Trey Burke to its Aug. 11-13 camp on the campus of UNLV.

USA Basketball is run like a college program, and with somewhat of an iron fist. Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski take their responsibilities very seriously, and expect unflinching loyalty and obedience out of the players who want to participate.

More from Stein:

Colangelo stressed that USA Basketball is making attendance at the three-day event mandatory for invited players if they are interested in securing a spot on the Yanks’ 12-man roster for next summer’s Olympics in Brazil, even if the player is rehabilitating from an injury or otherwise not yet cleared to join in on-court activities.

USAB already knows that Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, Indiana’s Paul George and the Cleveland Cavaliers duo of Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving will not be ready to take part in basketball activities at the camp, because they are recovering from their various serious injuries from the past year. But Colangelo’s view is that “it’s important for everyone to be here as a sign of commitment for ’16.”

This seems like a needless power play, but again, it’s how things are done. And with only so many highly-coveted roster spots to go around for the Olympics in 2016, you can bet that a Vegas trip in the middle of August will be in just about everyone’s plans.

Larry Bird on playing Paul George at power forward: ‘He don’t make the decisions around here’

Larry Bird, Paul George

Paul George had emerged as one of the game’s elite small forwards during his first four NBA seasons, but Pacers president Larry Bird is toying with the idea of switching his position.

Due to a combination of the league going smaller thanks to the success showcased by the Golden State Warriors, along with the fact that George missed almost all of his fifth year in the league due to injury, Bird believes George can be more effective at the four beginning next season — whether George likes it or not.

From the Associated Press:

“I’m not going to get into a battle about where Paul George will play,” Bird said. “He’s a basketball player, and we can put him anywhere out there.” …

On Saturday at a local basketball camp, George said that while he’s willing to play anywhere, he didn’t anticipate playing 30 minutes per game at that spot.

“He don’t make the decisions around here. But I did it, and I loved it after I did it,” Bird said, drawing laughter. He added later: “I know what it did for my career and coming off this injury, I think it would be a good thing because he can still guard some threes, but he doesn’t have to do it all the time.”

This will be matchup dependent, certainly, because while George has made the All-Defensive team twice, there will be players who are simply too big and strong for him to guard for extended stretches.

George has already been preparing for the change, and Bird was obviously just cracking wise. But he made it clear that it’s a strategy we can expect to see the Pacers try very early next season.

Adam Silver says DeAndre Jordan saga was ‘not a great look’

Adam Silver

The DeAndre Jordan free agency saga was certainly all kinds of entertaining for at least 24 hours.

But ultimately, it was ridiculous.

Jordan reneging on his verbal agreement with the Mavericks to stay with the Clippers unfolded publicly, with players getting silly on Twitter and wild (but inaccurate) reports emerging of how Mark Cuban was attempting to gain access to Jordan to try to seal the deal one last time.

The NBA’s moratorium on free agent signings is to blame, and commissioner Adam Silver admitted that the way this particular scenario played out was not great overall from the league’s point of view.

Ken Berger of

Silver admitted that DeAndre Jordan committing to the Mavs during the free-agent moratorium before changing his mind and re-signing with the Clippers was “not a great look.” But he said none of the owners in the room Tuesday “had a great idea, frankly, in terms of how to change it.”

The problem is that there isn’t an obviously perfect solution to get the issue fixed.

It is a good idea to have a period where no signings can take place. It gives both players and teams time to weigh their options, and allows for both sides to have multiple conversations. But nine days is probably too much time, because while verbal agreements for the most part stay in place, as we saw with Jordan, it is possible for players to have a change of heart, and ultimately backtrack on those commitments.

Watch DeMarcus Cousins refuse to sign an autograph for a Warriors fan

Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings

DeMarcus Cousins is definitely in Las Vegas to see the Summer League version of his Kings, and possibly there to have the occasional awkward interaction with his head coach.

Sitting courtside for one of the contests, he was happy to sign autographs — as long as you weren’t a fan of the Golden State Warriors.

For the record, Cousins did eventually sign, and the way he engaged with the fan made the experience far more memorable than if he had just done what was asked initially.

[via EOB]

Keith Bogans is playing Summer League at age 35, says time away has been ‘devastating’

Keith Bogan

Keith Bogans sticks out like a sore thumb playing for the Blazers at Summer League in Las Vegas.

At age 35, while on the court alongside 19- and 20-year olds, saying that it was nice of him to wear his age as his jersey number — 60 — was an easy joke to make.

But after a rough end to his time in Boston which resulted in him being out of the league since January of 2014, Bogans is looking to make an impression by proving he’s a good teammate once again.

Check out the interview below with Bogans from Jessica Camerato of Basketball Insiders. He sets the record straight on some inaccurate things that were floated out there, and is very honest in discussing what he went through while being stuck on his couch during an NBA season for the first time in 11 years.