Kurt Helin

Dwight Howard

Report: Dwight Howard to attend Team USA mini-camp after all

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Apparently Dwight Howard still might want a trip to Rio next summer.

USA Basketball’s mini-camp is coming up and players who do not attend are not likely to be invited to the tryouts for the Rio Olympics next summer (unless your name is LeBron, then you can pretty much do what you want). A few players frustrated with the USA Basketball process and decisions — Damian Lillard and John Wall in particular — have been hesitant in saying they would go.

Dwight Howard, on the other hand, seems to have had a change of heart, reports Marc Stein of ESPN.

Howard, because of his defense and mobility, would stand a good chance to make Team USA because he fits Mike Krzyzewski’s style of play. Howard protects the paint, can cover out on the perimeter on defense, and knows how to run the floor and finish on offense. Tyson Chandler was on the roster in London, Howard could slide right into that slot.

Predicting who will be available a year from now is next to impossible, there’s an entire NBA season still to be played. But if you don’t show up to the mini-camp this season you probably miss out next year, so it doesn’t hurt to show up (even for guys like Kevin Love and Kevin Durant, who cannot participate due to injury). This is the smart play for Howard.

Watch Karl-Anthony Towns highlights from Summer League

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Karl-Anthony Towns impressed at Summer League.

You don’t get to be the No. 1 overall pick with physical talent, but he turned heads with the high basketball IQ he showed. He recognized the double teams being thrown at him and made clever passes out of them. He showed the ability to score a variety of ways, from back-to-the-basket to 18-foot jumpers. He and moves well off the ball.

Maybe most impressively, he handled himself like a veteran off the court.

He’s still a rookie, and he’s got a lot of work left — he picked up fouls at an alarming rate, and he needs a diversity of post moves. But Timberwolves fans should watch videos like this and smile.

Pelicans waive Toney Douglas, still await Norris Cole decision

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Toney Douglas had a couple stints with the Pelicans last season. He first signed on Feb. 4 for a couple of 10-day contracts, but wasn’t picked up for the season at that time. Then on March 24 things changed and the Pelicans picked him up for the rest of the campaign. He added some guard depth to an injury-riddled New Orleans roster, played some decent defense, and he got in a dozen games for the team (but none in the playoffs).

But he was never expected to make it back in the fall, and that became official on Friday — the Pelicans waived Douglas.

That leaves the Pelicans with a dozen guaranteed contracts on the roster.

There is one big question remaining — what happens with Norris Cole? He is a restricted free agent who was hoping to get an offer larger than the qualifying one the Pelicans extended — he’s had talks with the Sixers — but so far nothing.

Cole played some of the best ball of his career for the Pelicans late last season — he averaged 9.9 points and 3.2 assists a game and played good defense, then continued that solid performance in the playoffs against Golden State. The Pelicans want him back, which is why Cole has struggled to get an offer from another team because they all assume the Pelicans would just match.

 

It’s official: Kings hire Hall-of-Famer Nancy Lieberman as assistant coach

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It’s an impressive resume for an NBA assistant coach: Two years as the head coach of the D-League’s Texas Legends making the playoff the second year, then becoming general manager of that team. Before that she was a two-time college champion and an Olympian as a player. That is somebody with the background to understand and coach the game.

Nancy Lieberman’s credentials should not be in question — she’s in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame for a reason.

The Kings made it official, announcing that she has been hired Friday as a member of George Karl’s coaching staff in Sacramento.

Sam Amick of the USA Today got a short quote out of her on the topic.

In a late-night text message to USA TODAY Sports, Lieberman called Thursday, “a crazy, wonderful day.” For at least the past year, Lieberman had been interested in joining an NBA team as a coach and has worked at high-profile camps last summer instructing NBA players.

Lieberman becomes the second full-time female assistant coach in the NBA, behind the Spurs Becky Hammon.  What’s impressive is that Lieberman was one of the real pioneers of women working in the NBA, and she helped open the door for Hammon. Now Lieberman herself is walking through that same door.

The Kings — with Rajon Rondo, DeMarcus Cousins and Karl coaching them — have a lot of strong-willed people in the same room. It’s potentially combustible. If Lieberman can navigate that locker room and win the players over, she will be able to do it anywhere.

 

Report: Hawks’ Mike Scott told police after arrest all drugs in car were his

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Mike Scott is out on an $8,100 bond following his arrest on felony drug possession charges this week. Scott and his brother were pulled over for a traffic stop (after allegedly trying to elude police), and were found to have marijuana and MDMA (Molly). Both men were arrested. Possession of Molly earns you a felony charge.

Things are not getting better for Scott even though he’s out. Scott told the officers all the drugs in the car were his, according to Chris Vivlamore’s report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Following his arrest on felony drug charges, Mike Scott told police that all the marijuana and MDMA seized from the vehicle in which he was a passenger belonged to him, according to the incident report obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution Friday. The brother of the Hawks players, Antonn Scott, was also arrested and concurred with his brother.

Mike and Antonn Scott were arrested Thursday morning in Banks County following a traffic stop. The two bonded out late Thursday night, according to a Sheriff’s Department spokesperson….

According to the incident report a total of 35.2 grams of marijuana and 10.9 grams of MDMA were seized. Police also found $1,684 in the vehicle.

No court date has yet been set; that likely comes in the next week.

The Hawks issued a statement saying they were aware of the situation but would not comment beyond that at this time.

Scott averaged 7.8 points and 2.9 rebounds off the bench for the Hawks last season, averaging 16.5 minutes per game. He has two years, $6.7 million left on his deal, although the second year of that is a team option.