Kurt Helin

France punches ticket for Rio Olympics beating Canada; U.S. schedule in Rio set

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France was the last team to qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics, but they may be the second best team in the tournament.

Dominating backcourt play Sunday — with 26 points from Tony Parker and 22 from tournament MVP Nando de Colo — France beat Canada 83-74  to win the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Manila, Philippines. It was a close game against a young and improving Canadian team, but France pulled away in the fourth quarter to get the win.

That sets the field for the Rio Olympics.

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The USA are the clear gold medal favorites. France, Spain, Croatia, and Lithuania seem like other potential medal teams, but even with the USA sending a “B” team everyone else is playing for the silver.

The USA’s schedule for pool play in Rio is now set

Aug. 6: China
Aug. 8: Venezuela
Aug. 10: Australia
Aug. 12: Serbia
Aug. 14: France

From there the Olympics will enter an eight-team, single elimination tournament.

Reports: Pelicans re-sign restricted free agent point guard Tim Frazier

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The backup point guard in New Orleans gets some run. They will start Jrue Holiday, but he will be on restricted minutes as they try to keep him healthy.

Tim Frazier impressed after signing with the Pelicans late last season (after the Trail Blazers had waived him), enough so that the team re-signed the restricted free agent to a two-year deal, as first reported by Marc Stein of ESPN.

Since he battled his way to the NBA through the D-League, Frazier is a good playmaker and a pesky, hard-working defender. What he did well in a small sample size (16 games) with the Pelicans he hadn’t before was shoot the ball — he had a 53.9 percent True Shooting Percentage (kind of at the league average) and hit 41.9 percent from three. If he can continue to hit like that, he becomes far more valuable. He likely is battling Langston Galloway with minutes off the bench.

Watch Spurs’ Jonathon Simmons hit Summer League game winner vs. Warriors

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The Spurs have a couple of NBA regulars on their Summer League roster, and those two got them a win against Golden State on Saturday.

Kyle Anderson threw a lob pass to Jonathon Simmons, who got the shot off with a soft touch as the buzzer sounded, giving the Spurs the 63-61 win in Las Vegas. Anderson had 14 points to lead the Spurs.

After helping Croatia qualify for Olympics, Dario Saric again says he will play for Sixers next season

Associated Press
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Dario Saric is consistent. He has been saying for a while that he will play for Philadelphia next season, even though financially it would be wiser for him to play one more season in Europe then come over.

Saturday the 6’10 guy with the point forward skills was named the tournament MVP in leading Croatia to an Olympic berth, and immediately after he — and later his father — confirmed that Saric wants to come play in the NBA next season. Here are a couple of tweets postgame, via CSNPhilly.com.

The Sixers continue to say nothing is official and they are working on a buyout with his Turkish team, but they are hopeful he will be with the team come training camp.

The question isn’t skills, Saric has those. He brings impressive ball handling skills for his size, great scoring instincts (in the post and transition), plus he is a gifted passer. His game is ready to be tested at the NBA level, the only reason not to is money.

If Saric comes to the NBA next season (two seasons after he was drafted), he is locked into the 2014 rookie scale, meaning he would have $4.7 million guaranteed and $10.8 million for the four years of the contract. After three seasons, the Sixers could offer a contract extension beyond this deal, but he would be locked in for the rookie scale that fourth year. If Saric waits one more season and comes over for the NBA’s 2017-18 season, he is not bound by the rookie scale and can negotiate any deal he can get from Philadelphia. Nikola Mirotic did this (as did Timofey Mozgov and others), and Mirotic negotiated a 3-year deal worth $16.6 million last summer — he’s a lower pick than Saric with less potential, and he got that deal before the salary cap spiked. Conservatively, if Saric waits one more a season he should be able to to get three years $21 million from the Sixers — that’s $10 million more guaranteed and he would still be on to his second contract at the same time.

But Saric remains clear, he wants to come over now, and we apparently will at least get to meet him in Las Vegas.

Watch Lakers’ D’Angelo Russell hit game winner in wild Summer League finish

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The first half of the showdown between the Sixers and Lakers at Summer League — really a matchup between No. 1 pick Ben Simmons and No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram — was as sloppy a basketball game as you will ever see.

However, in front of a record crowd that filled the Thomas & Mack, the second half was wildly entertaining.

Right down to the contested three game winner from D'Angelo Russell. The finish of this game was wild.