Kurt Helin

Andrew Bogut says Mark Cuban has been supportive of his playing in Olympics

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Mark Cuban is not a fan of NBA players taking part in massive international basketball tournaments for their country. More accurately, Cuban is not a fan of NBA players participating in massive international basketball tournaments of which the NBA owners — who certainly do risk injury to their highly-paid players — do not see any profit.

But that’s a macro level concern for Cuban. On a micro level, he’s very supportive of his players.

Here’s what the never shy Andrew Bogut — the Mavericks new center is playing for Australia in Rio — said about Cuban, via Michael Lee of The Vertical at Yahoo Sports.

“If it wasn’t right, I’d put my hand up and I’m on a flight back home. It was good enough to play,” Bogut said, adding that Cuban “has been great. We have a great relationship via email and via text. The whole thing was, if you feel like you’re 100 percent, and you feel like your knee is a go, we’re going to support you. I couldn’t ask for a better organization to give me that confidence.”

While the Mavericks have had a rough time landing top free agents in recent years, it’s not because players don’t like and respect Cuban — they love him. He has turned it into an organization guys are willing to come to (people forget what a disaster it was when he took over that franchise).

Part of the reason is he shows he cares on a personal level.

Cuban has encouraged Dirk Nowitzki and other Mavs players to represent their country, he understands that draw. His concern is simply that he is taking a risk — players he will pay this next season regardless could get injured — yet he and the other owners get no compensation for that. He’d rather see the NBA run a World Cup style event as opposed to FIBA.  Which is not a bad idea.

Bogut and his Aussie buddies will give the United States its first real test today in Rio. This should be interesting.

 

Sixers coach says he plans to play Ben Simmons at the point some

Associated Press
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Last season, Milwaukee coach Jason Kidd figured out he needs to play Giannis Antetokounmpo some as a point forward, that’s when they were at their best.

Sixers coach Brett Brown isn’t going to wait around to try the same experiment — he is going to play rookie Ben Simmons at the point forward some this season.

Brown was at Eagles training camp and spoke to reporters about it, as reported by Thacover2.com (hat tip Zach Harper at CBS):

“I can’t wait for the season to begin and all over the place I’m very, very excited to start our season,” Brown said. “I think [Simmons] is going to have some taste of [point guard] for sure. He’ll dictate that himself when he rebounds and leads the break. I’ve said it many times, I think the NBA point guard is the hardest position in the NBA.

“He’s never played point guard, let alone NBA point guard, so what do you think he’s going to be? He has a real good chance to be that. I think initially we’re going to play him in different positions and that [point guard] will certainly be one of them. I believe he’s an elite passer. He has the mentality to do that first—and in a 6-foot-10 frame that weighs 240, 250 pounds, at 20 years old. That’s a great package to work with to play multiple positions.

“He’s going to be a facilitator. You’re going to see [Simmons] making plays. The ball will be in his hands and you can call what position you want. He’s certainly going to have the ball in his hands a lot, and everybody will certainly be reaping the benefits of that and truly enjoy playing with him. What we will say is we will give him the ball as much as we can.”

Simmons showed at Summer League he has a gift for passing — he finds the open man and makes passes both simple and spectacular. He also showed much of his game needs to catch up with his passing skills.

Brown realizes eventually Simmons is going to play a lot of point forward in Philly, so they may as well start young. Point guard has been a real issue for Philadelphia for a few seasons now, which is why this summer GM Bryan Colangelo brought in veterans Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez to stabilize the position.

But Simmons is the future playmaker/facilitator on this team. He’s got to have the ball in his hands. Starting from day one.

Watch Milwaukee Bucks Top 10 plays from last season

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Last season was a disappointment for the Milwaukee Bucks.

But this is still a team loaded with explosive young talent — led by Giannis Antetokounmpo — so you know they put together some impressive highlights.

The fine folks at NBA.com put together a Top 10 highlight package for Milwaukee from last season. Take a break from watching the Olympics for a few minutes and check it out.

Amar’e Stoudemire says he feels overlooked by NBA teams, signed in Israel to win

Associated Press
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After the All-Star break last season in Miami, Amare Stoudemire shot 60.7 percent from the floor, played 15 minutes a night and gave the heat 6.1 points and 4 rebounds a game — and he did it efficiently as the Heat won games.

But this summer in free agency, his phone did not ring with offers from NBA squads. Instead, he will play next season in Israel.

Yes, he’s a little ticked about it. He spoke about it at his introductory press conference, via David Pick.

“Do I feel overlooked by teams in the NBA? For sure. I came off a great season with the Miami Heat, I started 37-38 of the last 40 games, my stats were pretty good. But teams want to go younger and have a different mindset about basketball.”

According to his agent, Stoudemire did have NBA offers but not from likely playoff teams, and Stoudemire didn’t want to be the veteran on a rebuilding squad.

So it’s off to Israel, to play for Hapoel Jerusalem, a team where Stoudemire is one of the owners. Of course, he said that’s not why he chose to play there.

“I retired from the NBA because I wanted to play for a team that had a chance to win a championship, so I decided to bring my talents to Israel. This choice of mine has rocked the United States, it’s all over, it’s an historic moment. I’m still in good health, I don’t play basketball for fun, but to win.”

Stoudemire is the biggest name American player ever to play in Israel. And it’s fitting. Remember that back in 2010 Stoudemire discovered that he had Hebrew ancestry — he soon converted to Judaism and visiting Israel. He learned Hebrew. Now he runs youth hoops camps there and more. For him, this is more than playing or a paycheck to end his career. Hopefully, it goes well for him.

USA Basketball stars came out in force to support Michael Phelps, Katie Ledecky

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USA Basketball’s stars were out in force Tuesday to see the best in the business.

Michael Phelps was picking up a couple more gold medals to add to his trophy case full of them, while Katie Ledecky picked up another as well. Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, Draymond Green, DeMarcus Cousins, Kyle Lowry and the rest of Team USA was at the aquatic center Tuesday night for the greatest show in water.

Boogie Cousins decided to get a little one-on-one time with the swimming GOAT.

Witnessed greatness tonight🏅 #20 #21

A post shared by DeMarcus Cousins (@boogiecousins) on

KD was hanging with another very competitive person.