USA Basketball announced its expected minicamp attendees, prompting one major Utah Jazz question:
Where’s Trey Burke?
Turns out, Team USA had a late change of heart and invited Michael Carter-Williams instead. Simple enough.
But Jazz center Rudy Gobert wondered about a different Utah teammate:
That Derrick Favors didn’t make the 34-player camp speaks to the Americans’ depth. None of these players are headed to Las Vegas:
- Kyle Lowry
- Paul Millsap
- Jeff Teague
- Danny Green
- Zach Randolph
- Eric Bledsoe
- Greg Monroe
- Khris Middleton
- Hassan Whiteside
- DeMarre Carroll
That list doesn’t even include players like Damian Lillard and Derrick Rose, who chose not to attend. The U.S. is just loaded with talent.
It’s not hard to argue Favors should have been invited over some players who were. But try making the case he belongs on the final 12-man Olympic roster. That’s practically impossible, making this snub mostly academic.
But if Gobert wants to cape for his teammate, that’s just great.
The Pelicans waived Toney Douglas before having to guarantee the rest of his contract.
The Pacers didn’t submit a claim, but now that he has cleared waivers, they’ll take him.
Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today:
The Pacers probably got a couple advantages by signing Douglas rather than claiming him. If it’s a one-year minimum contract, the NBA will pay a portion of it. That wouldn’t have happened by claiming him, because he was on a two-year deal, even though that was for the minimum. Indiana can also negotiate a new guarantee date rather than Aug. 1 – and that’s particularly important.
The Pacers have 15 players with guaranteed salaries, and their four lowest-paid players – Shayne Whittington, Joseph Young, Rakeem Christmas and Glenn Robinson III – signed this offseason. It’s hard to see Indiana making room for Douglas on its regular-season roster.
George Hill, Monta Ellis, Rodney Stuckey, Joseph Young can all play point guard or some proximity to the position. If Indiana makes a trade, Douglas could provide depth – especially because some of those other players will see most of their minutes on the wing. Otherwise, Douglas probably gets squeezed out in late October.
But at minimum, the six-year veteran will have training camp to make his case. Maybe a point guard-needy team with a roster vacancy will be watching.
Team USA started with a 28-player pool for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics.
That was narrowed for the World Cup with two players added, bringing the total to 30.
A few more players were added during World Cup tryouts, increasing the pool to 33.
A report last month listed seven newcomers, giving the Americans 40 known candidates for Rio.
Today, Team USA announced 34 players – including two previously unknowns – were expected to attend next week’s minicamp, which USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called mandatory for Olympic consideration:
- Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
- LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs)
- Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors)
- Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
- Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls)
- Michael Carter-Williams (Milwaukee Bucks)
- Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies)
- DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
- Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
- Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
- DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
- Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons)
- Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
- Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
- Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings)
- Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
- Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors)
- Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers)
- James Harden (Houston Rockets)
- Tobias Harris (Orlando Magic)
- Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz)
- Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets)
- Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
- Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs)
- Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers)
- Victor Oladipo (Orlando Magic)
- Chandler Parsons (Dallas Mavericks)
- Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers)
- Mason Plumlee (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
- John Wall (Washington Wizards)
- Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
At this point, there aren’t many surprise inclusions. The two big ones: Jordan and Carter-Williams, neither of whom had previously been mentioned for the player pool. Jordan has emerged as one of the NBA’s best centers, and he could definitely make the Olympic roster. The road will be much more difficult for Carter-Williams, who has a strong crop of point guards in front of him.
Carter-Williams’ additions probably has something to do with the players previously in the pool who aren’t expected to attend the minicamp:
- Tyson Chandler (Phoenix Suns)
- Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors)
- Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)
- David Lee (Boston Celtics)
- Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
- Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
- Deron Williams (Dallas Mavericks)
Utah Jazz point guard Trey Burke was reportedly extended a minicamp invite but he’s not on the list of expected attendees. It’s unclear whether the report was inaccurate or Burke declined.
Lillard and Rose are the big losses. Lillard seems fed up with USA Basketball, so his no-show will be no surprise. Rose’s is a little less expected, though we saw the possibility coming. Rose played in the World Cup, and it seemed his relationship with Team USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau helped secure him a roster spot. Since the Bulls have fired Thibodeau, maybe that distanced Rose from USA Basketball. More time off could certainly help the point guard after his multiple serious injuries.
Bottom line: This player pool is strong, and Colangelo will have no trouble assembling the best roster in the world before the 2016 Olympics. The key is finding the ideal roster – the one that best blends talent and fit. This minicamp will be mostly ceremonial, but that process will continue there.