Tag: Dallas Mavericks

File photo of U.S. basketball Chairman Colangelo and the 2012 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team posing in Las Vegas

Predicting Team USA’s 12-man roster for 2016 Rio Olympics


The Rio Olympics are less than one year away — opening ceremonies are Aug. 5, 2016. Set your DVR now.

In preparation, USA Basketball opens its 2015 mini-camp in Las Vegas Tuesday and players who wants to make the 2016 cut have to at least show up. It’s an embarrassment of riches — you could make a second team of 12 guys from the couple dozen that will not make Team USA’s roster for Rio and win a medal comfortably.

There are only 12 spots on the roster and two-thirds of it seem all but locked in right now. That leaves some interesting battles for a few spots. Obviously, injuries and the coming season will alter the roster, but we have a pretty good idea of what it will look like.

Who makes it to Rio?


• LeBron James: A three-time Olympian and the leader of the 2012 gold medal team in London. He is still the single best player walking the face of the earth. The only question here is, does he want to play? He will be at mini-camp in Las Vegas to keep his options open, but no decision has been made.

• Kevin Durant: When healthy the best pure scorer on the planet (he just has to stay healthy enough to play). A member of the 2012 gold medal team in London who begged out of the 2014 World Championships after the Paul George injury.

• Anthony Davis: Maybe the new face of Team USA, and he has already a gold medal from his time in London. He is central to what Team USA likes to do — he’s a big man who can protect the rim on defense but can get out and run on offense, plus has a shot that can space the floor.

• Russell Westbrook: He won gold in London in 2012, and he’s the kind of athlete Coach K loves to use to overwhelm opponents — other countries do not have a guy like him.

• James Harden: He won gold in 2012 and was part of the 2014 FIBA team that won the World Cup, he will be there in Rio. The man can just flat-out score the rock.

• Stephen Curry: The reigning MVP and the best shooter in the game was with Team USA in 2014, and his ability to both catch-and-shoot or create his own shot off the bounce makes him invaluable. Plus in Rio his shooting range starts about Copacabana beach.

That’s six. Half the roster is done.


• Kawhi Leonard: Coach K likes to have one defensive-minded, shut down wing on the roster. Kobe Bryant played that role brilliantly in 2008, Andre Iguodala was there in 2012, now it is Leonard’s turn. Plus he gets them buckets in transition.

• Blake Griffin: Not only can he overwhelm teams with athleticism and finish in transition, but also he has shooting range now to the arc and in international ball bigs have to stretch the floor.

• DeMarcus Cousins: The USA will likely start with Anthony Davis as the center (as they did in 2014) but you need some more traditional size behind him, and that’s where Cousins comes into play. He can body up other bigs, he runs the floor well (when he wants to) and he has a reliable outside shot.

That makes nine guys: three are three guards, three wings, and three bigs. We need one more of each to round out the roster.


• Chris Paul: It’s his if he wants it — there still is no better floor general in the game, he has gold from 2012,. Plus he is a better defender than the guys below him on this list. Coach K trusts him, but will CP3 want to go to Rio after his 11th NBA season?

• Kyrie Irving: If it’s not CP3 it’s likely Irving, who played for Coach K at Duke, then did a good job for him at the 2014 World Cup (he played more minutes per game than anyone else on the team in Spain last year).

Missing the cut: John Wall, Derrick Rose, Damian Lillard, Mike Conley, Michael Carter-Williams, DeMar DeRozan.


• Klay Thompson: Go ahead and argue he’s a guard not a wing if you want (it’s splitting hairs), but he fits perfectly in the international game. He is a great shooter, runs the floor well and can defend multiple positions. He’ll be in Rio.

• Rudy Gay: He was on the 2014 roster at the World Championships and Coach K likes his versatility, this is a possible fallback if there are injuries.

• Paul George: He’s a feel good story and certainly brings defense and scoring — if he’s healthy and good to go. I don’t expect him to make the cut, but if he has a strong regular season he’s a guy to watch.

Missing the cut: Jimmy Butler, Gordon Hayward, Draymond Green, Tobias Harris, Chandler Parsons.


• Dwight Howard: His game isn’t a perfect fit internationally, but there is not going to be a more athletic big man or rim protector in Rio than Howard. It’s hard to leave him off the roster.

• Kevin Love: The Cavaliers may be struggling with how to use him but Coach K is not — bigs who can stretch the floor are key in the international style game. Plus the USA wants to run and he has the best outlet pass in the game. He won gold in 2012. He could make the team.

• LaMarcus Aldridge: He has a rocky history with USA Basketball, but for all the reasons Love is a good fit on the team and in the international game, Aldridge works just as well.

• Carmelo Anthony: He’s got multiple gold medals (2008 and 2012), and when used as a four he becomes a dangerous weapon in the international game. Coach K likes and trusts him, but it’s a tough numbers game for him to get to Rio.

Missing the cut: DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Mason Plumlee, Kenneth Faried.

Nets sign journeyman point guard Donald Sloan

Donald Sloan, Nene

The Brooklyn Nets added more backcourt depth on Monday, signing veteran point guard Donald Sloan. The team announced the move in a press release:

The Brooklyn Nets have signed guard Donald Sloan, General Manager Billy King announced today. Per team policy, terms of the contract were not released.

Sloan (6’3”, 205) has appeared in 157 games (33 starts) in four seasons with the Atlanta Hawks (2011-12), New Orleans Hornets (2011-12, 2012-13), Cleveland Cavaliers (2011-13) and Indiana Pacers (2013-15), registering averages of 4.9 points, 1.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists in 15.5 minutes per game. Sloan also saw action in four playoff games with the Pacers during the 2014 postseason. The 27-year-old Sloan put together his best professional season in 2014-15 with Indiana, posting career-highs in games played (53), starts (21), points per game (7.4), rebounds per game (2.7) and assists per game (3.6). Sloan has also spent time in the D-League and has had brief stints in China and the Philippines.

Originally undrafted in the 2010 NBA Draft, the native of Shreveport, La. began his pro career after four years at Texas A&M. Sloan helped lead the Aggies to four NCAA Tournament appearances and was named All-Big 12 First Team following his senior season. He finished his collegiate career eighth on the school’s all-time points and assists lists.

This is a good depth move for Brooklyn. With Deron Williams out of the picture, Jarrett Jack is their likeliest choice to start at point guard, but between Sloan and fellow free agent addition Shane Larkin, they have some solid options off the bench. Under the radar, Brooklyn has made some nice moves this summer, taking a veteran’s-minimum flier on Thomas Robinson and signing a proven shooter in Wayne Ellington. Adding Sloan gives them another proven contributor at a position where they have a lot of stability but not a lot of top-level talent. He absolutely will have the opportunity to earn big minutes.

Report: Lakers and Mavs are frontrunners to sign JaVale McGee

JaVale McGee

Since DeAndre Jordan slipped through their fingers this summer, the Mavericks have been in search of a center. They’ve picked up a couple of serviceable backups, the likes of Samuel Dalembert and Zaza Pachulia, but neither of those are long-term solutions. They’ve been linked to JaVale McGee, last seen with the Sixers when not promoting his #JugLife movement on Instagram. Now, they apparently have competition for his services, reports Basketball Insiders’ Alex Kennedy:

McGee has dealt with leg problems for much of the last two seasons, so in order to get consistent minutes on either of these teams, he would have to prove he can stay healthy. He probably has a better chance at cracking the rotation for the Mavs than the Lakers, who traded for Roy Hibbert and have a handful of talented young bigs including Julius Randle, Tarik Black and (potentially) Robert Upshaw. Dallas is much thinner up front with proven talent. If McGee can stay healthy and stay engaged (two very big if’s), he’s the better fit there.

Report: Lakers sign undrafted forward Jonathan Holmes to training camp deal

Drew Charles, Jonathan Holmes

The bottom of the Lakers’ roster is shaping up to be interesting. They have 12 guaranteed contracts and three spots open, and so far they’ve been stacking intriguing prospects. They had talented but troubled center Robert Upshaw at Summer League, and now they’ve signed undrafted University of Texas big man Jonathan Holmes, according to RealGM’s Shams Charania:

Before the draft, Holmes was DraftExpress’ 24th-rated prospect, appearing alongside players who ended up being first-round picks, including Justin Anderson and R.J. Hunter. He played on the Celtics’ Summer League team and drew rave reviews, including this from ESPNBoston.com’s Chris Forsberg:

Steady but quiet during Boston’s three-game stint in Utah last week, Holmes seems to have found his groove in Vegas. He posted 15 points and seven rebounds during Saturday’s win over the Portland Trail Blazers in the Celtics’ Vegas opener.

On Sunday, he showcased his range, connecting on a trio of 3-point attempts while finishing 5-of-10 shooting overall from the floor. Holmes added a block and an assist and was plus-9 in plus/minus.

It’s unlikely that any of these guys will get real minutes for the Lakers if they make the team, but second-round pick Jordan Clarkson was a pleasant surprise last year, and there’s nothing to say Holmes can’t also make an impact if he makes the roster.

Team USA announces 34 expected minicampers: DeAndre Jordan and Michael Carter-Williams in, Derrick Rose out

Chicago Bulls v Los Angeles Clippers

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.