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LeBron James and Chandler Parsons not at Team USA minicamp. Yet?

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Paul George was excused from Team USA’s minicamp after Monday’s meeting.

But he’s not the only one of the 34 players expected in Las Vegas this week who missed Tuesday’s practice.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Of the 34 players listed on USAB’s roster this week, only three were not in attendance for Tuesday’s practice: LeBron James, George and Dallas Mavericks swingman Chandler Parsons, who is recovering from recent knee surgery. But both James and Parsons are expected to be with the team Wednesday to ensure they are considered for the Summer Games in Brazil.

Remember, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called the minicamp mandatory to be considered for the 2016 Olympics. (However, that’s not exactly true for at least Kobe Bryant and Andre Iguodala.)

LeBron was always expected to attend just part of the camp, and Colangelo seemed cool with that. It’s about showing commitment to Team USA – not going through a full week of practice.

Parsons, who had knee surgery in the spring, surely won’t get on the court. But, again, that’s not necessary to meet Colangelo’s requirement. Parsons just needs to show up in Las Vegas. Considering his gallivanting with DeAndre Jordan, we know Parsons can physically handle appearing in Vegas.

I expect both players will show up. LeBron will keep the door open for his assured spot on the 2016 Olympic team. Parsons will keep himself from getting eliminated, though he’d still face long odds for making the 12-man roster.

Report: Andre Iguodala still under consideration for 2016 Olympics despite not attending minicamp

Olympics Day 16 - Basketball

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo called this week’s minicamp mandatory for players who wanted to represent Team USA in the 2016 Olympics.

But, apparently, he didn’t mean mandatory mandatory.

Kobe Bryant is still in contention for Rio, and so is at least one other player not in Las Vegas: Andre Iguodala.

Marc Stein of ESPN:

Iguodala is one of seven players previously in the player pool who weren’t expected to attend the minicamp. The other six:

  • Tyson Chandler
  • Kyle Korver
  • David Lee
  • Damian Lillard
  • Derrick Rose
  • Deron Williams

Do any other players have excused absences? I doubt Lillard does. Rose carries such a high profile, we’d probably know if he did. But I wouldn’t rule out Chandler, Korver, Lee and/or Williams.

Even if those four are still under consideration for 2016, I doubt they’d make it. Ditto Iguodala.

Like Chandler and Williams, Iguodala won a gold medal in 2012. He’s a glue player – capable of defending multiple positions and a good enough 3-point shooter. But he’ll also be 32 for Rio.

His 2012 contributions should give him a little extra leeway, and his wedding is a good reason to miss the minicamp. Kudos to Colangelo and Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski for not being unreasonable hardliners on the rules.

Iguodala still deserves a chance to earn inclusion on the merits. It’s just hard to see him playing well enough to take advantage of that opportunity.

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

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

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.

Kevin Love names best crossovers: Kyrie Irving, Derrick Rose, Russell Westbrook

Chicago Bulls V Cleveland Cavaliers - Game Four

Who has the best crossover in the NBA?

Kevin Love was asked that as part of the American Express Home Court Advantage videos the NBA has done and he came up with a pretty good list:

“Kyrie (Irving) is right there. So shifty and can do so many things with the ball. Derrick Rose, his change of speed and change of direction is unlike any other. Russell Westbrook is right up there because he’s so powerful. You know, those guys are amongst the elite when it comes to handling the ball.”

We all should have seen Kyrie Irving (Love’s current point guard) and Russell Westbrook (Love’s good friend and college teammate) coming, he leans on those guys a lot whenever he talks point guards. Even if Westbrook isn’t exactly known for his crossover. Rose (who shares an agent with Love) is certainly a good call if he returns to vintage form next season (we’ve seen that only in stretches since his return from injury, but hopefully next season those stretches are much longer).

Personally, I’m not sure how you leave Jamal Crawford and Stephen Curry off this list, unless you’re just naming people with ties to you. But the fact is the NBA is loaded with ball handlers who have killer crossovers and Love’s list is respectable if not perfect.

Hat tip Eye on Basketball.

Report: Nike will not match $200 million offer, James Harden to sign with Adidas

James Harden

This was the only hint you needed: James Harden was playing in the Drew League playoffs last weekend in Los Angeles and his girlfriend (apparently) Khloe Kardashian showed up to watch him ball — fully decked out in Adidas gear.

Harden had gotten a reported 13-year, $200 million offer from Adidas to become the face of that brand and, after much deliberation, Nike has decided not to match it. TMZ was first with this story.

Our Nike sources tell us the company has decided it won’t try to top the $200 million deal Adidas offered Harden last week. As we’ve reported … Nike had concerns about sinking that much dough into just ONE player, when it has several other superstars to sign.

Harden has yet to officially accept Adidas’ 13-year deal, but the writing is on the wall … or on Khloe’s back. She was sporting Adidas gear at his Drew League game this weekend.

Nike still has LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, plus a number of stars under the Air Jordan brand — Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Kawhi Leonard, and Russell Westbrook, to name a few.

But they had missed out on Stephen Curry (he signed with Under Armour) and there was reported concern the company didn’t want to lose another big name and would match. Turns out, they are not that worried.

Harden becomes the biggest star in the Adidas NBA universe, replacing Derrick Rose (his struggles to stay on the court hurt sales). Adidas can’t get his signature shoe to market fast enough. They also have John Wall, Damian Lillard and others under contract. However, Harden’s teammate in Houston Dwight Howard is rumored to be leaving the brand soon

The question is will the Harden signing move the needle on shoe sales? Nike has incredible customer loyalty and a product people love and trust, which is why they still have 90 percent of the basketball shoe market. It’s not just the Jordan name.

But Adidas needs some star power to start chipping away at Nike’s dominance (especially after Nike outbid them for the NBA apparel contract), and Harden with his beard is a good start.