Who else will participate in that Aug. 1 contest in Johannesburg, South Africa?
Team Africa, comprised of players born in Africa and second-generation African players, will feature team captain and two-time NBA All-Star Luol Deng (Miami Heat; Great Britain; born in South Sudan), Al-Farouq Aminu (Portland Trail Blazers; U.S.; parents from Nigeria), Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece; parents from Nigeria), Nicolas Batum (Charlotte Hornets; France; parent from Cameroon), Bismack Biyombo (Toronto Raptors; Democratic Republic of the Congo), Boris Diaw (San Antonio Spurs; France; parent from Senegal), Gorgui Dieng (Minnesota Timberwolves; Senegal), Festus Ezeli (Golden State Warriors; Nigeria), Serge Ibaka (Oklahoma City Thunder; Congo)*, and Luc Mbah a Moute (Sacramento Kings; Cameroon).
Team World, comprised of players from the rest of the world, will feature team captain, NBPA President and eight-time NBA All-Star Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers; U.S.), Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards; U.S.), Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets; U.S.),Marc Gasol (Memphis Grizzlies; Spain), Pau Gasol (Chicago Bulls; Spain), Jeff Green (Memphis Grizzlies; U.S.), Marcus Smart(Boston Celtics; U.S.), Evan Turner (Boston Celtics; U.S.) and Nikola Vucevic (Orlando Magic; Montenegro).
Five-time NBA Champion Gregg Popovich will coach Team Africa, with 2014-15 NBA Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer of the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder assistant coach Monty Williams serving as assistant coaches. Brooklyn Nets General Manager Billy King and Toronto Raptors General Manager Masai Ujiri are the Team Africa general managers, with Eric Waters (Washington Wizards) serving as the team’s athletic trainer.
Brooklyn Nets Coach Lionel Hollins will coach Team World, with Boston Celtics Coach Brad Stevens serving as assistant coach. San Antonio Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford is the Team World general manager, while Keon Weise (Orlando Magic) will be the team’s athletic trainer.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver will attend the game along with NBA Global Ambassador Dikembe Mutombo (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and NBA Africa Ambassador Hakeem Olajuwon (Nigeria).
There’s a good amount of talent on both teams and coaching staffs – which speaks to just how far basketball has come in Africa and how committed the NBA is to growing it further.
Exhibition games are always hit or miss, but I’m looking forward to watching this one.
Shabazz Napier impresses during 20-point Summer League performance for Heat (VIDEO)
Before LeBron James bolted Miami to return to Cleveland as a free agent last summer, he made it known that he liked Shabazz Napier, who was projected as a late first-round pick.
The Heat traded up to grab him, and of course, Pat Riley denied that LeBron’s comment had anything at all to do with that decision.
In advance of the draft this year, however, Riley made a comment that let us all know just how much influence LeBron happened to have.
Napier may turn out to have value after all. He looked great at Summer League on Monday, and finished with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting, to go along with six rebounds and six assists in a little more than 24 minutes of action.
Players who played significant NBA minutes last year tend to tear it up at Summer League, so any optimism gleaned from this performance should be done with caution. But Napier did plenty to show he’s capable nonetheless.
Rumor: Sense around league is Kevin Durant likely to stay in Oklahoma City
LeBron James. Kawhi Leonard. Kevin Love. Marc Gasol. DeAndre Jordan. Draymond Green. Jimmy Butler. Dwyane Wade. Brook Lopez. Goran Dragic. Danny Green.
Every one of those top free agents this summer re-signed with their own team — security and taking the cash on the table were the themes of the summer. Even the restricted guys (Leonard, Green and Butler) didn’t meet with other teams, they were never really on the market. LaMarcus Aldridge was the outlier, bolting Portland to contend in San Antonio.
What does that portend heading into the much-discussed free agent summer of 2016, when the salary cap spikes and every team will be flush with cash?
Most league execs informally polled here at Summer League expect Durant to stay in Oklahoma City when he hits the market next summer. There are only a handful of teams that can legitimately think they’re an option. The Lakers, the Mavs and the Wizards (in Durant’s hometown) are in the mix, for starters. The Knicks? I mean, I guess, in theory.
I will say I’ve heard there is some pressure within Durant’s circle to consider the Knicks, but will they have a roster that he wants to come to?
Oklahoma City has always been the frontrunners, and the owner has signed off on paying the tax this year to show his commitment to winning (that came with matching the Blazers’ Enes Kanter offer). Durant likes the city, the team is a legit title contender, and as we have seen this year the lure of a big market alone is not near enough to draw a superstar.
The NBA season between now and Durant’s decision is a lifetime, and a lot of things could change. But it’s good to be in front of the race now, and Oklahoma City is that.
The Miami Heat are going to be one of the most entertaining and better teams in the East. They will start three potential All-Stars (Goran Dragic, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh), and they are putting a nice bench behind them.
“We are very fortunate that a proven All-Star like Amar’e has chosen the Miami Heat,” Miami President Pat Riley said in a statement. “He is going to bring gravitas, leadership and a hardworking mentality to our team as we look to win another Championship in Miami.”
Stoudemire, 32, is no longer a franchise cornerstone kind of player, but he does have a role.
Last season — split between New York and Dallas — he averaged 11.5 points a game and shot 55.7 percent, with an impressive PER of 20.3. His minutes need to be monitored, he’s going to miss games because of his knees, but when he plays he’s going to provide value on the court.
Miami likely starts Bosh at the four and Hassan Whiteside at the five. Their bigs off the bench as of right now are Josh McRoberts and Chris Andersen (although the Birdman could be moved in a deal). Stoudemire will get run in that mix and provide them some quality minutes.
Don’t sleep on the Heat this season.
Report: Amar’e Stoudemire to meet with Pat Riley, “strongly considering” Heat
He’s not the force of nature he once was, but Amar’e Stoudemire at age 32 still has a role in the NBA. Last season — split between New York and Dallas — he averaged 11.5 points a game (in the 59 games he played in) and shot 55.7 percent. His PER was a very good 20.3. In a limited role (and with his minutes monitored) he can provide some value.
Pat Riley recognizes this and he’s going after the veteran forward — and Riley wins most of his recruiting battles for Miami.
From Jared Zwerling of Bleacher Report:
Source: Amar'e Stoudemire is also strongly considering the Heat. Meeting with Pat Riley tomorrow. Heat has tax midlevel just FYI.
That said, Stoudemire seems a good fit in Miami. The Heat will start Chris Bosh at the four and Hassan Whiteside at center, and then bring Josh McRoberts and Chris Andersen in behind them. You can see Stoudemire getting run in that mix — and doing well.
Miami is going to be a good team next season if they can stay healthy, maybe the top four in the East. Stoudemire would help that along. Plus living in Miami in the winter doesn’t suck. They probably have an entire spa dedicated to red wine baths down there.