Tag: New Orleans Pelicans

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.

Report: Spurs signing undrafted Keifer Sykes

Cleveland Cavaliers v Milwaukee Bucks
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The Spurs had to sacrifice some depth – Tiago Splitter, Cory Joseph, Marco Belinelli, Aron Baynes – to sign LaMarcus Aldridge and build one of the NBA’s strongest teams.

That has left San Antonio needing the preseason to round out its roster. The Spurs have:

  • 13 players whose salaries are fully guaranteed
  • 2 players whose salaries are mostly guaranteed (Matt Bonner and Jimmer Fredette)
  • 1 player whose salary is unguaranteed (Reggie Williams)
  • 1 player whose guarantee is unknown but probably low (Youssou Ndoye)

San Antonio is adding another player to the mix.

Shams Charania of RealGM:

Sykes is quick and explosive, and he uses those skills well to get the basket and pester opponents defensively. But he also has to maximize his athleticism, because he’s just 6-foot and not a good outside shooter.

He’ll have a tough time making the team, because the Spurs are loaded at point guard with Tony Parker, Patty Mills and Ray McCallum. All three already have fully guaranteed salaries. Most likely, Sykes gets waived and has his D-League rights assigned to San Antonio’s affiliate, the Austin Spurs.

Still, San Antonio’s roster instability gives Sykes at least a chance to make a strong impression and land a spot on the parent club.

Report: Jason Terry unsatisfied with Rockets offer, considering Pelicans

New Orleans Pelicans v Houston Rockets

Jason Terry said he was close to re-signing with the Rockets, but that was also around the time they renounced him.

Houston can still re-sign the guard. It will just take a cap exception other than a Bird exception to do so. The Rockets have two exceptions available:

  • The part of the mid-level exception not already used on K.J. McDaniels ($2,274,206)
  • The minimum-salary exception ($1,499,187)

Using any of the mid-level exception would push Houston past the non-taxpayer level and into the taxpayer level – triggering the hard cap. I doubt Daryl Morey wants to be bound by that restriction, which would limit his ability to make a big splash during the season

So, you can bet the Rockets are offering just the minimum-salary exception. I figured that would have been enough, given Houston’s title chances and proven ability to put Terry in position to succeed.

Alas, he sees it differently.

Marc Berman of Fox 26:

The Pelicans, already hard-capped, can offer the bi-annual exception ($2,139,000). It’s unlikely the hard cap – even with Terry in the fold – would significantly restrict New Orleans to the degree it would Houston.

Besides, the Pelicans really need Terry. They’re mighty thin behind Jrue Holiday and Eric Gordon, both of whom have faced significant injuries in recent years. Even re-signing restricted free agent Norris Cole wouldn’t alleviate New Orleans’ backcourt depth concerns – and he’s not re-signed yet. Terry, a combo guard, would give the Pelicans flexibility to prioritize help at either backcourt position.

The Rockets – with James Harden, Ty Lawson, Patrick Beverley and Marcus Thornton – aren’t nearly as needy at guard. Houston will almost certainly sign another point guard, and Terry is probably the first choice. But if Terry won’t accept a minimum salary, the Rockets would likely let him walk and find someone who will.

Report: Pelicans will open season at Golden State Oct. 27

Golden State Warriors v New Orleans Pelicans - Game Four

Every year the NBA makes a tentative schedule and gives it to teams. It’s tentative because they also give it to the television networks that broadcast the NBA and let them make some suggestions, so things can change. But this is usually pretty much it, which is why we get leaks about what teams are playing on Christmas and the like.

Another leak: The New Orleans Pelicans will open the season at the Golden State Warriors, reports the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

But if the game occurs it will be a rematch of last season’s first-round playoff matchup in which the Warriors swept the Pelicans in four games. The game also will feature Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry making his coaching debut against his former team.

The Pelicans are also rumored to be playing the Heat on Christmas Day. That would be two marquee games we know about for New Orleans, a team that was almost nonexistent on national television a year ago.

The NBA is all about marketing its stars, and Anthony Davis is a fast rising one, just like the Pelicans are a fast rising team. It shouldn’t be a shock the NBA is starting to feature them in big-time games, like against the champs on the night they raise the banner at Oracle. Casual fans will tune in to see Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, only to come away realizing Davis is the next big thing in the NBA.

Report: Pacers to sign Toney Douglas

Toney Douglas

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.