Tag: Washington Wizards

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


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.

Arron Afflalo: Carmelo Anthony ‘very committed’ to Knicks

Carmelo Anthony, Arron Affalo

Knicks color commentator/former great Walt Frazier openly wondered whether Carmelo Anthony would request a trade from the Knicks.

Here’s another point of view.

Al Iannazzone of Newsday:

Arron Afflalo has worked out with Carmelo Anthony in Las Vegas and New York, and he believes the Knicks superstar is optimistic about the upcoming season.

“From our conversations, yeah,” Afflalo said Wednesday at a Knicks basketball camp. “I don’t like speaking for somebody. But from our conversations and the way he’s working in the gym, I would say so.

“He’s very committed. He seems very, very, very hungry to succeed. And we’ll see. It’ll be here shortly.”

I think Frazier is thinking a step ahead of Afflalo, who is probably correct in his own right.

It’s not difficult to see Melo – 31, overcoming injury issues, highly paid – no longer fitting with the rebuilding Knicks. But it’d also be a leap for Melo to give up at this point.

The Knicks – with Robin Lopez, Arron Afflalo, Kyle O’Quinn, Kevin Seraphin, Derrick Williams, Kristaps Porzingis and Jerian Grant – should be better than last season. There are reasons for Melo to be optimistic.

But the current bar is 17 wins. Melo’s expectations could very well rise more quickly than the Knicks can keep up. If that happens, I doubt Afflalo – or any teammate – will be the first person Melo tells about his change of heart.

Afflalo surely knows Melo well after playing together with the Nuggets, and I trust Afflalo to read Melo’s emotions. Whether Afflalo would accurately relay them to the public if they were negative is another story. Either way, if Melo loses faith in the Knicks, I doubt Afflalo breaks the news.

It remains perfectly reasonable to analyze the Knicks’ and Melo’s projected arcs and realize they might not overlap for long. But if Melo is this excited about the upcoming season, that makes it more likely he and the Knicks remain on the same page.

Report: Knicks finalizing partially guaranteed contract with Thanasis Antetokounmpo

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Thanasis Antetokounmpo’s agent said the Knicks would sign his contract this summer.

Then, an anonymous source said they would.

Now, it seems to be finally happening.

David Pick:

After using the room exception on Kevin Seraphin, the Knicks can give Antetokounmpo just a minimum contract. Two years is the maximum length.

Antetokounmpo will be the Knicks’ 15th player. They’ll also likely sign other players for training camp with the expectation they’ll be waived and assigned to the D-League Westchester Knicks. But if those players make it to camp, there’s always a chance they outperform Antetokounmpo and steal an NBA roster spot from him. The size of Antetokounmpo’s guarantee will both influence the likelihood he makes the Knicks and protect him in case he doesn’t.

The No. 51 pick in the 2014 draft, Antetokounmpo spent last season in the D-League. He’s an energetic, athletic and long forward with loads of defensive potential. His offense is much less developed.

Antetokounmpo – brother of the Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo – is the leader in the clubhouse to be New York’s 15th man and a favorite to hold that spot. But until we see how the Knicks round out their training-camp roster, it’s tough to say more than that.

Can Washington get Bradley Beal to take less than a max contract extension?

Charlotte Hornets v Washington Wizards

Is Bradley Beal a max player?

The answer isn’t simple. Remember that there are levels of max player (nobody is saying Beal is Anthony Davis). Beal is both looking for an extension of his rookie deal and is certainly a core part of Washington’s future. Those kinds of guys get max money. On the down side, he was inconsistent last season and has missed time for three straight seasons due to a stress reaction in his leg. On the upside, he shot 40.9 percent from three last season, and he led Washington with 23.4 points a game in the playoffs. This is a guy invited to Team USA mini-camp this month — Mike Krzyzewski sees his value.

The sides are talking, and you can be sure Beal and his agent Mark Bartelstein are asking for the max.

But for Washington there is another complication — Kevin Durant. The Wizards need the cap space to try to bring next summer’s biggest free agent home to play in the nation’s capital (although that is a longshot), and a max deal for Beal makes that difficult, as Zach Lowe explains at Grantland.

The Wizards need about $25.5 million in room to fit Kevin Durant on a max contract, and if they sign Beal to a max-level extension, they would have almost precisely that amount left over. Playing the math that tight is dangerous, and makes it hard to fill a workable roster unless ring-chasers come aboard at massive discounts. The Wiz would be safer following the path San Antonio took with Leonard, only they haven’t built up the cachet that allowed the Spurs to say, essentially, “Trust us. Hold tight as a cheap cap hold, and we’ll make it worth your while.” Washington needs to nurture the good vibes, and that means at least coming to the table.

Beal may want his money now, and his side will surely propose a max-level extension. He hasn’t played up to that level yet, but 22 year olds with silky strokes and some grit on defense don’t readily accept less.

You can be sure this is where the negotiations are right now. The Wizards are likely offering just less than the max by a few million, just to give them some financial flexibility. Beal is asking for the max.

Will Beal take a little less for financial security, considering that stress reaction history? If he stays healthy this season, other teams will throw max money at him next summer when the system is flush with television money teams need to spend.

But is Beal going to bet on himself to stay healthy and have a big year? Or does he take a little less and four years of security?

The lesson of this free agent summer was guys went for security over potentially slightly larger paydays down the line. Don’t be surprised if Beal does the same.

Report: John Wall, after uncertainty, will attend Team USA minicamp

2014 USA Basketball Practice

USA Basketball reportedly had doubts John Wall would attend next week’s minicamp.

Considering USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo made attendance mandatory for making the 2016 Olympic roster, that could have ended Wall’s Rio bid.

But he’ll keep his name in the hat.

J. Michael of CSN Washington:

Bradley Beal will have his backcourt mate, John Wall, when USA Basketball holds camp in Las Vegas starting a week from today, CSNwashington.com has been told by a person with knowledge of the situation.

I’m glad Wall is attending. He wasn’t happy to get cut from Team USA for last year’s World Cup, and I could see why he’d be disenchanted with the program.

But I think he has a real enough chance to make the Olympic squad.

Three point guards represented the U.S. in the World Cup: Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving and Stephen Curry. Rose is uncertain about sticking with Team USA. Irving is coming off a major injury, and his Cavaliers project to advance deep into next year’s playoffs.

There’s less reason to downgrade Curry’s chances for 2016. Plus, two 2012 Olympians – Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook – are strongly in the mix.

So, it won’t be easy for Wall to make the 2016 Olympics. The U.S. is deep with point guards. But it’s not impossible.

For the same reason, I hope Damian Lillard reconsiders and attends the minicamp. I think he has a chance at the Olympics, too.

There’s probably more in it for Wall, though. Even if he doesn’t make the Olympic roster, at least Wall will get more face time with Kevin Durant during the camp.