Team USA roster a 'Who's Who' of the next decade

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nba_lee_250.jpg2008’s “Redeem Team” took Beijing by storm, and if the newly announced Team USA roster is any indication, 2010-2012 should be no different.

The 2008 Olympics in Beijing were terrific for Team USA in terms of publicity and camaraderie, but the 2010 FIBA World Championships provide just as much of a challenge, if not the glitz and television coverage. The big dogs — Spain, Argentina, et al — will all be in attendance, and if USA basketball rests too much on its laurels, we could be looking at another sub-standard performance (USA came in 3rd in 2006).

Honestly though, based on the roster released today, I don’t see how that’s possible. There are certainly some top-notch national teams out there, but USA Basketball seems to have abandoned the role player/designated shooter approach and simply opted for the best young talent available.

WHO’S STAYING: Carmelo Anthony, Carlos Boozer, Chris Bosh, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, Deron Williams, Lamar Odom (member of the full roster in 2008, did not play in Beijing), Amar’e Stoudemire (likewise), Chauncey Billups (ditto), Kevin Durant (same).

WHO’S IN: LaMarcus Aldridge, Rudy Gay, Eric Gordon, Danny Granger, Andre Iguodala, Al Jefferson, David Lee, Brook Lopez, Kevin Love, O.J. Mayo, Kendrick Perkins, Derrick Rose, Gerald Wallace, Russell Westbrook.

WHO’S OUT: Gilbert Arenas, Shane Battier, Bruce Bowen, Elton Brand, Nick Collison, Tyson Chandler, Kirk Hinrich, Antawn Jamison, Joe Johnson, Jason Kidd, Shawn Marion, Brad Miller, Mike Miller, Adam Morrison, Greg Oden, Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick, Luke Ridnour.

Gone are the intangible role player types and the, well, Adam Morrison types. Instead, Jerry Colangelo, Mike Krzyzewski, and company have assembled a roster brimming with versatile talent from top to bottom. It’s hard to argue with the group they’ve assembled, except to say that Rajon Rondo’s agent should probably be making some phone calls. A glut of quality point guards is likely what kept him on the outside looking in, and perhaps the same is true for Tyreke Evans.

LeBron James’s son Bronny Jr. just misses breakaway dunk. At 13.

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LeBron James is spending his summer like a lot of fathers of children who play AAU basketball (or other travel team sports) — going to gyms, local and sometimes not so local, to watch his son play.

And Bronny Jr. can ball.

At age 13, he can almost dunk.

Gotta love LeBron’s reaction.

Report: Markelle Fultz was available in trade packages on draft night

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The Philadelphia 76ers are saying all the right things about Markelle Fultz — they are patient, they believe in his work with his new trainer to rebuild his jump shot, and they see him as part of the future. Plus, his handles look sharp.

That doesn’t mean the Sixers are not willing to trade him in their pursuit of a star player. In fact, he was available on draft night in packages, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

The Sixers say they aren’t shopping him. However, there was a report that they had internal discussions about packing him with Nos. 10 and 26 picks to move up into the Top 5 in Thursday’s draft. And multiple league sources have said that Fultz was available to be traded.

But it’s hard to get equal value in return for trading someone relearning how to shoot. The Sixers know that. They also know that if things do come together, Fultz will be a special player. He has the potential to become the type of player they would regret trading away.

Outside of a handful of superstars, every player in the NBA is available in a trade, at least in theory. Fultz is no different. The question in his case is what do they see as an upgrade vs. his potential?

Kawhi Leonard would be an upgrade, unquestionably. Fultz could be part of a package to land Leonard in a trade (Fultz, Robert Covington, the Miami 2021 first rounder, and probably more picks would be a starting point). Once the Spurs get serious about a potential Leonard trade (they are not there yet) how enticing that offer might be comes down to what they think of Fultz and his potential.

The Sixers are not shy about their desire to land an established All-Star to pair with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. If they don’t get Leonard, they will be looking at the next All-Star who becomes available, and Fultz could be part of those deals, too.

Fultz is not playing in Summer League for the Sixers, but if he comes back this fall trusting his jumper and starting to look like the player who was drafted No. 1 that trade value goes way up (and the Sixers may be less inclined to move him).  It may be then before the Sixers can get a respectable return on any Fultz trade.

Report: Indiana to retain Bojan Bogdanovic, he could start again next season

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Bojan Bogdanovic is the kind of floor spacing shooter the Pacers need next to the attacking Victor Oladipo. He started 80 games for the team, scored 14.3 points per game and shot 40.2 percent from three.

Bogdanovic is due $10.5 million next season, but the Pacers can buy him out before next Friday (June 29) for $1.5 million.

They’re not going to do that, the Pacers are going to retain Bogdanovic, reports Ben Gibson at the Pacers site 8points9seconds.com.

The Indiana Pacers currently plan to retain Bojan Bogdanovic — whose contract is only partially guaranteed for next season — and would be comfortable going into next season with him as a starter, according to a source familiar with the Pacers offseason plans.

There’s no surprise here, it was expected. Bogdanovic provides genuine value to the team — they need him on the court as a shooter, he averaged the second most threes per game on the squad. And, as an expiring contract, he could be used in any potential trades for another star.

The Pacers also have a decision to make on Darren Collison, who is owed $10 million next season but has a $2 million buyout by July 1. They will probably keep him around.

Al Jefferson is owed $10 million next season but can be bought out for $4 million before next January 10. Expect the Pacers to exercise that option and buy him out well before that date.

Carmelo Anthony sends message to haters: ‘Take A Step Back… And Enjoy Life’

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When the expected became official and Carmelo Anthony opted to take the $27.8 million contractually owed him next season, there were groans from the Thunder faithful.

It was Anthony’s right — and everyone knew he was going to take the cash (we all would have done the same) — but his value on the court has shrunk and that’s what eats at the OKC faithful. Anthony’s response on Instagram was, essentially, “relax, it’s just basketball.”

It will be interesting to see if Anthony is back with the Thunder next season, or if he gets bought out. If he does return, how do they better fit him in the offense?

Anthony’s defense has long been a concern, but his offense used to be efficient enough, and his ability to create shots important enough, that teams lived with the defense. However, his efficiency has slid in recent years and, as we saw in the playoffs in April, it’s not enough anymore. The Thunder played better with other lineups. To which Anthony responded he has to get back to his old style of play more.

It’s going to be a wild summer in OKC. Whatever happens.