USA Basketball is struggling to gets its top players to compete in the upcoming World Cup.
The United States isn’t the only country with that issue.
After initially announcing a training-camp roster featuring 17 NBA players, Canada is down to five NBA players in contention for the World Cup roster.
Team Canada’s best player (Nuggets guard Jamal Murray) and most highly touted young player (Knicks guard R.J. Barrett) will both attend training camp. But dealing with injuries, neither will go to China.
Other Canadian NBA players no longer in the roster pool:
Nik Stauskas is both longer in the roster pool and no longer in the NBA.
That leaves the only NBA candidates for Team Canada as:
Other Canadians heading to training camp: Aaron Best, Melvin Ejim, Brady Heslip, Kaza Kajami-Keane, Andrew Nembhard, Duane Notice, Eugene Omoruyi, Kevin Pangos, Addison Patterson, Phil Scrubb, Thomas Scrubb and Kyle Wiltjer.
That could still be a decent team, but Canada has definitely lost a lot of bite.
No Andrew Wiggins, no problem.
The disconnect between Wiggins and Canada Basketball seemed like a big deal when Wiggins looked like a budding star from a country without much basketball pedigree. But Wiggins has stagnated. Canada, on the other hand, looks like a rising international power.
Canada Basketball announced its training-camp invitations for the FIBA World Cup. The list includes a whop 17 NBA players:
Though the Nuggets clearly expect Murray to reach the next level, this group is short on star power right now. Don’t expect Canada rival Team USA. But this is a deep pool of solid players. They should be competitive in the tournament this fall in China.
This group is also pretty young. Players like Murray, Gilgeous-Alexander, Barrett, Alexander-Walker and Clarke could take Canada to an even higher level in years to come.
And then the generation that’s growing up idolizing the championship Raptors will come through. Expect Canada’s climb to continue.
The other 12 players invited to Canada Basketball’s training camp: Aaron Best, Aaron Doornekamp, Andrew Nembhard, Andy Rautins, Brady Heslip, Kevin Pangos, Kyle Wiltjer, Melvin Ejim, Naz Mitrou-Long, Oshae Brissett, Phil Scrubb, Thomas Scrubb.
Things just keep getting worse in Memphis. The team has lost six in a row and 11-of-13, and now their lack-of-depth will be exposed even further.
Second-year “3&D” wing Dillon Brooks is done for the season with a toe injury that requires surgery, the team announced Wednesday.
While they don’t provide a timeline, Brooks is expected to be done for the season but able to get back to workouts this summer in preparation for next season.
Brooks — who averaged 7.5 points a game off the bench in 18 minutes a night this season — was in the wing rotation with Garrett Temple, Kyle Anderson and the just acquired Justin Holiday. Expect to see a little more Omri Casspi now.
Memphis likes Brooks and how he fits into their grinding style of play, which is why he was never available in the weird failed Trevor Ariza trade.
We finally figured out which Brooks the Memphis Grizzlies wanted to trade. According to multiple reports, Memphis has decided to swap MarShon Brooks, Wayne Selden, and two second round picks to the Chicago Bulls in exchange for wing Justin Holiday.
This comes a couple weeks after there was some confusion between the Grizzlies and Phoenix Suns about which of their players named “Brooks” would be included in a potential deal for Trevor Ariza. The disagreement came when the two teams disagreed on whether they were including either MarShon Brooks or Dillon Brooks, and it caused the trade to fall apart.
Now, the Grizzlies will get some depth at wing moving forward.
Holiday is shooting 36% from 3-point range this season. He’s a useful defensive player as well, and will add another veteran presence to a Grizzlies squad that is now angling for a playoff spot thanks to a hot start to the season.
Chicago gets a couple of second round picks out of the deal, as well as two expiring deals in Brooks and Selden. They need to clear space for incoming players, and the word is they’ll be waiving Cameron Payne. To that end, Payne seemed pleased, tweeting out the “raised hands” emoji, which he later deleted.
According to Shams Charania, the Bulls won’t have Brooks report to the team, making the real haul the pick package.
This isn’t the sexiest deal, but now that we’re in January and heading toward the Feb. 7 trade deadline we should start to see some movement.
The Wizards, Suns and Grizzlies are trapped in a transaction triangle.
After a three-way trade between the teams fell through due to Brooks confusion, Washington and Phoenix completed a simplified version of the deal. The Suns sent Trevor Ariza to the Wizards for Kelly Oubre and Austin Rivers, whom Phoenix is waiving.
Rivers’ landing spot? Memphis of course.
Shams Charania of The Athletic:
Don’t expect Rivers to be a major difference maker in Memphis. He’s a solid defender who had been a decent 3-point shooter the last couple seasons but not at all so far this year. When not spotting up, he’s often overly ambitious – but occasionally impressive – as a driver.
Rivers will add depth at shooting guard, where the Grizzlies have Garrett Temple, Dillon Brooks, Wayne Selden, MarShon Brooks and Shelvin Mack.
Memphis must waive one player now. It could be MarShon Brooks. We know how the Grizzlies (and Suns) view him.
This signing leads to a conspiracy theory I don’t believe, but find interesting: The Grizzlies agreed to the trade with Dillon Brooks… learned the full parameters of the deal… realized they’d rather just sign Rivers outright than deal Dillon Brooks, Selden and a second-rounder for Kelly Oubre… claimed they meant MarShon Brooks all along… let the Wizards ship Rivers to the Suns, who’d waive him… signed Rivers.
When undermining the original three-team deal, the Grizzlies would have had to know Washington and Phoenix would complete their own trade with Rivers getting waived. Perhaps, Memphis surmised that while the teams negotiated, but the timing – and complexity – makes that unlikely. But still fun to consider.