AmeriCup, previously called the FIBA Americas Championship, lost its luster when FIBA decided the continental tournament wouldn’t double as World Cup qualifying.
But the U.S. is still sending a team, coached by Jeff Van Gundy. The roster (team last season):
- Billy Baron (UCAM Murcia, Spain)
- Alec Brown (Windy City Bulls)
- Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce)
- Reggie Hearn (Reno Bighorns)
- Darrun Hilliard (Detroit Pistons)
- Jonathan Holmes (Canton Charge);
- Kendall Marshall (Reno Bighorns)
- Xavier Munford (Greensboro Swarm)
- Marshall Plumlee (New York Knicks)
- Jameel Warney (Texas Legends)
- C.J. Williams (Texas Legends)
- Reggie Williams (Oklahoma City Blue)
The Americans should still be favored, though obviously not as overwhelming as they’d be with NBA players, in a field also comprised of Canada, Argentina, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Mexico, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Colombia, Uruguay, Panama and U.S. Virgin Islands.
This will be a good benchmark, as the U.S. might take a similar roster into World Cup qualifying.
The Los Angeles Clippers have 14 fully guaranteed contracts on their roster, plus a partial guarantee for DeAndre Liggins (who likely is on the roster opening day). They also are pretty much set at center with DeAndre Jordan and Willie Reed (plus when they go small they can play Blake Griffin there, something I wish they’d do a little more).
That said, Doc Rivers — just a coach now — needs bodies for camp, so in comes former Duke star and Knick Marshall Plumlee, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Plumlee played in 21 games for the Knicks last season, logging a total of 190 minutes. He bounced between New York and the D-League Westchester Knicks, when down he averaged 12.3 points and 9.8 rebounds a game.
He’s not making the Clippers’ squad (barring injury), but he could show well and get noticed by other teams. Over the course of a season, there will be a need for bigs as guys go down injured, Plumlee is getting a chance to show how his game has developed. And he makes some money in the process.
There’s a rift between Knicks president Phil Jackson and Kristaps Porzingis.
Porzingis skipped his exit interview in reported protest of the team’s dysfunction. This sure feels like retaliation from Jackson.
Ian Begley of ESPN:
The New York Knicks are not renewing the contract of assistant coach Josh Longstaff, according to a team official.
Longstaff, 34, was well-respected in the Knicks’ locker room, so the decision will likely come as a surprise to players.
Players such as Porzingis, Willy Hernangomez, Ron Baker, Chasson Randle, Mindaugas Kuzminskas and Marshall Plumlee credited Longstaff and fellow assistant Dave Bliss with helping them with individual development. He played the same role in the development of Lance Thomas and Langston Galloway.
Longstaff was the assistant coach who was closest to Porzingis.
It’s hard to evaluate assistant coaches from the outside, and Longstaff wasn’t hired by Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek. There could be sound reasons to let Longstaff go.
But most of those players developed well under his tutelage. There’s plenty of circumstantial evidence he did his job well.
The Knicks can’t reasonably trade Porzingis, who’s one of the few bright spots on Jackson’s record. Without Porzingis, Jackson’s already-shoddy reputation as an executive would be completely shot.
So, this feels like a measured response by Jackson – a message that he can hurt Porzingis without resorting to dealing him from New York, where Porzingis says he wants to be. Follow orders, or your Knicks experience will become even worse.
Of course, that might not have been the Knicks’ intent when dropping Longstaff. But they’ll have to convince Porzingis if they want to repair their relationship with him.
The Knicks continue to build a roster of players who were better about a half decade ago.
The latest: Re-signing Lou Amundson.
New York Knickerbockers President Phil Jackson announced today that the team has re-signed forward Lou Amundson. T
Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops:
The Knicks had only the minimum to offer, so that’s surely what Amundson got. Amundson is New York’s 15th player – the regular-season roster limit – with a guaranteed salary, though it wouldn’t be costly to eat a guaranteed rookie minimum deal of Maurice Ndour or Marshall Plumlee and. Ron Baker, J.P. Tokoto and Chasson Randle have partial guarantees.
Amundson provides an abundance of insurance behind big men Kristaps Porzingis, Joakim Noah, Kyle O’Quinn and Guillermo Hernangomez.
After earning a one-year contract last summer with his play the second half of 2013-14, Amundson sharply declined last season. He didn’t finish well at the rim, could barely convert at all from mid-range and fouled way too much defensively. That came in a small sample of 204 minutes in 29 games, but there’s a reason Amundson played so little. He’ll still hustle, but age 33, that’s becoming less useful.
The Bucks signed Greg Monroe to a max contract. They gave John Henson a four-year, $44 million extension.
And Miles Plumlee might have been their most effective center.
Plumlee, a barely discussed part of the Brandon Knight–Michael Carter-Williams trade, played little in Milwaukee and was shopped last season. Then he moved into the rotation, fit well and entered restricted free agency positioned to earn some money.
Apparently, a lot of money.
Charles F. Gardner of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
This is a far-bigger deal than expect for Plumlee, who turns 28 before the season. If it’s fully guaranteed, Milwaukee will be paying him a sizable amount as he exits his prime — concerning given Plumlee’s reliance on his athleticism. Plus, the Bucks had leverage with Plumlee restricted.
Still, his mobility and ability to protect the rim brought together Jason Kidd’s aggressive defense in a way the more-talented Monroe can’t. Plumlee re-signing for this salary will only increase chatter about a Monroe trade.
Miles also makes it official that, with Mason Plumlee (Trail Blazers) and Marshall Plumlee (Knicks), three Plumlee brothers are in the NBA.