FIBA World Championships

Clippers Eric Gordon out about three weeks with wrist injury

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Eric Gordon, the less flashy but equally important to Blake Griffin part of the Clippers rise in the past month, will be out for abut three weeks due to a wrist injury including a chipped bone, according to Art Garcia at

He could be out only a couple weeks, but somewhere around the All-Star break seems the likely timing.

Randy Foye will get the starts in his place, and expect to see more of veteran Rasual Butler as well. Solid role players both, but also both a step down from Gordon, who has been averaging 25.1 points per game and was shooting 43.8 percent from three in the last 10. Gordon was a member of Team USA last summer and won a gold medal at the FIBA World Championships.

Gordon sprained his wrist in the second quarter of the Clippers game against Golden State Saturday. He returned in the fourth quarter of that game but nobody was exactly sure how serious the injury really was.

While it certainly could be worse, this is a blow to a Clippers team on a roll and heading into the tougher part of their schedule (with a lot of road games while Gordon is down).

Rick Pitino in talks to coach Puerto Rico’s national team

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We can say that this fits the PBT format because Rick Pitino once coached professionals (you can insert your Louisville basketball jokes here), or that the Puerto Rican national team features NBA players such as J.J. Barea and Carlos Arroyo. But the honest truth is we just find this fascinating.

Pitino is in talks to take over as coach of the Puerto Rican national team. He will meet Sunday in Miami with officials from the island nation to talk face-to-face, according to ESPN Dallas. Barea confirmed the news to ESPN.

“He’s very excited and it’s almost a done deal,” Barea said Wednesday before the Mavs faced the Portland Trail Blazers. “And I’m excited for it. We need a guy like that. It’s going to help us as a team.”

Puerto Rico has a good basketball tradition — remember they beat the USA in the Athens Olympics — but last summer they did not impress at the World Championships in Turkey. There are questions about whether they can to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics (that qualification tournament takes place next summer in Argentina, the USA already qualified this summer by winning the World Championships).

So, the Puerto Ricans are going big — not Coach K big, but they are desperate enough to go outside their own group of guys.

“He’ll bring defense and discipline and I think guys will listen to him more than they listen to the guys in Puerto Rico just because he’s Rick Pitino,” Barea said. “I think that will help.”

Celtics fans, stop laughing.  This is seriously going to happen.

Kevin Durant named USA Basketball men’s player of year

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Was there any other choice?

After leading Team USA to the FIBA World Championships gold medal this summer — the first time in 16 years the USA earned that — naming Kevin Durant USA Basketball male athlete of the year seems a no brainer. He was the FIBA Tournament MVP, making the selection even more obvious. But USA Basketball made it official today.

Durant seems to be one of the few Team USA guys who has not seen a boost in his play at the start of this NBA season. He is shooting 43 percent this season (down from 47.6 percent last season) and is hitting just 29 percent from three. At 27.3 points per game he still leads the league in scoring but he is not as efficient.

However, don’t forget how great he was for Team USA this summer. He had 33 points in the quarterfinals against Russia, 38 in the semifinals against Lithuania, and 28 in the gold-medal game against Turkey. He was the guy Team USA went to for the big shot. He stepped comfortably on to the big stage, and he (along with his Thunder teammates) will get a chance in the playoffs to see if he can take the next logical step forward.

Record 84 international players on NBA rosters this season

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Globalization has come to an NBA roster near you.

The season opens this week with 84 players born outside the United States on NBA rosters, or about 20 percent. That is the highest number of international players ever in the NBA.

There are 38 countries or territories represented on the list, and players are on 28 of the 30 NBA teams, with Toronto leading the way with six players.

What country has the most? France at 11, just like you guessed. Second is Turkey with five, which helps explain how they got all the way to the finals of the FIBA World Championships this summer. Well, that and they hosted the games and had a crazy-loud home crowd.

Here in the NBA, what matters simply is “can you play” not where you are from. As it should be. Let the ball talk. To borrow and (and modify) Sheed’s line, ball don’t lie.

Turkish players given $700,000 and villa for their silver medal. Take that Durant.

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What did Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, Chauncey Billups and the rest of Team USA get for winning the gold medal at the FIBA World Championships in Turkey.

The bonus was $25,000. Which in case you’re curious is about 0.4 percent of what Kevin Durant will make this season. Some nice pocket change for him.

Chris Sheridan of ESPN asked Turkish center Semih Erden (now of the Celtics) what they got and… well, Durant might consider seeing if he can get Turkish citizenship (as written up at TrueHoop, noticed by SLAM).

Erden told me that each of the players on the Turkish National Team that won the silver medal at last month’s World Championship received a bonus of 1 million Turkish Lira (about $700,000) along with a free villa/apartment, courtesy of a wealthy Turkish real estate mogul who wanted to reward them for their success.

Erden will make about $473,000 as a member o the Celtics. So, he more than doubled his salary and picked up a nice Turkish villa in the process. The Bulls Omar Asik got about a 45 percent pay bump, while Ersan Ilyasova made about a 33 percent pay increase. Hedo Turkoglu… he just got richer and people in Toronto just got more ticked off.

Take that Durant. Turkey beat you somewhere.