Luol Deng and his wrist, Joakim Noah and his ankle were two names near the top of the lengthy scroll of Chicago Bulls injuries that undid them in the first round of the playoffs.
But those injuries are not keeping Noah or Deng out of the Olympics this summer. Both confirmed since the Bulls were eliminated from the playoffs.
Deng reiterated what he has all along — that he is going to represent Great Britain and be the face of the host country’s basketball program at the London Olympics, and then he will get surgery on his wrist if needed. Even if that means missing the start of next season. From Aggrey Sam at CSNChicago.com:
“I just know that I’m looking forward to playing the Olympics. I’m excited about it, something I wanted to do since I was a kid and I’m going to prepare myself for it,” he explained. “I’ve got to see how my wrist feels throughout the Olympics, how it feels from now going into the Olympics and right after the Olympics, I’ll make the decision, whether my wrist is good enough that I don’t need the surgery or if I need it, so I haven’t really ruled out not getting the surgery or getting it. I just haven’t made that decision. Just know that I’ve got the Olympics ahead of me. Since I was a kid growing up, it’s something I always wanted an opportunity to be a part of and the fact that it’s in my hometown that I grew up in, in a country that gave me the opportunity to even be here, I’m looking forward to it.”
Noah is part of what should be a medal-contending French side. (The USA and Spain are the teams to beat, but France with Noah, Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum and others could medal.)
Noah will play in the Olympics, he told K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune. While this was a pretty badly sprained ankle he should be fine for both the Olympics and the start of next training camp.
These decisions — particularly Deng’s — may frustrate Bulls fans, but I find it hard to fault a guy for loyalty to his country when if this were Rose playing hurt to be part of Team USA he would be lauded.
This summer, Luol Deng will be the face of British basketball.
The Olympics are coming to London and that means Great Britain got a spot in the Olympic basketball tournament along with powers like the United States and Spain. Deng is going to be out in front of that parade.
Which means the potential wrist surgery he needs will be put off. He hasn’t settled on having the surgery, however, he tells K.J. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune.
Deng said Thursday he remains committed to the Olympics, where he will be the face of the British national team. Deng added he hasn’t decided on surgery but that it remains an option.
Deng did say he is more accustomed to playing with the injury now after initially struggling with the pain and limitations it placed on his game. Deng has been driving more and dribbling with his left hand, two things he mostly avoided when he first came back Feb. 4.
With the injury to Derrick Rose, Deng may get more time off between the end of the regular season and the Olympics than originally thought. That’s a little more rest for the wrist.
But if he does opt for surgery in August after the games he will miss the start of the season. Both he and Rose would be out. Which would make the start of next season interesting in Chicago.
It’s just not Ron Artest’s week.
First, he was linked to Dancing With the Stars — a pretty insidious affiliation, if you ask me. Then, his admirable gesture of changing his name to Metta World Peace was temporarily denied on the basis of outstanding traffic violations. A bummer, but one that will hopefully be resolved post-haste.
And on the professional front, Artest’s arrangement with the Cheshire Jets of the British Basketball League has hit a rather substantial snag. Mark Medina of the L.A. Times explains (via Yahoo’s Scoop du Jour):
Though Artest declared his intention to The Times two weeks ago that he’s “definitely going to play” for the British Basketball League’s Cheshire Jets, his agent, David Bauman, said the team hasn’t offered Artest insurance. That issue, Bauman said, poses a “major problem” and would prevent the Lakers forward from joining the team. “It’s still on the table,” Bauman said Tuesday in a phone interview. “But again, this insurance thing is a significant and a serious obstacle for any of the NBA players.”
Artest has a three-year, $21.8 million deal remaining with the Lakers. Without insurance, Artest could risk his contract becoming void should he suffer an injury with another team during the NBA lockout. That issue, said Bauman, also partly explains why Artest postponed his trip to the U.K. to speak with Jets officials, hold a news conference, mingle with fans and, in his words, “make sure it’s a good fit.”…Meanwhile, Jets director Pete Hawkins told the Cheshire Chronicle last week that the deal isn’t dead, saying: “The next few days we need to work really hard. Insurance was always an issue from the outset,but we are still trying hard to ensure Ron has the protection he needs to play.”
So rest easy, Artest diehards across the pond: there may be a positive resolution to this insurance issue yet. For now, though, Ron Artest is still Ron Artest, he’s got some tickets to pay, a rumor to quell, and a substantial setback that could keep him from playing pro ball in the U.K. Here’s to better weeks, Ron.
The 2012 Olympic basketball tournament will be played in a temporary but cool looking building in London (pictured to the right). One well-protected building.
Perks of being the host is that the team from Great Britain gets its team in (they never would have qualified out of a brutal European competition) and the get to practice on the home court.
This video, via the London Telegraph (via the Crossover Chronicles), is a bit of a look at the British team (coached by American Chris Finch) but it also lets you get a look inside the venue that one year from now we will all be watching closely. Check it out.
Last week we told you that Luol Deng announced he would play for Great Britain this summer, that the nation’s basketball body was able to find insurance.
They did — but not the level of insurance normally afforded players.
And while that was good enough for Deng it is not enough for Detroit’s Ben Gordon, who the London Telegraph reports will not play for Great Britain this summer in EuroBasket (the Olympics qualifying tournament that starts at the end of this month in Lithuania).
As GB Performance manager Chris Spice explained last night: “It’s been a long and complicated process and in the end we have not been able to afford the same level of cover he would get in a normal year with the NBA-FIBA deal so in the end we have put what we can afford in front of Lu and Ben and they have to make a decision.
“There is no guarantee that if somebody gets injured with us that the NBA club is obliged take them back and that’s the biggest stumbling block of all. Lu is in a very comfortable environment in Chicago as one of their mainstays and Ben isn’t. If I was a betting man I would say it is isn’t going to happen this year, its looking unlikely.”
On one hand it doesn’t matter — as he host nation, Great Britain has qualified for the 2012 Olympics (in London). But for a nation with a fledgling international basketball program, EuroBasket was the chance to show its legitimacy to the world before the games.
The British have another problem — they were drawn into the tournament’s “group of death” with Lithuania, Turkey, and Spain.