World Cup

Report: Andre Iguodala wants winning or a trade out of Philadelphia


Philadelphia has been unimpressive so far this season, two losses and generally looking pretty blah. You’ve got new head coach Doug Collins saying, “there’s more work to be done here than I thought.” Fans are down o the team. It’s not good.

After spending the summer with USA Basketball, Andre Iguodala is not down with another season of blah and losing.

Iguodala’s people have told the Sixers that if things don’t turn around he’d like to be traded, according to Chris Broussard of ESPN. There have been conflicting rumors but this report seems to make them fit together. The report adds that the Sixers are getting calls about him but right now there are no talks.

Think of this as the first step down a long road, Sixers fans. It could fade away and be nothing, or it could go down the Carmelo Anthony road. Way too early to tell.

Iggy’s not going to demand a trade publicly (because that comes with a fine, it is not his style and he would get shredded in the Philadelphia media and by fans). Plus, he doesn’t have the contract leverage that Carmelo Anthony has — Iggy has this season then two more on his deal, plus a player option for a fourth year. He’s a big, expensive long-term deal that’s not easy to move.

If Philadelphia even wanted to. They said they have had no such request from Iguodala. Which is true — these things work through back channels, Iguodala’s people would let the Sixers know in an informal way. It is how information travels in the NBA.

Broussard talks about Iguodala wanting to be traded to Chicago, the place everyone wants to go these days. But it will get complex because if the Sixers move him they will head into a rebuilding mode and will be looking for picks and expiring deals, things the Bulls are not flush with.

But we don’t seem to be at that point yet.

FIBA's World Championship likely to become World Cup, because we all understand that better

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FIBA_Turkey.JPGEvery soccer (or football, if you’re elitist and so prefer) player on the planet would give his right hamstring to play for his nation in the World Cup. It is, without question, the biggest stage for the biggest sport in the world. Everyone who can stand, plays.

Basketball’s World Championships start Saturday, with many of the world’s top stars taking the event off. LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard and everybody else from the 2008 USA Olympic team is staying home. Spain’s Pau Gasol is out. Argentina’s Manu Ginobili is out. Germany’s Dirk Nowitizki is out. France’s Tony Parker and a number of other NBA players are sitting this one is sitting out. And so on and so on…

For basketball, the Olympics has become the gold standard. FIBA’s plan to change that? Change the name and steal soccer’s World Cup idea, according to the Sports Business Journal.

The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) has been considering switching the name for more than a year, with possibilities such as the FIBA World Cup, the Basketball World Cup or the World Cup of Basketball being discussed. The federation’s board is expected to vote on a name change in 2011.

“It’s a work in progress, and it seems like a likely outcome for the 2014 championship,” said FIBA Secretary General Patrick Baumann. “It’s not yet a decision, but people are getting more and more friendly with the idea, and that helps.”

Among those down with the change is David Stern — we Americans get the World Cup thing even if we don’t get soccer. The name change could make it an easier sell. Plus, as we have noted before, whatever David Stern wants, David Stern gets.

Will that change things in the States? We grow up here with an Olympic fascination, we have been indoctrinated that it is the ultimate showcase of athleticism. It’s true for gymnasts, high jumpers, bobsledders and basketball players alike. The gold medal is our ultimate goal and achievement. Changing a name alone will not change that mindset.

The 2014 World Cup will be hosted by Spain, the 2010 gold medal winners. What, you think somebody else is going to take it?

Ron Artest is excited about the World Cup. Even if he doesn't know who he's cheering for.

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Thumbnail image for artest.pngThere are a lot of interviews, too many interviews, during the breaks in the NBA Finals. And only so many times you can discuss rebounding or defending Paul Pierce.

So the odd questions come, and every once in a while you get a great answer.

Like when a reporter asked Ron Artest if he was excited about the World Cup.

“I’m not a big soccer fan, but since everybody on my team is a soccer fan so I’m like turning into a soccer fan and I don’t know what I’m cheering for.

“I’m looking forward to it, I don’t even know who’s playing and I’m looking forward to the games. There’s a lot of energy around it. My son likes soccer. I think America is picking up soccer now. I never saw this much soccer being played when I was young but everybody is playing soccer.

“It didn’t reach the ghetto yet. We need some grass space. We need to get them some soccer balls, some equipment. Like we need some baseball equipment, some football equipment. If you’ve got a basketball you just show up in sneakers.

“So I’m looking forward to soccer, and golf, reaching Compton. Like a Tiger Woods from Compton, with his pants hanging down playing golf. I really want a Tiger Woods from Compton. How can we get that out there? Or like a… who’s famous from soccer? (David Beckham?) Is he from the ghetto?”

What would you give to watch a World Cup game with Artest? That would be fun.

Steve Nash to cover the world cup

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snash_soccer.jpgSteve Nash may not be competing in the NBA finals, but he’ll be a part of something much bigger in scope. CBS Sports announced today that Nash will be a part of their coverage of the World Cup in his native South Africa.

Apparently Nash is set to contribute video segments to CBS’ coverage of one of the world’s biggest sporting events, probably because of Nash’s impressive YouTube video resume.

Nash’s love of soccer is well-documented, and the intersection between that torrid, passionate affair and his day job has produced some very entertaining results. This will likely be more of a pure, fútbol-centric project from one of the NBA’s most endearing personalities, but I’d still be shocked if he doesn’t knock it out of the park. Nash is just too funny and too likable not to. 

Bill Russell talks to U.S. World Cup soccer team

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BRussell.jpgBasketball is a sport America dominates on the global stage. Soccer, not so much.

But this year’s American team enters the World Cup with high hopes — a soft group draw makes the chance to advance out of group play very possible. Thing is, in soccer, America is still learning how to win at the highest levels.

If you want to learn about winning, there is nobody better to talk to than Bill Russell. So the legendary Celtics center was invited and came out to Team USA practice on Monday, as the Associated Press reported.

“It’s pretty special to see him,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard, a high school basketball star at North Brunswick High School in New Jersey. “To be an ultimate great — we work so hard and feel you’ve got a little bit of success — and then you look at a guy like him and it’s like, how the heck do you do that?”

Howard was hoping to meet Russell after practice. Russell helped the Celtics win 11 NBA titles in 13 seasons from 1956-69.

“It’s pretty awesome to be around those type of people,” Howard said.

Hopefully a little of that winning magic can rub off on the Americans, who open the cup in a couple weeks with a match against England and Wayne Rooney.