Watch highlights from France taking bronze at World Cup, beating Australia 67-59

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Just as they did five years ago at the last World Cup, France has come away with the bronze medal.

The French came from 15 down at one point to beat Australia 67-59 and win the third-place game at the FIBA World Cup in China. Former Spur Nando De Colo led the way for France with 19 points, Orlando’s Evan Fournier added 16 but on a rough shooting night (5-of–17), and Charlotte’s Nicolas Batum added nine points and six assists. You can see the game’s highlights above.

After the game, Fournier was talkative, including slamming the travel and schedule of this World Cup, spread all across China.

Utah was led by 17 points from Utah’s Joe Ingles and 15 from San Antonio’s Patty Mills.

Michael Jordan sells portion of Hornets to two new partners

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Michael Jordan is adding two partners to the Charlotte Hornets’ ownership group, selling them each a portion of the NBA franchise.

Gabe Plotkin, founder and chief investment officer of Melvin Capital, and Daniel Sundheim, founder and chief investment officer of D1 Capital, have joined the Hornets as partners, pending NBA approval.

Jordan, a six-time NBA champion, will remain the majority owner.

Jordan said in a statement released by the team Saturday that he’ll continue to be the man making decisions about the direction of the Hornets.

“I’m excited to welcome Gabe and Dan as my partners in Hornets Sports & Entertainment,” Jordan said. “While I will continue to run the Charlotte Hornets, make all decisions related to the team and organization, and remain the team’s NBA Governor, Gabe and Dan’s investment in the franchise is invaluable, as we continue to modernize, add new technology and strive to compete with the best in the NBA. Both Gabe and Dan are industry standard-setters and proven leaders, with a belief in philanthropy and a passion for the game of basketball. They share my commitment to Charlotte and the Carolinas, and I look forward to working with and learning from them.”

Mitch Kupchak says playoff record — or lack thereof — swayed Kemba Walker decision

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Kemba Walker is now a member of the Boston Celtics, and that team is hopeful they can reach the Eastern Conference Finals and perhaps beyond next season.

Walker decided to walk away from the Charlotte Hornets and a potential opportunity for a supermax deal. Or at least, that’s what we thought.

We got word earlier this summer about the reported amount that the Hornets had offered Walker, and that it was significantly less than the supermax deal available to him.

In a new interview with Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer, Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak has said that there were several factors that led to the team not offering Walker the supermax.

First and foremost? The Hornets were surprised when Walker actually qualified for it.

Via Charlotte Observer:

Kupchak told the Observer the Hornets were somewhat blindsided by Walker making All-NBA, and thus becoming supermax-eligible. He said while Walker didn’t demand the full supermax, the wide gap between what the Hornets could justify paying and Walker’s growing status changed the dynamic.

“We had great years with him, and we didn’t get into the playoffs,” Kupchak said. “What makes us think that next year (would) be different?”

“I’ve got to step back and look at where we’ve been and where we’re going. Chart out a course that gives us the best chance to build something that is sustainable for more than a year or two.

Kupchak went on to say that he did not trade Walker leading up to the February trade deadline in 2019 because the offers for the star point guard just weren’t that interesting.

“Almost every offer revolved around draft picks. It was always lottery-protected,” said Kupchak.

For now, it appears that at least one person has been honest with us about how the Hornets handled and thought about Walker. While it would have been nice to keep the player many consider the best in team history, the results around him we’re not up to par. Of course, that was largely due to the roster construction around Walker, which Kupchak will try to fix in the coming seasons.

Walker will be happy to be at the top of East next season, and the Hornets appear ready to rebuild.

Michael Jordan pledges $1 million for hurricane relief in Bahamas

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Hornets owner and six-time NBA champion Michael Jordan is pledging $1 million to organizations assisting with Hurricane Dorian relief efforts in the Bahamas.

Jordan said in a statement Tuesday on Twitter through his spokeswoman Estee Portnoy that he’s “devastated” at the destruction in the Bahamas, adding “my heart goes out to everyone who is suffering and to those who have lost loved ones.”

Jordan, who owns property and frequently visits the Bahamas, says as the recovery and relief efforts continue he will be tracking the situation closely and working to identify nonprofit agencies where the funds will have the most impact.

Jordan added that “the Bahamian people are strong and resilient and I hope that my donation will be of help as they work to recover from this catastrophic storm.”

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/NBA and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Wizards GM has no plan to trade Bradley Beal: ‘Every team would love to have him, and we do’

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Bradley Beal is the next potential big trade piece in the NBA — and in a league that thrives on drama and big player moves, fans and pundits are drooling. The Wizards put a three-year, $111 million contract in front of Beal this summer and he chose not to sign it (at least not yet), which led to even more calls from the outside for another dramatic NBA trade.

Inside the Wizards, that has never been on the table. Beal still has two years on his contract and has not demanded out (we’ll get to that, keep reading). Teams call, and newly-minted Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard shoots them down. Why? Because he wants to build around 25-year-old Beal as he moves into his prime, not start over. Here is what Sheppard told Brad Botkin of CBSSports.com.

“The way that I look at this is pretty simple: If you were looking to build a team, Brad would be the type of player anyone would want to start with,” Sheppard told CBS Sports. “You look at the character, the talent, the age, just the whole package … Brad is without a doubt a core player in this league. Every team would love to have him, and we do. So we’ve never considered anything other than a situation where Brad is with us and leading us forward. We made that clear to him on the first day we could offer him an extension, and we’ll continue to make that clear.”

Right now, Beal is not available, and that does not seem likely to change. For now.

There are two parts to the question of trading Beal: What Beal himself wants, and what the team should do.

Beal hasn’t asked for a trade and nobody should expect him to, and there are 250 million reasons for that. Beal wants a supermax extension ($250 million over five years), but to get that he would need to be named to an All-NBA team — he came in seventh in the guard voting last season, but only six make All-NBA (two guards each for the first, second, and third teams). Beal, with John Wall out this season after his torn Achilles, is going to have the ball in his hands a lot and is going to put up numbers — there is a legitimate chance he makes All-NBA next season. Then he becomes supermax extension eligible. However, if he gets traded Beal is no longer eligible for that extra five percent of the salary cap (only the Wizards can offer it). Beal doesn’t want to go anywhere, and don’t expect him to rack up DNP-Rest games either (he played a full 82 the last two seasons). Beal has his goal set.

Do the Wizards want to pay Beal that much and be committed to him for that long? That is the bigger question.

Is this a case, as we have seen with other teams, where Washington will balk at that payday for that player and decide to make a trade (ala the Kings and DeMarcus Cousins). The Wizards would get a lot back in a Beal trade — you’ve seen the haul for Paul George, Anthony Davis, and other elite players — and it would jumpstart a rebuild.

Right now, Sheppard and the Wizards want to be in the Beal business, they have no plans to trade him. Calls continue to be turned away. If, come the trade deadline, it looks like Beal is on track to make All-NBA then the real test comes for the Wizards: Are they $250 million worth of committed to Beal? Maybe the mind of management and ownership shifts when the money gets real.

Right now, however, Beal is a Washington Wizard and that’s not changing anytime soon.