LeBron James said Gregg Popovich’s taking over as coach for Team USA basketball factors into his own decision to chase another Olympic gold. “It factors a lot,” James said Saturday, before the Cavs play Popovich’s Spurs. “I’ve said that before. He’s just a great mastermind of the game of basketball.”
James skipped the 2016 Olympics after his sixth consecutive run to the Finals. He already owns two gold medals and would be 36 when the 2020 Olympics unfold in Tokyo. Because he missed Team USA’s run to gold in Rio, he’s no longer No. 1 in U.S. Olympics for games played (24, t-2nd) or points (273, 3rd), but is still first all time in assists (88).
Team rosters and salaries in the NBA were recently increased. Do you think that this will help you get back to the NBA? “My motivation to get back to the NBA is a priority. I’m working everyday to accomplish this goal and will not give up until I do. Already there are teams interested for summer league so I will just keep working and find the best situation when the time comes. But for now, my #1 priority every day is to help my team win. This is all I care about now so I work hard every day to win.”
Adam Silver has ruled out NBA teams taking part in FIBA’s global club competition to determine a legitimate world champion. The league’s Commissioner, speaking in London ahead of Thursday’s Indiana-Denver game, has admitted talks have been held over the concept of seeing his titlists joining the Euroleague and other continental champions in a Champions League-style event.
The isolationism is simple, he revealed. “To be frank, the top teams in the world are in one league right now,” Silver said. “It’s called the NBA and it’s comprised of players from throughout the world. 25 per cent of our players were born outside the United States. We’re not against some form of club competition. But it’s got to be real. Fans are too sophisticated.
“I would never say never,” Silver acknowledged. “And if we can do it anywhere, it’s London, just because of the logistics. Of travelling over here, especially from the East coast of the United States. And this is something that David Stern talked about when he was Commissioner, just because of the density of our schedule, if we were going to come to Europe, come to the UK, we’d need to do it with more than one team. To do it with a Division. It’s something we’ll continue to look at.”