USA Basketball Rumors
Marc J. Spears: Kings C Ryan Hollins & ex-NBA players Bobby Brown, Damien Wilkins & Anthony Randolph are on the @usabasketball Pan-Am training camp roster.
Former Cleveland Cavaliers and Los Angeles Lakers coach Mike Brown passed on a chance to discuss joining Donovan’s staff, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Brown will be an assistant coach for Mark Few on USA Basketball’s entry in the Pan-Am Games in July.
“Also remember this. He’s coaching the B team for Team USA, the younger guys for Team USA, internationally. I think he’s going to follow (Mike) Krzyzewski, at least I think he was going to follow Krzyzewski. I think a lot of people think that, once Coach K steps down (as national team coach). Maybe he won’t now that he’s in the NBA. But if he does, that’s just going to be another opportunity to bond with NBA players, including, by the way, he’s got two studs on his team that play for that team. So, I think he’s got lots of factors in place. Even though, I liked Ettore Messina for that job, I think Billy will do very well. Like Scotty Brooks did.”
“The NCAA is still mad at me. The NBA is still mad at me for suing them. Everybody still holds some little resentment. The NCAA sees me and coaches see me, they say, ‘Dammit, I would have had these guys for four years if it wasn’t for that guy right there.’ ” It’s an exaggeration. The NBA and the Hall are tight. All David Stern or Adam Silver had to do was nod in the direction of Springfield and Haywood’s application paperwork would have been misplaced years ago. Jerry Colangelo, the ultimate NBA insider as a former owner and current head of Team USA, championed Haywood’s candidacy and made sure he is invited when USA Basketball makes camp in Las Vegas most summers.
As the USA Basketball coach, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski was one of many who watched in horror when Paul George broke his leg during a USA Basketball scrimmage in August. And now, as George prepares to return to the court, a happy coincidence provided Krzyzewski an opportunity to wish him well on his return.
Griffin was chosen for the 2012 Olympic team, but was a late scratch (replaced by Davis) due to a knee injury. A back issue forced him to pull out of consideration for the 2014 World Cup team. And with so much time between now and August, he couldn’t say that he’d definitely be in Las Vegas. Paul was similarly unsure. Attendance at this summer’s mini-camp isn’t necessarily mandatory for those who want to be considered for the Olympic team, but it is a measure of a player’s commitment to USA Basketball. “All of our players are invited,” Colangelo said. “By who attends and who might not attend, that in itself is saying something. Really, this is all up to the individual guy. Each player makes his own decision on how he figures into USA Basketball.”
This summer’s mini-camp will include another exhibition game at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV, where George snapped his right leg against the bottom of the basket stanchion last Aug. 1. The stanchions at Thomas & Mack have since been replaced by ones that are further from the court. Though George has been practicing with the Indiana Pacers for three weeks, he has yet to decide if he’ll play this season. But he told NBA.com’s Steve Aschburner on Wednesday that his summer plans won’t change whether or not he plays between now and the end of the Pacers’ season. And when asked about the mini-camp, he was clear that he intends to be there. “I’m in,” George said. “Of course.” “The day it happened,” George added, referencing his injury, “right after, I told them I looked forward to continuing on with USA basketball.”
But since taking over taking over the USA national team program in 2005, Colangelo has taken pleasure in repeatedly watching the new leaders of the league emerge following a summer of training with and competing against the best players in the world. “I get such a joy out of looking at the box scores every day and seeing how our guys have fared and how well they’ve done and what they’re doing. So I’m excited,” Colangelo said. “Having a chance to win a championship does not come along every day for people in the NBA. It’s such a positive experience that many of these players have been able to carry that over. That’s a compliment to USA Basketball, in my opinion, the culture and the coaching staff. You feel like you’re giving back to the game.”
If Russell Westbrook or LeBron James are unable to make a late push, the league MVP will once again hail from a summer spent playing for Team USA. Kobe Bryant won his only MVP award in 2008 after winning a gold medal in the FIBA Americas tournament. LeBron James won his first MVP in 2009, the season after winning an Olympic gold medal in Beijing. James won his fourth MVP in 2013 – with a near-unanimous vote – the season after winning his second Olympic gold medal in London. Derrick Rose became the league’s youngest ever MVP in 2011 after starting for the gold medal-winning team at the FIBA world championships in Turkey. “It sounds self-serving and it’s not meant to be, but you’ve heard me say this many times now, regarding USA basketball. I think generally, they’re better people, they’re better players for the experience. They bring it back to their respective teams, that culture and the winning,” USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo said in a recent telephone interview. “You go right down the list. That’s been true on each roster. It’s been repeat history.”
Adam Silver: @wardell30, @jharden13 & @boogiecousins receive their @usabasketball @FIBA World Cup Championship rings from USAB Managing Director Jerry Colangelo at #NBAAllStarNYC Practice at @madisonsquaregarden.
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told the Tribune that Derrick Rose will be invited to the association’s Las Vegas minicamp this summer, a critical step in 2016 Olympic participation. “He’s going to be invited this summer,” Colangelo said. “We’re bringing all our players back to Vegas. We’re going to find out who’s committed and who isn’t. And we go from there.”
After a long pause, Thompson told Duffy, “No, I made a commitment, I’m going to stay.” And that was it. Thompson was staying with Team USA. “That’s how Klay is,” Duffy said. “He is a quiet guy, but he is smart. You present him with the facts and he thinks about it for five or 10 minutes, he absorbs it and makes a decision. And then it’s just, ‘OK, let’s roll with this.’ ”
Thompson was on his rookie contract in Golden State, but up for a sizable extension. A George-like injury would not only throw into peril his upcoming season, but jeopardize his family’s financial security. Thompson called Bill Duffy, his agent. Duffy told him he did not have to keep playing, that director Jerry Colangelo had always allowed Team USA players to ask out a tournament because of contractual concerns. Already, Kevin Love and Kevin Durant had rescinded on promises to play for the World Cup, and Colangelo had given them nothing but blessings.
Q. What’s been the toughest challenge in your career, one that taught you some personal lesson? A. One of the hardest decisions I ever made was to play for Russia in the Olympics. It was always my dream, obviously, to play in the Olympics for the USA. But even coming off my best year in the WNBA, I didn’t get a chance to be on USA basketball. I knew I would be judged very harshly for playing for Russia, and I went through all that turmoil—wrestling to do it, not to do it—hoping the USA squad would come back around and give me a legitimate chance to make the team. All these things were swirling inside me.
Tom Thibodeau’s word of the day Saturday: Physicality. Specifically, Derrick Rose finding it again, and the Bulls’ young players still trying to understand it. Thibodeau said Day 4 of training camp was one of Rose’s best as he continued to take on normal NBA contact, accept it and improve. ‘‘He’ll be able to handle it,’’ Thibodeau said. ‘‘He just has to get used to it again. That’s why the USA Basketball stuff was so important, to get used to having contact. The more he does it, the better it is for him and the more you see the rust come off. ‘‘Now you see him start to make some of the plays he’s capable of making. Now he’s starting to get a little bit of a rhythm and starting to shoot better, which we anticipated. That’s why him practicing and practicing hard is so important.’’
KC Johnson: Taj Gibson said Thibodeau pushed him to play for USA Basketball in World Cup when others dropped out but Gibson wanted to focus on Bulls.
Marc Stein: In chat for @SportsCenter to air this week, Kevin Durant tells ESPN he intends to be on Team USA for 2016 Olympics after his ’14 summer off. Durant withdrew from Team USA in August shortly before 2014 FIBA WC in Spain but says he plans to make himself available for 2016 in Brazil.
In the middle of the U.S. team’s run in Spain, Williams described Davis, now 21, as “the lead dog among alpha dogs,” a portrayal not at all hyperbolic. “I couldn’t tell you the place or the timing of it all,” said Williams, who showed off his own gold medal on Wednesday, “but over the period from Vegas to Madrid, I just watched him watch other people. “He was around a former MVP (Derrick Rose). He watched (James) Harden. People don’t know how hard Harden works. I think A.D. was able to watch him work an hour or two hours before practice with his trainer and then come to practice. I think that had an impact on him. The great ones do more. I think he looked at that, and our after- practice workouts when he and I got going, I think that had an impact on him just watching those guys.”
“I went back to the hospital the next day secretly. ESPN had cameras in front of the hospital. We were able to go through the back and go in. I spent a half hour with Paul, his mom, dad, two sisters, a couple of friends and his girlfriend. There was an emotional moment during it. I did not take any pictures. I did not know a picture was taken. I think his sister took a picture and she tweeted it because it was an emotional scene. “To say that I orchestrated that and used Paul George to show that I was a good guy is really wrong. For anybody to think that, if you want to think that, then you are a bad person.”
Unprompted, Krzyzewski brought up the columnist’s insinuation that Krzyzewski had arranged for someone to take a photograph of Krzyzewski embracing an injured Paul George in George’s hospital room — to both deflect attention from the NBA “losing a $100 million star in a worthless scrimmage” and “for all those moms and dads to see the compassion and caring of Duke’s coach.” Unprompted, Krzyzewski explained what had happened leading up to that photo. “That was a really bad thing, to bring up Paul George,” Krzyzewski said. “After he was injured, USA Basketball was in the trauma room — me, Jerry (Colangelo), a bunch of NBA people and whatever. There were too many people there, so they asked for only the family and the doctors. We went back. A few of the people from USA Basketball left that morning. I was staying with my family for a couple of days.