Khem Birch Rumors

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Khem Birch
Khem Birch
Position: C
Born: 09/28/92
Height: 6-9 / 2.06
Weight:209 lbs. / 94.8 kg.
Salary: $3,000,000
Khem Birch was one of the key pieces of Canada’s squad during the 2019 FIBA World Cup, and felt playing under Nurse did wonders for his professional development. After spending some time learning from him, Birch now understands why Nurse is viewed as one of the NBA’s top coaches. “Team Canada has a lot of potential, especially with coach Nurse. With the roster we had, I think he did a really good job, and I imagine if we had all our guys I think we would have won the whole thing,” Birch said during an interview on Sportsnet 590 The Fan’s Good Show Monday.
Birch sees the positives in taking part in the FIBA World Cup. And unlike most other NBA types he has no one offering up advice, wanted or not. ““I don’t have an agent as of right now, so no,” he said when asked if anyone tried to dissuade him from coming. “Like I said Khem Birch decides Khem Birch’s career. If I get hurt it’s because Khem Birch got hurt and if Khem Birch wants to do something Khem Birch is going to do it.”
Storyline: World Cup
“As you can see I’m doing things I have never done in the NBA that I’m getting to do right now,” he said referring to handling the ball and stepping outside to shoot. “That’s what a lot of guys don’t understand. Coach Nurse gives you the confidence and freedom to do whatever you want. Basically everything you want in the system you have here so I’m lucky.”
Canada’s hopes of advancing at the FIBA World Cup died with a 92-69 loss to Lithuania on Tuesday in Dongguan, China. Kyle Wiltjer had 24 points, while Cory Joseph had 15, but the seventh-ranked Lithuanians — who’d routed Senegal by 54 points two nights earlier — were too much for the undermanned Canadians, who are missing all but two of their NBA players in Joseph and Khem Birch.
Khem Birch’s turning point came as midnight brought in the year 2016. The Montreal-born basketball player was suiting up to play with a Turkish team, Usak Sportif, and was pondering his career moments before an away game in Gaziantep, Turkey, a war-torn city less than an hour away from the Syrian border, 8,500 kilometres away from his hometown. “Is this going to be my whole life?” he said. “Ever since then, I just took it seriously. I’ve been 100 per cent in.”
Once Birch took the game of basketball more seriously, he got a contract with the Orlando Magic in 2017. Now, he’s using his newfound opportunity to give back to his local community and take after another fellow Montreal and NBA player who has held basketball camps in his home city, former Miami Heat star Joel Anthony. “Very big inspiration,” Birch said. “He’s my idol and I still look up to him.”
On Tuesday, the Magic took several steps to ensure that three key players could be back with the team next season. The actions taken on Tuesday – picking up the third-year option on Wes Iwundu’s contract and making qualifying contract offers to center Khem Birch and forward Amile Jefferson – could shed some light on the Magic’s aggressive approach in trying to retain future unrestricted free agents Nikola Vucevic and Terrence Ross. Again, the goal is to try and keep the entire team together as much as possible going forward.
Rookie center Khem Birch will stick around the Orlando Magic organization for awhile. Sunday is the deadline for NBA teams to decide what to do with players on non-guaranteed or partially guaranteed contracts. Across the league, those players’ salaries will become fully guaranteed for the rest of the season if the players are not waived before 5 p.m. The Magic will retain Birch beyond Sunday’s deadline, said the team’s president of basketball operations, Jeff Weltman.
Birch heard the news Friday night, after the Magic played their preseason finale. He left Amway Center and was walking home when he received a phone call. Seeing the number flash on his phone, he felt nervous and he wondered if maybe, just maybe, he’d been waived by the team. On the other end of the line were Magic President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman, GM John Hammond and coach Frank Vogel. They informed him that he had made the team. Birch cried.