Colangelo said he has “not really” had conversations with Krzyzewski about possibly stepping aside before the Olympics and that “We’re not at that stage at all. I do know that his intention is the day after his Duke season is over is to have his knee replaced. It’s killing him right now. But that’s just one facet of his health circumstances. We’ll cross that bridge. Certainly in the back of my mind I’m thinking about what ifs. But it would be, I think, inappropriate and out of place to even discuss it.”
Pressed if he has a plan in mind if Krzyzewski cannot coach in Rio, Colangelo said: "I think so. But, again, I think it's too early to get into that. As we get closer and it appears that there's a prospect that he may not be able to or chooses not to, that's a whole different story. But let's not be premature on that."
Lillard was initially left off the 30 player pool after being soured on the experience before but was added as player 31 on Wednesday. The path back to Team USA began with an impromptu visit from Men’s National Team Director Sean Ford. During the Blazers recent home stand, Lillard met with Ford, who carried with him a message. “He just said they wanted me to be a part of it still,” Lillard said before Wednesday’s game against Houston. “I chose to remove myself from it and they respected that. I knew down the line I still wanted to be a part of it.”
“Going into it I won’t have that on my mind and on my heart,” Lillard said of the bad feelings. “I’ll go into it with good intensions and I’ll go into it with the right things on my mind. Like I said I’m just happy I’ll have an opportunity going forward.” Lillard admits that going to Rio is probably a long shot, citing the many players who’ve put in more time with the USA Basketball program. “It would be great to be there this year,” Lillard said. “There’s a lot of guys that have spent a lot more time with Team USA than I have so we’ll see.”
Jeff Zillgitt: Blazers guard Damian Lillard has been added to the list of finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic team.
Brian Mahoney: Damian Lillard added to USA Basketball roster pool. Gives Americans 31 players for 12 spots in Rio.
Jeff Zillgitt: USA Basketball's Jerry Colangelo received a call from Lillard; Lillard expressed interest in playing this summer, staying invovled in future
Cousins and Kings forward Rudy Gay were among the 30 finalists announced by USA Basketball for its 2016 Olympic roster. The list will be condensed to a 12-man roster that will compete at the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro in August. “It’s always an honor to play for the USA teams; it’s not a chance everybody gets,” Cousins said. “Hopefully I’ll make the team and I’m in Rio this summer.”
“It’s good to still be in the running,” Gay said after practice Monday. “There’s a lot of great players that aren’t on that list. It’s just good to be noticed.”
USA Basketball announced this week that the Jazz small forward is among 30 American players who have made the cut to be considered for the Rio Games in Brazil this summer. "It’s been a goal of mine and something I've been working towards and putting in the time, going in the summers," Hayward said. "(They) still have to get it down to 12, but it’s definitely good to be one of the finalists."
And while Lillard said the news of his exclusion was expected, Plumlee admitted he was a bit surprised he didn't earn an invitation to try out. The Blazers' starting center has played for Team USA each of the last two summers, competing on the 12-man group that won the gold medal at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain and earning an invite to the 2015 USA Basketball Men's National Team minicamp.
"Any time I go into a situation I want to have a real opportunity," he said. "If I'm going to invest myself in something, I want to have a real opportunity in that. Last time I did that, I felt the decision was already made before the decision was made. Whether I played good or bad, I felt like it didn't matter."
He said he carries no hard feelings toward USA Basketball and would not rule out another chance to compete for Team USA in the future. But for the time being, he's simply going to be a fan.
The All-Star point guard doesn't expect to make the cut. "It's an honor, a humbling experience to be invited as one of the 30 people to be there," said Wall, who at first gave a blank stare and rolled his eyes at the question. "A good opportunity to represent your country. Nothing is more important than that. You put everything aside, your name and (the NBA team) you play for. You're playing for your whole country."
LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love were included in the 30 finalists for the 2016 U.S. men’s Olympic team, although James remains unsure of whether or not he’ll chase a third gold medal in Rio. “I’m not any inch closer to playing or not any inch closer to not playing. I haven’t really thought about it much.”
The length of his NBA season and how he feels after it will impact his decision, James said, although he called it “ridiculous” to believe the Cavs will automatically play into June. Asked about the importance of a victory over the Warriors on Monday in anticipation of a June reunion, James laughed. “We only want to focus on today and for us to have any sense of entitlement about June is absurd to me,” he said. “As far as what the future holds, we don’t know.”
Bryant made the announcement in Salt Lake City before the Lakers' game against the Utah Jazz. He has informed USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo and Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski, saying it's time for others to enjoy the Olympic journey. "Since my retirement announcement, I'm able to watch these guys in a different light," said Bryant, a gold medalist in 2008 and 2012. "I've come to terms with the fact that they are the future of this game. These are the guys who deserve the spots in Rio. These are the guys who people need to watch and root for. These are the guys to show fans where this game is going in the future."
Jody Genessy: Kobe Bryant will not pursue a spot on the 2016 Olympics team. "I think it's the young guys' turn to go. ... I've had my moment."
Mike Trudell: Kobe said he wants his final game to be in Lakers purple and gold, which will be against Utah at Staples Center in April, not for Team USA.
Brian Seltzer: Gregg Popovich said that Jerry Colangelo is a can-do guy. He was the only person he talked to re: USA Basketball. https://t.co/JZFDvw7Unv
Colangelo on Bryant’s interest … “When I was approached originally about Kobe’s interest in potentially playing in the Olympics — this goes back early last summer, I guess, or spring — and the concept being that it would be great to end a career, win a gold medal and ride off into the sunset. That was just thrown my way by his agent, Rob Pelinka. I just took it in and I said, ‘Rob, I don’t rule anyone out, but it has got to be based on performance because there’s so many people who want (to be on the team) — everyone wants to be on the roster.’ So he says, ‘Well, absolutely, and that’s how Kobe feels. He wants to earn it.’ Well then a month later, the two of us were in New York at an NBA function, and Kobe and I had a chance to visit, and we talked about the same thing. He reiterated his interest, but also the fact that he didn’t want any gifts, that he wanted to — if he wasn’t capable of earning it, by his performance, then that was that.
“So just recently, with his announcement of retirement, some people have come back to me (on the topic). Nothing has changed for me. Again, the same criteria exists, which is (a player’s performance) this season. So we’ll just look at this season. And I know where he has struggled, and it’s not the same…but there are some people having really outstanding years.”
Colangelo on sacrificing a spot for Bryant based largely on the sentimental component and the fact that a) the 12th man won’t play much and b) Team USA will be heavily favored to win gold regardless of who fills that spot … “Let’s just put it this way: on one hand, you have what you just proposed. On the other hand, if someone is left off the team, like Kawhi Leonard or Paul George — and I’m just using names — for that purpose, then you have to weigh that fairness, to some degree. That’s all. So it’s not an easy call, and it’s one that I don’t have to make for quite some time. And I’m going to stick to that. I’ve got plenty of time. With out further ado ...
As covered recently in this space, Bryant says he doesn’t have any plans to satiate his fans abroad by playing a season in Italy or China when he’s done with the NBA. But playing in the Olympics could serve as that farewell to the international basketball public, which Bryant addressed in a Friday morning visit on ESPN Radio with Mike and Mike, saying: “Obviously I grew up overseas and have seen basketball grow globally. It’s come so far, so fast. (I) would love nothing more to be in an international environment and be around so many other great athletes one more time. That being said, it’s not something I’m obsessing over, either, because I’ve got to listen to my body, too. If my body can’t do it, there’s no sense in doing it. So God willing, hopefully, if they feel I can make a significant contribution and my body is up for it ... if that’s the case then I would love to play.”
Bryant remains in contention for a spot on Team USA's 12-man roster for the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo told ESPN's Marc Stein. Colangelo said Bryant's announcement "doesn't have any bearing" on the star guard's status for the Rio Games. "We have this whole season to look at all of our players," Colangelo said Sunday. Even before he publicly confirmed this season will be his last, Bryant said earlier this month that playing in Rio, which would give him an opportunity to win a third gold medal after triumphs in Beijing in 2008 and London in 2012, has great appeal to him. "It would mean the world to me to be around those guys," Bryant told the Associated Press earlier this month.
Andy Larsen: Derrick Favors told us that the USA Basketball snub from this summer still drives him to work on his game, "go against certain guys". Also, Favors told us that that was his first win in Atlanta, which surprised me. Jazz had lost 4 straight there until Sunday.
Bryant said Monday that he still wants to be part of the team that USA Basketball will send to the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics, a tournament that theoretically could mark the end of his competitive basketball career if he retires at the conclusion of this NBA season. Bryant helped the U.S. win gold at the 2008 Beijing Games and 2012 London Games. "It would mean the world to me to be around those guys," Bryant said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I think to be able to have a chance to continue the relationship that I already have with most of those guys, talking and just kind of being around each other and understanding that this is it, it's just us being together, that would be fun."
"I would like to play," Bryant said. "I think it'd be awesome. A beautiful experience. I'm a global kid. I grew up in Italy, I know a lot of athletes from different parts of the world, from different sports. It'd be great to play in that environment."
Sean Grande: I asked Brad Stevens if he'd be a part of Greg Popovich's Olympic staff... "There's no question I'd do that. But I don't want to give the impression that I'm going to ask him or talk to him about it. Those situations it's more important to be comfortable with your staff. So If he's more comfortable with his own staff, that's who he should go with. You don't have time to teach the coaches too in those scenarios."
San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich was announced on Friday as head coach of the U.S. Men's National Team for 2017-2020. During practice on Sunday, Van Gundy was asked about it, and whether he would accept an assistant coaching role should Popovich ask him. "I think anyone would," Van Gundy said. "No. 1 to work for him, and to No. 2 do anything for your country. So yeah, but I don't expect it. There are other people who have been in the national program, are great coaches and should get those assignments. But I was really happy it was an NBA coach and I was really happy that it was Pop." He said Duke coach Mike Kryzewski, whose tenure as coach of the U.S. team ends following the 2016 Olympics in Rio, has done "a hell of a job."
Mark Woods: No confirmation from Pop on how - or if - he will coach USA during NBA season. Still would suggest possibility he see Spurs ending.
Just over a year ago in Chicago, Gregg Popovich raised the question with commissioner Adam Silver at the annual NBA coaches meeting: How did the USA Basketball national coaching job turn into a lifetime appointment for a college coach? "Isn't an NBA coach good enough to coach NBA players?" is one of the queries to Silver that peers in the room remembered Pop asking of the commissioner. Pop offered several candidates, including Doc Rivers, as deserving of a chance to coach the Olympic team. All around Pop, NBA head coaches nodded with agreement. Popovich never offered his own name, though. Popovich had once wanted the job, but would never campaign now – and truthfully never thought it possible as long as Jerry Colangelo was running USA Basketball. Popovich and Colangelo had a nine-year cold war that started to thaw with a telephone call in March, league sources told Yahoo Sports on Friday.
Months of consideration ensued for Popovich, including a full day of face-to-face conversations between Colangelo and him in July, league sources said. Through the years, so much had happened to push them far apart. They had been part of a nasty Suns-Spurs rivalry, and Colangelo's longstanding, close partnership with David Stern had done little to ease Popovich's suspicions about him.
In an interview with me in 2005, Colangelo said, Popovich "had a bad taste in his mouth regarding his most recent experiences with USA Basketball, some bitterness, and that came out in my conversation with him. He seemed burned out by it. … He just wasn't as enthusiastic as Mike." Those comments to Yahoo Sports – along with other public statements – moved Popovich to write a letter to Colangelo that was carbon copied to several top officials in the league office, league sources told Yahoo Sports. In the letter, Popovich essentially told Colangelo: Don't you dare suggest that I had anything but a deep desire to be the USA's national coach. Mostly, Pop told him: Just stop talking about me.
Now, Popovich will take over the USA National program in 2017 and players will love the idea of performing for him. Krzyzewski will finish his third tour as the national coach in 2016, and stay on as a "special adviser," which loosely translated means this: Krzyzewski will still have the access and influence to use USA Basketball's junior national teams to leverage his Duke recruiting. High school players committing to Duke understand they have a preferred path to making those under-18 and -19 rosters competing in international tournaments.
Marc Stein: Fascinating questions remain, tho, because the whole qualifying structure for international play, remember, soon changes to soccer's format. Qualifying for the 2019 World Cup in China will happen DURING the NBA season. Pop & NBA players won't be leaving their teams for qualifying
Arash Markazi: Jerry Colangelo will continue through 2020 as USA's Managing Director with Mike Krzyzewski serving in a Special Advisory Role through 2020.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Gregg Popovich will replace Mike Krzyzewski as the USA National coach in 2017, USA Basketball says.
USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo says the next head coach of USA Basketball is likely to come from the NBA. In an interview with SiriusXM NBA Radio, Colangelo said that the “odds are that it will be a professional coach.”
The University of Kentucky coach is not only actively involved with Colangelo's beloved Basketball Hall of Fame, but also has gone out of his way to raise money for it. Of course, Calipari has complained on occasion about Krzyzewski having an unfair recruiting advantage as the USAB head coach, but one person familiar with Calipari's motives said he views the opportunity as "the recruiting tool of all recruiting tools." Another source, who is plugged into the USA Basketball program, said "Calipari wants it bad."
Who replaces Krzyzewski as the on-court conductor and how much longer Colangelo, 75, will stay on as managing director, are important issues for both USA Basketball and the NBA (which, essentially, are one in the same). According to several people with close ties to the program and the coaching industry, here are some logical successors to Coach K: Gregg Popovich: The Spurs' five-time champion coach is "clearly, unquestionably the No. 1 choice," according to a person involved in the coaching business. "There really is no second place." Not only is he the most accomplished and respected current NBA coach, but Pop also checks several other boxes that Krzyzewski and Colangelo will no doubt consider in identifying possible successors. (Yes, both men will have most, if not all the say in who gets this gig.)
But working heavily in Pop's favor is a feeling among NBA head coaches that it's time for one of them to take the reins from Krzyzewski. "They've become very territorial about this," the coaching industry source said. Two caveats to keep in mind: Popovich's long-ago rivalry with Colangelo's Phoenix Suns, and the fact that Pop may be looking for Colangelo to roll out the red carpet -- which isn't Colangelo's style.
Rick Carlisle: He's an NBA champion as a player and as a coach and president of the National Basketball Coaches Association. One coaching industry source called Carlisle "a dark horse" for Krzyzewski's job, but he might be more than that. "He's played the political game better than anyone," the person said.
What about one of the most accomplished international head coaches ever, Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt? "He won't get it," one of people connected to the USAB program said. Colangelo and Coach K, the person said, are not fans.
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski told ESPN that the 2016 Olympics will be his last coaching the United States men's basketball national team, and that a succession plan to replace him will be announced in the coming year before the Games in Rio de Janeiro next summer. "It is. It definitely is,'' Krzyzewski told ESPN about this being his last stint as head coach with USA Basketball. "I think it's time to move ahead. During the next season there will be a number of decisions made about the future of USA Basketball with Rio [the roster] and coaching.
“Back in ’04 as I watched where we were, USA Basketball, some of the other countries really had togetherness, like Argentina, like Spain. That was something I thought we needed to develop. So developing a national team concept, stating that we had to change our culture and to see where we are, it makes you feel very good. There was a plan. Right now we’re on a roll.” Colangelo said USA Basketball is seeking sites to play five “friendly” games before going to Rio de Janeiro. He is heading to the Olympic city and said he is concerned about the playing conditions just 11 months before the start of the Games.
“I’ll be out of the picture," said Wall through a laugh and without any noticeable trace of resentment.
Perhaps this latest response represents maturity, the kind he's showing in organizing a minicamp for the Wizards. Perhaps the 24-year-old is just keeping it real. "I’m just being honest," Wall continued. "Chris Paul has already won one (Olympic gold medal). Steph Curry had an amazing last year and just won the World Cup. Kyrie just won the World Cup. Russell will probably be on the team. They’ll use him as a two-guard. So, I probably won’t make it."
"I always said you never shut the door entirely on anyone. I mean, why? To prove what? Was I disappointed Derrick [Rose] wasn't here? Sure. Because, we want the best for him. We want the best for him. We want him to get back to the level that he once was. So let's just see how things go in the future."
"I was quoted on Kobe," Colangelo said after USA Basketball's intrasquad scrimmage at the Thomas & Mack Center. "In response to a question about him, I said it would be a great story if he did [play in Rio]. "And so, he also mentioned to me in a private conversation that if he had his druthers, he would love to ride off into the sunset playing one more time and winning the gold medal. And that would be the end. But he was very quick to say, 'But, I don't want a spot. I need to earn the spot. I need to be capable of playing at that level to be considered.' And I said, 'You got that. That's always there for you, Kobe.'"
Carmelo Anthony didn’t leave town without waxing eloquent about his Olympic reunion with LeBron James and Chris Paul at the Team USA minicamp. He spoke more boldly about winning big next August in Rio de Janeiro than at the Garden this season. “We talk about it all the time,’’ Anthony said of winning another gold medal with James and Paul. “Just about how we want to go out and end it the next year with the Olympics, just how much we want to take from this experience. I’m going on four [Olympics], LeBron is going on four. Paul going for three. We’re connected by the hip.’’
While Rose's decision to opt out of Team USA competition may benefit him in the future as he continues to build his confidence back up, his playing career for the national team appears to be over. While Colangelo didn't come out and say it, Rose's absence, combined with injury concerns, and the talent pool within USA Basketball which includes guards like, Russell Westbrook, Kyrie Irving, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul, all of whom were in attendance Tuesday, indicates that Rose's time with Team USA is over. "Anyone who's not here, who had been invited, which was not mandated, but it was a request and mandatory to be here to be considered going forward -- those who made a choice not to, I respect, but then we have to move on," Colangelo said.
Team USA director Jerry Colangelo acknowledged he initially thought Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose was coming to the group's minicamp that began Tuesday. "We were advised he was coming," Colangelo said. "Maybe a week-and-a-half ago or so, and then the speculation that he might not [surfaced] ... obviously he made a decision and I respect that. I respect that."
Indiana Pacers forward Paul George has been excused from the rest of this week's USA Basketball minicamp after spending Monday with the team, according to USAB sources. Sources told ESPN.com that George attended both a team meeting Monday night as well as a one-on-one sitdown with Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski, thus satisfying a mandate from USAB managing director Jerry Colangelo that any player who wants to be considered for the 2016 Olympic team must show himself in Vegas. But sources say George -- who was always expected by USAB officials to sit out this week's two light workouts as well as Thursday night's intrasquad scrimmage -- was spared the chore of being forced to watch Tuesday's noncontact session from the sideline and then face the media hordes in attendance.
Krzyzewski, meanwhile, told ESPN.com on Tuesday that recent NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala remains firmly under consideration for a spot on the Rio squad after helping Team USA to gold medals at both the 2010 FIBA World Championship in Turkey and the 2012 Summer Games in London. Iguodala recently got married and was prepared to postpone his honeymoon to come to this week's USAB events, but Krzyzewski told him to stick with that schedule. Iguodala would have given the newly-crowned champion Golden State Warriors a league-high five USA Basketball participants this week had he joined Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes. "He's been a prince for us," Krzyzewski said of Iguodala.
Kevin Durant is back – almost. According to his agent, Rich Kleiman of Roc Nation Sports, and his manager, Charlie Bell, the Oklahoma City Thunder star who played just 27 games last season because of a fracture in his right foot plans to practice on Tuesday and Wednesday with Team USA at minicamp in Las Vegas. Durant will not, however, take part in the showcase game on Thursday at UNLV's Thomas & Mack Center.
Marc Stein: ESPN sources say Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony is expected to join Kevin Durant on USA Basketball practice floor Tuesday in Las Vegas.
He does expect that Krzyzewski will be coaching his final Olympics in 2016—having talked him out of retiring once, Colangelo does not expect to be able to do so again. But he expects to remain in the role of director through the 2020 Olympics. “This is my passion,” he said. “I have been thrilled to be able to stay in this kind of a role. Being, at my age, still involved on this basis, doing something you still have passion for, is just a great thing. The only thing that would prevent me from continuing would be health, and I am healthy. I am thankful for that opportunity.”
Jeff Zillgitt: LeBron James officially informs USA Basketball he will attend next week's mini-camp in Vegas, per person w/info. Yahoo reported last week.
Marc J. Spears: LeBron James will attend @usabasketball mini-camp meeting Monday,but will leave after not & not attend workouts, Jerry Colangelo tells Yahoo. LeBron James Family Foundation's annual Family Reunion event takes place in Northeast Ohio on Aug. 13, which takes precedence over USA camp.
Marc J. Spears: Paul George will attend @usabasketball mini-camp meeting Monday in Las Vegas, but wont participate in camp or exhibition, Colangelo told Y!
Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard is the latest marquee name to commit to attend the upcoming USA Basketball minicamp, according to league sources. Sources told ESPN.com that Howard, who had to withdraw from the 2012 Olympic team to undergo back surgery, has told USA Basketball officials he plans to attend the Aug. 11-13 gathering in Las Vegas to make known his availability for selection to the 2016 Olympic squad.
Q: Has James said he will be playing in the 2016 Rio Olympics? Colangelo: I think he is intent on wanting to play for USA Basketball and be in the Olympics next year.
But perhaps absence made the heart grow fonder? This morning on Sirius XM’s NBA Radio, Colangelo was asked about James future involvement in the USA Basketball program, and Colangelo sounded as though James might not be done with USA Basketball. “Well, I think LeBron wants to be part of it,” said Colangelo. “You know, when you talk about LeBron, Dwyane Wade, Amar’e Stoudemire and Carmelo [Anthony], they were the four young players who were, what, 19 years old, 20 at the best, who were added to the roster when some people dropped out at the last minute. They weren’t quite ready for prime time, if you think back. They just weren’t, and it’s a little bit of a disservice in some ways, but the NBA was looking to promote young, up and coming stars, and I get that. That’s one of the reasons why I was asked to take over the program. I said, ‘Look, I’ll do it, but it has to be complete autonomy, no more committees, no more politics. I’ll pick the coaches, I’ll pick the players if I’m going to be responsible.’ That’s the only way you can really turn the program and make it successful. So, we deal with it as it comes.”
September 17, 2021 | 5:16 pm EDT Update
The Denver Nuggets have signed forward Petr Cornelie to a two-way contract, President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly announced today.
The word in Spanish basketball circles, as reiterated to me Friday, is that Marc Gasol is most likely to play for Girona if he decides to play on, even though the LEB Oro is one level below Spain’s top tier. I’m told he has been working out with new Cavaliers guard Ricky Rubio to stay sharp even after negotiating his release earlier this week from Memphis following the Grizzlies’ recent trade with the Lakers to take on the final year of Gasol’s last NBA contract.
Ballots for the NBA’s 75th anniversary team were due back to the league office today. The league previously announced that the official list of its 75 greatest players, as selected by “a blue-ribbon panel of media, current and former players, coaches, general managers and team executives,” will be revealed in October. The voters will also be revealed — not their full individual ballots but the names of those who made the selections.
September 17, 2021 | 3:51 pm EDT Update
After securing the arrival of Mario Hezonja, Russian team UNICS Kazan will announce soon the signing of former NBA guard OJ Mayo.
UNICS Kazan is adding one more marquee name to its roster with O.J.Mayo having a one-year deal with the Russian club. While there’s no signed contract yet, that seems to be more a formality delayed by bureaucratic reasons.
Chris Grenham: Former Hawks guard Brandon Goodwin tells me he worked out with Celtics this week. There is no training camp agreement between Boston and Goodwin yet, but there is interest from both sides. Goodwin played in 47 games with Atlanta last year, averaging 4.9 points and 2.0 assists.