Because rival teams protested about the potential for conflicts and player tampering after Jerry Colangelo partnered his duties as chairman of the Philadelphia 76ers and managing director of USA Basketball, the NBA restricted Colangelo’s reach in an apparent attempt to limit his access and influence over star players, league sources told The Vertical. Among rival executives, there was concern that Colangelo’s powerful pathways and year-round lines of communication to elite American players could be leveraged into a free-agent advantage for the 76ers.
Within weeks of Colangelo’s hiring as 76ers chairman of basketball operations in December, the league office informed the NBA Board of Governors of new limitations on Colangelo’s ability to communicate directly to players outside of USA Basketball activities and how much formal impact he can have in the final voting process for national team and Olympic rosters, league sources said.
After the hiring of Colangelo’s son, Bryan, a two-time NBA executive of the year, as the 76ers president of basketball operations on Sunday, Jerry Colangelo relinquished his title of chairman of basketball operations for the 76ers. He will keep a title of special adviser to Philadelphia ownership, and league sources said the new guidelines will continue to apply to Jerry Colangelo as long as he has a working agreement with Philadelphia.
The specific guidelines that apply to Colangelo: While he still is part of the group that selects the Team USA roster and Olympic player pool, he is no longer allowed to vote for the final national team and Olympic rosters as a member of the USA Basketball board of directors, and he must make opposing general managers aware of any contact with their players or their players’ agents, league sources told The Vertical.
KC Johnson: Butler confirmed his plan for now is to try to make Olympic team for USA Basketball. So that would mean no offseason knee surgery.
Marv Albert has not called Olympic basketball on NBC for a dozen years. Now, he’s coming back. Hoops informants tell us Albert, TNT’s voice of the NBA, will do play-by-play of men’s basketball for NBC during the network’s coverage of the Rio Summer Olympics, which begins in August.
Power forward Kevin Love has informed cleveland.com that if selected, he'll accept the invitation to play for USA Basketball and compete in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil this summer. "If they pick me, I'll play," he said.
Memphis Grizzlies point guard Mike Conley will not withdraw his name from consideration for Team USA even though he's out for the season with an Achilles injury, a league source told cleveland.com.
But last week, Los Angeles Clippers guard Chris Paul withdrew himself from Olympic consideration, citing the toll and time required to participate in the tournament. The 31-year-old Paul won gold in Beijing in 2008 and in London in 2012. He was a shoe-in to make Team USA again for the chance to win gold a third time. His absence creates an open spot in the back court, where a logjam of talented point guard candidates include Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook, and Damian Lillard. Could Wall step in and seize it? “I don’t know,” Wall said last week. “There’s still other guys out there. Steph’s out there, Kyrie’s out there, that played in it. Russ is still out there. So you have to wait and see.”
“Everybody would always want to win a gold medal,” Wall said. “But I feel like there’s a lot of guys in it that’s already been on the team. I’d rather have my summer to get better and work on my craft if I don’t have a real shot at going to it.”
After another miserable season with the New York Knicks, Carmelo Anthony said he is looking forward to winning some games with the U.S. basketball team this summer. "From a morale standpoint as a player, if you've been through the things I've been through the past couple of years, you want to feel what that success feels like," Anthony told reporters in Dallas on Tuesday. "You want that success. So the Olympics for me is great timing, especially coming off this season and injuries, and mentally it's good for me to get out there and feel what that feels like again.''
“I just spoke to you guys yesterday,” Anthony grumbled Tuesday. “You got anything new?” In this instance, there was something different and topical: the Olympics. So Anthony perked up at the chance to discuss winning for a change. “From a morale standpoint as a player, if you’ve been through the things I’ve been through the past couple of years you want to feel what that success feels like. You want that success,” he said. “So the Olympics for me is great timing.”
Chris Paul announced Tuesday that he’s withdrawing from the Olympics this summer because his body requires rest. It threw cold water on Anthony’s dream of capturing a third gold medal with ‘Super Friends’ Paul and LeBron James, but it didn’t sap the 31-year-old’s enthusiasm for Brazil. “That doesn’t affect my decision either way,” Anthony said.
David 'Dubi' Pick: Source: Hornets Frenchman Nicolas Batum undecided on Olympic Games, might withdraw.
The Argentinian National Team received unexepected good news last week when Manu Ginobili announced he would play at the Olympic Games. News is not so good on the Pablo Prigioni front. The 38-year-old Clippers guard wrote this morning on Twitter that he’s passing on the Olympics.
This summer, the Pelicans center would like to make his way back to the Turkish national team. “We have Olympic qualification games with Turkey,” Asik said Friday before New Orleans took on the New York Knicks at the Smoothie King Center. “If I feel healthy enough, then I would like to play and get better in shape for the next season.”
Tiago Splitter: The surgery is designed specifically to allow me to return to a NBA level of physical performance. The toughest part of the decision is missing the Olympics. Brazil has been dreaming of this moment for a long time and to have the games in my home country is really special for every Brazilian athlete. It hurts that I can’t play, but my Brazilian brothers in the NBA have been really supportive.
Ricky Rubio: "I'd love to play the Olympic Games because I only played in 2008, I was injured in 2012. Olympics are special. It's like a dream."
But James said Saturday – for the umpteenth time – that he had made no decision on chasing a third gold for Team USA in Rio de Janeiro. "I will make my decision on what benefits me, my body and the way I feel," James said at Madison Square Garden, several hours before the Cavs are to play Anthony's Knicks. "But we haven't really talked about it as a collective group."
Brian Mahoney: Despite Carmelo's comments implying they were in for Rio, LeBron says still no Olympic decision. Has talked a little with Melo and CP.
Scott Howard-Cooper: Team USA chair Jerry Colangelo told me in Feb. he was concerned about Coach K’s health and had started to prepare backup plans for Olympics.
Mark Woods: The @cabboficial announce @Manu Ginobili will come out of international retirement to play for Argentina @Rio2016
Danilo Gallinari can’t wait to play for the Italian National Team this summer. Il Gallo spoke with Marco "Barzo" Barzizza of Eurosport. “I can’t wait to play for the National Team. It is going to be a great summer and we have the chance to make great things” Il Gallo said. “I have spoken with Messina a lot. I look forward to work with him” Gallinari added.
Jose Calderon can’t say for certain if he’ll be a Knick next season, but he guaranteed he’ll play for the Spanish National Team in this summer’s Olympics as it vies to be the biggest obstacle to Team USA’s bid for a gold medal. Spain has played in the gold-medal game two straight Olympics with Calderon manning the point. And that’s where the classy 34-year-old has been most appreciated.
Nikola Jokic would love nothing more than to cap an unexpectedly stellar calendar year than to be named to the Serbian National Team for the Olympic qualifying tournament this summer. "Oh my gosh," Jokic said. "I would be really honored to play for my country."
“Marc is hoping to be there, but health comes first and the main thing is he recovers 100 percent,” Scariolo told the Spanish media yesterday. “When the time comes, he will tell us what’s his situation and his club’s opinion because with Marc there’s a lot of factors at play. I wish it was only up to him to make the decision.”
USAB Chairman Jerry Colangelo said Wednesday that the two-time defending Olympic gold medalists are turning to analytics to help cut a 31-man player pool down to a final 12-man roster. Speaking at the USOC’s Media Summit at the Beverly Hilton, the longtime executive said that USAB has constructed a “model” to help its player analysis process. “Most often, when you have experienced basketball people who have been around the track and understand how to evaluate talent, you take that experience and most often the analytics will justify what you thought in the first place,” Colangelo said. “There are things you can pull from analytics that can make your situation better.”
Colangelo, who was recently named chairman of the Sixers, whose front office also includes the analytically-inclined Sam Hinkie, said that USAB is looking at shot charts, end-of-game situations and lineup analysis in weighing its decisions. “[One thing we’re looking at is] combinations of players,” he explained. “Certain players play better with certain players, and sometimes it’s water and oil. [Analytics] is kind of a new venture for us, but only as a tool [in the decision-making process]. I’m excited about that.”
While players like LeBron James and Paul George have not publicly committed to playing in the Olympics, Colangelo said he’s not concerned. Players who wanted to be part of the selected process were required to be at camp in Las Vegas last summer, and all 34 showed. “That was a pretty good sign that everyone wanted to at least keep their options open,” he said. “The beauty of having a roster as deep as we do – people basically are saying, how are you going to pick 12? How could you leave off certain people? Well, some of that takes care of itself. We’re not looking for commitments, and quite honestly if there were a few who decided not to participate it makes my job a lot easier.”
Asked how close he is to knowing the 12-man roster already, Colangelo said: "I play that game in my own mind almost every day. And it changes every other day in my mind. We've got so many great players and they all want to participate. We may be in for a surprise or two at the end of the day, where someone is not going to make themselves available, but because of the depth on this roster, we could take a few hits and still be in great shape."
"So I'm just keeping all my options open. And I'm interested always to hear other people's opinions, but you can trust me: I'll make the final decision based on what I think is right for us in conjunction with Coach K and our staff ... what's the best 12 to put us in the best position to be successful? And I'll go right back to something we said many years ago. It's not an All-Star team. It's: 'Let's put a group together that puts us in this best position to win.'"
Colangelo, chairman of USA Basketball, said he is confident Mike Krzyzewski will coach the Americans in Rio. “He should be OK. We’re told that it’s going to be a non-issue. We didn’t know the exact status, but that’s the latest status for sure,” he said at the U.S. Olympic Committee's media summit Wednesday. “He’s committed. He doesn’t feel he has any issue whatsoever. He’ll get through the surgery and he’ll be fine.”
As for Krzyzewski, who is making his coaching farewell with the national team in Rio before ceding the position to San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and moving into an advisory role for the 2019 World Cup in China and 2020 Tokyo Games, Colangelo said: "Coach K is going to be my assistant in all that we do, so he stays involved."
As with 2004 in Athens, Team USA plans to house its players in Brazil from both the men's and women's basketball teams on a cruise ship docked in Rio to ensure maximum security. "We have sent our people [to Rio] on four or five occasions," Colangelo said. "We have researched everything we could on accommodations. And we made our decision as to what we're going to do. Bear in mind that, since '92, [USAB's] basketball teams haven't stayed in the Olympic Village. Also bear in mind that basketball is one of only two sports that runs the entire length of the Olympic [Games]."
"Because of the high visibility of our athletes, we're better served by [going] above and beyond what the Olympic people provide for us in the way of security and so forth. We do our own things to make sure we've protected our people. There's a big investment here that we'll have in Rio. ... We will not be in the Village, but our players will be in there a lot, like they have been in the last two Olympics."
Colangelo told ESPN that, to this point, he hasn't "heard one question from any of our players" raising concerns about the Zika virus or the widely reported water issues in the host country that have received increasing media coverage in recent months. "First of all, we feel very confident that we're being taken care of, in the sense that the different organizations who are dealing with this health issue or problem are doing everything they possibly can," Colangelo said.
Carmelo Anthony has visions of winning an unprecedented third Olympic gold medal this summer in Brazil, and isn’t concerned that his knee will prevent him from playing. Anthony, who has experienced soreness in his surgically repaired left knee this season, believes he will be fine and will be able to commit to playing in a record fourth Olympics for the men’s national team. “I want to go,” Anthony said. “I look forward to being a part of that. Not too many people can say they played in four Olympics and have a chance to win three gold medals. Not too many people can say that. To me that’s the way I look at it and the way I approach the Olympics.”
Bill Simmons: You're skipping the Olympics, right? Or are you playing? Andrew Bogut: No, no I'm playing. Simmons: But no Ben Simmons bcause they left him off two years ago. [Bogut laughs] Simmons: Is that true? Bogut: You've done your research. Simmons: Yeah, I've done my research. I have to do research. When Ben Simmons is involved, I do research. Bogut: Yeah-look Benny's got a very busy offseason with the [NBA] Draft coming up. I know he's still a little burned by not making the 2014 team. Simmons: He was like 15 years old, how could he be mad about that? Bogut: Can you call him for us and get him on the team and help us out?
Simmons: This is ridiculous. Can't you guilt him into it? You're like his uncle, big brother. You're big brother/uncle. Bogut: We'll talk to him. But look I understand it. When I was going through my draft process, there was no Olympics. It was the Under-21 Championships and they were calling me, trying to get me to play it. With draft workouts and all that, it's tough. It's a lot of pressure on you going through all of that stuff. We wish Benny the best. We know if he as an opportunity to play in the future, we're hoping that he'll play. Simmons: So you're going to try and guilt trip him into it? That's how I took that answer. Do you text him a couple of times a week about it? Bogut: I was going to tweet him. He's on Twitter a lot, so I'm going to start having to tweet him weekly and just get some Australian fans to add him and give him the guilt trip.
Basketball New Zealand and the Tall Blacks have been informed that Steven Adams will be unavailable to play for the Tall Blacks this year as they prepare for and play in a FIBA Rio Olympic Games qualifying tournament in July. Adams has reluctantly made the call that he will not be available due to the congested and unpredictable nature of the NBA post-season, but has indicated this as early as he can to best allow Head Coach Paul Henare to select and prepare the team knowing he will unfortunately not be a part of it.
“I will not be participating in the Olympic competitions with the Tall Blacks this summer,” said Adams. “This was a very difficult decision as I take tremendous pride in being a New Zealander. The Tall Blacks organisation has been extremely supportive and we felt it was best to make an announcement now as preparations have already begun for the qualifying tournament and the Games.”
“Steve and his support team have made it clear that they want to keep in touch about the possibility of future participation. Steve has not ruled anything out in that regard, so perhaps we’ll see him in a black singlet one day. The door is always open and Steve is aware of that. We look forward to continued positive and open dialogue with Steve and his team, something we have enjoyed these past 18 months.
Me: You're going to play for France this summer? TP: Mmm-hmmm. Me: What was the process of making that decision, with your wife due to give birth during the qualifying tournament? TP: Because we had a great discussion, with my wife. I've been playing for the national team for 15 years, and it was kind of weird to tell myself my last game was last year. It would be weird if I decided not to play this summer. So we both came to an agreement, like let's finish on a good note, so I can really enjoy my last summer, really enjoy the last time playing in France for the national team. As long as I don't miss the birth, I'll be fine.
TP: I think the national team is in great hands. I think we've got talent. Rudy Gobert is improving, and Fournier is improving. I think Nicolas Batum is going to become the leader now of that group, and I think it's in great hands. We did a lot of improvement with the national team in the last 10 years. When we won our first medal in '05 it was 50 years that a French national team had never won a medal. And in my 10 years we've won the gold medal. It was the first time in the history of French basketball. And now I've got four medals. I think we've brought France to somewhere that people can be really proud, and now they can get inspired and want to try to do better than us.
As for suiting up for Team France this summer, Diaw stated clearly he will play and only an injury will keep him out of action. The only thing that could prevent me from playing with the Blues this summer, is an injury. If I’m healthy, I will play for France, there is no doubt about it.
George has played in all 53 regular-season games for a Pacers team that is expected to make the playoffs. He is also a member of USA Basketball's 31-man roster that has to be trimmed to 12 before the 2016 Rio Olympics. While USA Basketball executive director Jerry Colangelo has promised George a roster spot, George said his body might not allow him to take the trip to Brazil. "I had a long year," George told Yahoo Sports. "This has been a long year coming from rehab. I just know how my body has taken these first 50-plus games, not knowing what these playoffs are going to do to my body. So there is a decision coming at the end of the year, is the smart thing to continue on or take a little bit of time for some rest and let my body heal?"
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
Tony Parker now cleared things… and made the French, and not only, basketball fans quite relieved. “Yes, I’ll be there for the Olympic Qualyfing Tournament and I will be in the Olympic Games if we qualify.” I want to play for France”, said the player in L’Equipe. “We’ve had many discussions with Axelle (his wife) and we agreed. We had to make the decision for two. She knows how important it is for me. We evaluated all the situations and I’ve made my decision”.
San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker could miss the Olympics because of the expected birth of his second son. Parker told French radio station RMC that his wife is due at the end of July, shortly after France's Olympic qualifying tournament from July 4-10. The Olympic basketball tournament in Rio de Janeiro will be held from Aug. 6-21.
Parker says "this is big news. I will need to talk with the France team. And negotiate with my wife, too. The schedule is very, very difficult."
The “TP Show” on the French RMC radio station started today with Tony Parker announcing that he is going to be father. Those are great news but he may miss the upcoming Olympic Games because of that. As he said: “Before the start of the show, I have some news to announce. My wife is pregnant and my first born son, Josh, is going to gave a baby brother. It will be complicated. The birth is expected at the end of July. We will see what will happen with the national team. I haven’t yet taken any decision. That’s big news. I have to talk withthe federation and negotiate with my wife. It will not be easy because of the timing and because of a very complicated calendar”. France before going to Rio has also to play in July in the pre-Olympic tournament in Phillipines.
Kristaps Porzingis told The Post he will have a big decision on his hands soon. Three days ago, the Latvian National Team was chosen to compete in the Olympic qualifier in Belgrade, Serbia, from July 4-10 with a chance to make it to the Summer Games in Rio.
Porzingis said it will be his call. “It would be a dream come true for Latvia to make the Olympics,’’ Porzingis told The Post. “I have to make a decision. If I want to work on my game individually or play for the team. It’s different ways [of developing].’’
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."
Jeff Zillgitt: Three FIBA qualifying tourneys for men's '16 Rio Olympics will be in Italy, Serbia, Philippines. Winners go to Rio. https://t.co/lUXvpLPR6F
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.”
Three-time Olympic medalists Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks) and LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers) headline the list of 30 finalists today named for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team by USA Basketball. The player selections were approved by the USA Basketball Board of Directors. The official 12-member 2016 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team roster will be announced later this year.
Featuring 18 players who have collected 29 Olympic or FIBA Basketball World Cup gold medals and six bronze medals, the 30 finalists for the 2016 U.S. Olympic Team include: LaMarcus Aldridge (San Antonio Spurs); Anthony; Harrison Barnes (Golden State Warriors); Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards); Jimmy Butler (Chicago Bulls); Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies); DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings); Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors); Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans); DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors);
Andre Drummond (Detroit Pistons); Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets); Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings); Paul George (Indiana Pacers); Draymond Green (Golden State Warriors); Blake Griffin (Los Angeles Clippers); James Harden (Houston Rockets); Gordon Hayward (Utah Jazz); Dwight Howard (Houston Rockets); Andre Iguodala (Golden State Warriors); Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers); James; DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers); Kawhi Leonard (San Antonio Spurs); Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers); Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clippers); Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors); John Wall (Washington Wizards); and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).
The decision makes it easier on Bryant and USA Basketball, and Bryant has informed USA Basketball that he won't pursue a roster spot. "I already let Jerry and Coach K know that I physically can’t do it,” Bryant said.
Emiliano Carchia: According to Italian newspaper Tuttosport, Serbia and Philippines will host two of the three Olympic Qualifying Tournaments.
What adds credence to the Boomers' brave stance is Bogut, Mills, Dellavedova and Bairstow are playing on NBA championship contenders while Bogut, Mills and Baynes have won NBA championship rings since 2014. "There is a lot going on here but while it's not the every day to day focus it's always in your mind that it's coming up and that all the boys are playing well, not just in the NBA but in Europe and the NBL," Dellavedova said. "We are all very excited and keep in regular touch through group message, we are going to catch up at all-star break. "We are all very excited, focused and committed to trying to do something really special at Rio and we realise the time is now for that."
You’ve accomplished so many things in your career. Is there one thing you feel like you still need to accomplish to complete your career? Pau Gasol: If I could win a gold medal at the Olympics, I could retire right after that [laughs]. But I just want to keep doing what I’ve been doing. After 15 years in the NBA, to keep playing at this level, I think it’s pretty remarkable. I take a lot of pride in that.
September 19, 2021 | 12:44 pm EDT Update
Brian Windhorst: On opening night I think he’s gonna be in Los Angeles filming jump shot videos. He may be on the roster but I don’t think he’s gonna be there. (…) I don’t think Ben Simmons plays another game in a Sixers uniform.
After Ekpe Udoh’s “dramatic” injury against Tortona, Italian defending champion Virtus Bologna is considering Jordan Bell as a replacement for the former Fenerbahce center, according to Corriere di Bologna
September 19, 2021 | 7:06 am EDT Update
Clutch Points: Isaiah Thomas is expected to work out with the Golden State Warriors on Monday, sources tell @markhaynesnba. pic.twitter.com/aXdiqpdJcl
Lakers legend Pau Gasol, Marc’s older brother, recently sat down with Spanish newspaper Marca as he discussed the future of his sibling. Pau’s response was cryptic, but it is clear that he is hoping that Marc returns to Spain: “Marc has earned the freedom and flexibility to make his own decision and he will do so when he decides,” Pau said (h/t Sam Yip of Fan Nation). “I know he has a lot of enthusiasm for Basquet Girona, a club in which I am also involved as vice president. He is in a different situation, because he is five years younger than me. We will see what he decides to do this season and later, I am also waiting.”
“I’ve been on him about things I need from him,” Billups said. “I said, ‘Nurk, I know you are going to be a free agent, and I understand you have to have a great year. You need me for you to have a great year, and I need you for us to have a good year. We need each other, right?’ “I’m going to give him every opportunity to have a great year. Because if he has a great year, that means we are a pretty damn good team. Because he is a good player. But that means he has to be focused and be in shape. Because you are only going to play as many minutes as you are physically able. If you are out there tired, uh-uh, come on, gotta get you out. There are good players behind you.”
It is unclear exactly what Nurkic and his role will look like under Billups, but to hear Nurkic talk, Billups has given him a vision of being more involved on both ends. Billups has been careful not to publicly define roles, but in general, he has preached that the offense will include more ball movement. “I just want to feel wanted, and I think I just need more support, and what I mean by that is different playing style, more inside-out game, more chance,” Nurkic said. “More chance to be successful and the position where they put you in. It’s all about the coach and where they put you, and I think Chauncey has figured out that certain people are going to have one to three points less, but the team is going to be way more successful with ball movement and playing together and be more fun. Even at the defensive end.”