Sources close to the situation say that there has been zero talk of trading Aldridge and that any suggestion of the Spurs being open to it is misplaced. But what those around the situation are seeing (and talking about) is that the honeymoon for both the Spurs and Aldridge is clearly over. Both sides were open to the learning process the first year, but now both sides seem to want the other to deliver on their end of the promise.
April 11, 2021 | 7:36 pm EDT Update
Steven Leung: “Right now I want to play.” – Khem Birch on playing for Team Canada in the Olympics. He adds that he can’t make any promises (probably because of his impending free agency), but the desire is definitely there. “The Olympics are on my bucket list.”
Josh Lewenberg: Khem Birch: “Playing for this team means a lot to me. Me and my dad used to watch a lot of Toronto Raptors games growing up… This is a surreal moment for me. I can’t even put it into words. I’m so happy to be here right now.”
Josh Lewenberg: Birch said his cousin had a poster of Carter from the dunk contest on her wall as they were growing up. He also remembers supporting the Raptors through their post-VC struggles. “My dad used to always complain about the team, yell at the TV and stuff. And now I’m on the team.”
In a next-level spinoff this summer, when the Canadian men’s national basketball team tries to qualify for its first Olympics since the Sydney Games in 2000, it will play on the court upon which the Toronto Raptors in 2019 became the first team based outside the United States to win an N.B.A. championship. “We want the entire court to be the lucky loonie,” said Scott Lake, a board member of Canada Basketball who was instrumental in the federation’s bid to obtain that court and host a six-team Olympic men’s qualifying tournament in Victoria, British Columbia, from June 29 to July 4.
It took 11 months, and nearly $270,000 from Lake, a co-founder of the Canadian e-commerce company Shopify, to get all of the court’s puzzle pieces, but Canada Basketball conquered the logistical half of its quest. It plans to soon unveil the reassembled floor from Game 6 of the 2019 N.B.A. finals as a tribute to the Raptors’ title team, then refinish the court with FIBA logos and international basketball markings before installing it at the 7,400-seat Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
Raptors Coach Nick Nurse, who doubles as Canada’s national team coach, endorsed the creativity as heartily as Grunwald. “I couldn’t believe it when they told me what they were trying,” Nurse said. “It’s a great story. Hopefully we can deliver another big accomplishment on that floor and make our own history for Canadian basketball.”
DePaul sophomore forward Romeo Weems is hiring an agent and will enter the 2021 NBA Draft, he announced on his Instagram Wednesday.
April 11, 2021 | 7:11 pm EDT Update
Tom Orsborn: Pop said Olympics are always on his mind: “I probably think about it every day in some way, shape or form.” He said it “takes up a lot of time,” thinking about schemes, personnel, watching film of opponents and dealing with administrative matters.