The USA will continue its training through Sept. 13 at …

The USA will continue its training through Sept. 13 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center. The USA, playing in the first competition window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying second-round games, will meet Uruguay on Sept. 14 (7 p.m. PDT) at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion, then meet Panama on Sept. 17 in Panama City. The USA roster is capped by Bryce Alford (Oklahoma City Blue); Dwayne Bacon (Charlotte Hornets); Henry Ellenson (Detroit Pistons); Reggie Hearn (Grand Rapids Drive); Isaiah Hicks (New York Knicks); Dakari Johnson (Free Agent);Frank Mason III (Sacramento Kings); Ben Moore (Fort Wayne Mad Ants); Chasson Randle (Capital City Go-Go); Travis Trice (Milwaukee Bucks); Jameel Warney (Texas Legends); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).

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James Ham: Hearing Frank Mason (@Frank Mason) made the USA Men’s World Cup qualifying team. One of 12 playing against Uruguay on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas.
Featuring 10 players who played for NBA teams in 2017-18, and the return of two players boasting of previous World Cup Qualifying game experience, USA Basketball announced today 14 players who will vie for a roster spot with USA’s September World Cup Qualifying Team. The hopefuls will open training camp on Sept. 6 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center. The Las Vegas training camp will be used to determine the 12-man team for the USA’s first competition window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying second-round games. The U.S. will square off against Uruguay on Sept. 14 (7 p.m. PDT) at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion, then meet Panama on Sept. 17 in Panama City. The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team Committee.
Returning to contend for a USA roster spot after previously playing with USA World Cup Qualifying Teams are guard Reggie Hearn (Grand Rapids Drive) and center Jameel Warney (Texas Legends). Hearn played with the USA’s November 2017 and June 2018 World Cup Qualifying Teams, and while getting the starting nod in all four games, averaged 12.3 points a game. Warney played for U.S. in the November World Cup Qualifier and averaged 11.5 points and 8.0 rebounds a game. Both players were also part of the USA AmeriCup Team that finished 5-0 to claim gold in August 2017. Warney, who was selected the 2017 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year, earned AmeriCup MVP honors after posting 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, while Hearn contributed 10.0 points a game. Rounding out the U.S. training camp roster are Bryce Alford (Oklahoma City Blue); Dwayne Bacon (Charlottw Hornets); V.J. Beachem (Free Agent); Jordan Crawford (New Orleans Pelicans); Henry Ellenson (Detroit Pistons); Isaiah Hicks (New York Knicks); Dakari Johnson (Free Agent); Frank Mason III (Sacramento Kings); Ben Moore (Fort Wayne Mad Ants); Chasson Randle (Capital City Go-Go); Travis Trice (Milwaukee Bucks); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
Now it appears all might be not be as it appears with Robinson's immediate future, with Heat President Pat Riley providing insight on the 3-point specialist's plans in advance of training camp. "I'm really proud in the fact that Duncan Robinson has been invited to play in the international series," Riley said of the September window for World Cup qualifying, "but he decided to stay here because he wanted to make our team, he wants to force us into giving him a real contract."
It will be Colangelo and Gregg Popovich, who officially took over for Krzyzewski after the 2016 Rio Olympics, to choose those guys. Colangelo said there was initially an expectation on his part to step away from the program in 2016 along with Krzyzewski. But after Popovich said he would be willing to coach the team on one condition — that Colangelo stay at the helm — those plans changed. “So, in my mind, that gets me through 2020,” Colangelo said. “And then, we’ll see.”
Mavs assistant coach Jamahl Mosley was one of nine assistant coaches at the USA Basketball Men’s National Team mini-camp this week in Las Vegas. “To me this camp was great,” Mosley said. “We got the guys a chance to recognize, come together and start building a family with USA Basketball. Just getting together and being around these coaches is — I said it before — it was an honor and an privilege. I can’t even put into words how fantastic it’s been.”
Memphis Grizzlies star Mike Conley wasn't able to fully participate in Team USA training camp this week as he continues to recover from heel surgery last January. But he says he's feeling good and still on course to be ready by training camp in September.
Josh Lewenberg: Do you have a relationship with Kawhi? Lowry: "No." Have you spoken to him? KL: "I don't know." You don't know if you've spoken to him? KL: "No." What do you mean? KL: "I don't know if I've spoken to him."
Josh Lewenberg: Lowry, asked when he'll be ready to look ahead: "When it's time to. When it's time I have to be there and go to work I'll be ready to go to work and I'll be ready to make my comments and things like that."
Chris Haynes: Portland guard Damian Lillard has returned home from attending Team USA minicamp, league sources tell ESPN. Due to other summer commitments, it was understood he would only attend first portion of camp.
Tom Orsborn: Pop declined to take any questions about anything other than USA Basketball. His assessment of what he saw on the court Thursday: "“We found people who wanted to knock heads, wanted to compete, wanted to get up and down, so we did it.” #Spurs

http://twitter.com/jovanbuha/status/1022551037276614656
Tim Bontemps: Just as notable as the players at Team USA practice in Vegas are the list of guys who are not: Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Bradley Beal, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, DeAndre Jordan, C.J. McCollum, Gordon Hayward.

http://twitter.com/NBA/status/1022559156102815744
Sole Collector: #SoleWatch: @James Harden wearing the Adidas Harden Vol. 3 at USA Basketball minicamp (via @nba) pic.twitter.com/VctBUmDQty

http://twitter.com/SoleCollector/status/1022562956456943616
Brian Mahoney: Rod Thorn wins USA Basketball’s Edward S. Steitz Award, given for contributions to international basketball.
While Kawhi Leonard pulled out of the non-mandatory USA Basketball mini-camp taking place in Las Vegas this week, there was still something Raptors-relevant to come out of the first day. Namely, DeRozan met up with Kyle Lowry, and the pair of former teammates took a quick pic for the NBA twitter account.

https://twitter.com/NBA/status/1022255824071155712
Marc J. Spears: Warriors forward Draymond Green will miss @usabasketball mini-camp, a source told @TheUndefeated.
Chris Haynes: Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard will not attend USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas this week, league sources tell ESPN. He will use time to prepare for transition to new team.
Sam Amick: In other Team USA news, the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan is expected to take part in Vegas camp this week with his new NBA/international coach, Gregg Popovich. So while Kawhi won’t attend, the other superstar half of that trade is expected to be there.
But U.S.A. Basketball officials are bracing for Leonard to invoke his right to pass on the non-mandatory sessions, as LeBron James and Stephen Curry have done, as he continues his recovery from the mysterious quadriceps injury that led to the unraveling of his relationship with the Spurs. Leonard, after all, might dread the glare of the spotlight more than Popovich. “He’s a maybe,” Colangelo said of Leonard’s attending the camp.
USA Basketball and Griffin have never been able to properly mingle. However, the window isn’t closed. On April 6, Griffin, along with Detroit Pistons teammate Andre Drummond, were among the 35 players named to the USA Basketball 2018-20 roster. Training camp in preparation for the 2019 USA World Cup in China and 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be July 25-27 in Las Vegas. And Griffin has every intention of participating. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Griffin told The Athletic. “I mean, the Olympics, in general, is something I’ve always wanted to do at least once.”
Josh Lewenberg: As of now, Kawhi Leonard is expected to be in Vegas for this week's USA Basketball camp (as are DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry). To what degree he plans on participating in practices (if at all) is up in the air, I'm told.
Harrison Wind: Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas will not attend Team USA minicamp next week in Las Vegas, @BSNDenver has learned. Thomas was one of 35 names included in the player pool that the USA Basketball men's national team released in April for the 2020 Olympics.
Jeff Zillgitt: Here’s the U.S. squad that will play Mexico in Mexico City on June 28 and Cuba in Havana July 1 in FIBA World Cup qualifying games:

https://twitter.com/JeffZillgitt/status/1011368438860693506
Adam Johnson: Erie BayHawks head coach Josh Longstaff has been named to Team USA coaching staff, replacing Ronald Nored who accepted a position with the Charlotte Hornets.
Pop and the rest of the players (including Spurs' Kawhi Leonard) are expected to attend the July 25-27 USA Men's National Team minicamp in Las Vegas and for the newly minted head coach, he couldn't be any more honored at the opportunity. “This is quite an honor and humbling experience to be involved with USA Basketball and this group of players,” Popovich said. “… In all honesty, from the time Jerry decided they wanted to go this route, it’s been on my mind as far as preparation is concerned. I’m sure as we meet this summer (for national team minicamp in Las Vegas), it will become more and more.”
USA Basketball Men’s National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and Team USA coach Gregg Popovich both said they picked Booker because of his youth and what he’s shown. “He’s one of the outstanding young players in the league,” Colangelo said. “We’re projecting where these players might be a year or two from now. He’s one of the young guys that we decided we want to take a real good look at.”
“He was with the team last summer that participated with the group and scrimmaged against the Olympic team and he played really well,” Popovich said. “He’s not just a talented player. He’s a heck of a competitor.”
Chase Hughes: John Wall and Bradley Beal have been selected for the 2018-20 Team USA roster. There are 35 players in total. Only 12 will make the Olympic roster for 2020.
Rod Beard: #Pistons’ Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin among 35 selected for Team USA minicamp: detne.ws/2IyHhGo via @detroitnews pic.twitter.com/SbfKrHijQH
Marc J. Spears: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook highlight a star studded list of 35 NBA players selected for the 2018-20 USA Men’s National Team pool. Warriors All-Stars are on team.Davis, Griffin, Wall, Cousins, DeRozan, Irving, Dame, Kawhi. No Melo pic.twitter.com/cDEJA2N1wN
Brian Mahoney: USA Basketball names 35-player pool for 2018-20. LeBron is on it, making a 4th Olympics a possibility. Durant and Chris Paul could be going for a third.
Gerald Bourguet: Devin Booker is the youngest player on the USA Men's National Team roster. I'd actually be surprised if he didn't make the 2020 Tokyo team
Chris Reichert: Hearing that Windy City Bulls forward Jarell Eddie will be on Team USA’s 12-man roster for FIBA World Cup qualifying roster, per league sources #GLeague
Following six training camp sessions, USA Basketball announced today the official 12-member, 2017 USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Team. The USA team features six players with NBA experience, 11 with NBA G League experience and seven with playing experience overseas. Players selected for the USA AmeriCup training camp include: Billy Baron (UCAM Murcia (Spain); Alec Brown (Windy City Bulls); Davis; Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce); Reggie Hearn (Reno Bighorns); Darrun Hilliard (Detroit Pistons); Jonathan Holmes (Canton Charge); Kendall Marshall (Reno Bighorns); Xavier Munford (Greensboro Swarm); Marshall Plumlee (New York Knicks); Jameel Warney (Texas Legends); C.J. Williams (Texas Legends); and Reggie Williams (Oklahoma City Blue).
Jeff Van Gundy noted that he and his USA squad still has plenty to accomplish during its remaining practices. “I think you want to make sure you really know your roster as well as you can. Know who you’re going to play, and with who. You don’t try to play too many guys, but you want to use the good depth that we have. It’s that and then narrowing down to get guys playing to their strengths and not playing to what their non-strengths may be. As long as we know ourselves and our team well, I think our guys will compete hard and I think that they will compete together.
The game Jordan referenced was the famous scrimmage in Monaco, where the team trained for several days leading up to the Olympics. Though there were other scrimmages and practices in Monaco and at the team’s training camp in La Jolla, California, prior to this one, this final scrimmage on July 22, 1992, is unanimously held in the highest esteem. When asked by ESPN’s Michael Wilbon several years ago about the competitive nature of that day in Monte Carlo, Jordan's response says it all: “Greatest game I’ve ever played in. All the beautiful things about the game of basketball were illustrated in that one particular game. If you culminate everybody in the Hall of Fame and every game they played in, and you envision a game being played, that’s how that game was played.”
Despite trailing 7-0 and being down by as many as nine points, Jordan’s white team prevailed 40-36 thanks in part to a 17-4 run fueled by jumpers, drives and trash talk. Nobody came close to touching the Dream Team once the Olympics got underway in Barcelona, as each of the USA's eight games was decided by more than 30 points. Yet before these legends took the court for the world to see, this scrimmage in Monte Carlo set the tone for what followed in the coming weeks.
Jefferson and Duncan reflected on their experience with Team USA at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. That was the disappointing, Larry Brown-coached team that won a bronze medal. Jefferson said that, when they got together and clearly weren’t jelling, Duncan told him, “We’re going to be lucky to medal with this group.” I guess they were lucky then.
After dealing with ankle and knee injuries last season, Stephen Curry made the wise decision not to travel to Rio de Janeiro. No one should doubt, though, that he'll be on the plane to Japan in four years when the Games are staged in Tokyo. "The way it went down this past year with the injury, it was the right decision," Curry said to FIBA.com in his hometown of Charlotte, where he recently played for the Golden State Warriors against the Hornets.
Stephen Curry "It was a tough one because I put a lot of equity into playing for Team USA and was looking forward to playing for the Olympic team for the first time. The decision for me personally was that it was best not to play, and to get ready for the season, to get healthy. Going forward, I do plan on playing at the World Cup (in 2019 in China), being healthy and being in a good position to be in Tokyo."
Jeff Goodman: Coach K returning this weekend after back surgery. - RT: Duke Basketball: Saturday. 🔵😈🐐 #HereComesDuke pic.twitter.com/Dxll7aqlPN
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will undergo lower back surgery on Friday to remove a fragment of a herniated disc, causing the Hall of Famer to miss up to four weeks coaching the Blue Devils (12-2 this season). The news was announced Monday. Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel will fill in for Krzyzewski. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Allan Friedman at Duke University Hospital.
Despite the United States’ gold medal win, Kawhi Leonard said he harbors no regrets about skipping the Rio Olympics. Leonard said a “lot of things,” including the birth of his daughter, factored into his decision. “I caught a couple of quarters here and there (on TV),” he said. Leonard said he hopes to have another shot at the Olympics. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich replaced Mike Krzyzewski as the U.S. basketball coach after the 2016 Games.
Tim MacMahon: Harrison Barnes on his limited Team USA role: "It was one of those situations where you have to sacrifice. Obviously when you make the Olympic team, you want to show what you can do on the world's biggest stage. At the same time, winning gold took precedent. We didn't want to be the team that either lost the win streak or didn't come home with the gold. Those are the things that we as a team said we were going to put everything to the side and focus on that, and we came through."
Kyrie Irving: We did it coach. You had the vision ever since I was that skinny 17 year old you saw play lol. Thank you for the opportunity and it was an honor be apart the journey with you.
Coach K expected a game against Spain down the road, but compared to the previous two Olympic Games finals, this was a different animal: “We knew when we first started training camp that there was a great, great chance that we were going to play Spain at some point. We’ve had some great, great games against Spain, some unbelievably competitive games. We expected the same today and we got it. It was a different type of a game. It was a very hard game and both teams had to … it wasn’t easy flowing, and both teams had to make big plays. I thought our guys did that a little bit more than they did, and that’s why we won. DeAndre (Jordan) was huge, 16 rebounds, but also Pau’s a great player and not that he, no one’s going to stop him, but he made him work all the time. Getting the rebounds were amazing, and then Klay played the most minutes he’s played and came through. I thought Kyle Lowry just gave us a huge spark, so I’m really proud of my team. That was the most different game I’ve coached internationally for the United States. It was just a real different game today”.
SI.com: Do you wish you were playing? Isaiah Thomas: Yes, I wish I was part of the team. Hopefully for the next Olympics I could be in consideration. I’m ready for the opportunity and hope it comes my way. But I’m definitely rooting for those guys to bring the gold home.
“To see that, and to feel that unity (at the game) with all that’s going on in our country right now, it was amazing. Just to hear ‘USA,’ it just shows that we’re the most powerful and greatest country there is, and to see everyone come together no matter (the) race, no matter the background, anything, just to hear that, that’s what I thought about. It was amazing, man. I wish I could’ve taped that moment, but I didn’t have my phone on me. The fans just have so much pride, man, and I feel like we can do that (in America). But we’re just so separated, man. It’s sad to see. I just hope at some point, as a nation, that we just start to find it,” said Durant, who looked plenty motivated in the 105-78 win over Argentina in which he had 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
The Spaniards are getting ready for their fourth chance in a row to beat USA in the Olympics and Juan Carlos Navarro believes that his teams has a good chance. According to the Spanish news agency EFE, when Navarro was asked if Spain can win his answer was the following: “There have been other teams in this tournament which have been very close to beat them, so why not us? We have come here to try to win and if we play our cards right and we are ready, why not…”
Storyline: USA Basketball
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May 26, 2020 | 7:32 pm EDT Update
As for what he’s focused on, Beal said it is being a consistent scorer “with efficiency.” He wants to increase his volume as a scorer without leaving his shooting percentages to suffer. He has been able to achieve that for the most part, this season averaging 30.5 points while holding a 52.0 effective field goal percentage. That is not easy to do, especially as a guard. But don’t let the efficiency talk lead you to thinking Beal is poring over the numbers, especially the advanced metrics. He also dropped a line on the show that may raise some eyebrows. “Honestly, I’m not an analytical guy. I say F the analytics, just go hoop,” he said.

May 26, 2020 | 5:47 pm EDT Update
In Cuban’s proposal, the top 10 teams from both conferences would qualify for the postseason and be re-seeded based on record. There would be two play-in matchups — either single games or a best-of-three series — pitting seeds 17 vs. 20 and 18 vs. 19. The winners would advance to play the 15th and 16th seeds for the final spots in the playoff bracket. The playoffs would then proceed with best-of-seven series.
A point Cuban emphasizes is that all but two teams — the exceptions being the Minnesota Timberwolves and Golden State Warriors — would have a mathematical possibility of qualifying for the postseason under his proposal. The Cleveland Cavaliers and Atlanta Hawks, the teams at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, are four games behind the 10th-place Charlotte Hornets. “It’s fair. It’s entertaining,” Cuban told ESPN.
May 26, 2020 | 3:25 pm EDT Update
That all changed in 2006. A couple of days before Bryant would score 81 points against the Toronto Raptors, Colangelo invited him to his office in Phoenix. The Lakers were in town to face the Suns, but Colangelo had something else on his mind: He wanted Bryant to represent the United States at the 2008 Olympics. “I knew in advance that he really wanted to be a part of U.S.A. Basketball,” said Colangelo, who had taken over as managing director of the men’s national team after its disastrous third-place finish at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens — a far cry from the standard of excellence set by Michael Jordan and the so-called Dream Team that won gold in 1992. “It was on his list of things that he wanted to accomplish, because he had never played for U.S.A. Basketball. No junior teams or anything like that. So it was important to him, and his commitment was huge.”
“I think Kobe challenged everybody,” said Jim Boeheim, one of the team’s assistants and the head coach of men’s basketball at Syracuse. “He was like, ‘I’m going to defend the toughest guy on every team, I’m going to push everyone, so just come along with me.’ And he did that from Day 1.” For Colangelo, it was a window into greatness. The foundation for all of Bryant’s feats — the 81-point game, the scoring titles, the series-clinching jump shots, the three championships he had already won with the Lakers — was his work ethic and desire. The spectacular was rooted in the mundane, in the monotony of hard labor.
At the Olympics, Bryant helped lead the way in the gold-medal final against Spain — and did it with flair. With just over three minutes remaining in a tight game, Bryant effectively sealed the win with a 4-point play. He raised an index finger to his lips to silence the Spanish fans in the crowd. A few minutes later, as the Americans celebrated on the court, Colangelo embraced the player he had once dreamed of drafting. The wait, in some ways, was worth it. “How often does someone have an objective, a goal, and have it perfectly executed?” Colangelo asked. “It was just so special.”
Storyline: USA Basketball
We spoke with Ken Goldin who tells us the previous record for the most expensive MJ game-used threads was $173k for Michael’s 1984 Team USA jersey. The uniform is pretty sick … a size 46 jersey made by Champion, with a black base and red pinstripes. It’s pretty sweet. And, get this … Goldin Auctions also tells TMZ Sports a game-used Lebron James jersey also sold recently … for $371,200!!!
During our conversation, I asked Wilt, “Since we’re in Cleveland, would you mind if I asked you a few questions about the time you almost became a Cavalier?” The 7-foot-1 Chamberlain paused, then let out a huge laugh and said, “You remember that, huh?” Wilt didn’t want to talk specifics, but confirmed the team did indeed want him to come out of retirement and play for it in November 1979. “The Cavs did want me (to return to the NBA), but they weren’t the only ones,” he said. “They weren’t the first team, nor the last, to talk to me (about playing again).” “Bulls, Cavaliers, Nets, Knicks twice, Sixers twice, Mavericks, Suns, Clippers — those are all the teams who tried to get me in the last decade,” Chamberlain said before accepting the Living Legend Award from the Philadelphia Sports Writers Association at its annual dinner in 1991.
While his contractual obligations with the Lakers prevented Chamberlain from playing for the Conquistadors in the ABA in 1974, they were no longer a roadblock to him returning to the NBA with the Cavaliers in 1979. Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss said his team would not ask Cleveland for compensation for signing Chamberlain, should it take place. “I think it would be great for the NBA if Wilt were to play and I do not want to put anything in the way of this happening,” Buss told the Associated Press on Nov. 20, 1979. “I would enjoy seeing him play again, so I am sure would thousands of basketball fans.”
“Cavs GM Ron Hrovat, a basketball neophyte, was entrusted with the responsibility of hand-delivering the contract to Chamberlain’s palatial home in Bel Air,” the Hall of Famer wrote. “Nobody was there when Hrovat arrived, so he stuck the contract in the gate. By the time Chamberlain showed up, the papers were strewn around his yard.” Which did not sit well with Wilt. “Chamberlain immediately got Albeck on the phone,” Vecsey wrote. “‘Forget it, Little Man,’ he said, using his endearing nickname for Albeck. “I can’t play for a team that handles its business like that.” Albeck lamented how the Cavaliers’ pursuit of Chamberlain concluded. “He was this close to coming back,” he told Vecsey, holding his thumb and index finger an inch apart.
May 26, 2020 | 3:13 pm EDT Update
Based on the final standings within each group, eight teams would advance out of pool play into a bracket meant to mimic the league’s normal postseason structure, sources told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Several current postseason teams were not initially enthusiastic about that proposal, sources told Lowe. A slump in group play could result in what is currently a solid playoff team — even one slated for home-court advantage in the first round of a normal postseason — failing to advance into the eight-team tournament, while a present-day lottery team might get hot and make the final eight.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
Nets center Jarrett Allen returned to the team’s recently reopened practice facility in Brooklyn on Tuesday wearing a face mask. The team opened its facility for voluntary workouts followingGov. Andrew Cuomo’s Sunday announcement that said New York sports teams can hold in-state training camps. “I believe sports that can come back without people in the stadium, without having people in the arena, do it. Do it,” Cuomo said. “Work out the economics if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives people something to do.”
ESPN’s recently aired documentary series “The Last Dance,” chronicling Michael Jordan’s final championship season with the Chicago Bulls, rekindled interest in Jordan’s long-running feud with Isiah Thomas, including how the Pistons’ star was left off the 1992 Dream Team that won Olympic gold in Barcelona. Author Jack McCallum addressed the controversy in the most recent episode of his “The Dream Team Tapes” podcast series. McCallum said Jordan brought up the issue of Thomas himself in a 2011 interview. “When they called me and asked me to play — Rod Thorn called me. I said ‘Rod, I won’t play if Isiah Thomas is on the team.’ He assured me. He said, ‘Chuck doesn’t want Isiah. So, Isiah is not going to be part of the team,’” Jordan said on the recording that McCallum played during the podcast.
May 26, 2020 | 12:13 pm EDT Update
During the years of basketball supplier talks, during which Spalding for a time was for sale, the NBA even considered buying a stake in the company. “Anything and everything was on the table. We talked about all of those things. Joint ventures, different models. Throughout the span of the last few years, we just couldn’t agree on what they looked like,” LaRocca said. There’s no bad blood, he added. “We had been exploring all of those and exploring different ways our partnership could be structured, to help grow sports,” LaRocca said. “It was never any animosity. We just had a difference of opinion.”
Wilson also will supply balls for the WNBA, NBA G League, NBA 2K League and Basketball Africa League. The NBA and Wilson haven’t disclosed the terms of the deal other than to say it’s multiyear, but it’s believed to be 10 years. The NBA’s relationship with Wilson isn’t a new one. The company provided NBA game balls from 1946, when the NBA launched as the Basketball Association of America, until Spalding took over the contract in 1983. “We didn’t spend a lot of time having to get to know them or know what they’ve done throughout the course of this history and brand,” LaRocca said.
ShotTracker and other companies are trying to land an eventual deal to have the NBA and NCAA and other leagues use their motion-tracking technology in balls and to put such sensors on players. The goal is to create customized next-gen metrics for coaching, players, medical staff, media, fans and gamblers. “Over the last several years we have worked with both Wilson and Spalding chipped balls. Wilson makes an incredible and imperceptible chipped basketball. At this time, I don’t know how this switch impacts the process for the NBA,” Ross said via email.
Storyline: Official Ball
May 26, 2020 | 11:59 am EDT Update
Groups could then be randomly drawn, with one team from each tier going into each group. The NBA is working on approaches to fairly balance the groupings, such as limiting each group to only three Western Conference teams, according to multiple front office sources. Drawings for the group stage could be televised, league sources say. The NBA draft lottery has yielded between 2.4 million and 4.4 million viewers the past 10 years on ESPN; a live drawing of the groups, even with Silver and a representative from every team broadcasting from their own homes, would do major numbers. Here’s one draw of the groups based on a random number generator:
One concern raised by team executives is the possibility of a “group of death”—a term used by soccer fans to describe groups that are far stronger than others, making it unfair for the top contenders. For example, if groups are randomly drawn, there is an unlikely-but-possible scenario that the Bucks could end up in a group with the Celtics, Rockets, Mavericks, and Pelicans—arguably the four best teams in Tiers 2 through 5. As an alternative to having groups randomly selected, multiple league sources say the league has considered allowing Tier 1 teams—the Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers—to draft their own groups. Now that would make for some drama during a selection show.
But Eastern Conference teams have already pushed back at the league for the group stage suggestion, according to league sources. The East is weaker than the West, and teams wouldn’t want to give up leverage in future discussions to reseed the postseason or remove conferences entirely. It’s a fair point, but conferences aren’t going away any time soon due to challenges and concerns with coast-to-coast travel, even under normal circumstances. In my opinion, the groups are balanced almost every single way you distribute teams from each tier. All teams in Tier 2 and 3 are relatively even, and with the exception of the Mavericks, the same can be said for Tiers 4 and 5. Any minor kinks could be ironed out if the league and the NBPA agree to fully explore this scenario.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
It’s unclear how these games would count toward existing contracts with regional sports networks (RSN) and national television stations (ESPN, TNT, and ABC). NBA teams have deals with RSNs for regular-season games; once teams hit roughly 70 games aired on their RSN, the league retains 100 percent of the revenue from those contracts. The NBA also has national deals to air a decided number of games on each network. So it’s unknown how group stage games would financially fulfill either of those contracts. But conversations with sources on both the league side and television side believe an agreement can easily be reached because of the potentially massive ratings that could follow. Group-stage games could realistically air “side by side” on both a team’s regional sports network and on national television, just like most first-round games already do.
May 26, 2020 | 11:46 am EDT Update

Damian Lillard to sit if Blazers don't have shot at playoffs

If the NBA resumes the 2019-20 season by electing to play a handful of games with all teams just to reach 70 games to fulfill regional television deals, Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard knows his next move. “If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,’ and they’re throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don’t have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I’m going to be with my team because I’m a part of the team. But I’m not going to be participating. I’m telling you that right now. And you can put that [expletive] in there,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday morning via phone.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 254 more rumors
“If we come back and I don’t have an opportunity to make the playoffs, I will show up to work, I’ll be at practice and I’ll be with my team. I’m going to do all that [expletive] and then I’m going to be sitting right on that bench during the games,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “If they come back and say it’s something like a tournament, play-in style, between the No. 7 and No. 12 seeds, if we’re playing for playoff spots, then I think that’s perfect.”
A potential Los Angeles Lakers-Trail Blazers matchup likely would be the most anticipated series of the first round. “I just feel like that would be the matchup people want to see,” Lillard told Yahoo Sports. “And not to say nobody wants to see Memphis, because they’re in the eighth and they’ve been in the eighth spot for a while. They’ve earned that. You can’t take anything away from Memphis. They play hard, they’re exciting and they’ve got a lot of young talent. The Lakers would have their hands full playing against them. Memphis beat the Lakers this year. Memphis would have nothing to lose. I feel like both series could be a little bit hectic for the Lakers, but I think more so us, because of the experience and where we are in our careers. Not too long ago, we played them in L.A. and obviously I had a great game and we won a close one, and in the playoffs, I’m sure they would come up with some type of game plan to not allow that to happen. But I want to compete. That’s what we want.”
May 26, 2020 | 10:53 am EDT Update
Mixed into the congratulatory comments — “nice kill brother” and “glad to see some hunting content back on your page” — are people calling him “cruel,” “disgusting” and telling him to “shoot baskets not animals.” “I don’t really pay that no attention,” Hill says. “Most people that always have something against hunting are the same ones that go out to a restaurant to eat a steak or order a burger. So I always say, if you really see all those animals [get] to your plate, you’d probably think differently about hunters. “If you’re hunting just to kill s—, you have a problem.”
Hill, 34 and envisioning life after basketball, is pouring his time away from the court into learning more about animal care, overseeing projects — expanding a lake and building a “barndominium” are currently underway — and watching over his vast, 850-acre ranch and its exotic residents. In August 2017, he purchased the massive plot of land here in Texas Hill Country, a 35-minute drive north of his family’s offseason home in San Antonio. Over time, the property has been bulldozed, sculpted and preened into a sprawling ranch.
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