Sam Smith: “Would they have won again? No. Because that’s like saying, ‘If he hadn’t fallen off that building, he would be alive!’ Pippen was estranged for a year; heck, he had a half season sit-down strike. Rodman was melting down and did so in Los Angeles. Phil was one step into a sabbatical for a year. Michael clearly was burned out, as he was seen telling Ahmad Rashad in the documentary. Pippen had back surgery after the 1997-98 season and was never again close to the player he’d been. Also, Jordan sustained a severe cut on his shooting hand that offseason from a cigar cutter and could no longer grip the ball and would have trouble shooting. How would his legacy have looked trying to come back without any preseason or camp under those circumstances? Plus, all those Bulls reserve guys like Luc Longley, Steve Kerr and Jud Buechler got long-term contracts from new teams that I am certain all their teams regretted and made no sense for the Bulls to match. This another-year thing is so pathetic. It’s like a teenager dreaming for years about the girlfriend who dumped him. If only… Move on!”
July 30, 2021 | 9:27 am EDT Update
Oklahoma City further added to its stockpile of future first-round picks as the Utah Jazz agreed to send a future No. 1 and center Derrick Favors to the Thunder for a future second-round pick, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski on Friday. Before the move, the Thunder already had 12 first-round picks above and beyond their own — some of which they can swap — over the next five drafts. Oklahoma City traded the No. 16 pick in Thursday’s NBA draft to the Houston Rockets for two future first-rounders — in 2022 (via the Pistons) and 2023 (via the Wizards). The Rockets then used the selection to pick Alperen Sengun.
Colangelo on Trae Young: “I’m happy that he wants to play for USA Basketball. We had him in one of our camps. We know him in USA Basketball. He’s done really well in the NBA. But predicated on what we felt we needed, he didn’t fit the bill this time around. He’s a young player, he has a future with USA Basketball but it was the opinion of our staff that it wasn’t now. It’s for others to make the declaration ‘you made a mistake.’”
Can roster continuity ever return? Colangelo: “Some things are under your control and some things are not. When I took over I did have some control over setting the tone. I did want a three-year commitment. I needed three-year commitments and I got them. Be it from Carmelo, LeBron, Wade, Chris Paul, etc. We had a good format where we had competition every two years. But the powers that be changed the format and they thought it was going to be a positive — and I immediately said it may be good for the rest of the world but it’s not for USA Basketball.”
As for the players, Colangelo pointed to injuries to Kyle Kuzma, Jayson Tatum, and Marcus Smart that did them in during the World Cup, and the pandemic-condensed schedule that kept a quarter of the roster away because they were in the Finals. And also, this team, as constructed, can still win gold. “If we had everyone in training camp at one time and we were working collectively toward all of our goals and objectives, we would have been much further along. … If all things were equal, we all had the same time to practice, we all had our rosters set, blah blah blah, I don’t think we’d be having this discussion. I don’t. But that’s not the case. So we are gonna do everything we can to overcome it now, and I believe we will.” — Colangelo
Aaron Baynes was ruled out for the rest of the Olympics after suffering a neck injury, Australia announced Friday. The injury during the Boomer’s win over Italy in the preliminary round of the tournament, Sunday. Baynes is expected to recover in the coming weeks, but not in time to help Australia for the rest of the tournament. Australia, who has a 2-0 record in the Olympics, will face Germany Saturday in the third pool game of Group B.
Spain players Marc Gasol, Alberto Abalde and Usman Garuba have been placed in semi-isolation after coming into close contact with with a person who tested positive for COVID-19,EFE reports, citing confirmation by the Spanish Federation. All three players can practice and play in the games but have to stay in individual rooms and travel in a different vehicle than the rest of the national team squad.
July 30, 2021 | 7:40 am EDT Update
“If we don’t win, people will have their opportunity to take shots. I’m the one that has to look in the mirror and know that I did my best,” Colangelo said. “I’ll tell you in advance the answer is yes. I believe we’re going to win.”
“A lot of (players) called me and said they wanted to play, and then said, ‘hmm, I’m not so sure.’ I can understand it, there’s been a lot of things going on,” Colangelo said. “It’s challenging when you can’t even go out the door, except to practice or to a game. It’s really hard. If all things were equal, we all had the same time to practice, we all had our rosters set…I don’t think we’d be having this discussion. I don’t. But that’s not the case. So we are going do everything we can to overcome it now, and I believe we will.”