His mission now: Take the torch from Colangelo and win …

More on USA Basketball

Grant Hill was not looking for new things to do. He’s on the board of trustees at Duke, his alma mater where he played for Mike Krzyzewski. He’s an investor, broadcaster, public speaker, member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, co-owner and vice chairman of the Atlanta Hawks, and a member of the board of directors at the NCAA. He says no to plenty of things. And then USA Basketball came calling.
“Another opportunity to represent your country, to serve your country in this capacity, that was the reason for me,” Hill said. “I think also understanding how important, how significant the Olympic experience was for me back in 1996 and wanting to help recreate for young men who are coming through the NBA and want to be a part of this. It’s almost a calling in a lot of ways.”
The Jump: "I can't wait to join them. We're up against a tough field" —@Khris Middleton on possibly getting gold in the Olympics #TheJump
Marc J. Spears: Challenge @usabasketball faces in replacing 2 players is availability along with being in basketball shape. Several declined or are hurt. One player in Finals that could be considered not already on the team is Brook Lopez, source said. Keldon Johnson likely as @Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
John Karalis: USA basketball announces Bradley Beal will miss the Olympics due to the health and safety protocols. Jerami Grant is now also in the protocol "out of an abundance of caution"
Team USA men’s basketball has been a subject of scrutiny for the last five days with the basketball community expressing its enormous disappointment in the team getting off to an unprecedented 0-2 exhibition start ahead of the Olympics in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Kevin Durant, the face of Team USA, is just chilling in his hotel suite at Aria Resort & Casino. “I’m doing fine, myself,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I haven’t really left my room with the health and safety protocols we’re following. Not really watching much [NBA Finals] basketball. I’m just out here to hoop, stay safe and get better. The s*** people are saying doesn’t bother me. It’s all about context.”
“We’re a team that’s still coming together and trying to find our identity,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “We have so many great players that you can play so many different ways, and we are indecisive at times on defense and offense. In the midst of us figuring it out, these teams are established and they’re running their sets. We’re working on our sets. The stars were kind of aligned for us to lose early on.”
Durant noted that the context was important. “It’s easy to say that after two losses without any context,” Durant tells Yahoo Sports. “Let's just go down the roster of each team and you can find the answer. If you’re looking for NBA talent, those teams have it. Understand where we’re at as a team and then you can make assumptions for yourself. We do have all the best players in the league, but these national teams have NBA players, too, who are now No. 1 options and they’re used to playing that role internationally. We’re still adjusting as a team, and that’s not making excuses. There's a lot of context people need to understand. We didn’t expect to lose a game, but losing games happen. We’ll get it right.”
Nigeria and Australia have had a few weeks of practice, opposed to Team USA only practicing two and a half days to this point. And Australia consists of a nucleus that has played together for several years. Team USA is still in a feeling-out period when it comes to playing with each other, and one noticeable observation is that they're still in NBA mode.
Throughout the games, multiple players, from Jayson Tatum to Bradley Beal, have been staring down the officials following no-calls as they’re accustomed to receiving touch fouls or star-treatment officiating in the NBA. In the first half on Monday, Tatum was called for an offensive foul on a drive when he slightly nudged the defender aside with his right hand to create separation. It was a move that’s consistently ignored in the NBA. And Team USA has yet to attempt knocking the ball off the rim after it’s clanking around, a method that’s allowed in FIBA play but ruled a goaltend in the NBA.
The dominant USA basketball teams of the past were defensive nightmares for opponents. There was an emphasis centered on aggressive full-court pressure and traps to ignite the offense. As talented as they were offensively, they were even better defensively. Australia shot 52.9% from the field and outscored Team USA in the paint 44-24. This version of Team USA has lacked aggression on defense, aside from Draymond Green. Head coach Gregg Popovich has stated players are still rounding into shape, so applying immense full-court pressure is probably not the best course of action at this stage.
The scrutiny is warranted, but there are factors in play that can’t be disregarded. Once the team is fully acclimated to the new rules and officiating, once they’re equipped with more practice time and once the entire roster is in place, then we’ll be able to thoroughly evaluate the team and Popovich. But make no mistake about it, through two exhibition games, there is cause for concern.
The Athletic: Precious Achiuwa denied KD's dunk attempt 👀 🎥 @NigeriaBasket pic.twitter.com/Dw7eheqo0L

http://twitter.com/TheAthleticNBA/status/1414024802562547716
Rob Schaefer: Looks like Zach LaVine turned his left ankle contesting a 3-pointer. Checked out of game and walked off to locker room under own power with slight hitch in step.
Joe Vardon: First two off the bench for Team USA: Draymond Green and Jerami Grant. Keep in mind that Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are not here
As the rumors swirl ahead of a possible Miami Heat offseason makeover, Tyler Herro is hoping to make a stand. As a stronger presence on the court. And as a strong advocate of coach Erik Spoelstra. Working under Spoelstra this week as a member of USA Basketball’s Select Team during pre-Olympic training in Las Vegas, the second-year guard said he views the experience as a bonding moment.
“I think it’s unique because I’m able to just continue to build a strong relationship with coach Spo,” Herro said. “I plan on playing with him for a while, and that’s my plan. I hope that happens. “So I continue to just build a strong relationship with him. I think this experience for both of us is big.”
Mike Finger: On first day with US Olympic team, Gregg Popovich is asked if he thinks some of his guys will be talking to each other about forming new super teams. “It’s none of my business,” he says.
Tim Reynolds: Pop says USA Basketball has brought in extra bodies - not just the select team - to supplement for the players who are missing from training camp. Olympians Khris Middleton, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday are not in Vegas for camp. (They couldn't get time off from work, apparently.)
Tom Orsborn: Rather than make Keldon Johnson available to media, #Spurs released a video of him answering questions posed by a staffer. Here's what he had to say about his approach to facing Team USA: "I'll go at them...It's basketball - I've got to go at them. That's just who I am."
Steve Popper: The official release from USA Basketball. pic.twitter.com/b2jfjiWygn

http://twitter.com/StevePopper/status/1410647923923337219
Jerry Colangelo ON KEVIN DURANT: “This guy is a very, very special individual in my opinion. … He’s always had this great enthusiasm, for playing USA basketball, for playing the game of basketball. He’s been in my opinion a real warrior, I love the guy as a player, I love him as a person, and the fact he stepped up to commit himself as he did didn’t surprise me. I was very very pleased because he’s a very very important part of our potential success.”
Marc Stein: The Knicks' Julius Randle was "right there" for an Olympic roster spot, @usabasketball executive director Jerry Colangelo said. Kevin Love's international experience was key in his selection, Colangelo said. Love, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant are previous gold medalists.
Spoelstra has accepted an invitation to join the USA Basketball coaching staff for its Olympic preparations in Las Vegas next month. The Miami Heat coach, who went head-to-head against Popovich and San Antonio in the 2013 and 2014 NBA Finals, will be involved coaching the U.S. select team — a group of players that will be brought in to practice and scrimmage against the Olympic roster.
“I really just want to be a part of the program,” Spoelstra said. “I’m always pushing myself to get better in the offseasons; I go visit people and all that stuff. This is going to be a basketball immersion. I mean, the dinners, the team meetings ... for where I am right now in my career, I think this is the perfect thing for a summer of development.”
Team USA's first game in Japan is scheduled for July 25 against France. But all three have committed to traveling quickly to Japan by private plane, Colangelo said. "Life is about relationships and we've got relationships with all these players over the years," Colangelo said. "It's been a process and it hasn't been easy."
Unlike in 2019, when the Americans finished a disappointing seventh in the World Cup with a team that featured traditional centers and limited shooting, this roster is filled with players who can play multiple positions and are shooting specialists. "Versatility and athleticism are trademarks of this group," said Colangelo, who will retire following the Tokyo Games after 16 years leading Team USA. "Our staff feels this will be a very competitive group and we'll have shooting that we've been lacking. We're going to go into camp feeling confident we're going to perform well."
Nick DePaula: Based on all reports, it would appear the 12-player @USAbasketball roster for the Tokyo Olympics is set: Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Bam Adebayo, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Zach LaVine, Draymond Green, James Harden, Jrue Holiday, Kevin Love, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum pic.twitter.com/9n9FqPNcbO
Grant Hill will become the men’s national team managing director following the Tokyo Olympics, USA Basketball said Saturday. He’ll replace the retiring Jerry Colangelo, in a move where one Basketball Hall of Famer takes over for another in the critical role of assembling teams that will compete for gold. “It’s just an incredible opportunity, also an incredible challenge,” Hill said Saturday.
Hill went into the Hall of Fame in 2018 and has worked as an NBA and college basketball analyst for Turner Sports for nearly a decade. And he’s part of the broadcast team for the men’s Final Four this weekend in Indianapolis, the sixth straight year he’s been on that crew. He will remain in broadcasting after assuming his USA Basketball job.
Storyline: USA Basketball
More HoopsHype Rumors
September 21, 2021 | 3:53 pm EDT Update
September 21, 2021 | 1:36 pm EDT Update

Sixers not close to trading Ben Simmons

Complicating matters with that caveat of right now, of course, is the reality that the Sixers also do not appear close to a trade they are willing to go through with that gives Simmons his desired fresh start. More than two months after posting one of my Tuesday newsletter extravaganzas on Substack for the first time on July 13 — also a breakdown, on that occasion, of the latest on the Simmons front — Philadelphia looks no closer to a trade to bring an end to this stalemate.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 260 more rumors
Weeks of Philadelphia’s Simmons talks with various teams haven’t brought the Sixers to the brink of a deal, largely because Morey is the one faced with trying to get commensurate value for his All-Star and still asking for so much in return in his determination to recoup a trade package that, as one source put it, keeps Philadelphia in title contention. History, however, says that Philadelphia’s president of basketball operations shouldn’t count on getting a glittering package back when a deal finally materializes — his own history.
I reported Monday that the Sixers don’t expect Simmons to show and are resigned to try to keep working behind the scenes to try to convince him to reconsider that stance. After I published that, another source close to the situation told me: “Right now, I don’t see a scenario where Ben is back in Philly.” The source meant it with permanence. As in: Simmons’ career with the Sixers, to the source, is over.
I was told very clearly that the Sixers do not liken these circumstances to Al Horford’s last season in Oklahoma City or John Wall’s in Houston. As the start of training camp draws near, Philadelphia has shown zero interest to date in striking the sort of mutual agreement that Wall and the Rockets just hatched to shelve the former All-Star point guard.
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
The Sixers have not lowered the bar on what they’re seeking in a Simmons trade — yet. Toronto, Minnesota, Cleveland, San Antonio and Sacramento — all of them, league sources say, have engaged with Philadelphia in Simmons trade talks. They’re also all bubble playoff teams at best based in markets not known for attracting free agents and surely love the idea of acquiring Simmons when the 25-year-old is locked into three guaranteed seasons on his contract after this one.