The biggest bump in Bradley Beal’s contributions to the Wizards this season may not come from any on-court improvements. After all, there isn’t much in his game to improve. Instead, the recognition of a growingly necessary offseason trend could be what helps Beal, and the Wizards, the most in the long run: recruiting. “In order to win and compete, you got to pick up that phone. I learned that on Team USA, honestly,” Beal said in a conversation with NBC Sports Washington Wizards Insider Chris Miller. “I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t breathe without someone asking me what I wanted to do this summer. Would I play with that person.”
When drawing from his time in Las Vegas with the loaded cast of NBA stars on the national team, Beal's biggest takeaway seemingly was how willing his fellow stars were to ask for help. "So that was really eye-opening in a lot of ways. Can I get that done here? Can I bring somebody down here?" Beal told Miller. "What we have, it's a great city, it's a sports town. Basketball is the only team that needs to win... You got to pick up the phone, I would say for the first time in my career, I was using those [phone] minutes."
Tom Orsborn: David Robinson on Pop & Team USA winning gold: "They were under a lot of pressure, and Pop did a phenomenal job keeping them calm, focused like he always does. That was a great deal for Pop and that whole team. It was amazing."
Tom Orsborn: Keldon on the knowledge he gained from playing with Durant, Draymond, etc.: "Decision making is big for them, being precise w/ every decision...We could be all day talking about all the things I learned, moving the ball, playing off teammates, seeing the play before it happens.
The Jump: Dream of playing in Olympics one day? "Most definitely. I love to win at the highest level" —@jalensuggs #TheJump
Brian Windhorst: Jerami Grant is expected to be cleared from quarantine and will be available to travel with Team USA to Japan, sources said. Americans have final exhibition against Spain set for 9 p.m. ET.
The U.S. Olympic team, in search of two replacement players for Tokyo, never made Knicks All-Star power forward Julius Randle an offer, according to multiple industry sources.
The Post has learned Randle was amenable to joining the Olympians late in the process. Randle has been working out in his hometown of Dallas and is said to be in shape as he vies to duplicate his spectacular season in which he made All-NBA second team.
However, Harris, who turned 29 on Thursday, is out of the country on vacation. He is scheduled to return Saturday evening. The U.S. has two exhibition games remaining in Las Vegas. It has a scheduled rematch with Australia on Friday before facing Spain on Sunday.
Rockets center Christian Wood is among the players under consideration for a spot on the USA Basketball Olympic team, a person with knowledge of the process said on Thursday.
Wood, who has fully recovered from his ankle injury during the season, had often said he would consider it a dream to compete on the Olympic team. Even late in the season, he said he hoped to play in Tokyo July 23 through Aug. 8.
Chase Hughes: Bam Adebayo, who has had Covid before, on Bradley Beal: "This is one of those things I wouldn't wish on anybody. It does give you PTSD. But I did check with Brad, he said he has no symptoms. So, I think this will pass through and it will be okay."
Brian Robb: Good news on Jayson Tatum injury front: He practiced with the team today according to Gregg Popovich. USA has another exhibition game tomorrow night.
Neil Dalal: Draymond Green says that if Team USA wins gold in Tokyo he hopes Bradley Beal receives one too because he made the commitment to represent his country.
Fred Katz: Gregg Popovich on who could replace Bradley Beal on the Team USA roster: "There’s no next Bradley Beal, just like there’s no next Damian Lillard or next KD. All these guys are different. So, maybe a utility infielder of some sort."
Ava Wallace: As far as picking someone to replace Beal, Popovich says one of the biggest considerations is choosing someone who's in shape. Team USA's been conditioning and working on how they want to play for a week.
Chase Hughes: Gregg Popovich says he does not "think that's in the cards" when asked if Jerami Grant will also miss the Olympics after entering health and safety protocol.
A person with knowledge of the situation says U.S. Olympic guard Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards has entered the health and safety protocols related to the coronavirus, which raises the possibility that he might miss the Tokyo Games.
Beal will be tested multiple times in the coming days, according to the person who spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the player involved for USA Basketball was not revealed publicly. The results of those tests will likely determine if he remains on the roster, the person said. USA Basketball could still replace Beal before heading to Tokyo.
Shams Charania: Wizards star Bradley Beal has entered health and safety protocols at Team USA camp, placing his return to play status up in the air, sources tell me and @Joe Vardon.
Tim Reynolds: AP source: USA Basketball guard Bradley Beal has entered the health and safety protocols in Las Vegas, raising the possibility that he may not be able to attend the Tokyo Games. There is nothing definitive about that at this point.
The U.S. men’s national basketball team got a reality check on the road to Olympic gold this week, losing two consecutive exhibition games against Nigeria and Australia. But for Mark Tatum, the deputy commissioner and chief operating officer of the NBA, those defeats marked a victory of sorts, in the league’s decades long quest to internationalize the game of basketball. “The world is getting better, and I think that makes basketball a much more attractive game for the world to follow,” Tatum said, in an interview on Yahoo Finance Live. “We're happy to see that level of competition continue to grow and grow.”
Wes Goldberg: Pop after Team USA's win over Argentina tonight: "I thought both (Bam) and Draymond facilitated a lot of action. They were very active, got everybody involved, and that's something that's really important for us."
Chase Hughes: Team USA bounces back by beating Argentina by 28 points, 108-80. Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant led the way, each with 17 points, 6 rebounds and 3 assists.
Chase Hughes: Team USA's starting lineup vs. Argentina: Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, Kevin Durant, Bam Adebayo. Beal has started all three games so far.
Shams Charania: Jayson Tatum will not play tonight vs. Argentina due to right knee soreness. He is day to day, Team USA says.
Joe Vardon: Tonight Gregg Popovich is starting Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Jerami Grant, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green against Australia. Jayson Tatum and Bam Adebayo started instead of Grant and Green against Nigeria
Shams Charania: Sources: Team USA is promoting three Select Team members — San Antonio's Keldon Johnson, Cleveland's Darius Garland and Detroit’s Saddiq Bey — for exhibition games beginning Saturday. Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton will join USAB after Finals.
Shams Charania: Strong week of National Team-Select Team practices in Las Vegas. Cam Reynolds, Josh Magette, John Jenkins and Dakota Mathias will be with Team USA for exhibition play as well.
Rob Schaefer: Zach LaVine on players recruiting each other during Olympics: "Players gonna be players, man. You gonna mingle and talk. But we're here for one goal, we're trying to win the gold medal. I think whatever comes from that -- friendships, teammates -- I think that's an afterthought..
Alex Schiffer: Speaking to the media for the first time since the Nets season ended, Kevin Durant said playing for Team USA was on his radar before Brooklyn’s playoff loss to the Bucks. Appreciated Gregg Popovich and Jerry Coangelo for letting him decide on his timeline.
Tim Reynolds: The U.S. opens the Olympics against France on July 25. Kevin Durant confirms that he's already "talking s***" to Nets teammate Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot about that game. "Yeah, he can't guard me," KD said. Oh, this is going to be fun.
Tim Reynolds: Gregg Popovich says USA Basketball will promote some players from the USA Select Team for Saturday night's exhibition in Las Vegas against Nigeria.
KC Johnson: USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich on Zach LaVine: "He's somebody who really wanted to do this. His physical skills are abundant and obvious. . . . He's willing to do anything we ask him to do."
Sports Illustrated: No one on Team USA is safe from after-practice sprints... even the coaches (via @Kevin Love)
Chris Fedor: #Cavs Darius Garland had a very minor knee-to-knee thing his first day with USA Select Team that kept him out of some of the stuff on Day One, a source tells @clevelanddotcom. But he’s been full go since and has looked really good in scrimmages, I’m told.
Tim Reynolds: Matters have accelerated significantly in the last 24-48 hours, source tells AP. Jamahl Mosley was scheduled to speak with reporters tonight about his role as a USA Select Team assistant under Erik Spoelstra; he is now not expected to make that appearance.
Rod Beard: #Blazers Damian Lillard on his role with Team USA: "I know that I'm not going to have to be in the same role as in Portland ... I think I can show that I'm a good defender without as much responsibility on the offensive end, with so much talent (on Team USA)."
Mark Medina: Suns coach Monty Williams on Devin Booker playing in the Tokyo Olympics whenever the NBA Finals ends: "Devin is one of those guys that loves to hoop." Williams added that Booker "has unreal energy."
Anthony Slater: Steph Curry said it was a "hard decision" to pass on the Olympics: "I do value the offseason. I am working out, back on the court. But to try to go and play, there's a lot that can happen...It just wasn't right for me. Very confident in that decision. No regrets."
Wes Goldberg: Draymond Green said that he didn't try to push Steph Curry to play for Team USA. "I don't need to try to push him to play for Team USA because I already know the reasons why."
Wes Goldberg: Draymond Green on why he decided to play for Team USA in the Olympics: "It was never a question for me. This is what we work for. You work for the accolades, you work to be on top of the world."
Rod Beard: Draymond Green on #Pistons Jerami Grant: "He's one of the guys in the NBA...What he's gone (to Detroit) and done is incredible. He's one of the most improved players in this league, for sure."
Omari Sanfoka II: Jerami Grant on making the Olympic team: "I was blessed when I got the call. It was an honor. I love to play the game, that’s why I’m here. I told my family, everyone was excited for me."
Omari Sanfoka II: Jerami Grant said is role on the USA Basketball team is to bring energy. "I’m going to be playing a lot of defense, hitting open shots, being aggressive when I get the opportunity."
Rod Beard: Draymond Green on the new Team USA jerseys: "Nike knocked those out of the park; they did an incredible job ... it's going to look incredible winning the gold in those uniforms."
Joe Vardon: Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said three players from the US select team (which practices against the Olympic team) are out of training camp due to testing positive to COVID-19. No Olympic player tested positive, he said.
Brian Windhorst: Immanuel Quickley, PJ Washington and Miles Bridges of the USA Select Team are out of training camp in Las Vegas due to COVID protocols, sources said. All members of Team USA were at practice today.
Wes Goldberg: Pop on what makes Draymond Green an elite defender: "a natural affinity and desire to be a great defender... understanding spatial arrangements, able to do the work early. Understanding angles and distances."
Brian Windhorst: Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart suffered an ankle injury while playing for the USA Select Team in a scrimmage against Team USA today, sources said. He left the game to get treatment.
This week at Team USA's training camp ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Popovich is getting to see Beal up close and personal to a degree he hasn't before. One thing has surprised him in particular. "He's stronger than I expected. He's a strong young man. I always used to think of him as wiry and thin, but I was totally wrong. He's thick," Popovich said.
Jason Anderson: USA Select coach Mark Few on Tyrese Haliburton: “Gosh, the first thing I think our whole staff picked up on was what a great mind he has and his basketball intelligence, and how quickly he picks up on things. He’s very perceptive and also a great communicator."
Chase Hughes: Jayson Tatum describes Bradley Beal as "A mentor and an older brother that I technically didn't have in the house [growing up]... someone that I've always looked up to and still look up to to this day."
Joe Nelson: Wolves star Anthony Edwards limps out of Team USA practice, leaning on someone to get to the team bus @JonKrawczynski @DWolfsonKSTP
Darren Wolfson: From someone in the know: “Sprain.” Ant Man limping pretty good in the video from diehard fan Joe. #Timberwolves
Chase Hughes: Bradley Beal says he didn't know he was the first Wizards player to represent the franchise and city for Team USA in the Olympics. Called it an honor.
Souichi Terada: Bradley Beal on playing with Jayson Tatum: "We're both excited. For one, we grew up 5 minutes from each other. To have two of the same guys from the same high school on the same team, I don't know if that's ever happened for USA Basketball."
Ava Wallace: After USA Basketball practice today, Gregg Popovich is asked what he likes best about Bradley Beal. "His movement. He is hard to keep up with." Pop also said Beal's stronger than he thought. Assumed was wiry but in fact, he is thick. So it shall be
Jeff Garcia: Popovich says he's hoping to see Keldon Johnson get confidence, development under Spoeltra, a better player with Select Team. He's thrilled KJ is with Select Team. #GoSpursGo #nba #USABMNT
Tim Reynolds: Pop hasn't decided on captaincy yet for the U.S. Olympic basketball team. He says he's "waiting to see where it lands."
Ira Winderman: Gregg Popovich calls Erik Spoelstra, who's guiding the USA Basketball Select Team a "fantastic young coach." Spoelstra is the second-longest-tenured coach in the NBA, to Pop.
Anthony Chiang: Popovich, speaking on Day 2 of Team USA training camp, on Bam Adebayo: "He's active, he's a rebounder, he runs. He knows how to play with teammates. ... He's going to be very valuable to us and obviously our best rebounder."
The Olympics present a stage for which the world is watching and there is a long history of athletes using the event to protest or speak out on political matters. But as Bradley Beal explained to NBC Sports Washington's Chris Miller, the plan is for Team USA to focus on winning a gold medal. They have agreed as a team to continue working for societal change in other ways and keep this particular trip about basketball. "We've talked about that actually as a team. In all honesty, for the first time we can lay out our arms and focus on our competition and that's what we're going to do. We don't want it to get into a political protest," Beal told NBC Sports Washington.
Beal said the first team meeting held by Popovich at training camp in Las Vegas had nothing to do with basketball. He wanted to first address the elephant in the room. "Honestly, Pop will probably do the majority of that. He's not afraid. He's expressed that, he's expressed that to me. 'Shift the blame on me, I'm going to be the one to kind of lay down what's going on.' We respect that. That was very admirable from him," Beal said.
Bradley Beal: "Our first meeting wasn't about basketball, it was about life. It wasn't about hoops at all. It was about him respecting us and what we did as players, what we continue to do and what we continue to embody and the fact we're still trying to come out and win a gold medal regardless of what's happened and what's been going on. That spoke volumes. That spoke volumes. Pop, he's a legend and he will always be a legend. Yeah, so ask him. He'll be the one to ask about what's going on in the world."
Kobe Bryant wore No. 24 and No. 8 with the Los Angeles Lakers, but he donned No. 10 for USA Basketball when he helped the Americans capture gold medals at the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Jayson Tatum has worn that number as part of U.S. teams several times since — and will wear it at the Tokyo Olympics, where the Americans will aim to capture a fourth consecutive gold medal. “With this being the first Olympics since we lost him, it holds that much more value,” Tatum said. “It’s not something I take lightly.”
Tatum knew Bryant well. They worked out together and Bryant offered him advice many times. “I remember one talk, it might have been after a game, and he was saying that a lot of people won’t understand what you do,” Tatum said. “He said, ‘What I mean by that is, the ones that really want to be great and really want to be special really take that whatever-it-takes mentality.’ He told me it takes sacrifice, because the ultimate question is about how much are you willing to give up to be great.”
When he decided not to play in the 2016 Olympics, the number ended up with Kyrie Irving — another player who idolizes Bryant, just as Tatum does. And now, as was the case when the U.S. went to the Basketball World Cup two years ago, the jersey is Tatum’s. “For JT to have this moment, I’m happy for him, genuinely,” U.S. center Bam Adebayo said. “I’ve known JT since I was 12. He deserves everything he’s getting and he’s going to keep deserving more because he’s such a great player. I’m happy for him. That’s his idol, and he gets to represent that number. I know he’s going to have that ‘Mamba Mentality’ when he puts that 10 on.”
July 3, 2022 | 11:25 pm EDT Update
If a trade is possible, would the leaders of the locker room welcome Durant? According to multiple sources, they would, for the same reason they embraced him in 2016. “I mean,” one source said, “it’s freaking Kevin Durant.” The Warriors superstars have been in conversations with Durant. In addition to catching up, the Hall of Fame-bound peers did entertain the idea of a reunion.
The Warriors could undoubtedly put together one of the best packages for a Durant trade. And for a front office known for unearthing every stone, they’d have to vet the chance to add Durant. With that said, according to multiple sources in the Warriors organization, a reunion is highly unlikely. Nothing about the last three years suggests the Warriors would be willing to pay the price for a KD return. That price is likely (and reportedly) an All-Star-caliber player, young talent and a heap of draft picks.
This isn’t a case where the Warriors stars are pressing the front office to go acquire Durant. Sources made it clear they are fine defending their title with Wiggins, Poole and the young players they’ve been grooming to win with them. But if the universe somehow sets it up so legends reunite, they’d be open to it.
David Hardisty: Woj says Brooklyn has “no traction” on a deal for KD or Kyrie. They’re being patient because they “don’t have to trade either”, though that’s not their ideal scenario. Nets trying to get the “biggest haul of assets that they can” and “there’s a lot more talks coming.”
Lionel Hollins, the long-time Memphis Grizzlies head coach through the Grit and Grind era, will join Rockets coaching staff six years after he and Stephen Silas sought to team up on the Houston bench a person with knowledge of the Rockets additions to the coaching staff said on Sunday.
The Rockets will also promote Mahmoud Abdelfattah after he led the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the G League championship. Abdelfattah was a Vipers assistant coach in their 2018-19 G League championship season and was promoted to head coach the following season. Mike Batiste, a Wizards assistant who like Hollins played at Arizona State, will also join the Rockets staff.
Tony Jones: Utah Jazz head video coordinator Charles Allen has accepted a job with the Sacramento Kings under new coach Mike Brown, according to league sources. He will be the head video coordinator and a special assistant to the head coach