NBA rumors: Bradley Beal on talk among Team USA players about teaming up: Probably a lot

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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
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.
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.”
USA Basketball: New team, same expectations. The #USABMNT Olympic numbers are in

https://twitter.com/usabasketball/status/1412164922356617234
One of the first players to commit was Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard, who let go of old scar tissue. Lillard is still bitter about what happened in 2014 when he was the final cut before Team USA went to Spain for the World Cup, sources said. Lillard felt he had secured a spot on the roster that year after talking to then-head coach Mike Krzyzewski, but the team pivoted and kept an extra center. The Blazers' star said all the right things publicly, but the decision burned him for years.
With a new coach to play for, Popovich, and knowing this could be a last chance at the Olympics, Lillard played an important role in gaining momentum toward building out the roster. "When we talk to players about committing to the team, one of the things they always want to know is who else is committed," Colangelo said. "Lillard was one of the first and it was crucial."
Detroit Pistons forward Jerami Grant has been working out daily at a facility in his hometown of Washington, D.C., and eagerly wanted to make the roster. Coming into the week, Ford had let Grant know he was one of three or four players being considered for the last spots after Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden withdrew because of a hamstring injury. Colangelo called Wednesday morning with the official offer, which Grant immediately accepted. When he told his mother, Beverly, that he had made the Olympic Team, her tears quickly followed. A factor in the choice was Durant and Lillard lobbying Popovich on Grant's behalf, sources said.
Khris Middleton ordinarily wouldn't be thinking about anything right now other than what the Milwaukee Bucks are trying to accomplish in the NBA playoffs. An invitation to play in the Olympics, that's not ordinary. Milwaukee starting guards Middleton and Jrue Holiday plan to play for the U.S. in the Tokyo Olympics next month, yet both insist that isn't distracting them from the Bucks' quest to win the franchise's first NBA title in 50 years. "We're in the middle of a championship run," Middleton said. "To take a second to think about something outside of this season, it was a little tough to think about it. But it was an easy decision for me to go ahead and commit."
Middleton said it was "a little bit challenging" to make the Olympic decision during the playoff run but that he was able to refocus quickly once he made the commitment to USA Basketball. Holiday also said it wasn't an overly difficult choice. "I don't think I had to move my focus," Holiday said. "I think it's an honor to play for your country, especially an opportunity like this to be able to go out there and have 'USA' on your chest."
Jay Wright will join Popovich, the head coach, and fellow assistants Kerr and Lloyd Pierce, the former Atlanta Hawks head coach and 76ers assistant, on the sidelines for Team USA when it starts play at the Tokyo Olympics on July 25. He is to leave for Las Vegas on July 3 for the start of preseason workouts three days later. “It’s a really challenging coaching opportunity because they’re not coaching their own guys, so it’s really interesting to watch them handle each situation,” Wright, who will be coaching in his first Olympics, said Wednesday.
Wright was part of the coaching staff in 2018 when Team USA participated in the FIBA World Cup. That was his introduction to “learning Pop’s terminology, learning Pop’s structure for practice and team meetings and staff meetings and all the logistics.” “Steve played for him, and he picked it up a little faster,” Wright said. “Lloyd being in the NBA, he picked it up a little faster. They have a lot of common NBA terminology that’s different than college. So that was, for me, a great experience learning all that terminology. I’m actually reviewing it before we meet again in Las Vegas.”
Duane Rankin: After talking with those in the know, don't rule out Deandre Ayton playing for USA in a future Olympics.. They know he's from Bahamas, too. There are rules, but there are exceptions too. I'm going to leave it at that for now and get ready for Game 2. Look to have more later.
Adrian Wojnarowski: USA Basketball has known that Paul was trending toward this decision for several days, per sources. If Suns reach NBA Finals, there would be virtually no break before end of his NBA season and start of July Olympics in Tokyo.
Tim Reynolds: Two more Olympic developments to watch in the coming days, per people in the know: Paul George and Chris Paul are still in decision-making mode. With CP3, it's obviously a bit more complicated now, but there are some who believe there's still a real chance he decides to play.
Shams Charania: Warriors star Stephen Curry has opted against playing for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics this summer, sources tell me and @Anthony Slater. Curry had been deciding on participating over the last few weeks, and USAB expected him to be out of the available pool.
Shams Charania: Nets star James Harden has committed to play for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, joining teammate Kevin Durant on the USAB squad, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Kyrie Irving is unlikely to play as he recovers from his ankle injury.
Kellan Olson: Devin Booker said it's a blessing to be a part of Team USA for the Olympics but that his full attention right now is on this playoff run and the Phoenix Suns.
Marc Stein: The most pressing issue, obviously, is his availability for the Western Conference finals, but Phoenix's Chris Paul has been actively pursued this month by @usabasketball for a spot on the Tokyo Olympic team, league sources say. Lots for Paul, 36, to weigh amid a deep playoff run
Shams Charania: Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal has committed to Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics, sources tell me and @Joe Vardon. Beal joins Portland’s Damian Lillard, Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Golden State’s Draymond Green among initial pledges.
Tim Reynolds: As The Athletic and the Washington Post reported, Bradley Beal does intend to play for the United States at the Tokyo Olympics. Jayson Tatum still "leaning" that way; Damian Lillard has already committed.
Ime Udoka has received strong reviews from Celtics players who played for the U.S. National team in the 2019 World Cup tournament, sources said. Udoka was an assistant under national coach Gregg Popovich. Udoka joined Steve Nash's staff this year after one season with the Sixers and seven years under Popovich with the Spurs.
Portland’s All-NBA guard — who will be headed to the Olympics for the first time — explained some of his thinking Thursday about why he committed to the national team, which will gather in Las Vegas early next month to start training camp and play a series of exhibitions. “Pop being the coach of the national team played a big role in my decision to commit,” Lillard said. “I have a lot of respect for Pop as a coach and as a person. I look forward to playing for him, taking in his basketball knowledge and seeing what our team can do.”
Plenty of players have spoken about the lure of playing for Popovich, the San Antonio coach with five NBA championships. Knowing that Lillard is on the roster might help sway others to commit as well. “I’m just hoping we can put together a team of great players that fit as one,” Lillard said. “I don’t necessarily want them to say, `Oh, Dame is playing so I should play,’ but I do hope they see that top players are making the commitment and look at it as an opportunity to be a part of something special.”
“I remember watching the Redeem Team and it looked so fun,” Lillard said. “So many stars on one team being able to just play together unselfishly and have fun. That team connected basketball with the best players in the world. It just looked like a great time and they looked so free of their normal responsibility on their NBA teams. I became very interested in USAB because of that. It means a lot to add this to experience and represent my family and country on a major stage that I have not been on.”
The American men’s and women’s senior national teams are partnering with MGM Resorts International and will conduct their training camps in July at MGM properties ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the company announced Thursday morning. Training camp begins July 6, and the teams will play a combined seven exhibition games against other national teams at Michelob Ultra Arena from July 10 to July 18.
LeBron James was visibly gassed by the end of the Los Angeles Lakers’ Game 6 loss to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs on Thursday. After the game, James said that he would not compete in the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics, admitting that a regular offseason was necessary. Instead, he referenced “Space Jam 2,” which will be released this summer.
“I think I’m going to play for the Tune Squad this summer instead of the Olympics,” James said, via Bleacher Report’s Sean Highkin. “We’re gonna gear up to beat the MonStars, or the Goon Squad, I guess they’re called now.”
Green, 31, a 2016 Gold medalist is still a first-team All-Defense player, though a source close to him raised doubts as to whether he’d play. Kevin Love of the Cavs is another Gold winner (2012 Olympics), but has suffered through the three worst seasons of his career. Pistons rising star Jerami Grant is a possibility.
Steph Curry didn't rule it out by any means, but the Warriors star remains unsure about whether he will be competing for Team USA in the postponed 2020 Olympics, set to begin later this summer. "Obviously everything was geared towards extending this season as far as possible, and honestly, I know there's a lot of conversation and chatter about logistics and the set up and all that type of stuff, I don't know what that looks like from Team USA, so trying to gather as much information as possible and make the right decision for me at the end of the day," Curry told reporters after Friday’s 117-112 season-ending loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
American officials are counting on anyone in the Finals being out for the Olympics, and players on the two teams that lose in conference finals would be pushing it. On top of all that, Olympic organizers in Japan are proceeding as though the COVID-19 vaccine does not exist. There is going to be frequent testing and restrictions on where athletes can go and what they can do when they aren’t playing. And they certainly cannot bring their families to the Games.
“That’s not our call, the Japanese government won’t allow it,” said Jim Tooley, chief executive officer for USA Basketball. “So will we do some sort of hybrid program in Vegas (during training camp) for family members.” If you’re sitting there thinking, “well, yes, but the other countries with NBA players on their rosters are in the same boat,” that’s true, except the Americans already had trouble recruiting stars to play for them in the last world tournament — the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China.
While there is no timeline on Turner’s return, it would be a stunner if we saw him again on the floor in the 2021 postseason—the Pacers have slogged their way into the NBA’s play-in tournament, losing their last two games and falling to No. 10 in the East. Turner still has hope he could return and play for Team USA in this summer’s Olympics, though, if they finally take place. “My foot is progressing and my rehab is going good,” Turner said. “Ideally, I want to be back with my team to finish the season and make a playoff push. But I am working on getting fully recovered because it's one of my goals to play this summer on Team USA. I trust the doctors and training staff to help me get back out there at 100%.”
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.
Tom Orsborn: More from Pop on Olympic duties: "I don't spend half the day on it, but it's always there. Coach K told me that's the way it would be, that it would always be on my mind. It's a huge responsibility and you want to do a good job, so you do everything you can to be prepared."
Joe Vardon: Strange interaction just now. On a media call, USOC executives would not say if the Tokyo Olympics would move the date for rosters so more NBA players could participate in the game. Game 7 of the Finals is a day before opening ceremonies and three days before Team USA's 1st game
He decided to play for the Americans partly as a showcase in hopes of earning his way back into the NBA, where he most recently played for Washington last February. Thomas — like many NBA players — had some trouble adjusting to the ball and the way the international game is officiated. But he was pleased with his movement and conditioning and said he’ll clean up his mistakes Saturday. “The world knows I’ve got what it takes. So ,it’s just about showing that I’m healthy,” Thomas said. “My skill didn’t go anywhere, it was just about getting a hundred percent healthy, which I am right now.”
While the U.S. has already qualified for the FIBA AmeriCup Tournament, scheduled to take place in September 2022, two games remain in the qualifying round in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this week. The two-game set provides an ideal chance for Thomas to show his hip is once again healthy, and that he still has much to offer the game. “It was a no-brainer,” Thomas said. “It is a great opportunity to come out here and participate. A lot of NBA teams have told me that they want to watch me play. Here at this tournament, I’m able to play against real competition in addition to being able to represent my country, which is an honor and a privilege.”
The COVID-19 pandemic that swept the world and threw the NBA schedule into disarray provided an unexpected opportunity for the nine-year league veteran. “It gave me time to get 100 percent healthy,” Thomas said. “I was able to get a procedure done on my hip last May that has allowed me to feel 100 percent again.” That surgery, performed by Dr. Edwin Su in New York, resurfaced the hip, relieving the searing pain that Thomas had dealt with for so long.
His last appearance with the Celtics was in Game 2 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. He was traded to Cleveland after the season, beginning a nomadic migration through five NBA teams over the next three years. “It was very frustrating,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know how to deal with (the injury), everything was on the fly. I was really trying to do everything I could do to compete at a high level, but I wasn’t myself, and anyone who watched the games could see that.”
Tim Reynolds: Brandon Bass, a veteran of 758 NBA games for six clubs, has been added to USA Basketball's roster for FIBA AmeriCup qualifying games in San Juan next week. He's one of eight players with NBA experience on the U.S. roster, headlined by Joe Johnson and Isaiah Thomas.
Most of the top American talent has signaled interest in playing at the Olympics, and also, players such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown of Boston (who were on the 2019 team) are now among the best in the NBA. Colangelo said Team USA is continuing to hear of interest from the best the U.S. has to offer, with no whispers of anyone backing out, in part because it’s too early — who knows which teams are going to make deep playoff runs? The Americans are targeting a training camp starting about July 4 in Las Vegas.
The Spanish and Argentinians, who battled in the World Cup finals in Beijing, are both in group C. Fourth-place Australia is in group B. “The three Olympic preliminary groups appear well balanced, and there are a good number of teams who have legitimate shots at the gold medal in Tokyo, ” Popovich said in a news release. “It was a fair draw,” Colangelo said. “The bottom line — you’ve got to win your games. I said it then and I’ll say it now: Had we been healthy (in China), we would’ve won the whole thing. We owe the world after that one.”
Marc Stein: For its upcoming AmeriCup games, @usabasketball has secured veteran sharpshooter James Nunnally, league sources say Nunnally joins former All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson on the USAB roster ... barring deals for these free agents before the squad convenes in two weeks
The Rockford native told reporters on Thursday he’s honored to receive consideration. He’s been used to being overlooked much of his basketball career. “It’s a big honor. It’s a lot of respect to be thought about for that pool of players to represent your country. It’s going to take some time to wrap my mind around that one. I’ve never been a part of that type of environment growing up. I didn’t do much of the AAU, you know, top 100, those type of things where it’s the same guys that you see all the time and they end up being a lottery pick.”
USA Basketball went into a bubble and emerged with a berth in the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup. Yante Maten scored 21 points, Josh Maggette added 19 and the U.S. topped Mexico 94-78 on Monday, moving to 4-0 in Group D qualifying and securing a spot in the tournament that serves as the championship of the 44 teams in the FIBA Americas zone — comprised of nations from North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday night it is unlikely the league will take a break next summer for the Olympic Games, a decision that could dramatically affect the tournament if it is able to be played. "We'll consider it. I think it's unlikely, at the end of the day, that, if we start late, we would stop for the Olympics," Silver said in an interview with NBA TV inside the league's bubble at Walt Disney World Resort. "Because, as you know, it's not just a function of stopping for the period in which they are competing over in Tokyo. But they require training camp, and then they require rest afterwards."
If the NBA season is going on during those tournaments, however, it could dramatically alter how they, and the games themselves, play out. While Silver acknowledged that, he also said that under the current circumstances there isn't anything the NBA can realistically do about it. "There are so many incredible players, beginning with the USA team, we'll be able to field a very competitive team," Silver said. "I am a bit worried about some of the international teams, because, as you know, some of their stars play in our league, and their absence would make a huge difference for those national teams.
Spending an extended stretch away from home during the summer, while unprecedented as part of an NBA season, isn’t exactly a foreign concept for those with USA Basketball experience like the Olympics and the World Cup. Plenty of players and coaches at Walt Disney World see parallels between those experiences and this challenge. “I had that opportunity to work with the Olympic team and preparation was very similar to what we’re going through here,” said McMillan, who was an assistant under Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski on the USA Basketball staff from 2006 through 2012. “Having a training camp, basically, at a hotel and getting ready for a 45- to 60-day season. … We’re going to have three scrimmage games, eight so-called regular season games and then we’re in the playoffs so it’s very similar to preparing to play for the gold medal.”
Pacers center Myles Turner was with the U.S. team that competed in China last summer at the World Cup, a group that spent more than seven weeks together between training camp, exhibition games in the U.S. and Australia, and then the tournament itself. The Pacers have clinched a playoff spot, so they’re assured of spending at least seven weeks at Disney this summer. It’s another long summer for Turner, and he’s not complaining. “There is a lot of similarity in how it’s set up, but for me personally, I just think that it’s a great time for everybody to kind of stay focused,” Turner said. “There’s no distractions. Everybody’s locked in and focused. So, there’s really not a lot that can go wrong in a basketball sense.”
Players who have been through the World Cup or Olympic grinds agree that there’s a level of familiarity with this sort of schedule and situation. “It helps tremendously,” said Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, who was part of the U.S. gold-medal-winning team at the Olympics in 2016. “In Rio it was a lot more strict and tighter because we were living on a boat. That experience was pretty awesome. … But living on a boat, to be in a smaller room and not have as many amenities it really kind of prepared me for this.”
Jordan has never hidden his dislike for Isiah Thomas. But that didn't stop him from paying Thomas quite the compliment in the discussion of why Thomas was famously left off the Dream Team for the 1992 Olympics. "I respect Isiah Thomas' talent," Jordan said. "To me, if the best point guard of all time is Magic Johnson, and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game."
"Before the Olympics, [selection committee chairman] Rod Thorn calls me and says we would love for you to be on the Dream Team," Jordan said. "I said, 'Who's all playing?' "He said, 'What's that mean?' I said, 'Who's all playing?' He says, 'Well, the guy you are talking about and you are thinking about is not going to be playing.' It was insinuated I was asking about him, but I never threw his name in there. "You want to attribute it to me, go ahead. Be my guest. But it wasn't me."
Dwyane Wade is producing a documentary on the "Redeem Team," the United States men's national basketball team that won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. “It’s something that we’ve been working on for the last year or so,” Wade said on the Platform Basketball podcast. “For me, that was a big year, 2008. I had to kind of redeem myself, because everybody thought I was done."
Last summer, Adebayo was cut from the USA Basketball tryouts for the World Cup. That only added fuel to his fire. "For me, it’s just going out there and proving people wrong," he said. "I took that to the chin, and it gave me a bigger chip on my shoulder for the season." It is why he is hopeful that this is not all there will be for the 2019-20 season. “I’m thinking bigger picture; I want a championship,” he said. “I feel like we can make a run and make noise and do a lot of things that people said we couldn’t.”
The 20,000 refunds will be paid out to those who purchased floor-level seating for the games. Despite a mock-up depicting tiered seating, the seats used were in flat rows, lower than the court and, in some cases, more than 30 metres from the action. "Consumers paid a premium for floor-level seats, ranging between $895 and $3,995 for a hospitality package, and may have done so as a result of misleading seating advertising," said Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. "In our view, TEG Live's conduct was unacceptable."
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August 9, 2022 | 6:25 pm EDT Update
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the meeting took place this past Saturday, and Kevin Durant indicated that he could stay with Brooklyn if general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash were no longer there. Understandably, peers of Marks and Nash were not happy. “I get that players have more power these days, but I think it’s a little too far if he’s out here trying to get Steve fired,” said one coach, who was quickly reminded of Magic Johnson’s fingerprints on Paul Westhead’s firing back in November of 1981 and other power plays, some of which may well have been justified.
The head of basketball ops from another club was similarly displeased. “Livid,” he said. “Livid. He and Kyrie (Irving) basically told Sean they were coming (as free agents in 2019), and Sean did pretty much everything they wanted after that. Signing DeAndre Jordan for four years? That’s something Kyrie and KD wanted. Getting James Harden? Then getting a guy who should be a perfect complement to them (Ben Simmons) when Harden wanted out? Sean did all that.”
However, when asked if he would welcome Durant to his own club should he be attainable at a fair price, the exec paused and laughed. “Well … ” he said. “OK, you got me there. But, see, that’s the part of this that will always be hard for some people to grasp. I’m talking about the fans who just see the players as employees. These guys are not interchangeable parts. You can’t just plug in someone else to do what KD does.”
August 9, 2022 | 3:12 pm EDT Update