NBA rumors: Czech Republic becomes last team to qualify for Olympics

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Achile Polonara emerged with a double-double of 22 points and 12 rebounds, Nicolo Mannion posted 24 points, 4 rebounds for Italy, and Simone Fontecchio had 21points and 8 rebounds to lead the Italian selection back to the Olympics.
Luka Doncic just achieved his first-ever triple-double with the Slovenian NT as the nation qualified to the Olympic Games for the first time in history and the press conference that followed this feat was one for the ages. “I’m speechless. We didn’t have much time to prepare [for the final]. We have an amazing team, the chemistry is incredible and everybody plays their heart out”, said Doncic in his opening remarks.
Marc Stein: Luka Doncic and Slovenia are headed to the Olympics in Tokyo. Triple-double for Doncic and a historic W for Slovenia IN Lithuania against a team that, if not on the same level as past Lietuva squads that troubled @usabasketball, did have Domantas Sabonis and Jonas Valanciunas.
Doncic recorded his first triple-double with the national team, posting 31 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds in 33 minutes. This is just his second triple-double outside the NBA. The sheer thought of a triple-double in FIBA basketball is simply insane, though the 22-year-old was set to make history on Sunday evening.
Michael Grange: Nick Nurse was — I would say — ‘positively non-commital’ about continuing to coach Canada in the future. Said he wants to debrief & evaluate,but also said “you know me; I love coaching and I love coaching this team and I want to see basketball grow”
Patty Mills and five more NBA players are on the Olympic men’s basketball roster for Australia, which eyes its first medal in the event in Tokyo. Mills, a 32-year-old guard going to his fourth consecutive Olympics, is joined by fellow NBAers Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, Dante Exum, Matthew Dellavedova and Josh Green.
Boban Marjanovic had 18 points plus 10 rebounds and Filip Petrusev scored 17 as the Serbian national team kicked off its games in Belgrade’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament with a 94 – 76 win over the Dominican Republic. Reigning EuroLeague and Final Four MVP Vasilije Micic added 16 points (6-14 shots) and five assists for Serbia while Nemanja Bjelica scored 12 points and grabbed five rebounds.
Domantas Sabonis hopes the home crowd at the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas can help inspire Lithuania to success. One of six teams vying for a qualifying spot to Tokyo, Lithuania have a strong roster at their disposal with the added advantage of home support to provide extra impetus come crunch time. "We're playing at home, we've got our fans and we're just excited to be here," commented Sabonis. "I hope we can get as many fans in here as possible. It's going to be a fun summer."
"It would be amazing to go to Tokyo," he said. "Another Olympics for Lithuania as a country would mean a lot to us. "Our preparation has been a challenge, but I think that's the same for everybody. We are just getting together and trying to find that chemistry as soon as possible." Lithuania open the FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament in front of their home fans in Kaunas on Tuesday when they take on Venezuela.
Donatas Urbonas: Final Lithuania NT roster for the FIBA Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas: Kalnietis, Jokubaitis, Lekavicius Grigonis, Giedraitis, Dimsa Kuzminskas, Butkevicius Bendzius, Masiulis Valanciunas, Sabonis.
Michael Grange: Here are the 14 @CanBball athletes in Victoria for Olympic Qualifying Tournament, we have gleaned. The 12-man roster to be finalized Monday; play begins Tuesday. Melvin Ejim out for personal reasons, otherwise no big surprises vs. the 19 that were in Tampa:

https://twitter.com/michaelgrange/status/1409215969843585024
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.”
Olgun Uluc: Isaac Humphries and Ryan Broekhoff have withdrawn from the Australian Boomers’ Tokyo Olympics campaign, sources told ESPN. Humphries was still rehabbing an injury ahead of this week’s camp in LA. It’s a blow for the Boomers; both were a legitimate chance to make the final 12.
Also included in the list are Miye Oni (Utah Jazz), OG Anunoby (Toronto Raptors), KZ Okpala (Miami Heat), Precious Achiuwa (Miami Heat), Udoka Azubuike (Utah Jazz), Jahlil Okafor (Detroit Pistons). Others are Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves), Gabe Vincent (Miami Heat), Al-Farouq Aminu (Chicago Bulls), Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee Bucks) and Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings).
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.
Brian Windhorst: Ben Simmons is doubtful to play for Australia in Tokyo Olympics, sources said. Will spend offseason working on skill development. Aussies scheduled to begin training this week in L.A.
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.
Furkan Korkmaz and Ersan Ilyasova will join their national team in the Olympic Qualifying Tournament of Victoria, Canada (29/6 to 4/7) where the “12 Giant Men” will compete for the ticket that will lead to Tokyo.
Canada Basketball has announced an updated 19-man roster ahead of next week’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Victoria. The roster will be trimmed to 12 bodies later this week before the tournament begins on June 29.
An initial roster of 21 players was announced on May 27, but Monday’s announcement features a number of changes. Most notably, NBA stars Dillon Brooks, Brandon Clarke, Tristan Thompson, Khem Birch, Kelly Olynyk and Oshae Brissett are no longer participating. Kyle Alexander of Spain’s Fuenlabrada is also no longer with the team.
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.
Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic said he will be joining the Croatian national team in the upcoming Olympic Qualifiers. Croatia is hosting one of the qualifying tournaments in Split, aiming to make its second straight Olympic Games.
Thankfully for Australia, the boy from Mareeba in Far North Queensland, is primed to use his pain from a poor NBA season as motivation to help the Boomers win a maiden Olympic medal in Tokyo. “The good thing is I’ve been able to shift my focus to the Olympics and getting my body right physically and focusing on what I need to get right to play with my second family out there representing Australia,” he said. “There is no better thing for us when it comes to playing basketball. So, as tough as the season had its ups and downs, the Olympics is something that I’ve been looking forward to.”
Baynes is currently spending time in Brisbane with family and training in preparation for the Boomers’ pre-Olympic training camp in Los Angeles from June 24 and next month’s warm-up games in Las Vegas. He has become well accustomed to training hard after spending two weeks in hotel quarantine prior to arriving home in Queensland. “I had the skipping rope and body weight exercises in quarantine, and I’ve continued that every morning as well as training at the gym,” he said. “I got out of quarantine just over a week ago, so I’m enjoying being back on Australian soil, all be it is going to be a short trip.”
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.
“There are more players of Nigerian descent in the NBA than probably any other country besides the U.S.,” said Mike Brown, who became Nigeria’s coach in February 2020. “And so the talent is there. It’s just about getting everybody organized and on the same page and getting everybody excited about playing and wanting to be a part. And so there are right around 10 or so guys in the NBA that are going to come and try out for the team. So looking forward to mixing some of that NBA talent with some very talented individuals that are playing professionally in Europe and abroad.”
They are hosting an invitation-only camp from June 20 to June 23 including players currently in college, in the G League and internationally. Sources said it could also include former NBA players Emeka Okafor, Festus Ezeli and Ben Uzoh. Current NBA players are expected to join Nigeria’s training camp on June 27.
There was a small hurdle that officials from the Nigerian basketball federation had to clear before they could even talk to Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown about becoming their men's national coach. They needed his phone number. Nobody involved with the federation had it, so they started calling around and eventually word got to Brown they were seeking him out. Brown originally thought he had no interest, then — once they got the number — wound up taking the call and listening to their vision. "A chance to coach in the Olympics," Brown said, "made me think about it."
Brown — who sought the opinions of Golden State coach Steve Kerr, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich and others from USA Basketball when he was deciding how to proceed with the Nigerian offer — officially got hired about four months after the World Cup, and he's spent enormous amounts of time immersing himself in the role since. "I've become passionate about the potential and the people," Brown said. "I want these guys to have an experience. Now we might never be USA basketball, but I want these guys to have an experience where they can be proud of representing their country in these international games because they're just good dudes."
As many as three Heat players — Gabe Vincent, Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala — are serious candidates to play for Nigeria in these Olympics, and it's possible that most if not the entire Nigerian roster for Tokyo has NBA experience. "I'm just looking forward to having the next opportunity to hopefully go represent the country and represent the nation moving forward in the Olympics," Vincent said. "Mike Brown has definitely been in contact. He's been great reaching out to guys, communicating well and we're all looking forward to it and excited."
Before next season comes, Green will be representing Australia at the Olympics in Tokyo starting on July 23. That’ll give him a chance to work alongside NBA players such as Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills. “Everything is kind of just getting thrown at me now, but my intentions will be to play for Australia,” Green said. “It’s always been a dream of mine as a kid. And also just as far from a development standpoint, just being able to get in games and just feel more comfortable on the court and be around guys like Ben, Joe Ingles Patty Mills and guys like that who have really helped me out and to just grow as a player. I’m really looking forward to it and just looking forward to the offseason in general.”
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.”
“Pokusevski decided to dedicate himself to his physical preparation for the next season. I respect his decision, but with his talent, he could have learned a lot in the national team. Smailagic also made the decision to prepare for the next season. I wish them all the best,” national team coach Igor Kokoskov explained.
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.
Joe Vardon: A Team Australia update. Even if the Jazz reach the Finals -- and it goes seven games, meaning it ends July 22, a day before Olympic opening ceremony -- Joe Ingles is playing for the Boomers. 'I’ll get on a plane the next day and I’ll make my way over to Japan.' @The Athletic

https://twitter.com/anthonyVslater/status/1396990607361339396
Marius Milasius: Ignas Brazdeikis will participate in the Lithuanian National team camp before the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Kaunas. Brazdeikis is officially a Lithuanian citizen, but doesn’t have his passport yet and is yet to be approved by FIBA. He will be among 14-15 NT candidates.
Rudy Gobert was one of five NBA players named to France’s Olympic men’s basketball roster on Thursday. Gobert, the Utah Jazz center, is joined by fellow NBAers Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Frank Ntilikina.
Why is this news? Because since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic — so, the Disney bubble, and then for the entire 2020-21 season — the league has not tested its players for marijuana. Due to the social restrictions to combat COVID-19, which meant a lot of isolation, the NBA chose to basically allow cannabis use.
Boomers star Joe Ingles has confirmed he will compete at the Tokyo Olympics no matter how far his Utah Jazz side progresses in the NBA playoffs. In a major boost for the Boomers, Ingles declared he will be a certain starter for Australia even if the Jazz reach Game 7 of the NBA Finals, which would finish a day before the Olympic Opening Ceremony on July 22.
“There is no chance that I’m missing the Olympics,” Ingles told Shane Heal’s Basketball Show, with the full interview to be released this Tuesday via dailytelegraph.com.au. “I’d have a few beers on the plane heading over there (to Tokyo), and then obviously I’d get right into Boomers mode. It is what it is. When you get into that lockeroom and you see your Boomers jersey hanging up, there is no better feeling. So, I could go off no sleep and seven games in a row and I’d find the energy to throw it on and play.”
With the revised NBA schedule, the final qualifying tournament for Canada will be June 29 to July 4 in Victoria, B.C. If all goes well, a spot in the Tokyo Olympics July 23 to Aug. 8 will come before free agency. Players often choose to be cautious about any chance to sustain an injury when they are not under contract, but Olynyk said Wednesday he still hopes to compete. “That’s obviously my goal,” Olynyk said. “Obviously, I played for Canada for more years than I played in the NBA. It’s always been a goal of mine to play in the Olympics and represent Canada on the highest stage. Hopefully, we can this summer. Hopefully, I get that opportunity.”
At the time, the NBA was on its normal schedule, allowing players to complete their free agency decisions before the usual Olympics schedule. The revised schedule, however, would give him something to consider, if not necessarily enough to change his plans. “It definitely does change that,” Olynyk said. “Usually, your free agency is done July 1 and the Olympics are the beginning of August and you’re good to go. Now, the Olympics are the end of July and free agency is the beginning of August, so it’s kind of flip-flopped. Obviously, that plays a role and you have to think about it, whether it’s insurance or what the best route to go is. We’ll cross those bridges when they come but my goal is to go out there and play and represent my country.”
In a next-level spinoff this summer, when the Canadian men’s national basketball team tries to qualify for its first Olympics since the Sydney Games in 2000, it will play on the court upon which the Toronto Raptors in 2019 became the first team based outside the United States to win an N.B.A. championship. “We want the entire court to be the lucky loonie,” said Scott Lake, a board member of Canada Basketball who was instrumental in the federation’s bid to obtain that court and host a six-team Olympic men’s qualifying tournament in Victoria, British Columbia, from June 29 to July 4.
It took 11 months, and nearly $270,000 from Lake, a co-founder of the Canadian e-commerce company Shopify, to get all of the court’s puzzle pieces, but Canada Basketball conquered the logistical half of its quest. It plans to soon unveil the reassembled floor from Game 6 of the 2019 N.B.A. finals as a tribute to the Raptors’ title team, then refinish the court with FIBA logos and international basketball markings before installing it at the 7,400-seat Save-on-Foods Memorial Centre in Victoria.
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."
Eric Koreen: Nick Nurse says he’s expecting a “very high participation rate” for Canada Basketball this summer. Cites the usual contract/injury things that will keep some from playing.
Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris has joined the Brooklyn Nets' Spencer Dinwiddie in committing to playing for Nigeria internationally as a naturalized player, head coach Mike Brown has confirmed to ESPN. Multiple reports in local media emerged on Friday that Morris would be playing for the African nation at the Olympics. The reports were confirmed by the official social media accounts of the Nigeria Basketball Federation and the Nuggets.
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September 28, 2021 | 5:59 pm EDT Update

Dennis Schroeder: I never had Lakers extension offer in front of me

The deal the Lakers offered, which was reportedly worth nearly $84 million, eclipsed the comparatively paltry $5.9 taxpayer mid-level exception Schröder took to sign for a season with Brad Stevens and the Celtics. So what happened? According to Schröder, the situation is complicated. “The Lakers told us we are not talking during the season, and at the end of the day, I never had that contract in front of me,” Schröder told reporters at Celtics media day. “That’s one thing. But they wanted to talk and at the end of the day, me and my agent decided not to sign their contract.”
Dennis Schröder: “At the end of the day, I feel like for me, personally, I got to be comfortable in the environment I’m in. I love the Lakers organization and they did great things, but I think for me, and this is just business, I don’t think I fit in 100 percent. You play with LeBron and AD, that’s two of the best players in the NBA, and I don’t think I gave them everything that I bring to the table.”
September 28, 2021 | 5:33 pm EDT Update