NBA rumors: De'Aaron Fox withdraws from Team USA

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In a year in which his more heralded teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis have bowed out of international duty, Kuzma has a golden opportunity to represent the Lakers on Team USA. Asked if he’s done enough to make the final roster, Kuzma said yes. “I’m not one to really grade my performances, but I think my energy was at a high level,” he said. “That’s the only thing I can really control.”
While Kuzma’s odds are as good as ever – the national team needs to make only two cuts to reach the 12-man group they’ll take to the FIBA World Cup in China – much of the buzz from a week of camp in L.A. indicates that he’s still squarely on the bubble. Kuzma made some strides to help himself Friday night, in the USA’s 90-81 exhibition win over Spain, a slightly past-its-prime basketball power. But still sharing a court with NBA stalwarts such as Ricky Rubio and Marc Gasol, Kuzma held his own with seven points, five rebounds and three assists – potentially helping make his case that he belongs in red, white and blue next month on the international stage.
Jason Anderson: USA Basketball tells me all 14 players on the current roster will accompany the team to Australia for upcoming exhibition games. The journey continues for Harrison Barnes and De’Aaron Fox of the Sacramento Kings.
Donovan Mitchell scored 13 points, Khris Middleton added 12 and the U.S. topped Spain 90-81 on Friday night in a warmup exhibition in advance of the FIBA World Cup that starts in China on Aug. 31. The Americans shot 55 percent from the field, 58 percent from 3-point range and held a commanding 42-20 edge in rebounds. "It was a good chance to jump in the fray and see what this is all about," U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said after his official debut as Mike Krzyzewski's replacement with the national team. "It was like a baptism for us. New group, players, coaches, all that sort of thing. It was a real experience."
Regarding the chatter of just how good this team can be, USA forward Harrison Barnes told The Undefeated's Marc Spears, "We hear the noise. It's just about the 14 guys that we got here right now, and when we go to Australia, it's about just us, getting better, continuing to grow closer on and off the floor, and we'll go from there." Barnes added that the team is "motivated more than anything to keep the gold standard going, by the teams that went before us, that went and won the World Cup, that went and won the Olympics multiple times. That's what we're chasing right now."
Josh Lewenberg: Canada will play it's 1st of 5 exhibition games in Australia at 5:25am ET Friday morning. Cory Joseph is still absent and there are mixed reports as to when/if he's expected back. Even the team doesn't seem sure.
Greece has cut Kostas Antetokounmpo and Vangelis Mantzaris. There are 14 players still remaining in the roster with two more cuts to make.
Sam Amick: As if the Team USA drubbing vs. the Select Team wasn’t bad enough, sources tell @TheAthletic that it was their second loss to the Select Team on the day (the first one was by three, with the game going just 10 minutes). Not a great way to go into Friday’s exhibition v. Spain.
Marc Stein: A scrappy squad of players featuring some who played in @FIBAWC qualifying for @usabasketball and are being coached again this week by Jeff Van Gundy just took it to the USAB senior national team in a scrimmage open at the end to the media. Final score: 36-17
Gregg Popovich has a devious plan to slow down Patty Mills when Team USA takes on the Boomers in next week's pre-World Cup exhibition games in Melbourne. The master NBA coach is going to fatten the Australian point guard up. "I'm going to take him out to eat," Popovich, jokingly told reporters on Los Angeles on Tuesday. "I'm going to fill him up and try to make him fat so he can't move around so quickly."
Mitchell is prepared for plenty of Ingles' legendary trash talk and cheeky play. "He's always grabbing at you, pulling your shorts and stuff," said Mitchell, recounting his experience on the Jazz practice court with Ingles. "He's a fierce competitor and I'm looking forward to it."
The Miami HEAT announced today that an MRI on Kelly Olynyk revealed a right knee bone bruise. The injury occurred on August 7 during Team Canada’s win against Nigeria in an exhibition game in preparation for the FIBA World Cup. Olynyk will not re-join Team Canada and is expected to be ready for the beginning of the NBA season.
NBA superstar Ben Simmons has copped the full wrath of Australia's tall poppy syndrome, and Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis doesn't like it. Simmons had already been heavily criticised for pulling out of Australia's World Cup campaign and the warm-up games against Canada and the US. But the negative attention has gone into overdrive since Simmons touched down in Australia recently.
"That sort of stuff bothers me," Lemanis said of the criticism directed at Simmons. "Ben's at the high end of that (criticism) because of the superstar status that he carries. But I saw when Bogut was coming through and people used to get on him. These guys are passionate about playing for their country, and they want to play.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: After suffering a knee injury in competition last week, Miami Heat F Kelly Olynyk will be unable to compete for Canada in the FIBA World Cup, source tells ESPN. Olynyk is expected to be ready for the start of the NBA season.
Michael Grange: Kelly Olynyk is in Miami being evaluated by Heat re: bone bruise he suffered on his knee in Canada's exhibition game vs. Nigeria last Thursday. As much as Olynyk wants to play at World Cup I can only presume the team will have a lot of input on what ends up happening.

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Jason Anderson: I’m catching up after a weekend away but I can confirm Kings forward Marvin Bagley III has withdrawn from Team USA training camp. Harrison Barnes and De’Aaron Fox are expected to be with the team in Los Angeles this week.
Brian Windhorst: De’Aaron Fox and Joe Harris, who had been promoted earlier in the week, will remain with team. Fox has played so well, including tonight, that he’s a virtual lock to make the roster for China.
Following four days of training and Friday night’s USA Blue-USA White intrasquad exhibition game in Las Vegas, USA Basketball announced 17 finalists for the 2019 USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Team. The 17 include 13 athletes from the USA National Team roster and four players from the USA Select Team. Finalists include 2016 Olympic gold medalist Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings); Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics); De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); 2014 World Cup gold medalist Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets); Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
The roster moves were based mostly on play during the week, not just on Friday night's showing. "It's the beginning, a new tournament, another World Cup, and I think our guys are making progress,'' new U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. "They haven't played together before. Showing great effort, doing a good job in a lot of different ways, just trying to get used to each other and form a team. We're still in those early stages of trying to get together, figure out how we want to play and learn about each other.''
They were oh-so-close just three summers ago at the Olympics in Rio de Janerio, when they reached the Semi-Finals and looked like the team to beat. But they lost the next two games and finished fourth, leaving a bad taste in Ingles' mouth. "Losing the (Third Place Game) sucked. But we've never been that close, in years. Now it's about putting it all together," the 31-year-old said entering another summer with the national team. "It's going to be exciting. We'll have a lot of support there, and hopefully we can be the first team to bring a medal back to Australia."
With 11 years of international basketball in Australia, Spain, Israel and the USA behind him, he will be the calming presence in the locker room. And he will know what to say if his teammates need any kind of motivation, because even for a seen-it-all guy like Ingles, there is no greater feeling than playing for Australia. "Wearing the colors, the name...it's just something that you can't get anywhere else. I love playing the NBA, I loved playing in Europe, but putting on the colors and the name on the jersey, there's just really nothing that compares to that."
Tom Orsborn: Jerry Colangelo says a "few extra" players will accompany Team USA to L.A. next week. "Every indication" points to Derrick White being one of them, a league source says. #Spurs expressnews.com/sports/spurs/a…
According to a Team USA source, Robinson suffered a knee injury and missed the first two days of practice that began with an informal workout Sunday. He returned for two days but re-injured the knee Wednesday. Robinson is expected to miss Thursday’s set of scrimmages and practice. A member of the Knicks training staff is in Vegas with Robinson. A Team USA official did not know the specifics of the knee injury. The Vegas scrimmages end Friday.
Trae Young: Thank You @usabasketball 🇺🇸🏅 pic.twitter.com/yA0VzxwQx6

http://twitter.com/TheTraeYoung/status/1159489902158864384
Josh Lewenberg: Chris Boucher has withdrawn from next month's World Cup for personal reasons. He won't be with Canada for the duration of the summer.
Michael Grange: So Chris Boucher is confirmed OUT for the @FIBAWC (personal reasons). Kelly Olynyk (bruised knee) will take a week off but will continue on to Worlds as planned.
The list of players who chose not to participate is much more accomplished and recognizable but Colangelo has his theories on what contributed to a summer filled with rejections. “What’s caused it? Well, I have to be realistic about things. It’s a little bit different culture than it was 12 years ago, 14 years ago. And that’s just life. That’s just reality,” Colangelo said. “The money is three times what it was back then. Agents are even more powerful, in terms of control. I’m not sure, because of the big investment teams have in their players, their stars, they’re a little hesitant. They may say they’re supporting, but look, I’m a big boy, I understand what’s going on, so that’s just a fact of life. We have to adjust.
“Last year, we invited everybody to Vegas. Everyone said, ‘I want to play. I want to play. I want to play.’ I couldn’t do anything about a change in decision, for whatever the reasons might be. I have to accept it. I don’t have any leverage on the players,” Colangelo said this week in a sit-down interview with The Athletic. “Of course, you’re disappointed at the moment, but very quickly, you have to bury that and you go forward with the best possible group you can. I’m thankful for the group that we have, the kind of depth that we have, because there are a lot of good basketball players here.”
Brian Windhorst: Trae Young has to leave Team USA camp because of a minor eye infection, sources said. He’d been playing well on the Select Team last few days. As an aside with De’Aaron Fox already promoted to senior team, I’m looking forward to Select coach Jeff Van Gundy playing some PG today
Ira Winderman: Kelly Olynyk injured during Canada exhibition, initial report is not feared serious sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-h…
“First of all, I had a great relationship with Melo. He did a great job. He actually might have been as good or better in international play as he was in the NBA. Point is, he was very good in international play,” Colangelo said. “I understood why the agent, he’s looking to get him the exposure, looking to get him another shot. But the only way (Anthony) can really be satisfied is for him to have another shot in the NBA, with another team and recently, he’s been aggressive media-wise, letting people know, ‘I feel like I can still play. I just need an opportunity, blah, blah, blah.’ With us, that would’ve been more of a distraction, as we discussed it. We need to focus on this team concept. We have a bunch of new guys and we’re going to go with this new group. And when you insert a different element and it detracts in any way, you lose it. That was it. That’s no reflection on Carmelo. I love the guy. But I don’t think it would’ve been healthy for our program at this time.”
“The format played a role. FIBA going back to this back-to-back, (20)19 and ‘20, with two NBA seasons in between, is a killer,” he continued. “If you’re sitting in an NBA office, owner of a team or whatever, I tell you, ‘I don’t know, I’ve got $150 million invested in this guy. If he wants to go, we’ll work it out but I’m not going to encourage him.’ FIBA changing the formula created a whole ‘nother level of stuff… I’m a believer, I was at the time, I still am, that the new format benefitted everyone else in the world, not us. We’re the only ones really hurt by that. Because we have an NBA season.”
Ric Bucher: Derrick White is being invited to LA when Team USA reconvenes there next week, a program official told me, which essentially means he has been promoted from the select practice squad to the World Cup roster. (Look for Marvin Bagley to be promoted as well.) One coach told me White was the best player on either team in the Day 2 scrimmages and on Day 3 I saw him damn near replicate that with my own eyes as the select squad played the World Cup squad to a draw in consecutive 10-minute scrimmages.
It's safe to assume that two of those 15 (or so) are Lowry and Smart. So we may see two healthy players cut from the roster between Friday's intrasquad scrimmage and next Tuesday. That will be a difficult process, both in distinguishing a group of players that seem to be on the same level and telling guys that they're no longer needed. "They're all tough decisions, because you have a whole roster full of really good players," Kerr said. "Cutting players is always hard, even in [NBA] training camp every year. We bring in guys for camp who we know aren't going to make the team, they know they're not going to make the team, and yet to sit down with them and say, 'This is it,' it's brutal. "We're going to have to do that with a handful of players here, and it's going to be even more difficult, because they've all cut time out of their summers to come here and try to play for their country. Everybody's excited to be here and wants to be part of it, but we can only take 12. So it's going to be tough."
Joining Bolden and Cooks as fresh faces in the team is Jock Landale, who made his Boomers debut in February during the final FIBA World Cup qualifying window. Landale is currently signed to Lithuanian club Žalgiris Kaunas, while he also starred for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Summer League. Six members of the 2016 Olympic team will return, with Aron Baynes, Andrew Bogut, Matthew Dellavedova, Chris Goulding, Joe Ingles and Patrick Mills taking their places in the Boomers team. With five NBL players in the team, Rio Olympians Bogut and Goulding will suit up alongside Cameron Gliddon, Nicholas Kay and Nathan Sobey. The latter three will all play in their first major international tournament after playing key roles in helping the Boomers qualify for the World Cup.
"This is like a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for a lot of us," Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker told reporters in Las Vegas on Monday. "I think a lot of us are happy those guys pulled out because this is our chance. "It's our chance to get on the big stage and showcase our talent. A chance for us to do something new. It'll be a new-look team. Everybody is kind of doubting us but I think we're hungry."
Emiliano Carchia: Danilo Gallinari has been dismissed from hospital where he had appendectomy on August 3. Gallo re-joined Italbasket training camp for rehabilitation. He is expected to return to action from August 12.
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander announced his decision not to participate at the FIBA World Cup in China with the Canadian selection. This adds up trouble for coach Nick Nurse, who will also lack Jamal Murray this summer. Gilgeous-Alexander posted a statement on his social media, clarifying that he will focus on preparing for the next NBA season.
And although Vucevic describes Greece as favorite in the group, it's a challenging that Vucevic looks forward to. "When you look at their roster, with guys like Giannis Antetokounmpo, (Nick) Calathes, and many more other players, they are one of the best teams in the competition. They have a lot of talent and a lot of experience. Brazil has a lot of players that gained experience at FIBA level in the last couple of years, and they are very competitive too. New Zealand has a good team too; they always play and fight hard to have the best result in every competition they compete at," he said.
Head coach Gregg Popovich, the Jazz staff and the rest of Team USA? They want to see Mitchell put himself in position to be a leader, even with his relative lack of experience. They want to see Mitchell continually make plays for himself and others. They want to see him refine all facets of his game during the course of the week. “We know what he’s capable of doing,” Popovich said. “He’s one of those guys who is capable of playing a couple of different positions, and that’s important. For Donovan, it’s all about continued confidence and understanding of the game. We want him to affect the game for everyone else. We want him to continue to work on his skills. He’s a heck of a competitor, and that’s a great place to start. He has a lot of offensive abilities that we like. He can drive it, he can shoot it from 3 or he can go to the hole. So we want to just refine the things that he does well as the week goes on.”
By asking players and coaches for insight, Fox is hoping to pick up on the nuances of being an NBA player and bring them back to Sacramento. “I’m the type of guy that’s going to ask questions,” Fox said. “If I don’t know something, there’s no reason for me to sit there and not know it. Not just those guys, but PJ (Tucker), who’s been on teams like that; Kyle (Lowry), who just won a championship; Kemba (Walker), who’s been an All-NBA type player. So I’m just out here asking questions. And of course I’m trying to do what’s best for the team, but I want to grow as a player as well.”
More than a dozen players who were on the national team roster elected to remove their names, leaving the team thinner than is preferred at some spots. "All I care about is who's here," Popovich said. "I've got a fine group of guys and we're going to get the best possible team we can. ... This is the most satisfying form of putting a bunch of guys together and them have empathy and love for each other to form the kind of team they're going to have to have to beat some really good European teams."
Sean Cunningham: Source told me De'Aaron Fox got the promotion call to the USA National Team from Coach Gregg Popovich about two weeks ago. USA Basketball absolutely LOVES his quickness and the fact he's a true point guard.
Giannis is set to become the first player to see action at the World Cup right after capturing the prestigious MVP award, and to do so for a Greek program that has seen a lot of success at this level is nothing short of significant. The 24-year-old didn't mince his words as he expressed his desire to shock the world this year. "I would exchange the MVP title for the gold medal in China," he declared.
"I always feel something special when playing for the national team," he explained. "When you are starting the tournament and listening to the national anthem, the emotions can’t be described. After the first basket, the first plays, it is an amazing experience and every time I feel as proud as the first time. The feeling of winning with the national team is incredible, and I have said before that I will always be part of the team, as long as I am healthy like this summer."
The three Antetokounmpo brothers will be focused on one thing - leading Greece as far as they can in the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019, where the table has been set for what seems like one of the most wide open races for the title of world's best. "We're just trying to encourage each other and get better," Giannis shared. "It is an incredible feeling that all three of us are together. We have worked very hard to get here and to achieve this. That's why I know that our mother is proud, as is our father, who I'm sure is watching us from the heavens."
Doug Smith: Sprained ankle will keep Jamal Murray out of entire summer with Canada Basketball. Will not travel to either Australia or China.
Canada NT has announced the final 19-players list for the training camp for the upcoming FIBA World Cup. Like Knicks rookie RJ Barrett, also Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray will feature only in the training camp and miss the tournament in China.
James Ham: NBA source confirms De’Aaron Fox has been elevated from the Select Team roster to the Team USA roster. Camp open today in Las Vegas. Strong opportunity to make the squad for the World Cup. @Chris Haynes first.
Ryan Wolstat: Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray will be at Canada’s camp, sources say. He’s Canada’s top player so that’s big.
Tim Reynolds: Expect De'Aaron Fox to get a big look from the powers that be at USA Basketball when camp opens tomorrow in Las Vegas. Also, Kyle Lowry is planning to meet his docs in the next few days and hopes to practice with USAB in Los Angeles next week. He wants to play World Cup.
Harrison Wind: Monte Morris on Mason Plumlee and Torrey Craig attending Team USA Training Camp: "I think it’s phenomenal…. Them bringing that knowledge from USA Training Camp, if they can bring that to our training camp and teach me some more things about the game, that I’m looking forward to."
"It comes from history and understanding we have never won a medal, the belief in one another and the talent we have in this gym right now and the potential for what we can do," Mills said. "Now it is all about putting it together, having fun and having a good hard crack at it. We have some unfinished business from the Rio Olympics, two years coming up right now is the big picture and we have some time to get on the same page."
Danilo Gallinari underwent appendectomy yesterday. Oklahoma City Thunder forward be re-evaluated day by day and he is expected re-join Italy’s National Team training camp in mid-August ahead of World Cup.
The 15-member USA National Team training camp roster and the 14-member USA Select Team will open training camp Aug. 5 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center. Daily practices will be held Aug. 5-8 and will be capped by a USA Blue-USA White exhibition game that is scheduled for Aug. 9 (7 p.m. PDT) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, which will feature members of the World Cup training and USA Select teams.
USA National Team members expected at the World Cup training camp include Bam Adebayo (Miami Heat); Harrison Barnes (Sacramento Kings); Jaylen Brown(Boston Celtics); Kyle Kuzma (Los Angeles Lakers); Brook Lopez (Milwaukee Bucks); Kyle Lowry (Toronto Raptors); Khris Middleton (Milwaukee Bucks); Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz); Mason Plumlee (Denver Nuggets), Marcus Smart (Boston Celtics); Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics); P.J. Tucker (Houston Rockets); Myles Turner (Indiana Pacers); Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics); and Thaddeus Young (Chicago Bulls).
The 14-man USA Basketball Select Team includes Jarrett Allen (Brooklyn Nets); Marvin Bagley III (Sacramento Kings); Mikal Bridges (Phoenix Suns); Jalen Brunson (Dallas Mavericks); John Collins (Atlanta Hawks); Pat Connaughton (Milwaukee Bucks); Craig; De’Aaron Fox (Sacramento Kings); Joe Harris (Brooklyn Nets); Jonathan Isaac (Orlando Magic); Jaren Jackson Jr. (Memphis Grizzlies); Mitchell Robinson (New York Knicks); Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs); and Trae Young (Atlanta Hawks).
Marc Stein: The Mavericks' Dwight Powell is withdrawing from Canada's @FIBAWC team in China to focus on the upcoming season in Dallas, league sources say. Canada also lost the Knicks' RJ Barrett this week
Roy Parry: Celtics rookie and former UCF standout Tacko Fall has been named to the 24-man preliminary roster for the Senegal national team and will be a part of training camp as the squad prepares for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. The roster eventually will be trimmed to 12 players.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Clippers G Landry Shamet has withdrawn from USA Basketball Select Team camp, agent @GeorgeLangberg tells ESPN. “He was appreciative of the opportunity and hopes to be part of USAB again in future,” Langberg tells ESPN. Shamet's preparing for what could be deep LAC playoff run.
Colangelo’s messaging, by contrast, is essentially unchanged from the glass-half-full proclamations he made going into this competition in 2010 and 2014. Amid a steady stream of pullouts by a slew of top American players, he insists that the United States will be represented by a 12-man squad capable of winning a third consecutive FIBA title — no matter how pedestrian the group looks on paper. “I think we’re going to be fine,” Colangelo said.
How much can even Jokic, at his peak, narrow that gulf? The various oddsmakers who have handicapped the FIBA field, like as the Westgate Las Vegas Superbook, clearly don’t expect much judging by the United States’ usual status as an overwhelming 1-to-3 favorite. “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” Colangelo said of the 30-player contingent that will gather in the desert. “Out of this — I don’t want to call it adversity — out of these circumstances comes opportunity for the young guys. Some young guys who I think are ready to bust out.”
Tatum is hoping to play with Walker as well as the two other Celtics invited to training camp, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown, in China. "I played [with the] USA three times when I was in high school, and it's an honor to play for the country and to be along other great players," Tatum said. "That's what I'm most excited for, being around other guys and competing in practice and coming together for a greater purpose. "I think that's pretty cool," he added, of the possibility of four Celtics being part of this year's team. "I know a lot of people dropped out and I feel like everything happens for a reason, so hopefully we all four make it and start some early chemistry for the season."
Germany will be looking to make a splash at the FIBA Basketball World Cup in China with their young and exciting NBA-based trio of Dennis Schroder, Daniel Theis and Maximilian Kleber. The three have been named in the 16-man squad for the tournament, which tips off in just under a month. Germany's First Round Games in Group G will be against France (September 1), Dominican Republic (September 3) and Jordan (September 5).
Ira Winderman: USA Basketball announced that Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell have withdrawn from the World Cup training camp, which should further assure the Heat's Bam Adebayo an avenue from training camp to the Cup roster in China.
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September 22, 2021 | 2:15 am EDT Update

Damian Lillard held back from trade demand by loyalty to Portland, past statements?

There are many who believed then and continue to insist now that Damian Lillard was about ready to ask out; a source with knowledge of the situation believes Lillard is held back by both his loyalty to Portland and an unwillingness to go back on things he’s already said about sticking things out. He ultimately decided to give this another go, and Lillard has been provided roster upgrades and had a big voice in the coaching search. He may still ask out down the road, but only time will tell how long this honeymoon lasts.
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It is clear Simmons wants out though and when you consider that alongside his poor form in the playoffs, the Sixers have little leverage to work with and the offers have reflected that. “The Sixers are yet to find a deal they are willing to do,” Wojnarowski said. “They want Ben Simmons in camp, they want to see his trade value improve and then find a deal out in the marketplace but right now they are going to do it with him on the sidelines because his intention now is to not play another game for that organisation.

Many in Philadelphia expecting Ben Simmons to show up?

The Sixers are expecting at least some sort of absence to open the preseason, sources say, though most are convinced he will eventually show up, citing a lack of precedent for extended holdouts in the NBA. There has been some public debate over whether the Sixers would fine him for such a move in the midst of trying to work through all this, though it seems pretty black-and-white on Philly’s end.
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It almost goes without saying that bridge-building would need to be done between Simmons and Doc Rivers. The head coach tried to walk back the despair he showed after Game 7 during exit interviews the very next day, and his defenses of Simmons far outnumber his one high-profile shoulder shrug. Even still, getting the two to connect during the offseason has been close to impossible, sources say. Ultimately, this is in Simmons’ hands. Rivers would tell you himself that he regrets letting his guard down during Simmons’ lowest moment as a professional. Some missteps are just harder to come back from than others.