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.
Michael Grange: Nurse said he was happy but not surprised Khem Birch said he planned to play for Canada this summer but didn’t plan to shut him down to keep him healthy. Says these end of season games are important reps for him.
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.
Raptors Coach Nick Nurse, who doubles as Canada’s national team coach, endorsed the creativity as heartily as Grunwald. “I couldn’t believe it when they told me what they were trying,” Nurse said. “It’s a great story. Hopefully we can deliver another big accomplishment on that floor and make our own history for Canadian basketball.”
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.
Brown provided further confirmation to ESPN but said the process was still some way from being complete and could well fall apart. "He does want to play for us but there are still technicalities that we have to work out," Brown, the Golden State Warriors associate coach, said. "Technicalities that the [NBBF] president Musa Kida has to work out before it can actually happen. So he is in the process of trying to figure that out right now."
Brown did admit that Dallas Mavericks small forward Wes Iwundu and Detroit Pistons center Jahlil Okafor are two of the names under consideration. "I have been talking to Wes, Jahlil; he has been to Nigeria and spent some time there when he was 11, 12 years old. He's a guy that I am excited about. We all should be excited about a guy like Jahlil because of his talent and his ability on that low post," Brown said.
Harrison Wind: Source: Nuggets rookie Zeke Nnaji has been in touch with Nigerian National Team and there's mutual interest in him joining the roster for the upcoming summer Olympics.
Olgun Uluc: Nigeria has been invited to the pre-Olympic basketball bubble in Las Vegas, sources told ESPN. Team USA, Australia, Argentina, and potentially Spain will be at the hub, where exhibition games will be played ahead of Tokyo 2021; the tentative date is July 7-16, sources said.
Shams Charania: Sources: Denver Nuggets guard Monte Morris has committed to play for the Nigeria national team in the Summer Olympics. Morris will play for Nigeria coach Mike Brown on a roster that includes Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu, Ekpe Udoh, others.
If you don't know the name Josh Giddey now, the chances are you will eventually. Giddey has been earmarked as one of Australia's next basketball superstars. In his debut season in the NBL the 18-year-old has already shown why NBA teams are watching him so closely ahead of this year's draft, and the impressive Melbourne-born teenager could well be heading to the Tokyo Olympics to represent his country in July.
Stefan Bondy: RJ Barrett says he plans to play for Canada in the Olympics: “We got an all NBA team. We got a lot of talent.”
Ryan Ward: LeBron didn't commit nor say he wouldn't commit to Team USA for the next ride in the Olympics. He'll wait and see how the season pans out and how he feels.
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
Tim Bontemps: Adam Silver says he anticipates the Olympics going forward "as scheduled." The NBA Finals are currently set to conclude shortly before they begin in late July.
Basketball New Zealand has withdrawn the Tall Blacks from the last-chance Olympic qualifying tournament in Serbia, meaning they won't be going to Tokyo. BBNZ has cited travel costs and focusing on future international programmes as the reason for the Tall Blacks withdrawal.
Is this project, though, bigger than basketball in Africa and Nigeria? Obviously, you want to advance the basketball programme, but knowing you, I think there's a little bit more to it than just that… Mike Brown: For me, being African American, there's no better connection for me than a country in Africa and especially Nigeria. There's a quote from Nelson Mandela: “The world will not respect Africa until Nigeria earns that respect. The black people of the world need Nigeria to be great as a source of pride and confidence.” That's our rallying cry. That's our slogan. Obviously, we all know who Nelson Mandela is. We all know what he meant, not just to South Africa, but to the world, and in particular, all of Africa.
Has Golden State Warriors’ Steph Curry ever talked to you about the Olympics? Do you guys talk Olympics at all? Mike Brown: There's a little banter going around about the Olympics because we have a few guys within our building [who talk about the Olympics]. You have Steve Kerr, who's on the USA Basketball coaching staff, you have Steph [Curry], who obviously has a really good chance to play for Team USA. You have Klay [Thompson] and Draymond [Green]. Klay would be playing if he wasn't hurt. Draymond played before. Chris DeMarco is the head coach of the Bahaman national team. And then I have a couple of guys on my on the Warriors staff that are going to be a part of the Team Nigeria.
The Boomers Tokyo 2020 Olympic squad features seven athletes who competed at the 2016 Rio Olympics: Ingles, Mills, Aron Baynes (Toronto Raptors), Ryan Broekhoff (NBA Free Agent), Matthew Dellavedova (Cleveland Cavaliers), Chris Goulding (Melbourne United) and Brock Motum (Galatasaray, Turkey).
FIBA is pleased to announce that the Draw Ceremony of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Basketball Tournaments, for both women and men, will take place on Tuesday, February 2nd at the Patrick Baumann House of Basketball in Mies, Switzerland.
The Draw will distribute the teams in three groups of four teams each. There can be a maximum of two European teams in the same group and no more than one team from other continents in the same group.
Fred VanVleet will be named to the 60-player pool from which the United States team for this summer’s Tokyo Olympics will be chosen, according to sources granted anonymity because the entire list has not yet been made public.
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.”
Tim Reynolds: AP sources: Duncan Robinson, Zion Williamson, Trae Young and Ja Morant among players being added to USA Basketball consideration pool for Tokyo Olympics. They'll be in addition to Olympic vets like LeBron James, Kevin Durant and almost all others who were in the pool a year ago.
Barry Jackson: Per source, Jimmy Butler is in the 60 player pool from which 2021 men's US Olympic basketball team will be chosen. Butler received invite, as he should. Bam also invited of course, as @Adrian Wojnarowski noted.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: USA Basketball sent out approximately 60 invitations to players expressing interest in being part of 2021 Olympic team player pool, including all the league’s big names. Team USA could be without players advancing to NBA Finals, based on timing of July Olympics in Tokyo.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Selection process at center will be interesting for this team, a problem-area for Team USA in 2019 World Cup. Miami’s Bam Adebayo and Houston’s Christian Wood – one of the league’s success stories in 2020-2021 – are among invitees to fill those roles, sources said.
"The program is only as strong as its players will take it," Mills says, before repeating himself. "I don't say that necessarily as a good thing. We definitely have got some work to do in this area, I believe, but for now it's full focus on Tokyo, and a gold medal would do wonders for our program, as at least a starting point. There's a prestigious feeling within our program that needs to be a joint effort between the playing group and Basketball Australia to make sure when -- we've lost 'Bogues' [Andrew Bogut], obviously -- I step away, when Joe Ingles steps away, 'Delly' [Matthew Dellavedova], [Aron] Baynes -- that that program is still elite, if not even more levels up, as it should be.”
Tatum said the NBA is working closely with the International Olympic Committee and FIBA, the sport's global governing body, to ensure there is "the best possible schedule for everybody involved." And it's possible that the finalizing of Olympic rosters could be pushed back to allow NBA players the maximum amount of time before making decisions on whether to play or not. "It's my expectation that our federation, FIBA, together with the IOC, will also work with us on potential accommodations, even in terms of when rosters would otherwise need to be submitted, recognizing that they're going to need to be more flexible and work with us this season given how much uncertainty there is around the virus," Silver said earlier this week.
The NBA's best players will feature at next year's Tokyo Olympics even though the season could end just days before the Games get under way, FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis said on Wednesday. The new NBA season will start next week, on Dec. 22, with the regular season wrapping up on May 16 before the playoffs between May 22 and July 22.
He said the Olympic qualifying tournaments had been delayed by a week to late June following talks with the IOC to accommodate the late NBA season. "I believe this means we will have at the Olympic qualifiers more than 85 percent of the NBA players available and all teams will have finished in time for the Games," he said. "I think we will have the best players available at the Olympic Games and FIBA are satisfied with that."
Jared Dudley: Can’t play 50 games .. Thats a hard no for the players! Has to be a min of 72.. the real question is what change in a week? The league kept saying January January.. Everybody knew how big Christmas was and Olympics being late July months ago.. TV just mentioned it now??
Marc Stein: FIBA has moved its Olympic qualifying tournament for the 16 countries that would be playing for the final four spots in Tokyo -- which affects numerous NBA players -- to June 29-July 4 ... one week later than it would have been this year and as late as the IOC would allow
Marc Stein: The availability of certain NBA players and coaches, however, understandably remains TBD. If the Milwaukee Bucks or the Toronto Raptors are still playing in late June, to name two examples, Greece and Canada would likely miss out on Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nick Nurse
Marc Stein: NBA players may only be offered a 50-game season, I'm told, if the union insists on a mid-January start rather than the Dec. 22 proposal, because the league's television partners do not want the 2020-21 season to stray past mid-July ... or clash with the Tokyo Olympics
Marc Stein: A 50-game season would reduce player salaries significantly in 2020-21, since NBA pay adheres to a regular-season schedule The NBA's 72-game model calls for teams to play roughly 14 games a month through May, followed by the playoffs through mid-July -- before the Olympics begin
Kevin O'Connor: Sources: The NBA held a call this afternoon with team GMs & presidents to detail the plan for a 72-game season set to begin December 22 & end before the Olympics in July. The league intends to schedule games in a way that reduces travel by 25% with teams playing MLB style series.
Boston Celtics center Vincent Poirier said that if he was presented with a dilemma between winning a gold medal in the Olympics with France or the NBA championship, then he’d go with the former. “I take the Olympic title,” Poirier said in an interview with Konbini Sports when asked to choose between the two. “French Olympic champions are rare. If I’m one of the 12 players who win the gold at the Olympics, I will be a legend.”
Vincent Poirier: “I never played in the Olympics and I’d love to participate. I’m quite stressed. I’m going to be 27 so in the next Games I’ll be 31. We don’t know how it’s going to go but I think everyone wants to go. If the NBA players aren’t there, we won’t have the Olympics as we are used to seeing them, without the whole Team USA.”
Nigeria Basketball Federation: "Having Bam in the National team is a possibility that we are considering as a federation ahead of the 2020 Olympics and beyond" "We are excited about how far he has gone and what he can achieve in his career with DTigers if he chooses to play for Nigeria", Kida said.
Marc J. Spears: Adam Silver says “it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the Olympics.” Silver adds “basic protocol” to fight against the coronavirus with wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, washing hands and cleanliness is working.
Countries competing in the basketball events at next year's Tokyo Games now know when their respective tournaments will get underway following today's announcement by the International Olympic Committee.
The men's and women's basketball tournaments will be staged at the Saitama Super Arena. The men's competition is to tip off on July 25 and conclude on August 7, while the women's tournament will begin one day later on July 26 and finish on August 8.
Tim Reynolds: Gregg Popovich - the coach of the USA Basketball men’s team - says he’s been checking the coronavirus response in Japan, and is optimistic when it comes to the hope for an Olympics in Tokyo next summer. Filling a roster around the NBA schedule, he concedes “will be trickier.”
With the next NBA season not expected to start until at least Dec. 1, that calls into some serious question whether that could overlap with Olympic qualifying tournaments that some nations will need to endure in June 2021 and the Tokyo Games themselves the following month. And Kerr, who is slated to be an assistant under San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich for USA Basketball in Tokyo, said Tuesday that he doesn’t have any idea how the schedule will work. “Believe it or not, I haven’t had a single conversation with Pop about that,” Kerr said. “And the reason is because we don’t know. We’ve been talking almost daily now for the last couple of weeks and before that we were speaking once every few weeks. So, we haven’t even had a single conversation because there’s nothing to report.”
But one way the NBA could alleviate the potential for an Olympic problem is to get away from the player-friendlier scheduling models used in recent seasons that greatly lowered back-to-backs and eliminated the dreaded stretches of four games in five nights. If the league did that, it could buy some time and possibly make the Olympics fit on some player and coach schedules. “They’ve talked to us on our team calls that it might be a condensed schedule next year, more so than in the past,” said Atlanta general manager Travis Schlenk, whose coach — Lloyd Pierce — is also scheduled to be a USA Basketball assistant next summer along with Kerr and Villanova’s Jay Wright.
He's eyeing another shot with the same Boomers core after steering them to fourth at the 2016 Olympics and last year's World Cup. "I'm excited for 2021 because (before the postponement) we were going from the World Cup, to a 2020 NBA season and then straight into an Olympics," he said. “So having this extra time now until the next season starts and then going into the Olympics will give everyone a chance to get their bodies into great shape and be ready to go.”
Once his immediate future is sorted out, Maker is keen to represent Australia at next year's Tokyo Olympics. "I want to play for Australia," Maker, who was born in Kenya and moved to Australia with his family as a one-year-old, said. "I grew up there so it will be great to put on the green and gold."
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the swift development of vaccines and effective treatments for COVID-19 are priorities towards achieving the Tokyo Olympics next year. Abe says recovery from the coronavirus pandemic only in Japan would not be enough to hold the Games because it involves spectators and athletes from around the world. He reiterates that the government hopes to hold the Tokyo Games "in a complete form" with spectators as a proof of human victory against the coronavirus.
Mills, who is approaching his fourth Olympics, is using the lure of gold in Tokyo to drive his motivation to keep fit while in isolation in San Antonio as he awaits news on whether the NBA season can resume and whether his San Antonio Spurs, ranked 12th in the western conference, will have the chance to try and snatch a playoff-spot. "Everything gets pushed back but the mindset stays the same," Mills told The Age.
Patty Mills: "We are coming like a bat out of hell for this gold medal in Tokyo and that will still be our mindset. We have to adjust our approach a little bit. On one hand it gives some guys the ability to rehab certain niggling injuries they might be going through, on the other hand in a Bogut situation you understand and acknowledge [that he might retire] but knowing him, knowing the opportunity that is out there to create history. It's something he's fully aware of."
FIBA has pushed back the dates for the four remaining qualifying tournaments to June 29 through July 4, 2021, meaning they would end 19 days before the rescheduled start of the delayed Tokyo Olympics. The host nations - Canada, Croatia, Lithuania and Serbia - are unchanged.
But if the 2020-21 NBA season starts later than usual, which is a distinct possibility because of the coronavirus pandemic, that might mean some players - such as Greece’s Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Serbia’s Nikola Jokic of the Denver Nuggets - might be busy with playoff games at the same time. And under normal circumstances, NBA free agency would conflict with those dates as well.
The Games have been postponed until 2021, forcing Canada to wait a little longer for its chance to qualify. “We were anxious to play together to try and make it to the Olympics,” Joseph said. “We felt like we had a good shot with everybody playing but it doesn’t change the course, we’re all going to stick together and hopefully we’ll all be there next year.”
"I don't care what others do over the summer, they can do whatever they want. But for us, the Italian national team is family. I see it as spending two or three months each year with my friends, the people I love, family. That's why I really want to win something with Italy," he said.
It's too early to tell when NBA will return and where the Dellavedova family will land next, but for now, there remains one concrete goal in place. A long-awaited medal for the Boomers in Tokyo. "We've been keeping in touch and that's one of the things that has helped keep me motivated. We want to go out on a good note with that group. With the Olympics being pushed back we have the commitment to each other to stay in great shape and make the most of what is the last opportunity together."
“It had a huge impact in Europe. If you see interviews that I did or Dirk [Nowitzki] or Pau Gasol, we all were affected by the Dream Team,” Parker said while interviewed by ESPN’s Marc J. Spears in the Roundball Rap. “Manu Ginobili. We all talk about it. That was the point that we where ‘wow basketball is cool’ and ‘I want to go to the NBA’. That was the first time I saw them in real life, because before it was the tapes.”
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."
Wade added that the 'Redeem Team' was truly an incredible group. "That was an amazing time, man, and, like, that team, dog? Oh my gosh. That team was special,” he said.
The medical community in Japan is moving toward a consensus that holding next year’s Tokyo Olympics may hinge on finding a coronavirus vaccine. Japan Medical Association president Yoshitake Yokokura said in a video media conference on Tuesday that the Olympics were possible only if the infections were under control, not only in Japan, but globally.
“In my view, it would be difficult to hold the Olympics unless effective vaccines are developed,” Yokokura said. He did not say whether he opposes the Olympics without vaccines.
Yoshiro Mori, a former prime minister and now president of the organizing committee, told the newspaper Nikkan Sports there would be no more delays if the games can’t be held in 2021. “No, in that situation, it will be canceled,” he said. “In the past, when there were such problems, like wartime, it has been canceled. This time, we are fighting an invisible enemy.” Mori added: “This is a gamble for mankind. If the world triumphs over the virus and we can hold the Olympics, then our games will be so many times more valuable than any past Olympics.”
Sergio Scariolo confirmed he is in talks with the Spanish Basketball Federation for a contract extension until 2024. “Indeed, we are in talks for a contract extension until the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. Both sides are willing to continue their collaboration. I am very happy for that, but we still need to finalize the deal,” Scariolo said in an interview with Eurosport.
The online auction, which ends May 16th, features 86 items ranging from sneakers, to warm-ups, to jerseys, to a 14-karat gold ring with eight diamonds engraved with Bryant's name to represent Team USA's 8-0 record in the 2012 Olympics en route to the gold medal.
The Nigerian basketball community was as stunned as the rest of the world when news broke that Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie was in the process of acquiring a Nigerian passport, which could see him represent the African nation at the next Olympics.
An NBBF official told ESPN that conversations had been going on for at least a year about the Nets star, who doesn't have any obvious connection to the country. "His name has been under consideration since last year," the official said. "We started talking about two years ago because we had some areas where we have weaknesses and the point guard area was a major one.”
Acquiring the Nets guard is another piece to their puzzle and may certainly not be the last. NBBF president Musa Kida explained: "New Orleans Pelicans centre Jahlil Okafor is also reportedly interested in fighting for a shirt. There are many top players out there who are eligible to play for us while some may also be thinking of naturalization as allowed by FIBA rules."
Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is in the process of acquiring a Nigerian passport in order to be eligible to play for the Nigerian national team, a source told ESPN on Saturday.
Shams Charania: Sources: Nets‘ Spencer Dinwiddie is acquiring a Nigerian passport to play for the Nigeria national team. Dinwiddie didn’t receive Team USA Olympic invite; now joins Nigeria roster under Mike Bown that includes Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Okogie, Chimezie Metu, Ekpe Udoh.
The Summer Olympics in Tokyo, postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, will likely open on July 23, 2021, according to people familiar with the matter.
The I.O.C. said a final decision could come in weeks, but it is now much more likely to be announced earlier, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of guidance issued by the I.O.C. The Japanese state broadcaster NHK on Saturday also reported the July 23, 2021, date as the new target.
Glen Grunwald, the CEO of Canada Basketball, began to wonder then about the fate of a season that had held so much promise. “It’s been like a cascade, right? You heard about the virus in China and you start thinking about the pandemic movies that you’ve seen in the past, and you think. ‘That’s not going to happen,’ and then it just keeps rolling downhill and keeps getting bigger and bigger,” Grunwald said Tuesday.
Among Canada Basketball’s highlights for 2020 was the opportunity to play host to a men’s last-chance qualifying tournament in June in Victoria. Coached by Nurse, the Canadian team was expected to feature a who’s who of NBA players. “FIBA is fully intent on running it here in Canada in Victoria [next summer],” Grunwald said, adding Victoria’s organizing committee is also on board for the postponed event. “I think it’s a good outcome of a bad situation,” he said. “There’s obviously a lot of details to be worked out, but I think it’s very positive for our men’s program.”
“I know FIBA want NBA players to be able to participate in the Olympics, and I know the Olympics want the NBA, the best athletes, to be participating as well,” Grunwald said. “So I’m sure they’re going to try and work the schedule around where NBA players will be available. But again, all the details need to be worked out.”
May 16, 2022 | 9:00 pm EDT Update
Kyrie Irving — who has a decision to make next month on whether to opt-in to the final year of his Brooklyn contract — sat down for the latest “I Am Athlete” episode. He lifted the lid on a host of topics, including saying the Cavaliers would’ve stayed together longer and won more if he’d been more mature. “If I was in the same maturity line and understanding of who I am, and I look back, we definitely, definitely would’ve won more championships, because there would’ve been a better man-to-man understanding about what I’m going through. I didn’t know how to share my emotions,” Irving said. “I didn’t know how to do that. So instead of sharing, I isolated myself.”
Kyrie Irving: “I just started pouring myself more into the game — I had one of my better seasons but I wasn’t connecting with everybody as much during the championship year. So 2017, it was a different year for us. We went against Golden State, we went against a great team. When you’re not a great team and not clicking on all cylinders and together, you’re easily defeated. You’re defeated before you can get to the arena.”
While Irving has a $36.5 million opt-in decision to make, he’s at a different place in his life than he was when he asked out of Cleveland at 24. In hindsight, he regrets not speaking to LeBron James beforehand. “We didn’t talk during that time,” Irving admitted. “When I look back on what I was going through at that time, I wish I did, because it would’ve been a good understanding of what the future will hold for both of us and we know how much power we both had together. Me and him in the league together running Cleveland, and then being able to put a better team together every single year would’ve definitely been worth it.”
“Frustrating from an organizational standpoint. but even more so from Ben’s,: said Marks. “I had a conversation with Ben. We all did. We saw how he wanted to get out there. To be honest, I’ve got to admire that. He tries to do 3-on-3, 5-on-5 and then you turn around and get an MRI, You see the disc herniation has gotten worse. and you think, well this guy is pushing through something that he shouldn’t be pushing through. Nobody wants to have surgery. It’s the last resort but it’s bygone now and we’ve got to move forward on this, we’ve got to support him and so forth.”
Asked for lessons learned from the Simmons off-again, on-again saga. Marks used the opportunity to critique the critics. “It’s a little bit of a testament that 1) he tried to get back out there and tried to help his teammates and secondly, we have to be careful not judge people. And if you’re outside that medical profession, when you’re chiming in from afar. You just have to be a bit careful of what you’re saying because you really don’t know,” said Marks.
Marks spoke as well about he and Steve Nash have had “honest conversations” both about last season and the upcoming one. He reiterated the need for “high character players” and said he “could see no reason why” both Joe Harris and Seth Curry won’t be back healthy and ready for camp. “The ultimate goal hasn’t changed, that’s to be the last team standing.”
Young LeBron James has been found. Marquis “Mookie” Cook, a high-ranking high school basketball player, has been cast as the NBA superstar in Shooting Stars, Universal and SpringHill Co.’s adaptation of the 2009 book by James and Buzz Bissinger.