NBA rumors: Keldon Johnson, Darius Garland, Saddiq Bey added to Team USA for exhibition games

More on Team USA


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Chris Fedor: #Cavs Darius Garland had a very minor knee-to-knee thing his first day with USA Select Team that kept him out of some of the stuff on Day One, a source tells @clevelanddotcom. But he’s been full go since and has looked really good in scrimmages, I’m told.
Wes Goldberg: Draymond Green said that he didn't try to push Steph Curry to play for Team USA. "I don't need to try to push him to play for Team USA because I already know the reasons why."
Omari Sanfoka II: Jerami Grant on making the Olympic team: "I was blessed when I got the call. It was an honor. I love to play the game, that’s why I’m here. I told my family, everyone was excited for me."
Wes Goldberg: Pop on what makes Draymond Green an elite defender: "a natural affinity and desire to be a great defender... understanding spatial arrangements, able to do the work early. Understanding angles and distances."
This week at Team USA's training camp ahead of the Tokyo Olympics, Popovich is getting to see Beal up close and personal to a degree he hasn't before. One thing has surprised him in particular. "He's stronger than I expected. He's a strong young man. I always used to think of him as wiry and thin, but I was totally wrong. He's thick," Popovich said.

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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.”
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

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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%.”
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July 3, 2022 | 11:25 pm EDT Update

Warriors stars open to reunion with Kevin Durant

If a trade is possible, would the leaders of the locker room welcome Durant? According to multiple sources, they would, for the same reason they embraced him in 2016. “I mean,” one source said, “it’s freaking Kevin Durant.” The Warriors superstars have been in conversations with Durant. In addition to catching up, the Hall of Fame-bound peers did entertain the idea of a reunion.
The Warriors could undoubtedly put together one of the best packages for a Durant trade. And for a front office known for unearthing every stone, they’d have to vet the chance to add Durant. With that said, according to multiple sources in the Warriors organization, a reunion is highly unlikely. Nothing about the last three years suggests the Warriors would be willing to pay the price for a KD return. That price is likely (and reportedly) an All-Star-caliber player, young talent and a heap of draft picks.
The Rockets will also promote Mahmoud Abdelfattah after he led the Rio Grande Valley Vipers to the G League championship. Abdelfattah was a Vipers assistant coach in their 2018-19 G League championship season and was promoted to head coach the following season. Mike Batiste, a Wizards assistant who like Hollins played at Arizona State, will also join the Rockets staff.