NBA rumors: Tomas Satoransky to play with National Team this summer?

Tomas Satoransky and Jan Vesely stand out of the Czech Republic preliminary squad for the approaching Olympic Qualifying Tournament, announced Tuesday. Jan Zidek, son of former NBA center George Zidek and Pepperdine forward, also received an invitation.

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Nikola Mirotic will not be part of the Spain roster for the Olympic Games, barring a last-minute change, according to AS. Mirotic, 30, prefers to focus on his family after a complicated year at a personal level rather than following up the demanding season at the club level with the bubble expected for the Tokyo Games, notes the report. Perhaps FC Barcelona teammate and Spain legend, Pau Gasol, can change his mind but it seems the decision has been made.
Doncic said Monday he will travel to Slovenia soon to prepare for the upcoming qualifying tournament. The 22-year-old Doncic will be at least one of at least five Mavericks players who will be back on the court within weeks, aiming to lead their home countries to an Olympic berth in Tokyo this summer. “This is my main goal — qualifying Slovenia for the Olympics,” Doncic said. “I’m going to be heading back to Slovenia and starting practicing, so no vacation.”
On Monday, Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Green stated that he intends to play for Australia in the upcoming Tokyo Olympics set to begin on July 23 in Japan. He was among the 24 players listed as finalists to play with the Australian men’s basketball team. The roster, which also features the likes of Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills, will be pared down to 12 players prior to the start of the Olympics. Green, who was born in Sydney, would be representing Australia for the first time in the Olympics if chosen. “I think my intentions will be to play for Australia,” Green said. “It has always been a dream of mine and also just from a developmental standpoint. Just being able to get games and feel more comfortable on the court, and be around guys like Ben, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills — guys like that who help me out and grow as a player. I’m really looking forward to it and the offseason in general.”
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.”
Nigeria coach Mike Brown has confirmed to ESPN that he may be forced to pick two different teams in the coming two months, as the Olympics and Afrobasket tournaments are within two weeks of each other. The Afrobasket tournament starts in Rwanda on August 24, two weeks after the Olympics end in early August in Tokyo, which would trigger an NBA rule prohibiting Nigeria's players from too much international game time.
The availability of the NBA stars to their respective national teams has always been rather questionable and that is especially the case when the team goes deep into the playoffs or the player doesn’t have his contract status taken care of. Nemanja Bjelica will be in a peculiar situation this summer as his obligations towards the Miami Heat ended after the team got swept by the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the playoffs. According to Mozzart Sport, however, the Serbian star will travel to Belgrade soon and will without a doubt make himself available to coach Igor Kokoskov for the summer and the Olympic qualifiers.
Ira Winderman: Duncan Robinson says he has not yet considered Olympics amid impending free agency. Says no formal invitation to Olympics yet. "There's other variables at play."
The Tokyo Games will mark the first time 3x3 basketball will be staged at an Olympics, and the field is tight, with just eight countries winning berths. Team USA failed to earn an automatic berth in 2019 despite its World Cup victory because 3x3 Olympic spots are determined differently than in the 5x5 competition, where the World Cup champs gain automatic entry. FIBA, the international governing body of the sport, is saving one spot in Tokyo for countries that didn't have a 5x5 team qualify for the 2012 or 2016 Olympics as it tries to grow the game in countries that previously haven't exceled. But it made qualifying even tougher for Team USA. Joey King, who played at Minnesota, led Team USA Sunday with eight points in the loss (in 3x3, baskets are worth 1 point and shots behind the line are worth 2). King averaged a team-best 7.8 points per game.
Marc Stein: Today @CanBball announced its 21-man roster for 12 spots on the Nick Nurse-coached squad aiming to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics. Golden State’s Andrew Wiggins is in, but injury has ruled out two of Canada’s best: Denver’s Jamal Murray and OKC’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: pic.twitter.com/WUawCvYKLr

http://twitter.com/TheSteinLine/status/1397956406666575873
Brandon Rahbar: SGA announces he won’t be able to play with the Canadian national team this summer, which he was looking forward to. This should put an end to anyone accusing OKC of faking Shai’s injury for tanking purposes. Canada is still the odds on favorite to win the gold because Lu Dort. pic.twitter.com/gjOd8cOdC4

http://twitter.com/BrandonRahbar/status/1397951667769851907
Michael Grange: Chris Boucher wanted to focus on rehabbing sprained knee to make sure he was 100% healthy heading into 21-22, which is why he declined @CanBball invite, per sources. Boucher, 28, has 1yr left on a team option with Raptors for this coming season and a free agent in summer of ‘22.
“I’ll cut to the chase because people are asking me, ‘A lot of teams are out (of the playoffs) – are you going to get early commitments from certain people?’ ” Colangelo told USA TODAY. “That’s not the way we’re going to deal with this. We have interest in all of them. There’s a lot of variables, and so we’re going to do inventory after the first round. There’ll be a number of players who we have interest in that conceivably are available after the first round. There’s no rush because we have the flexibility.”
"It’s conceivable, there will be a few players who are competing in the Finals and want to participate and we want them to participate," Colangelo said. "But we don’t know who that’s going to be. We have to wait and see. That’s why we’ll take inventory after each round. It’s possible that we don’t end up with 12 in Las Vegas and we bring a couple of guys at the last minute."
This is Colangelo’s final Olympics. He will turn over the job to Grant Hill following Tokyo. “Grant Hill and I had a conversation a year ago,” Colangelo said. “I’ve known Grant pretty well for a long time. He expressed interest. He wanted me to know what his thinking was. I said, ‘Grant, I couldn’t think of anyone better to succeed me. You check all the boxes.’ I believe that. He’s a world-class guy. He’s bright. He knows the game. He’s well-connected. He’s well-respected. Enough said. He was the guy.”
It has been so draining that Rubio said he is still not sure if he will play for the Spanish national team at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. That team means everything to Rubio and it could be his last chance to win a gold medal. But this has been such a grind that it’s still up in the air. “I’m burned out. Probably it’s a yes, but I owe my family time. I owe myself and my brain to really reset,” he said. “It’s not going to be a normal Olympics. I’m tired of getting tested every day. We haven’t had a day off with the family for six months. A little thing like putting that thing in your nose, it reminds you every day what’s going on in the world, that it’s not normal.”
Mario Hezonja will be included in the preliminary roster of the Croatian national team for the Olympic Qualifiers according to Sportske. If the report is confirmed, the Panathinaikos swingman will wear Croatia’s jersey for the first time since the 2016 Olympics.
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.
Lithuania national team head coach Darius Maskoliunas announced the preliminary list of 15 players for the training camp ahead of the Olympic Qualifying Tournament to be held in Kaunas between June 22 and July 4. Jonas Valanciunas and Domantas Sabonis headline the list. The Memphis Grizzlies led by Valanciunas will begin the 2021 NBA Playoffs best-of-seven series versus the Utah Jazz on Sunday, while the Indiana Pacers and Sabonis failed to make it through the play-in tournament.
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%.”
Eric Koreen: Lowry says the opportunity to play for Team USA would always be "high on his list." If he gets call, it's something he'd strongly consider. Won't base his decision on who else plays.
Spanish Basketball Federation President Jorge Garbajosa announced that the national team will face off against Team USA in Las Vegas on July 18. The clash will be played out in the bubble as a part of the preparations for the 2021 Olympic Games which are scheduled to open just five days after the clash between the two top national teams in FIBA’s rankings.
“When our colleagues from the American Basketball Federation called me to express their interest in our national team participating in the bubble of Las Vegas, from his words I was able to get the acknowledgment of what our name represents – a team that makes the tournaments to which it is invited bigger. This is the best match that world basketball can program, the match between numbers 1 and 2 of the FIBA ​​World Ranking,” Garbajosa said.
Senegalese Basketball Federation announced a 16-players preliminary list for next month’s Olympic Qualifying Tournament the NT will play in Belgrade. The list includes NBA Players Tacko Fall, Gorgui Dieng and Georges Niang, alongside Baskonia star Pierría Henry, who received his passport a few months ago.
Spanish national team head coach Sergio Scariolo said that Pau Gasol will need to spend a certain amount of period playing competitive basketball to be fully ready to participate in the 2021 Olympic Games. “Obviously, being in Tokyo involves playing a few months of competition in a team,” Scariolo said in an interview with AS after the completion of the 2022 EuroBasket Qualifiers. Spain closed the February window with two wins vs. Poland and Israel to finish the stage with a qualifying record 4-2 in Group A.
JeffGSpursZone: DeRozan says he's hasn't thought much about playing with team USA, that he's trying to get through the season first #gospursgo
With NBA players expected to make up the core of all three teams and the league's playoffs scheduled to take place from May 22 to July 22, this concept would create an environment where players can limit travel and possible exposure to COVID-19 before going to Japan. Team USA is tentatively planning to open training camp the week of July 4, while the NBA playoffs are ongoing.
Spain, the reigning World Cup champions, have five current NBA players who have played on the national team in the past: Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Serge Ibaka, Juancho Hernangomez and Willy Hernangomez. The Australians named their Olympic roster pool this week, and it has 10 current NBA players, including Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Dante Exum and Matisse Thybulle.
Team USA has asked to allow roster changes even during the Olympics as players may fly over late and join teams, Colangelo said. He is waiting to hear back from the governing bodies on the matter. "These are not normal times. Rosters by a certain date doesn't make any sense," Colangelo said. "What we're seeking is flexibility to substitute players very late and to get the best players on the court. It doesn't just apply to us but for all the countries." On Wednesday, the IOC released its first set of Games parameters, which said athletes were not required to be vaccinated or to quarantine on arrival but that they would have to undergo testing before embarking and upon arrival in Japan.
Most of the top American talent has signaled interest in playing at the Olympics, and also, players such as Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown of Boston (who were on the 2019 team) are now among the best in the NBA. Colangelo said Team USA is continuing to hear of interest from the best the U.S. has to offer, with no whispers of anyone backing out, in part because it’s too early — who knows which teams are going to make deep playoff runs? The Americans are targeting a training camp starting about July 4 in Las Vegas.
The Spanish and Argentinians, who battled in the World Cup finals in Beijing, are both in group C. Fourth-place Australia is in group B. “The three Olympic preliminary groups appear well balanced, and there are a good number of teams who have legitimate shots at the gold medal in Tokyo, ” Popovich said in a news release. “It was a fair draw,” Colangelo said. “The bottom line — you’ve got to win your games. I said it then and I’ll say it now: Had we been healthy (in China), we would’ve won the whole thing. We owe the world after that one.”
Tim Reynolds: Tokyo Olympic men's groups: A: USA, France, qualifying winner from Victoria, Iran. B: Australia, Nigeria, qualifying winners from Belgrade and Split. C: Spain, Argentina, qualifying winner from Kaunas, Japan.
What's kind of the latest that you're hearing from different athletes around the NBA who who are whoever USA Basketball pedigree who've been with you in the past? Jerry Colangelo: Chris, I would say with rare exception, everyone has indicated they would participate. Now, what does that really mean? I mean, it's easy to say, yes, count me in at this particular point in time. But until we get much closer to, you know, the summer months, we're not going to know officially, but I will tell you one way we've protected ourselves: You know, I think we had like 42 on our national team roster, to give ourselves good coverage, we're actually increasing that number to close to 60. And it's just to be sure that everyone is following protocol, as far as the mandate from the Olympic group that they have to be in the drug program. They have to be they have to pass certain standards. And so we have a large pool to select from.
Jerry Colangelo on Olympics Games: "We are diligently working on trying to get as much flexibility as we possibly can not just for us. That's true for every country who's involved. You know, what rules existed in the past existed in the past, the unusual times call for unusual changes. And all we're asking for is flexibility, the ability to submit a final roster at the very last minute, and number two to be able to replace people because of COVID. So I'm hopeful all I could say is it's in the works. All the governing bodies are clued in, and let's see if they make the right decision."
Interviewed by ESPN, San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills has confirmed he will participate in the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo, with a clear goal in his mind. “Oh, it’s crystal clear, mate. No hesitation at all. I think everyone is well aware of that, throughout the program, the team, obviously Goorjan, players as well… there’s no doubt about it. Not a single ounce of blood in my body says otherwise. I’m fully committed, and it obviously comes from a very genuine place and the goal that we have as a team… and we are very determined to accomplish it. We have an absolute chance to achieve that in Tokyo. Everyone who’s a part of that program right now, from the head coach all the way to the equipment manager, everyone’s gotta be locked in and feel the exact same way as we feel: determined, fire burning inside, desire to do everything we possibly can to win this gold medal”, Mills said.
Mark Medina: Stephen Curry on if he still plans to play in the Olympics if it still takes place next summer: "Honestly, I have no idea. Very open-ended question, and I have no idea."
“As a coach, I don’t really like the fact that there are a couple of players like Marc and Serge who can reach the Finals because that would obviously complicate their selection for the Olympics,” Scariolo said to Radio Marca. “But I’m happy that each of them has a team and a role within their team that is promising to be interesting. Having them all joining teams very quickly is a reason for calm for all.” According to the 2020-21 NBA calendar, the playoffs begin on May 6 and will be finished on July 22. If the Lakers or the Clippers reach the Finals then Gasol and Ibaka won’t be able to make it to Tokyo.
“It’s not “bad – bad” news but the seventh game of the Finals – if there is a Game 7 – will be played one day before the opening of the Olympic Games,” Scariolo said. “So the timing is quite bad, that one of the two teams from Los Angeles, Marc or Serge reach the Finals. We are taking a lot of risk, but it’s just something I have in my mind”
This would mean a return close to the NBA’s normal schedule, significant financial ramifications to start early, a potential finish before the 2021 Summer Olympics, and allow a window for stars to play in the Olympics, sources said. The NBA wants to continue to incorporate the play-in tournament that was utilized in the Orlando restart to determine the eighth seed in the Eastern and Western Conference playoffs, according to sources. ESPN first reported that a Christmas start and playing fewer than 82 games would be discussed on Friday’s call.
It was hoped Brown's connection with Australia's impressive list of NBA products would be the missing link to lead them to a maiden medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games. The coronavirus pandemic intervened though, the Games now slated for 2021 and Brown since losing his job at the NBA franchise headed by Australia's star man Ben Simmons, who had indicated his desire to play in 2020.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Friday night it is unlikely the league will take a break next summer for the Olympic Games, a decision that could dramatically affect the tournament if it is able to be played. "We'll consider it. I think it's unlikely, at the end of the day, that, if we start late, we would stop for the Olympics," Silver said in an interview with NBA TV inside the league's bubble at Walt Disney World Resort. "Because, as you know, it's not just a function of stopping for the period in which they are competing over in Tokyo. But they require training camp, and then they require rest afterwards."
If the NBA season is going on during those tournaments, however, it could dramatically alter how they, and the games themselves, play out. While Silver acknowledged that, he also said that under the current circumstances there isn't anything the NBA can realistically do about it. "There are so many incredible players, beginning with the USA team, we'll be able to field a very competitive team," Silver said. "I am a bit worried about some of the international teams, because, as you know, some of their stars play in our league, and their absence would make a huge difference for those national teams.
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.
What was it like playing the dream team? I heard the stories about how Scottie wanted you to himself, but what's your side of the story? NBA: I didn’t expect that. The only way I knew about Michael and Scottie was because I was drafted. I was watching them the last three summers when I was with national team or getting ready for European or World championship. I would watch the Bulls live in the Finals, so once we got to Olympics and we had the United States in our group, I wasn’t expecting anything like that. I never met these guys. I didn’t know what was going on with them and management here in Chicago, I just got surprised by the intensity. I had some other things on my mind. My wife was about to deliver her first born. Our son, he was born two or three days later in the game against Germany. I’m not using it as an excuse, it did happen and I had a horrible game. I played much better in the Finals. When you get guarded by Michael or Scottie Pippen, I don’t think there are many players that would play good. At that time, the two best defenders in the world, maybe ever. - Toni
But as the coronavirus pandemic spread around the world, the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were postponed. Gasol, though, decided to keep pushing his body because he wants to compete in the Olympics, which are now set for July 23, 2021. In Gasol’s eyes, the best way to hone his skills for the Summer Games would be to play next season, his 20th in the NBA. “My plan initially was to get healthy, heal and be able to play in the Olympics,” Gasol said. “But the Olympics has officially been pushed to July 23, 2021. Now see what happens with professional sports, professional basketball in my case, and when things kind of resume. … Then if I can get healthy, we’ll see what’s next and we’ll see what that next looks like.”
Butler indicated he’s not interested in playing for the USA Basketball national team at this stage of his career. The Heat duo of Bam Adebayo and Butler were named among the preliminary finalists to make the Team USA 12-man roster for the 2020 Olympics, which have been rescheduled for 2021 because of the pandemic. Butler won gold with Team USA in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. “I told [Carmelo Anthony] that if he plays [in the Olympics], I play,” Butler joked during the Instagram Live interview. “Melo said that he’s not playing.”
Jordan has never hidden his dislike for Isiah Thomas. But that didn't stop him from paying Thomas quite the compliment in the discussion of why Thomas was famously left off the Dream Team for the 1992 Olympics. "I respect Isiah Thomas' talent," Jordan said. "To me, if the best point guard of all time is Magic Johnson, and right behind him is Isiah Thomas. No matter how much I hate him, I respect his game."
"Before the Olympics, [selection committee chairman] Rod Thorn calls me and says we would love for you to be on the Dream Team," Jordan said. "I said, 'Who's all playing?' "He said, 'What's that mean?' I said, 'Who's all playing?' He says, 'Well, the guy you are talking about and you are thinking about is not going to be playing.' It was insinuated I was asking about him, but I never threw his name in there. "You want to attribute it to me, go ahead. Be my guest. But it wasn't me."
“In 1980 I was on the Olympic team,” Thomas said on “Get Up.” “As a matter of fact, I was voted the Male Athlete of the Year in 1980 for the USA Olympic team. The only thing that’s missing from my résumé is not being on the Dream Team. Now, when the Dream Team was selected and I wasn’t a part of it, there was a lot of controversy around it. I still don’t know who did it, or why they say I didn’t make it.
“I know they say the criteria for making the team, I had fit all the criteria. And that’s a big hole in my résumé. That is the biggest hole in my résumé. That is the only thing on my résumé that I did not succeed at....I have succeeded at every level. I tried to do everything correctly and I thought I should’ve made the Dream Team. However, I wasn’t a part of it, that hurt me. And looking back, if I’m not a part of the Dream Team because of a lapse of emotion in terms of not shaking someone’s hand, if that’s the reason why I didn’t make the Dream Team, then I am more disappointed today than I was back then when I wasn’t selected.”
Thomas also said that during the 1988 Eastern Conference Finals, most of the Boston Celtics walked off the floor without shaking hands after losing to the Pistons. Only Boston’s Kevin McHale shook his hand after Thomas had stopped him at halfcourt, Thomas said. “To us, that was okay,” Thomas said. “Knowing what we know now, in the aftermath of what took place, I think all of us would’ve stopped to say, 'Hey, congratulations. “Of course, we would’ve done it. But during that period of time, that’s just not how it was passed. When you lost, you left the floor."

http://twitter.com/dwadeedits/status/1253878330228703233
He had wanted to play for Spain at the Olympics in Japan this summer but the COVID-19 pandemic forced the International Olympic Committee to postpone the event until 2021. "I was hoping before everything changed and got postponed, or cancelled, that I was going to have enough time to heal my injury, to get in an appropriate shape to be able to compete and play and still, at 40 years old, play my fifth Olympics this summer in Tokyo," Gasol said in an interview with the Olympic Channel.
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September 18, 2021 | 2:39 am EDT Update

Zach LaVine doesn't want to leave Chicago?

The Bulls’ offseason overhaul couldn’t have come at a better time, as Zach LaVine is on the final year of his contract with an extension yet to be signed. But if it were up to LaVine himself, he’s reportedly all-in on staying in the Windy City. That’s according to ESPN Chicago radio analyst David Kaplan, who’s heard from sources that the All-Star doesn’t want to go anywhere. Via ESPN 1000 FM: “He has told people that I know: ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.’”
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Is KAT’s trade value at all impacted by missing the playoffs yet again? If a Simmons deal can’t get done, would you think about trading him now, considering the likelihood that you may need to next offseason? — @JWeAnd1 Definitely no interest in trading him now. Towns will have plenty of value for the foreseeable future, barring a big injury. This is a big season. I think there will be more clarity, positive or negative, when 2021-22 concludes. Then the Wolves can make a real decision on how best to move forward. But Towns remains a focal point right now. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Morey will be in a similar position to Thibs in that rival executives will try to back him into a corner and wait for things to get really uncomfortable with Simmons, thereby driving down the asking price. But Morey is much more experienced in front office work than was Thibodeau, a coach to his core who had not yet started his third season as the lead decision-maker. Those around the league believe that if there is any executive able to stomach the circus that is sure to descend upon Philly, to block out the noise that comes with this kind of drama, it’s Morey.
Ben Simmons trade buzz has been one of the offseason’s hottest storylines, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and the 76ers have yet to pull the trigger in a deal involving the 25-year-old three-time All-Star. Will the Aussie wear the 76ers’ red, white and blue to start the season? By a wide margin, our panel’s vote projects Simmons to remain in Philly — at least until the season tips off on Oct. 19. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 45%
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
Despite the on-paper match, ESPN’s NBA insider Zach Lowe took to his podcast to say there’s a slim chance of that actually happening due to the Clippers’ lack of interest in Russell Westbrook when he was available: “The Clippers were never interested in Russell Westbrook. They were a rumored Russell Westbrook trade in a few places whenever that happened. They were never interested. That was never a real thing. I think they value their optionality too much.” Lowe ultimately concluded, “I just don’t see it,” because, like Westbrook, Wall is over 30 and has a massive contract — $44 million due this season and a player option the following season for over $47 million.
The Philadelphia 76ers earn the top spot for Team Turmoil, as our experts predict which teams will be surrounded by the most drama this season. While the Ben Simmons saga lingers in Philly, the Lakers could share in the dramatics, as head coach Frank Vogel will have to incorporate former MVP Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony along with five former Laker alums. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 61 points (55.0% first-place votes)
Storyline: Philadelphia 76ers Turmoil?