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.
Oshae Brissett has elected not to be with the Canadian Basketball National Team this summer, a source close to Brissett told Fieldhouse Files.
“There are more players of Nigerian descent in the NBA than probably any other country besides the U.S.,” said Mike Brown, who became Nigeria’s coach in February 2020. “And so the talent is there. It’s just about getting everybody organized and on the same page and getting everybody excited about playing and wanting to be a part. And so there are right around 10 or so guys in the NBA that are going to come and try out for the team. So looking forward to mixing some of that NBA talent with some very talented individuals that are playing professionally in Europe and abroad.”
Brown declined to divulge which NBA players are expected to be on the D’Tigers’ training camp roster. But sources say NBA players Al-Farouq Aminu, Chimezie Metu, Josh Okogie, Jahlil Okafor, Wes Iwundu, and Monte Morris, who is expected to be added as a roster exemption, will be there.
They are hosting an invitation-only camp from June 20 to June 23 including players currently in college, in the G League and internationally. Sources said it could also include former NBA players Emeka Okafor, Festus Ezeli and Ben Uzoh. Current NBA players are expected to join Nigeria’s training camp on June 27.
There was a small hurdle that officials from the Nigerian basketball federation had to clear before they could even talk to Golden State Warriors assistant coach Mike Brown about becoming their men's national coach. They needed his phone number. Nobody involved with the federation had it, so they started calling around and eventually word got to Brown they were seeking him out. Brown originally thought he had no interest, then — once they got the number — wound up taking the call and listening to their vision. "A chance to coach in the Olympics," Brown said, "made me think about it."
Brown — who sought the opinions of Golden State coach Steve Kerr, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich and others from USA Basketball when he was deciding how to proceed with the Nigerian offer — officially got hired about four months after the World Cup, and he's spent enormous amounts of time immersing himself in the role since. "I've become passionate about the potential and the people," Brown said. "I want these guys to have an experience. Now we might never be USA basketball, but I want these guys to have an experience where they can be proud of representing their country in these international games because they're just good dudes."
As many as three Heat players — Gabe Vincent, Precious Achiuwa and KZ Okpala — are serious candidates to play for Nigeria in these Olympics, and it's possible that most if not the entire Nigerian roster for Tokyo has NBA experience. "I'm just looking forward to having the next opportunity to hopefully go represent the country and represent the nation moving forward in the Olympics," Vincent said. "Mike Brown has definitely been in contact. He's been great reaching out to guys, communicating well and we're all looking forward to it and excited."
Before next season comes, Green will be representing Australia at the Olympics in Tokyo starting on July 23. That’ll give him a chance to work alongside NBA players such as Ben Simmons, Joe Ingles and Patty Mills. “Everything is kind of just getting thrown at me now, but my intentions will be to play for Australia,” Green said. “It’s always been a dream of mine as a kid. And also just as far from a development standpoint, just being able to get in games and just feel more comfortable on the court and be around guys like Ben, Joe Ingles Patty Mills and guys like that who have really helped me out and to just grow as a player. I’m really looking forward to it and just looking forward to the offseason in general.”
Portland’s All-NBA guard — who will be headed to the Olympics for the first time — explained some of his thinking Thursday about why he committed to the national team, which will gather in Las Vegas early next month to start training camp and play a series of exhibitions. “Pop being the coach of the national team played a big role in my decision to commit,” Lillard said. “I have a lot of respect for Pop as a coach and as a person. I look forward to playing for him, taking in his basketball knowledge and seeing what our team can do.”
Plenty of players have spoken about the lure of playing for Popovich, the San Antonio coach with five NBA championships. Knowing that Lillard is on the roster might help sway others to commit as well. “I’m just hoping we can put together a team of great players that fit as one,” Lillard said. “I don’t necessarily want them to say, `Oh, Dame is playing so I should play,’ but I do hope they see that top players are making the commitment and look at it as an opportunity to be a part of something special.”
“I remember watching the Redeem Team and it looked so fun,” Lillard said. “So many stars on one team being able to just play together unselfishly and have fun. That team connected basketball with the best players in the world. It just looked like a great time and they looked so free of their normal responsibility on their NBA teams. I became very interested in USAB because of that. It means a lot to add this to experience and represent my family and country on a major stage that I have not been on.”
After Nikola Jokic’s decision, two more NBAers have been added to Serbia’s list of players who decided not to join in this summer for the Olympics – Aleksej Pokusevski and Alen Smailagic. The two young prospects decided to prepare for the next season with their teams.
“Pokusevski decided to dedicate himself to his physical preparation for the next season. I respect his decision, but with his talent, he could have learned a lot in the national team. Smailagic also made the decision to prepare for the next season. I wish them all the best,” national team coach Igor Kokoskov explained.
The American men’s and women’s senior national teams are partnering with MGM Resorts International and will conduct their training camps in July at MGM properties ahead of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, the company announced Thursday morning. Training camp begins July 6, and the teams will play a combined seven exhibition games against other national teams at Michelob Ultra Arena from July 10 to July 18.
“USA Basketball is proud to expand its partnership with MGM Resorts. We’re excited to bring our national teams to their properties as we prepare for the challenging competition that lies ahead this summer,” USA Basketball CEO Jim Tooley said in a statement. “Training camps are such an important foundation for our preparation and having such a strong commitment from MGM positions us for great success.”
Joe Vardon: A Team Australia update. Even if the Jazz reach the Finals -- and it goes seven games, meaning it ends July 22, a day before Olympic opening ceremony -- Joe Ingles is playing for the Boomers. 'I’ll get on a plane the next day and I’ll make my way over to Japan.' @The Athletic
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.
August 5, 2021 | 11:03 am EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Free agent F Ishmail Wainright has agreed to a two-year deal with the Toronto Raptors, his agents Deirunas Visockas and Jim Tanner of @Tandem Sports tell ESPN. Wainright has played in Europe since finishing his four-year career at Baylor in 2017, and has showed the ability to impact an NBA team with his defensive versatility.
Two other names (Damian Lillard and Bradley Beal) might be slightly more alluring, but the one significant player nearly everyone expects to be on the move this summer is Simmons, as we’ve already documented ad infinitum since The Pass. The fit with Joel Embiid seems questionable at best and both Simmons and his team would probably be better off with a new arrangement.
Luka Doncic’s disappointment with Slovenia’s loss to France in the second Olympic Games semifinal was more than obvious in the finale with the Dallas Mavericks superstar also expressing his frustration on his way to the locker room. After the end of the game, Doncic was shouting “FIBA is probably happy” while walking through the media mixed zone per ’15min’. He was also reported to shout “FIBA happened” while Slovenia big man Ziga Dimec was being asked questions about the game.
Slovenia had several complaints with the officiating and particularly with a play halfway through the fourth period and the score tied at 78 where Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot blocked Jaka Blazic’s layup attempt. Blazic protested that it was a goaltending violation and he received a technical foul.
“Probably one of the best blocks I’ve seen,” said France center Rudy Gobert — perhaps the best shot-blocker in the world these days. “Being able to grind for 40 minutes and win an Olympic game on that block, it’s just amazing. This is why you play the game. This is why you work hard, why you sacrifice time from your families, to come here and try to accomplish something and be part of those moments.”
August 5, 2021 | 10:25 am EDT Update
Marc Stein: Numerous teams had free-agent interest in Nicolas Batum after his redemptive season with the Clippers … Golden State and Dallas prime among them. Realistically no one was luring him away from Clipperland as well as he played.
If Randle continues to play as well as he did this season, the Knicks will get him at a discount, even if he stays around to make $29.5 million in the last year of his deal, which is reportedly a player option. It also allows the Knicks to put more talent around him. They passed on retaining cap space for next summer with their deals this month and are already hovering around the expected cap number, according to Spotrac. They’ll also be able to offer RJ Barrett an extension after the 2021-22 season, which will kick in after the summer of 2023.