Tim Reynolds: Gregg Popovich says USA Basketball will promote some players from the USA Select Team for Saturday night’s exhibition in Las Vegas against Nigeria.
KC Johnson: USA Basketball coach Gregg Popovich on Zach LaVine: "He's somebody who really wanted to do this. His physical skills are abundant and obvious. . . . He's willing to do anything we ask him to do."
Sports Illustrated: No one on Team USA is safe from after-practice sprints... even the coaches (via @Kevin Love)
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.
Tim Reynolds: Matters have accelerated significantly in the last 24-48 hours, source tells AP. Jamahl Mosley was scheduled to speak with reporters tonight about his role as a USA Select Team assistant under Erik Spoelstra; he is now not expected to make that appearance.
Rod Beard: #Blazers Damian Lillard on his role with Team USA: "I know that I'm not going to have to be in the same role as in Portland ... I think I can show that I'm a good defender without as much responsibility on the offensive end, with so much talent (on Team USA)."
Mark Medina: Suns coach Monty Williams on Devin Booker playing in the Tokyo Olympics whenever the NBA Finals ends: "Devin is one of those guys that loves to hoop." Williams added that Booker "has unreal energy."
Anthony Slater: Steph Curry said it was a "hard decision" to pass on the Olympics: "I do value the offseason. I am working out, back on the court. But to try to go and play, there's a lot that can happen...It just wasn't right for me. Very confident in that decision. No regrets."
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."
Wes Goldberg: Draymond Green on why he decided to play for Team USA in the Olympics: "It was never a question for me. This is what we work for. You work for the accolades, you work to be on top of the world."
Rod Beard: Draymond Green on #Pistons Jerami Grant: "He's one of the guys in the NBA...What he's gone (to Detroit) and done is incredible. He's one of the most improved players in this league, for sure."
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."
Omari Sanfoka II: Jerami Grant said is role on the USA Basketball team is to bring energy. "I’m going to be playing a lot of defense, hitting open shots, being aggressive when I get the opportunity."
Rod Beard: Draymond Green on the new Team USA jerseys: "Nike knocked those out of the park; they did an incredible job ... it's going to look incredible winning the gold in those uniforms."
Joe Vardon: Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said three players from the US select team (which practices against the Olympic team) are out of training camp due to testing positive to COVID-19. No Olympic player tested positive, he said.
Brian Windhorst: Immanuel Quickley, PJ Washington and Miles Bridges of the USA Select Team are out of training camp in Las Vegas due to COVID protocols, sources said. All members of Team USA were at practice today.
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."
Brian Windhorst: Detroit Pistons center Isaiah Stewart suffered an ankle injury while playing for the USA Select Team in a scrimmage against Team USA today, sources said. He left the game to get treatment.
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.
Jason Anderson: USA Select coach Mark Few on Tyrese Haliburton: “Gosh, the first thing I think our whole staff picked up on was what a great mind he has and his basketball intelligence, and how quickly he picks up on things. He’s very perceptive and also a great communicator."
Chase Hughes: Jayson Tatum describes Bradley Beal as "A mentor and an older brother that I technically didn't have in the house [growing up]... someone that I've always looked up to and still look up to to this day."
Joe Nelson: Wolves star Anthony Edwards limps out of Team USA practice, leaning on someone to get to the team bus @JonKrawczynski @DWolfsonKSTP
Darren Wolfson: From someone in the know: “Sprain.” Ant Man limping pretty good in the video from diehard fan Joe. #Timberwolves
Chase Hughes: Bradley Beal says he didn't know he was the first Wizards player to represent the franchise and city for Team USA in the Olympics. Called it an honor.
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
Jeff Garcia: Popovich says he's hoping to see Keldon Johnson get confidence, development under Spoeltra, a better player with Select Team. He's thrilled KJ is with Select Team. #GoSpursGo #nba #USABMNT
Tim Reynolds: Pop hasn't decided on captaincy yet for the U.S. Olympic basketball team. He says he's "waiting to see where it lands."
Ira Winderman: Gregg Popovich calls Erik Spoelstra, who's guiding the USA Basketball Select Team a "fantastic young coach." Spoelstra is the second-longest-tenured coach in the NBA, to Pop.
Anthony Chiang: Popovich, speaking on Day 2 of Team USA training camp, on Bam Adebayo: "He's active, he's a rebounder, he runs. He knows how to play with teammates. ... He's going to be very valuable to us and obviously our best rebounder."
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.
Beal said the first team meeting held by Popovich at training camp in Las Vegas had nothing to do with basketball. He wanted to first address the elephant in the room. "Honestly, Pop will probably do the majority of that. He's not afraid. He's expressed that, he's expressed that to me. 'Shift the blame on me, I'm going to be the one to kind of lay down what's going on.' We respect that. That was very admirable from him," Beal said.
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.”
Tatum knew Bryant well. They worked out together and Bryant offered him advice many times. “I remember one talk, it might have been after a game, and he was saying that a lot of people won’t understand what you do,” Tatum said. “He said, ‘What I mean by that is, the ones that really want to be great and really want to be special really take that whatever-it-takes mentality.’ He told me it takes sacrifice, because the ultimate question is about how much are you willing to give up to be great.”
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.”
Gerald Bourguet: Monty Williams was asked about Devin Booker playing in the Olympics coming off a Finals run. He said he hasn't talked to Book about it, but he knows Devin wants to play and he doesn't see any reason why he shouldn't play. "Book likes to hoop."
Paul Garcia: Keldon Johnson on training against Coach Pop and Team USA: "It's going to be a little weird because he coached me all year, but I mean hopefully he don't give them to much of a great scouting report. But if he does, I'm just going to go at him, make Coach Pop get on the guys."
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.”
Wright said flexibility is a key in the case of Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker, who may have to meet the team in Tokyo if the Suns make the NBA Finals. The same is true with two Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern finals, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday.
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: Milwaukee guard Jrue Holiday has committed to play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics, source tells ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Phoenix Suns star Chris Paul has declined an invitation to play for Team USA in the Summer Olympics, league sources tell ESPN.
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.
Chris Fedor: I’m hearing #Cavs center and restricted free agent Jarrett Allen, who was added as a finalist in March, is not going to play for Team USA at the Olympics. USAB wants him to be part of the Select Team, which is something he could still do.
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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: After getting an invitation to join Team USA for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell has declined the opportunity, sources tell ESPN. Instead, Mitchell will use the time to recover and rehab from his right ankle injury.
Tim Reynolds: USA Basketball is working under the premise that Golden State guard Stephen Curry will not play in the Tokyo Olympics, a person with knowledge tells AP.
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.
Kristian Winfield: Sean Marks says he has no problem with Kevin Durant playing in the Tokyo Olympics, so long as he's met the physical markers: "It's very difficult to turn down playing for your country.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Miami Heat center Bam Adebayo has committed to join the 12-man Team USA roster for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, his agent Alex Saratsis tells ESPN.
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.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker has committed to join the 12-man Team USA roster for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, sources tell ESPN.
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.
“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.”
Tatum is the kind of linchpin around which Team USA managing director Jerry Colangelo could build a roster. Conversations with prospects are “ramping up,” he said, though he chose not to disclose with whom or name which players out of the pool of 57 NBA stars had expressed a desire to play. Training camp in Las Vegas starts in early July, and now that the first round of the playoffs is over, the pace to begin putting the 12-man roster together is accelerating.
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%.”
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."
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.
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
Thomas scored 19 points in his first competitive game in more than a year, helping the U.S. to a 93-77 victory over the Bahamas on Friday in a FIBA AmeriCup qualifying game. “My first time playing in a little over a year so I was a little rusty, but it felt amazing to be out there competing against really good players and also representing my country,” Thomas said.
July 6, 2022 | 11:21 pm EDT Update
The Phoenix Suns today signed guard Devin Booker to a contract extension. “Devin has had a truly special impact on our organization, our fanbase and the Valley community since he first arrived in Phoenix,” said Managing Partner Robert Sarver. “We are grateful for all his contributions and we are thrilled to ensure that he will remain in a Phoenix Suns uniform into the future.”
“Devin, with his work ethic and commitment to excellence, has established himself as one of the league’s best players, elevating himself and our organization,” said General Manager James Jones. “We are beyond excited to extend the mutual commitment between Book, the Suns and the Phoenix community. He is just getting started.”
Michael Scotto: Sources: Bobby Portis has a 15 percent trade kicker in his four-year, $48.5 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, @hoopshype has learned. The deal also includes a player option on the fourth year of the deal.
Bobby Marks: The Tyus Jones contract in Memphis starts at $15M in the first year and declines to $14M in year 2. $1M in additional team performance bonuses Jones earned $8.4M in 2021-22 and will come close to doubling his salary for the upcoming season.
Tom Orsborn: Spotted Joe Wieskamp wearing a walking boot on his right foot while sitting near courtside at the Aces game. He said it isn’t anything serious. “I’ll be good,” he added. Will try to get a full report on Wieskamp from Mitch Johnson when Spurs practice Thursday.
Nick DePaula. Next month, @Damian_Lillard is launching “Formula Zero” in Portland, an annual invite-only elite skills camp & year-round mentorship for 20 top High School & 20 top College players. The camp will “provide the highest level of development both on & off the court,” says Lillard.