NBA rumors: Zach LaVine returns to Team USA bench following injury scare

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The Athletic: Precious Achiuwa denied KD's dunk attempt 👀 🎥 @NigeriaBasket pic.twitter.com/Dw7eheqo0L

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Rob Schaefer: Looks like Zach LaVine turned his left ankle contesting a 3-pointer. Checked out of game and walked off to locker room under own power with slight hitch in step.
Joe Vardon: First two off the bench for Team USA: Draymond Green and Jerami Grant. Keep in mind that Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday are not here
"I want to be one of the best defenders on the team," Beal said. That impressed Fraschilla, who coached college teams like St. John's and New Mexico before joining ESPN as an analyst in 2003. "Bradley said yesterday during the media conference he wants to be a defensive stopper, which is great," Fraschilla told NBC Sports Washington. "It's also nice to know that Bradley Beal can go out and get 30 in a FIBA game, which he can. His role is going to be one of seven or eight guys who are going to get a lot of playing time, very interchangeable. I expect him to have a huge impact on this USA Basketball team."
“Every chance that I can get that I’m healthy and my mind’s in the right place to play basketball, I’m going to go out there and play,” Durant said. “Finished the year off healthy, the regular season and the playoffs, so I felt it would be cool to get, I guess, a kickstart on next season by getting in shape a little earlier in the summer with Team USA.” Said Green: “I had no doubt in my mind that he was playing. I’m sure everyone tried to talk him out of it. Coming off an Achilles injury, all of the minutes played in the playoffs, had some injuries throughout the playoffs. What I knew, in knowing Kevin, you were going to talk him out of playing as opposed to talking him into playing. He just love hoopin’, that’s what he lives for.”
Nigeria have announced a 16-man training camp roster in advance of a trio of exhibition games in Las Vegas, where D'Tigers will face the United States on Saturday, Argentina on Monday, and Australia on Tuesday. The 16-man roster features eight active NBA players, namely Precious Achiuwa (Miami Heat), Chimezie Metu (Sacramento Kings), Jordan Nwora (Milwaukee Bucks), Jahlil Okafor (Detroit Pistons), Josh Okogie (Minnesota Timberwolves), KZ Okpala (Heat), Miye Oni (Utah Jazz) and Gabe Vincent (Heat). Additionally, Michael Gbinije and Ekpe Udoh also have experience in the NBA.
Competing in the Olympics is a massive achievement for any player. It's a particularly notable one for Grant, who was the 39th pick in 2014. Less than a year ago, he was a high-level role player with the Nuggets, a distant third option behind Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. His three-year, $60 million contract last fall with the Pistons was considered an overpay by many critics. It's now a steal. "I was blessed when I got the call," Grant said. "It was an honor. I love to play the game, that's why I’m here. I was excited. I told my family, everyone was excited for me. This is going to benefit me, being around a group of guys that are this talented, being able to pick up the little things that they do, watching their movements and observing, things like that. It only can help me for my future."
Curry has won a pair of gold medals playing for Team USA in the world championships but was unable to participate in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro because he was recovering from knee and ankle injuries. "There's always that itch to play and play on the biggest stage like the Olympics, but it just wasn't the right thing for me and the right time," Curry said.
As the rumors swirl ahead of a possible Miami Heat offseason makeover, Tyler Herro is hoping to make a stand. As a stronger presence on the court. And as a strong advocate of coach Erik Spoelstra. Working under Spoelstra this week as a member of USA Basketball’s Select Team during pre-Olympic training in Las Vegas, the second-year guard said he views the experience as a bonding moment.
“I think it’s unique because I’m able to just continue to build a strong relationship with coach Spo,” Herro said. “I plan on playing with him for a while, and that’s my plan. I hope that happens. “So I continue to just build a strong relationship with him. I think this experience for both of us is big.”
Basketball champion Patty Mills will become the first Indigenous Australian to carry the flag into an Olympic Games opening ceremony when he marches alongside swimming star and fellow flag-bearer Cate Campbell in Tokyo. The Tokyo Olympics mark the start of a new tradition, with every nation to be led out by both a female and male flag-bearer.
But Team USA coach Gregg Popovich would have stopped at nothing to change the Nets star’s mind. “Well, first of all, if he said ‘no,’ I would have begged, cried, anything I could to change his mind,” Popovich said Tuesday during the first day of Team USA camp. “That’s pretty obvious. But what it says about him, number one, is that he loves the game. He really loves to play basketball. He loves to win. He loves the camaraderie. “He wants to be part of this all the time, as we all know. And that’s his motivation at the core. That’s what he loves to do. And luckily for all of us, that’s who he is. So it’s a testament to his character and just desire to be part of a team and have a challenge and seek the success.”
Mike Finger: On first day with US Olympic team, Gregg Popovich is asked if he thinks some of his guys will be talking to each other about forming new super teams. “It’s none of my business,” he says.
Tim Reynolds: Pop says USA Basketball has brought in extra bodies - not just the select team - to supplement for the players who are missing from training camp. Olympians Khris Middleton, Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday are not in Vegas for camp. (They couldn't get time off from work, apparently.)
Schroder didn’t suit up for the Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Split, but now wants to be part of the final roster that will travel to Tokyo. “If there is a possibility, then that would be great. I’m always available, but my situation is not that easy. But I hope we can sort that out by then. My agent has to do his job now. The German national team has done its job, let’s see,” Schröder told German outlet Zeit Online, via Silver Screen and Roll.
Italy beat Serbia in the Belgrade Olympic Qualifying Tournament final on Sunday to advance to Tokyo’s Olympics and coach Meo Sachetti has named his 12-man squad for Tokyo, which will include Atlanta Hawks star Danilo Gallinari. The “Azzurri” will meet in Rome on July 12 and will leave for Japan on July 16. Their first game at the Olympics is scheduled for July 25 against Germany.
Among 79 qualifiers (those who played NBA seasons before and after the Games), players missed an average of 4.3 more games following the Olympics. And that doesn’t include the 76 games Paul George missed after breaking his leg in a 2014 national team scrimmage. While some injuries (Chris Mullin’s sprained thumb, Kevin Love’s broken hand) might not be attributed to the rigors of added practice, games and travel following an 82-game NBA season (plus playoffs), others could be.
From the panel of the post-game presser, the experienced forward referred to his national team's failure to qualify for the big event by using strong language. "If I don't say it's a big shame the way we lost the game, I will lie to you. I wasn't ready to play today. I don't think that's important," Bjelica uttered at the beginning. "We played like shit, and the better team won tonight. With this attitude, we can't play basketball. I don't want to talk about pressure, but if you're not 100 percent here, you cannot win. I can apologize to our people. Our attitude has to change. I'm happy to be part of this team. In five years, we'll be gone. Talent can't win you games in this type of tournament. I will take responsibility as a player," the 33-year-old added.
Chris Grenham: Jayson Tatum has been working out in Miami of late in preparation for the Olympics. He and the rest of Team USA will soon report to Las Vegas ahead of their exhibition schedule. The first of five exhibition games is July 10 at 8pm ET vs Nigeria. All five games will be on NBCSN.
Luka Doncic with his usual dominance in Slovenia’s victory against Venezuela in the semifinal of the Kaunas Pre-Olympic. The Slovenian star ended the game with 23 points, 9 rebounds and 13 assists, one step away from yet another triple-double. In the post-match Doncic confirmed his enormous love for the Slovenian national team, declaring that he would prefer gold at the Olympics to an NBA title with the Mavs.
“I would say the gold medal with Slovenia, you play for your country and it’s something really, really special. But I wouldn’t mind both of them …”. Slovenia will face Lithuania (who just defeated Poland) in the final tomorrow. “It would be amazing. It would be a dream to be in the Olympics. Not just me, I think the whole federation of Slovenia and the whole country. They really cheer for us and I hope we get to that.”
Marc Stein: Luka Doncic is one win away from a spot in the Olympics. Slovenia must beat Lithuania in Kaunas ... winner goes to Tokyo. Two more Sunday games with a Tokyo berth on the line: Germany/Brazil in Croatia and Serbia hosting Italy. Canada, still two wins away, plays this afternoon.
Luka Doncic: Sniper

https://twitter.com/FIBA/status/1411336855329574913
In fact, according to a recent report from Brian Windhorst of ESPN, Lillard played a big role in Tatum’s decision to join Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Lillard was also in communication with Boston Celtics wing Jayson Tatum, who put off his decision on Team USA for some time after the season ended to evaluate his offseason priorities. Tatum was on the 2019 World Cup team that finished a disappointing seventh, in part because Tatum sprained his ankle in pool play. When it was clear how the team was shaping up, Tatum’s uncertainty faded and he committed, sources said.
Tom Orsborn: Rather than make Keldon Johnson available to media, #Spurs released a video of him answering questions posed by a staffer. Here's what he had to say about his approach to facing Team USA: "I'll go at them...It's basketball - I've got to go at them. That's just who I am."
Steve Popper: The official release from USA Basketball. pic.twitter.com/b2jfjiWygn

http://twitter.com/StevePopper/status/1410647923923337219
Luka Doncic: 🇸🇮🇸🇮 pic.twitter.com/fEt88h6CU0

http://twitter.com/luka7doncic/status/1410645009016229891
Jerry Colangelo ON KEVIN DURANT: “This guy is a very, very special individual in my opinion. … He’s always had this great enthusiasm, for playing USA basketball, for playing the game of basketball. He’s been in my opinion a real warrior, I love the guy as a player, I love him as a person, and the fact he stepped up to commit himself as he did didn’t surprise me. I was very very pleased because he’s a very very important part of our potential success.”
Eric Koreen: Turkey beats Czech Republic 87-70, locking up first place in its group in the Victoria OQT. That means Canada will play winner of Czech/Uruguay in Saturday’s semi, while Turkey plays winner of China/Greece.
Fans of Team USA should not expect to see LeBron James wearing red, white and blue again, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo told ESPN's Keyshawn, JWill and Zubin on Wednesday. "You know, Father Time takes its toll," Colangelo said of the 36-year-old star. "... If you're a human being, your body is built to go so long depending on what your sport is, and then it's a downhill situation. LeBron made choices these last couple of Olympics not to participate because he's got a lot of things going on in his life. So he put in his time, he made a contribution that is appreciated, but I think his time is over."

http://twitter.com/luka7doncic/status/1410286490379300878
Devin Booker may arrive in Tokyo for the upcoming Summer Olympics right before Team USA starts competing for the gold medal. No problem. "Booker called me maybe a month ago to express his great desire to be a part of the Olympics and I knew that just because of the relationship," said Team USA director Jerry Colangelo during Monday's Zoom media interview. "I didn't have to say a word. He said, 'If we get to the finals and we go all the way, I'll be on the plane the next day and I'll be there. It doesn't matter.' When you're young, you can think that way."
According to Team USA Director Jerry Colangelo, he initially thought Paul was out before the Suns veteran told him he is reconsidering it. The sports executive then shared that he waited for CP3’s decision until the 36-year-old caught COVID-19 during the 2021 playoffs. Per Colangelo, Paul’s positive COVID-19 test “knocked him out” and they just had to move on as they built the roster that will represent the nation in the Summer Games in Tokyo.
Boomers teammate Patty Mills echoed Coach Goorjian’s support for Simmons. “As a teammate, as a fan and as a supporter, we all want to see our best players putting on the green and gold and for me in particular, having that thought even to be able to share the court with Benny at some stage in the green and gold, is something I am always going to look forward to and unfortunately now is not going to be the time, and that is ok.” said Mills. “This place right here, and the program we have developed, and how strong our culture is, this is one place for him that is always going to be here with open arms because we are mates. We are team-mates, we are a brotherhood and to be able to represent the green and gold, that is the culture that we have." “The number one fact and characteristic of our group is how we support each other through the good, bad and ugly, whatever it may be, and Ben isn’t an exception to that. No matter what he does, myself and the team will continue to support him because this is a safe place – everyone needs to know and understand that now more than ever, we need to support Ben on his journey."
Boomers Squad member Ben Simmons has today advised Head Coach Brian Goorjian of his decision to withdraw from the Australian Olympic Squad. Simmons, 24, indicated to Coach Goorjian that he requires this upcoming period of time to focus on individual skill development and wishes the team well for the Olympics in Tokyo.
“I have spoken with Ben and whilst we wanted him to be a part of our team, we understand and support his decision and he has made it clear that this is something that he wants to be a part of in the future. “It is a pretty rough time for him right now and I know it is something that he wanted to do, but the timing just hasn’t worked. “The best thing for everybody right now is for him to go on and develop that skill package and improve in a couple of areas for his next season in the NBA, but the Boomers are always here for him. We wanted him to know that in his time of need, the culture and the guys here are behind him and support him”.
Patrick Mills: “This place right here, and the program we have developed, and how strong our culture is, this is one place for him that is always going to be here with open arms because we are mates. We are team-mates, we are a brotherhood and to be able to represent the green and gold, that is the culture that we have." “The number one fact and characteristic of our group is how we support each other through the good, bad and ugly, whatever it may be, and Ben isn’t an exception to that. No matter what he does, myself and the team will continue to support him because this is a safe place – everyone needs to know and understand that now more than ever, we need to support Ben on his journey."
Marc Stein: The Knicks' Julius Randle was "right there" for an Olympic roster spot, @usabasketball executive director Jerry Colangelo said. Kevin Love's international experience was key in his selection, Colangelo said. Love, Draymond Green and Kevin Durant are previous gold medalists.
His dad, in addition to his feats as a Canadian player, is the general manager of the Canadian national team. RJ doesn’t go into detail on the memories his dad has shared with him from the 2000 Olympics, putting it simply: "He said it’s an experience he’ll never forget." "Anytime I can give back to my country, that’s what I try to do," RJ Barrett said. "It’s in my blood. I hope to play as long as I can."
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."

http://twitter.com/SiriusXMNBA/status/1408926044342599685
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September 25, 2021 | 4:02 pm EDT Update

Not facing Sixers fans a factor in Ben Simmons trade request?

NBA Central: Brian Windhorst says Ben Simmons playing in front of Sixers fans is a ‘factor’ in him wanting out of Philadelphia “He doesn’t want to be in front of those fans. …I don’t think he intends to ever show his face there again.” (Via @Sirius XM NBA ) pic.twitter.com/Ltt0ccwARf
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Here’s the deal … Jeffrey was at Casa Amigos bar in Scottsdale when he “fell and hit his head,” according to police. They say Jordan then became combative with security who were attempting to escort him out of the bar to receive medical attention. Scottsdale PD, who were in the area for an unrelated call, were summoned to assist. Cops interviewed bar staff, and eventually deemed the incident “medical in nature,” not criminal. An ambulance was called to transport JJ to a hospital.