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.
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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.
He decided to play for the Americans partly as a showcase in hopes of earning his way back into the NBA, where he most recently played for Washington last February. Thomas — like many NBA players — had some trouble adjusting to the ball and the way the international game is officiated. But he was pleased with his movement and conditioning and said he’ll clean up his mistakes Saturday. “The world knows I’ve got what it takes. So ,it’s just about showing that I’m healthy,” Thomas said. “My skill didn’t go anywhere, it was just about getting a hundred percent healthy, which I am right now.”
Isaiah 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.
James Nunnally also scored 19 points for the Americans, They improved to 5-0 in qualifying play and can remain perfect through three windows by beating Mexico on Saturday.
While the U.S. has already qualified for the FIBA AmeriCup Tournament, scheduled to take place in September 2022, two games remain in the qualifying round in San Juan, Puerto Rico, this week. The two-game set provides an ideal chance for Thomas to show his hip is once again healthy, and that he still has much to offer the game. “It was a no-brainer,” Thomas said. “It is a great opportunity to come out here and participate. A lot of NBA teams have told me that they want to watch me play. Here at this tournament, I’m able to play against real competition in addition to being able to represent my country, which is an honor and a privilege.”
The COVID-19 pandemic that swept the world and threw the NBA schedule into disarray provided an unexpected opportunity for the nine-year league veteran. “It gave me time to get 100 percent healthy,” Thomas said. “I was able to get a procedure done on my hip last May that has allowed me to feel 100 percent again.” That surgery, performed by Dr. Edwin Su in New York, resurfaced the hip, relieving the searing pain that Thomas had dealt with for so long.
His last appearance with the Celtics was in Game 2 of the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. He was traded to Cleveland after the season, beginning a nomadic migration through five NBA teams over the next three years. “It was very frustrating,” Thomas said. “I didn’t know how to deal with (the injury), everything was on the fly. I was really trying to do everything I could do to compete at a high level, but I wasn’t myself, and anyone who watched the games could see that.”
Tim Reynolds: Brandon Bass, a veteran of 758 NBA games for six clubs, has been added to USA Basketball’s roster for FIBA AmeriCup qualifying games in San Juan next week. He’s one of eight players with NBA experience on the U.S. roster, headlined by Joe Johnson and Isaiah Thomas.
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.”
Marc Stein: For its upcoming AmeriCup games, @usabasketball has secured veteran sharpshooter James Nunnally, league sources say Nunnally joins former All-Stars Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson on the USAB roster … barring deals for these free agents before the squad convenes in two weeks
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.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Shooting guard Dakota Mathias — who had some good moments in his time with the 76ers this season — will join Isaiah Thomas and Joe Johnson on the Team USA roster for the AmericaCup qualifying tournament Feb. 19-20 in San Juan, sources tell ESPN.
USA Basketball went into a bubble and emerged with a berth in the 2022 FIBA AmeriCup. Yante Maten scored 21 points, Josh Maggette added 19 and the U.S. topped Mexico 94-78 on Monday, moving to 4-0 in Group D qualifying and securing a spot in the tournament that serves as the championship of the 44 teams in the FIBA Americas zone — comprised of nations from North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
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.
Spending an extended stretch away from home during the summer, while unprecedented as part of an NBA season, isn’t exactly a foreign concept for those with USA Basketball experience like the Olympics and the World Cup. Plenty of players and coaches at Walt Disney World see parallels between those experiences and this challenge. “I had that opportunity to work with the Olympic team and preparation was very similar to what we’re going through here,” said McMillan, who was an assistant under Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski on the USA Basketball staff from 2006 through 2012. “Having a training camp, basically, at a hotel and getting ready for a 45- to 60-day season. … We’re going to have three scrimmage games, eight so-called regular season games and then we’re in the playoffs so it’s very similar to preparing to play for the gold medal.”
Pacers center Myles Turner was with the U.S. team that competed in China last summer at the World Cup, a group that spent more than seven weeks together between training camp, exhibition games in the U.S. and Australia, and then the tournament itself. The Pacers have clinched a playoff spot, so they’re assured of spending at least seven weeks at Disney this summer. It’s another long summer for Turner, and he’s not complaining. “There is a lot of similarity in how it’s set up, but for me personally, I just think that it’s a great time for everybody to kind of stay focused,” Turner said. “There’s no distractions. Everybody’s locked in and focused. So, there’s really not a lot that can go wrong in a basketball sense.”
Players who have been through the World Cup or Olympic grinds agree that there’s a level of familiarity with this sort of schedule and situation. “It helps tremendously,” said Toronto guard Kyle Lowry, who was part of the U.S. gold-medal-winning team at the Olympics in 2016. “In Rio it was a lot more strict and tighter because we were living on a boat. That experience was pretty awesome. … But living on a boat, to be in a smaller room and not have as many amenities it really kind of prepared me for this.”
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.”
David Robinson on Isiah Thomas: “If you have a reputation and you take pride in your reputation as a ‘Bad Boy’ it kind of means people aren’t going to like you. Can you be that surprised when people say ‘I don’t really want to play with the ‘Bad Boys?’”
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.”
Dwyane Wade is producing a documentary on the “Redeem Team,” the United States men’s national basketball team that won a gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing. “It’s something that we’ve been working on for the last year or so,” Wade said on the Platform Basketball podcast. “For me, that was a big year, 2008. I had to kind of redeem myself, because everybody thought I was done.”
Wade added that the ‘Redeem Team’ was truly an incredible group. “That was an amazing time, man, and, like, that team, dog? Oh my gosh. That team was special,” he said.
Jay Busbee: Robert Edward Auctions has a game-worn, signed Michael Jordan Dream Team Jersey up for bid. Starting price: $25,000. Your kids don’t REALLY need college, now do they?
Last summer, Adebayo was cut from the USA Basketball tryouts for the World Cup. That only added fuel to his fire. “For me, it’s just going out there and proving people wrong,” he said. “I took that to the chin, and it gave me a bigger chip on my shoulder for the season.” It is why he is hopeful that this is not all there will be for the 2019-20 season. “I’m thinking bigger picture; I want a championship,” he said. “I feel like we can make a run and make noise and do a lot of things that people said we couldn’t.”
Around AU$5 million (US$3.08 million) will be refunded to spectators of last year’s Boomers vs. Team USA two-game series at Melbourne’s Marvel Stadium after the Australian consumer watchdog found that promoter TEG Live made false claims about its seating plan.
The 20,000 refunds will be paid out to those who purchased floor-level seating for the games. Despite a mock-up depicting tiered seating, the seats used were in flat rows, lower than the court and, in some cases, more than 30 metres from the action. “Consumers paid a premium for floor-level seats, ranging between $895 and $3,995 for a hospitality package, and may have done so as a result of misleading seating advertising,” said Rod Sims, chairman of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. “In our view, TEG Live’s conduct was unacceptable.”
TEG Live’s statement echoed Sims’ comments. “We acknowledge some fans were disappointed that the USA Men’s Basketball team that competed in Australia in August did not include some of the NBA’s biggest stars,” it read. “Based on the information provided to TEG Live by USA Basketball, we had expected these stars to play.”
For now, Colangelo is committed to remain in his role through 2021. So is the coaching staff; U.S. coach Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs is the head coach, with assistants Steve Kerr of the Golden State Warriors, Lloyd Pierce of the Atlanta Hawks and Jay Wright of Villanova.
USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said Tuesday that he has “hit the pause button” on planning for the next Olympics. Colangelo noted that there’s nothing now to do besides waiting to see exactly when the games in Tokyo will be held in 2021 — and if the new schedule will conflict with the NBA schedule. “It’s pretty simple, isn’t it? We either have NBA players or we don’t,” Colangelo told The Associated Press. “And if we don’t, we’ll look at the other options.”
“We’re hopeful that this is going to take place in the same timeframe next summer as it was scheduled for this summer,” Colangelo said. “There are a lot of things that have to be done totally out of our control. We’re a follower in this situation. We’re dealing with the NBA, FIBA, the USOC, the International Olympic Committee, etc., etc. Here’s what we have to wait for now: What are the dates? Once they set the dates, then we will go into action.”
Tim Reynolds: USA Basketball statement: “The decision to postpone the 2020 Olympics was a difficult decision and it was the correct one. USA Basketball is in full agreement and support of the decision made by the IOC and the Japanese government to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.”
Chris Mannix: USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo tells @SInow that USA Basketball operations are proceeding normally. No withdrawals by players concerned about #coronavirus — yet — and there has been no communication about postponing or canceling the Games.
Chris Mannix: Colangelo, like most, is anxious to see how everything plays out. But he tells @SInow that it’s “all systems go” at USAB, with plans in place to have a team selected in early June.
Mark Woods: Pacers coach Nate McMillan confirms he’s closed the door on returning to USA coaching staff for Olympics after passing on World Cup due to NBA commitments.
Injured Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry “absolutely” still plans to make himself available to play for USA Basketball during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, his father, Dell Curry, told ESPN’s The Undefeated.
The 2020 Tokyo Olympics begin on July 24, 2020. “Absolutely. That was definitely a goal coming into this year. He wants to play in the Olympics,” Dell Curry told ESPN’s The Undefeated on Friday night. “This is a little setback, but hopefully it’s a goal he can strive for through his rehab.”
“It’s our responsibility to not only be the best team we can be, but also conduct ourselves with the USA on our shirt, we’re representing a lot of people,” Popovich said after he conducted his first training camp practice Monday at UNLV. “We have a huge responsibility, not only for the country, to do this in a classy manner, but to continue the success that USA basketball has had over the last 12 years.”
Both Popovich and Team USA assistant coach Steve Kerr, who are known for making political statements, refrained from doing so Monday as they attempted to set a tone of unity. “We can’t fix the divisiveness in our country, but what we can do is be a great example of how people come together for a common goal and achieve it,” Popovich said.
Popovich has poured himself into preparation for this job, studying everything from Team USA’s history against certain opponents, to opposing personnel with challengers from Europe, to where in Shanghai he can get good wine. “We’re all used to pressure and those things, but I can say a day hasn’t gone by in the last year when I haven’t thought about USA Basketball, what I would want to do with players, who are the coaches. It’s been on my mind,” Popovich said. “It’s like thinking about two teams at the same time for that period. Coach K did that for 12 years, so I can try to do the same.”
Chris Forsberg: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Bam Adebayo were playing rotating 1-on-1 until Gregg Popovich came and dragged them off the court because the busses were leaving. Kemba got some of the loudest cheers from the fans braving the 112-degree heat for autographs and selfies.
Tony Jones: Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said he is looking for Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell to be a leader as the week progresses. He says he wants Mitchell to affect the game for others as well as himself
Tim Reynolds: USA Basketball assistant coach Steve Kerr says he got some pre-FIBA World Cup inspiration from watching the US women win soccer’s World Cup earlier this summer.
Eric Woodyard: Utah executive VP of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey is on-site to check out Donovan Mitchell during Day 1 of USA National Team training camp in LV. The Jazz front office see Mitchell being here as a positive with excitement for his opportunity, per a Deseret News source.
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May 8, 2021 | 9:34 pm EDT Update
The Sixers won their eighth straight game with a 118-104 victory over the Pistons on Saturday night, moving ever so closer to locking down the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. Joel Embiid led the way with 29 points, and strong efforts from Dwight Howard and Tyrese Maxey were among the standouts from the supporting cast.
Justin Grasso: Doc Rivers on the playoff rotation: “I think we’re very comfortable with who were are going to play. I think we’ve been comfortable.” Says they “won’t blink” at playing 11 guys if they need to
May 8, 2021 | 8:54 pm EDT Update
Fred Katz: There it is. Russell Westbrook has officially tied Oscar Robertson’s all-time triple-double record of 181 for a career, a record that has stood for 47 years. Westbrook now has 21 triple-doubles in his last 25 games and will go for the record Monday against the Hawks.