Marc Stein: By winning 78-70 tonight in Uruguay after a double-digit loss at Argentina, Jeff Van Gundy’s @usabasketball squad comprised mostly of @nbagleague players has clinched a spot in the @FIBAWC in China in September — when Gregg Popovich will make his debut as U.S. coach
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Head coach Gregg Popovich has named former player and friend Steve Kerr as an assistant coach on Team USA for the next two summers, an indication that the Golden State Warriors coach is emerging as an option to become head coach sometime in the future. USA Basketball made the announcement Thursday. Popovich also named Indiana Pacers head coach Nate McMillan and Villanova head coach Jay Wright as assistants. Popovich and this coaching staff will work with the national team for the 2019 World Cup in China and the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
“This is an incredible opportunity and one I’m extremely grateful for,” Kerr said in a statement. “I had the good fortune to participate in our USA Basketball program as an amateur, and to have the chance to return to the world stage three decades later and work under Pop, one of my former coaches and a mentor, is a tremendous honor.” Kerr played for Team USA in the 1986 World Championships in Madrid while he was a player at Arizona. He hasn’t been a part of Team USA since 1988 as he’s focused on his NBA playing, front office and coaching career. Popovich bringing him into the fold will give him experience with the international game that could be put to use later.
The N.B.A. coaches Steve Kerr and Nate McMillan, and Villanova Coach Jay Wright, have been chosen as U.S.A. Basketball assistant coaches under the national team’s new head coach, Gregg Popovich, according to two people familiar with U.S.A.B.’s selections.
The U.S. is another step closer to qualifying for the FIBA Basketball World Cup. Frank Mason III scored 16 points and the U.S. beat Uruguay 114-57 on Friday night in the Americans’ first game of the second round of qualifying for next year’s World Cup. The Americans took command with a 15-0 run late in the first quarter, and finished the game shooting 61 percent. Chasson Randle scored 15 points and Derrick White added 14 for the U.S., which is 6-1 in qualifying. Results from the first round carry over, and Friday’s win puts the Americans in a very strong position.
There are three “windows” for second-round games – one that started Thursday and runs through Monday, another going from Nov. 29 through Dec. 3, and then the final one from Feb. 21-25. G-League players will represent the USA in those windows. The World Cup begins Aug. 31 and NBA players will return for that.
The USA will continue its training through Sept. 13 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center. The USA, playing in the first competition window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying second-round games, will meet Uruguay on Sept. 14 (7 p.m. PDT) at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion, then meet Panama on Sept. 17 in Panama City. The USA roster is capped by Bryce Alford (Oklahoma City Blue); Dwayne Bacon (Charlotte Hornets); Henry Ellenson (Detroit Pistons); Reggie Hearn (Grand Rapids Drive); Isaiah Hicks (New York Knicks); Dakari Johnson (Free Agent);Frank Mason III (Sacramento Kings); Ben Moore (Fort Wayne Mad Ants); Chasson Randle (Capital City Go-Go); Travis Trice (Milwaukee Bucks); Jameel Warney (Texas Legends); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
San Antonio Spurs guard Derrick White has been named to USA Basketball’s World Cup qualifying team.
James Ham: Hearing Frank Mason (@Frank Mason) made the USA Men’s World Cup qualifying team. One of 12 playing against Uruguay on Sept. 14 in Las Vegas.
Featuring 10 players who played for NBA teams in 2017-18, and the return of two players boasting of previous World Cup Qualifying game experience, USA Basketball announced today 14 players who will vie for a roster spot with USA’s September World Cup Qualifying Team. The hopefuls will open training camp on Sept. 6 at UNLV’s Mendenhall Center. The Las Vegas training camp will be used to determine the 12-man team for the USA’s first competition window of FIBA World Cup Qualifying second-round games. The U.S. will square off against Uruguay on Sept. 14 (7 p.m. PDT) at UNLV’s Cox Pavilion, then meet Panama on Sept. 17 in Panama City. The player selections were made by the USA Basketball Men’s World Cup Qualifying Team Committee.
Returning to contend for a USA roster spot after previously playing with USA World Cup Qualifying Teams are guard Reggie Hearn (Grand Rapids Drive) and center Jameel Warney (Texas Legends). Hearn played with the USA’s November 2017 and June 2018 World Cup Qualifying Teams, and while getting the starting nod in all four games, averaged 12.3 points a game. Warney played for U.S. in the November World Cup Qualifier and averaged 11.5 points and 8.0 rebounds a game. Both players were also part of the USA AmeriCup Team that finished 5-0 to claim gold in August 2017. Warney, who was selected the 2017 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year, earned AmeriCup MVP honors after posting 12.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, while Hearn contributed 10.0 points a game. Rounding out the U.S. training camp roster are Bryce Alford (Oklahoma City Blue); Dwayne Bacon (Charlottw Hornets); V.J. Beachem (Free Agent); Jordan Crawford (New Orleans Pelicans); Henry Ellenson (Detroit Pistons); Isaiah Hicks (New York Knicks); Dakari Johnson (Free Agent); Frank Mason III (Sacramento Kings); Ben Moore (Fort Wayne Mad Ants); Chasson Randle (Capital City Go-Go); Travis Trice (Milwaukee Bucks); and Derrick White (San Antonio Spurs).
Sirius XM NBA: John Wall is hoping a new @USAbasketball head coach means a different result for him, but @chris_spatola says Wall might not be as close to making Team USA as he thinks pic.twitter.com/G7a9G6t31M
Now it appears all might be not be as it appears with Robinson’s immediate future, with Heat President Pat Riley providing insight on the 3-point specialist’s plans in advance of training camp. “I’m really proud in the fact that Duncan Robinson has been invited to play in the international series,” Riley said of the September window for World Cup qualifying, “but he decided to stay here because he wanted to make our team, he wants to force us into giving him a real contract.”
It will be Colangelo and Gregg Popovich, who officially took over for Krzyzewski after the 2016 Rio Olympics, to choose those guys. Colangelo said there was initially an expectation on his part to step away from the program in 2016 along with Krzyzewski. But after Popovich said he would be willing to coach the team on one condition — that Colangelo stay at the helm — those plans changed. “So, in my mind, that gets me through 2020,” Colangelo said. “And then, we’ll see.”
Mavs assistant coach Jamahl Mosley was one of nine assistant coaches at the USA Basketball Men’s National Team mini-camp this week in Las Vegas. “To me this camp was great,” Mosley said. “We got the guys a chance to recognize, come together and start building a family with USA Basketball. Just getting together and being around these coaches is — I said it before — it was an honor and an privilege. I can’t even put into words how fantastic it’s been.”
Memphis Grizzlies star Mike Conley wasn’t able to fully participate in Team USA training camp this week as he continues to recover from heel surgery last January. But he says he’s feeling good and still on course to be ready by training camp in September.
Josh Lewenberg: Kyle Lowry wouldn’t answer questions unrelated to USA Basketball, not-so-subtly dodged every trade or Raptors-related question. “I’m here for USAB,” he repeated.
Josh Lewenberg: Do you have a relationship with Kawhi? Lowry: “No.” Have you spoken to him? KL: “I don’t know.” You don’t know if you’ve spoken to him? KL: “No.” What do you mean? KL: “I don’t know if I’ve spoken to him.”
Josh Lewenberg: Lowry, asked when he’ll be ready to look ahead: “When it’s time to. When it’s time I have to be there and go to work I’ll be ready to go to work and I’ll be ready to make my comments and things like that.”
Chris Haynes: Portland guard Damian Lillard has returned home from attending Team USA minicamp, league sources tell ESPN. Due to other summer commitments, it was understood he would only attend first portion of camp.
Tom Orsborn: Pop declined to take any questions about anything other than USA Basketball. His assessment of what he saw on the court Thursday: ““We found people who wanted to knock heads, wanted to compete, wanted to get up and down, so we did it.” #Spurs
Jon Krawczynski: Exactly what Butler had addressed has not been specified. But it is clear it was his choice to have the procedure. He is not at USA Basketball in Vegas this week.
Jovan Buha: Team USA has arrived
Tim Bontemps: Just as notable as the players at Team USA practice in Vegas are the list of guys who are not: Stephen Curry, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler, Bradley Beal, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kawhi Leonard, DeAndre Jordan, C.J. McCollum, Gordon Hayward.
NBA: Kevin Durant’s #NBAKicks! #USABMNT
Sole Collector: #SoleWatch: @James Harden wearing the Adidas Harden Vol. 3 at USA Basketball minicamp (via @nba) pic.twitter.com/VctBUmDQty
Brian Mahoney: Rod Thorn wins USA Basketball’s Edward S. Steitz Award, given for contributions to international basketball.
While Kawhi Leonard pulled out of the non-mandatory USA Basketball mini-camp taking place in Las Vegas this week, there was still something Raptors-relevant to come out of the first day. Namely, DeRozan met up with Kyle Lowry, and the pair of former teammates took a quick pic for the NBA twitter account.
Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner will be in Las Vegas this week for USA Basketball mini-camp as planned, leagues sources told VigilantSports.com.
Marc J. Spears: Warriors forward Draymond Green will miss @usabasketball mini-camp, a source told @TheUndefeated.
Tom Orsborn: Team USA minicamp comes at a good time for Pop. “Basketball is his life, especially now,” NBA coaching great Don Nelson said. “After losing his wife, I think it’s important for him to stay busy. I think this (minicamp) is a perfect scenario.” #Spurs is.gd/lKfmMY
Chris Haynes: Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard will not attend USA Basketball minicamp in Las Vegas this week, league sources tell ESPN. He will use time to prepare for transition to new team.
Sam Amick: In other Team USA news, the Spurs’ DeMar DeRozan is expected to take part in Vegas camp this week with his new NBA/international coach, Gregg Popovich. So while Kawhi won’t attend, the other superstar half of that trade is expected to be there.
But U.S.A. Basketball officials are bracing for Leonard to invoke his right to pass on the non-mandatory sessions, as LeBron James and Stephen Curry have done, as he continues his recovery from the mysterious quadriceps injury that led to the unraveling of his relationship with the Spurs. Leonard, after all, might dread the glare of the spotlight more than Popovich. “He’s a maybe,” Colangelo said of Leonard’s attending the camp.
USA Basketball and Griffin have never been able to properly mingle. However, the window isn’t closed. On April 6, Griffin, along with Detroit Pistons teammate Andre Drummond, were among the 35 players named to the USA Basketball 2018-20 roster. Training camp in preparation for the 2019 USA World Cup in China and 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo will be July 25-27 in Las Vegas. And Griffin has every intention of participating. “It’s something I’ve always wanted to do,” Griffin told The Athletic. “I mean, the Olympics, in general, is something I’ve always wanted to do at least once.”
Josh Lewenberg: As of now, Kawhi Leonard is expected to be in Vegas for this week’s USA Basketball camp (as are DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry). To what degree he plans on participating in practices (if at all) is up in the air, I’m told.
Harrison Wind: Nuggets point guard Isaiah Thomas will not attend Team USA minicamp next week in Las Vegas, @BSNDenver has learned. Thomas was one of 35 names included in the player pool that the USA Basketball men’s national team released in April for the 2020 Olympics.
LeBron James will not participate in USA Basketball’s minicamp in Las Vegas next week, multiple sources familiar with James’ plans told ESPN.
Jeff Zillgitt: Here’s the U.S. squad that will play Mexico in Mexico City on June 28 and Cuba in Havana July 1 in FIBA World Cup qualifying games:
Adam Johnson: Erie BayHawks head coach Josh Longstaff has been named to Team USA coaching staff, replacing Ronald Nored who accepted a position with the Charlotte Hornets.
Pop and the rest of the players (including Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard) are expected to attend the July 25-27 USA Men’s National Team minicamp in Las Vegas and for the newly minted head coach, he couldn’t be any more honored at the opportunity. “This is quite an honor and humbling experience to be involved with USA Basketball and this group of players,” Popovich said. “… In all honesty, from the time Jerry decided they wanted to go this route, it’s been on my mind as far as preparation is concerned. I’m sure as we meet this summer (for national team minicamp in Las Vegas), it will become more and more.”
USA Basketball Men’s National Team Managing Director Jerry Colangelo and Team USA coach Gregg Popovich both said they picked Booker because of his youth and what he’s shown. “He’s one of the outstanding young players in the league,” Colangelo said. “We’re projecting where these players might be a year or two from now. He’s one of the young guys that we decided we want to take a real good look at.”
“He was with the team last summer that participated with the group and scrimmaged against the Olympic team and he played really well,” Popovich said. “He’s not just a talented player. He’s a heck of a competitor.”
Chase Hughes: John Wall and Bradley Beal have been selected for the 2018-20 Team USA roster. There are 35 players in total. Only 12 will make the Olympic roster for 2020.
Rod Beard: #Pistons’ Andre Drummond, Blake Griffin among 35 selected for Team USA minicamp: detne.ws/2IyHhGo via @detroitnews pic.twitter.com/SbfKrHijQH
Will Guillory: Anthony Davis, DeMarcus Cousins named to U.S. men’s national team pool s.nola.com/y1oUB6E
Marc J. Spears: LeBron James, Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook highlight a star studded list of 35 NBA players selected for the 2018-20 USA Men’s National Team pool. Warriors All-Stars are on team.Davis, Griffin, Wall, Cousins, DeRozan, Irving, Dame, Kawhi. No Melo pic.twitter.com/cDEJA2N1wN
Brian Mahoney: USA Basketball names 35-player pool for 2018-20. LeBron is on it, making a 4th Olympics a possibility. Durant and Chris Paul could be going for a third.
Scott Bordow: Devin Booker has been invited to USA Men’s National Team mini-camp in July. Could be precursor to Olympic Team
Gerald Bourguet: Devin Booker is the youngest player on the USA Men’s National Team roster. I’d actually be surprised if he didn’t make the 2020 Tokyo team
Marc Stein: League sources say @nbagleague stars Elijah Millsap and Amile Jefferson (@iawolves) as well as Donald Sloan and Jameel Warney (@texaslegends) have earned spots on Jeff Van Gundy’s 12-man Team USA roster
Chris Reichert: Hearing that Windy City Bulls forward Jarell Eddie will be on Team USA’s 12-man roster for FIBA World Cup qualifying roster, per league sources #GLeague
Following six training camp sessions, USA Basketball announced today the official 12-member, 2017 USA Basketball Men’s AmeriCup Team. The USA team features six players with NBA experience, 11 with NBA G League experience and seven with playing experience overseas. Players selected for the USA AmeriCup training camp include: Billy Baron (UCAM Murcia (Spain); Alec Brown (Windy City Bulls); Davis; Larry Drew II (Sioux Falls Skyforce); Reggie Hearn (Reno Bighorns); Darrun Hilliard (Detroit Pistons); Jonathan Holmes (Canton Charge); Kendall Marshall (Reno Bighorns); Xavier Munford (Greensboro Swarm); Marshall Plumlee (New York Knicks); Jameel Warney (Texas Legends); C.J. Williams (Texas Legends); and Reggie Williams (Oklahoma City Blue).
Jeff Van Gundy noted that he and his USA squad still has plenty to accomplish during its remaining practices. “I think you want to make sure you really know your roster as well as you can. Know who you’re going to play, and with who. You don’t try to play too many guys, but you want to use the good depth that we have. It’s that and then narrowing down to get guys playing to their strengths and not playing to what their non-strengths may be. As long as we know ourselves and our team well, I think our guys will compete hard and I think that they will compete together.
Stefan Bondy: Free agent Marshall Plumlee has been selected to participate in Team USA’s training camp ahead of FIBA Americup. Jeff Van Gundy is coaching.
The game Jordan referenced was the famous scrimmage in Monaco, where the team trained for several days leading up to the Olympics. Though there were other scrimmages and practices in Monaco and at the team’s training camp in La Jolla, California, prior to this one, this final scrimmage on July 22, 1992, is unanimously held in the highest esteem. When asked by ESPN’s Michael Wilbon several years ago about the competitive nature of that day in Monte Carlo, Jordan’s response says it all: “Greatest game I’ve ever played in. All the beautiful things about the game of basketball were illustrated in that one particular game. If you culminate everybody in the Hall of Fame and every game they played in, and you envision a game being played, that’s how that game was played.”
Despite trailing 7-0 and being down by as many as nine points, Jordan’s white team prevailed 40-36 thanks in part to a 17-4 run fueled by jumpers, drives and trash talk. Nobody came close to touching the Dream Team once the Olympics got underway in Barcelona, as each of the USA’s eight games was decided by more than 30 points. Yet before these legends took the court for the world to see, this scrimmage in Monte Carlo set the tone for what followed in the coming weeks.
Jefferson and Duncan reflected on their experience with Team USA at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens. That was the disappointing, Larry Brown-coached team that won a bronze medal. Jefferson said that, when they got together and clearly weren’t jelling, Duncan told him, “We’re going to be lucky to medal with this group.” I guess they were lucky then.
After dealing with ankle and knee injuries last season, Stephen Curry made the wise decision not to travel to Rio de Janeiro. No one should doubt, though, that he’ll be on the plane to Japan in four years when the Games are staged in Tokyo. “The way it went down this past year with the injury, it was the right decision,” Curry said to FIBA.com in his hometown of Charlotte, where he recently played for the Golden State Warriors against the Hornets.
Stephen Curry “It was a tough one because I put a lot of equity into playing for Team USA and was looking forward to playing for the Olympic team for the first time. The decision for me personally was that it was best not to play, and to get ready for the season, to get healthy. Going forward, I do plan on playing at the World Cup (in 2019 in China), being healthy and being in a good position to be in Tokyo.”
Jeff Goodman: Coach K returning this weekend after back surgery. – RT: Duke Basketball: Saturday. 🔵😈🐐 #HereComesDuke pic.twitter.com/Dxll7aqlPN
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski will undergo lower back surgery on Friday to remove a fragment of a herniated disc, causing the Hall of Famer to miss up to four weeks coaching the Blue Devils (12-2 this season). The news was announced Monday. Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel will fill in for Krzyzewski. The procedure will be performed by Dr. Allan Friedman at Duke University Hospital.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources on @The Vertical: Retired General Martin Dempsey, former Joint Chiefs of Staff, is on course to become new USA Basketball Chairman.
“I have made the sacrifice that I want to do whatever it takes to win, so it’s one of the reasons why I didn’t go to the Olympics this summer,” Harden told The Vertical. “It was one of the toughest decisions that I’ve ever made in my life. For my legacy here in Houston and in the NBA, I thought it was important.”
Despite the United States’ gold medal win, Kawhi Leonard said he harbors no regrets about skipping the Rio Olympics. Leonard said a “lot of things,” including the birth of his daughter, factored into his decision. “I caught a couple of quarters here and there (on TV),” he said. Leonard said he hopes to have another shot at the Olympics. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich replaced Mike Krzyzewski as the U.S. basketball coach after the 2016 Games.
Tim MacMahon: Harrison Barnes on his limited Team USA role: “It was one of those situations where you have to sacrifice. Obviously when you make the Olympic team, you want to show what you can do on the world’s biggest stage. At the same time, winning gold took precedent. We didn’t want to be the team that either lost the win streak or didn’t come home with the gold. Those are the things that we as a team said we were going to put everything to the side and focus on that, and we came through.”
Ethan Strauss: KD was asked about trash talk during Team USA, said there wasn’t any. “We rarely talk about basketball” es.pn/2di5zF9
Jeff Zillgitt: Samson Kayode, who worked for Pistons, named USA Basketball’s men’s national team asst. director. He replaces B.J. Johnson, who joined Nets.
Barkley said he would have liked to see Philadelphia 76ers’ young players Ben Simmons and Nerlens Noel in the Olympics this year. “I would like to see some young guys,” Barkley said. “If we don’t win the gold medal, I don’t think it’s the end of the world. If you go back and look at the last three drafts of the NBA, I would love to see some of those guys that are not ready for the NBA. Even a young guy like a Ben Simmons, I thought he should have played. Even though he would have played for Australia, I have no idea why he didn’t play. I think he should have played for Australia. I think a young guy like a Nerlens Noel. He could’ve played in the Olympics. It would have been good for him because — I’m not saying this is bad — but instead of nothing all summer, what’s better playing against NBA players for a couple months during practice?”
Kyrie Irving: We did it coach. You had the vision ever since I was that skinny 17 year old you saw play lol. Thank you for the opportunity and it was an honor be apart the journey with you.
Coach K expected a game against Spain down the road, but compared to the previous two Olympic Games finals, this was a different animal: “We knew when we first started training camp that there was a great, great chance that we were going to play Spain at some point. We’ve had some great, great games against Spain, some unbelievably competitive games. We expected the same today and we got it. It was a different type of a game. It was a very hard game and both teams had to … it wasn’t easy flowing, and both teams had to make big plays. I thought our guys did that a little bit more than they did, and that’s why we won. DeAndre (Jordan) was huge, 16 rebounds, but also Pau’s a great player and not that he, no one’s going to stop him, but he made him work all the time. Getting the rebounds were amazing, and then Klay played the most minutes he’s played and came through. I thought Kyle Lowry just gave us a huge spark, so I’m really proud of my team. That was the most different game I’ve coached internationally for the United States. It was just a real different game today”.
And that had also to do with the decisions of the referees. Krzyzewski also addressed this matter: “It was a different atmosphere in there tonight. Those are three of the top officials in international basketball. We’ve had them in big games and I’d want them again. They’re really good. Whatever was happening there, they felt they had to take control. But it became very sensitive, in other words, you better not say or even ask a question. I thought what they did at the start of the second half in bringing the coaches and the captains together, we just said, “let’s play basketball.” I thought the second half was much better. It’s their game. They know what they’re doing and we have to adjust to it. It made it a different atmosphere, let’s put it that way. And for both teams. That’s why I’m really proud of my team”.
John Schuhmann: Kyle Lowry: “Aren’t you the one who said we were going to lose?” Me: “If you didn’t start playing better.” I think they did.
SI.com: Do you wish you were playing? Isaiah Thomas: Yes, I wish I was part of the team. Hopefully for the next Olympics I could be in consideration. I’m ready for the opportunity and hope it comes my way. But I’m definitely rooting for those guys to bring the gold home.
“I had some chills when we went to the Finals in 2012 (with the Oklahoma City Thunder); a tear rolled down my eyes in that moment. But you can’t really put into words (what it feels like when) you’re so united like that. You look in the stands, and you see everybody that has an American flag on, or red, white and blue. And it’s not about the Warriors or the Raptors or the Clippers of the Knicks, it’s all about Team USA,” Durant, who signed with the Golden State Warriors last month, said after practice on Thursday.
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December 10, 2018 | 9:48 am EST Update
The Detroit Pistons have expressed interest in trading for Damyean Dotson, according to a league source. Luke Kennard, the backup guard, has missed games due to injury but also has not found a fit in Dwane Casey’s system.
While New Orleans is trying to win enough to convince Davis to stay, the rest of the league is ruminating about what it would take to pry Davis away. Such speculation is happening constantly now, but executives around the league see virtually no chance that Davis is traded before the Pelicans can offer him that super-max extension in July. New Orleans, as it should, will do everything it can to keep Davis — and will move on from him only if it absolutely has to.
If that happens, the Pelicans will have only one logical option: to trade Davis before he leaves in free agency. The same process has played out with several others, including Leonard, Jimmy Butler, DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George. None of them, though, would inspire the kind of bidding war an available Davis would. “That’s what you guys do,” Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry said of the trade speculation. “You guys talk about it. He’s here. He’s playing on our team. We’re trying to win games. That’s the only thing that matters right now. “It’s not anything that I’m going to have a say-so in or anything else, so we don’t bother with it. We worry about now. We worry about winning games and putting everybody in the best position to win games.”
Interestingly, Jimmy Butler and Brown agreed in separate interviews Sunday that the Sixers’ offensive spacing is fine. Butler has flourished here since arriving Nov. 12, having scored 38 points in each of the past two outings. “I think the spacing is great,” Butler said. “I think we have a lot of guys that can put the ball in the basket. We just have to pick and choose where we’re going to be at a certain time. As long as we keep sharing the ball the way that we share the ball and guarding, I’m telling you, we’re going to win.
As for Embiid, Butler can empathize with having to adjust on the fly. “I know where his heart is, man,” Butler said. “I can feel for him. It’s new for myself. It’s new to him. It’s new to everybody. But we’re O.K. I know he wants to win. “He’s frustrated. He wanted to play (Friday and) coach didn’t let him play. We need him. He’s been doing a lot on both ends of the floor for this team. As our best player, I can understand him being frustrated. We’ll figure out ways to make sure he’s successful.”
But here they are, still together. Perhaps it’s because of Wade’s nature. Those who know him well will tell you he takes after his grandmother, who helped raise him and was extremely giving, accepting and forgiving. To be James’ friend for any length of time, maybe it requires a person whom James respects, but also someone who is willing to deal with the challenges James’ personality brings with it. Wade is one of the greatest players in NBA history; James certainly respects that. And Wade has been willing to roll with James’ changing moods and desires over the years. If Wade has ever held any grudge, it has never been apparent.
And Lillard, 28, is something of a media chaos agent: He had the NBA watchers watching him this summer as he broke news of reporters changing jobs, reminding them — occasionally by force — that no one at this level is in the business of keeping secrets. “Nobody knew where I was getting my information from,” Lillard would recall, and the power and insider knowledge was at times intoxicating.