France Rumors

Kadeem Allen to play in France

JL Bourg added some playmaking to its backcourt with the signing of Kadeem Allen on a one-year deal, the club announced Monday. Allen (1.88 meters, 27 years old) arrives Westchester of the G-League, where he collected 13.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, 5.3 assists and 1.3 steals in 24 games last season. Allen also played in 10 NBA games with New York in 2019-20.
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William Howard to play in France

LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne announced the signing of another top French player with a two-year contract with forward William Howard, the club announced Thursday. Howard (2.02 meters, 26 years old) arrives at ASVEL after playing last season in the United States for Houston of the NBA and Salt Lake City and Rio Grande of the D-League.
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ASVEL Villeurbanne president Tony Parker said that promoting T.J. Parker, his brother, to the head coach position was an “obvious” decision towards his goal to keep the club’s French identity and preserve a certain level of continuity. “This new coaching staff is an obvious choice for us,” Parker said in a press conference held in Astroballe arena, Tuesday (23/6), per ASVEL. “Our wish was to remain a 100% French club and work in continuity. T.J. [Parker] has been at the club for eight years and now it’s a good time to give him a chance. Now we have to bring trophies. Our coaching staff is very comprehensive and of a very good standard for France. Frederic Fauthoux can bring a lot to T.J. with his experience and that can make a difference.”
While the NBA is still hoping to return to action this season, the French Pro A league has shuttered its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tony Parker, the president and majority owner of the French Pro A men’s and women’s basketball club ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, said it was an easy decision. “We were the first French team that let our players go home,” Parker told The Undefeated. “It was bigger than sports. Health is bigger than everything. … It was an easy decision to let everyone go home because it was important that they were with their families. “I knew really quickly that we were going to be confined a long time. … When I talked to [French] government people, I knew it was going to be four or five months or a year before we got back to normal.”
The French Basketball Federation announced that all the competitions for 2019-2020 that are held by the organization are canceled amid the coronavirus crisis. The only exception is the Women’s Basketball League for which a final decision will be taken on April 10. The French Federation organizes all basketball competitions in France except the French Jeel Elite League (the First Division championship), Pro B (the professional Second Division) and the Leaders Cup. This means that there won’t be a French Cup this season.
Storyline: Coronavirus
Fournier noted that it was just that, a joke, and added that it was easier to blame him as a foreigner: “It’s typically the thing where we’re going to blame the stranger. He’s European so he brought the virus back? When we don’t know. Who says it was not Donovan Mitchell who infected him? The environment is unhealthy, not helped by what Donald Trump says. The joke with the microphones was a joke where no one had realized the magnitude of the thing. It’s easy to point the finger a posteriori. I could have made the same joke.”
Michael Jordan recalled playing in the French capital in a preseason tournament in 1996 and placed it as part of the legacy of the NBA’s international growth. “The game has grown tremendously since I played here 23 years ago,” he said. “The Dream Team had started it. Then there was the time I played here. Now we have two teams playing a regular-season game here. We have expanded to Africa and China.”
One NBA personnel man told The Post Ntilikina would have been better off spending at least one more season overseas, in a higher-quality European league than in France. Instead, Ntilikina entered the NBA as a 19-year-old and former Knicks president Phil Jackson drafted him at No. 8 to run the triangle. Jackson was fired days later. “I’m comfortable,’’ Ntilikina said of the switch. “It’s just a role change. When I’m on the court, I know it’s my job. I got to do my job and bring everything I can to the team.’’
As an owner, Parker also said he draws inspiration from the Spurs, who entered the current campaign with an NBA record streak of 22 straight playoff appearances. He called San Antonio, with Popovich at the helm since December 1996, a model for the way he runs ASVEL. “Yes, for sure,” he declared. “There’s some stuff that I take and some stuff that I do my own way, but it’s a lot of stuff that I take from the Spurs. It’s a lot of great stuff that you can take from what we did during that run, that 20-year run, and so it definitely inspired me.”
Vincent Poirier was backing up the NBA defensive player of the year, Rudy Gobert, who willingly dispensed advice. “He helped me a lot, especially on all the defensive stuff,” Poirier said. “I knew the defense we played with the national team would be more like Boston’s. So [Gobert] helped me a lot. I come now, and I know how to play defense.” Poirier said he also peppered Gobert and teammates Evan Fournier (Magic), Nicolas Batum (Hornets), and Frank Ntilikina (Knicks) with questions about NBA life, from the games to the fans to the travel. “I asked them all I can,” he said, “because I don’t want to be surprised when I get there.”
USA Basketball has kept its No. 1 spot in the FIBA world men’s rankings, even after a disappointing seventh-place showing in the World Cup that ended earlier this week. It’s now nine years and counting in the top spot for the U.S., which has held the No. 1 ranking since winning the 2010 world championship. World Cup champion Spain stayed No. 2, Australia leaped eight spots to No. 3, World Cup finalist Argentina rose one spot to No. 4 and World Cup bronze medalist France fell two slots to No. 5.
Storyline: World Cup
Globally, there has been a lot of talk about Team USA’s absences, and the 32 players who withdraw their names from the preliminary roster. Fournier, 26 was critical of his competitors in the NBA: “It does [bother me]. To be honest, when you look at LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and all these guys… they came here already and won, so it’s fine. But for friends of mine like Tobias [Harris], I thought it was a great opportunity for him to see something different and compete. I think they don’t realize how beneficial this is for their career. It’s a great tournament, great basketball, super intense. I know you have to work on your game, but this is way better.”
Spain was waiting for its opponent in the 2019 FIBA World Cup final on Sunday at Beijing and Argentina completed the pairing in the gold medal match by defeating France, 80-66, on Friday at China’s capital. Manu Ginobili was in attendance for both semifinals, but thoroughly enjoyed his country triumph in the second contest. Former teammate Luis Scola put in the work on the court with a 13-10 double-double at halftime and 28 points coupled with 13 boards in the end of the match.
Storyline: World Cup
Turner had a brilliant game Monday against Brazil, and he may have let it get to his head. He compared himself to Gobert and said, “He’s the defensive player of the year, according to some.” Well, the French players saw the quote and showed it to Gobert. “Yeah we saw it and we showed it to him,” said Nicolas Batum, of the Hornets. “We know he’s great on defense, so we’re going to use it to motivate him tonight.”
“A lot of guys played well,” Popovich said. “(Gobert and Fornier) were outstanding, but they have a basketball team. All the pieces fit and they’re all playing defense. Their sharing the basketball. They made good decisions. There weren’t too many mental mistakes. I think the switching bothered them for a while and we got back in the game and went ahead. In the end, I think their experience and their execution showed. It wasn’t just two guys.”
Storyline: World Cup
The exciting thing, however, is that they beat the USA by being among other things taller. Coach Gregg Popovich had to play small against Rudy Gobert, but the small ball didn’t affect at all the French game plan. “We knew, and we didn’t want to adjust to that,” explained Batum after the game. “We wanted to keep him on the court. Because… he is our best player. He is the back-to-back defensive player of the year. We know what he can bring in defense and offense as well. That’s why the coach kept him on the court. We knew that his defense would help us. And he also help us on offense. He got better, and that will be the next step for him. He has shown some improvement, he moves better, he knows how to get inside, and if he gets to be like we want him to be, it will be the next step.”
Storyline: World Cup
Rudy Gobert has now got some “bragging rights” over his Utah Jazz teammate Donovan Mitchell following the historic win of France over Team USA in the World Cup quarterfinals. However, the two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year will leave trash talk aside for now since he can imagine how much this defeat hurt his teammate. “I don’t think that’s the way I am,” Gobert said. “I like to talk a little trash. But this kind of competition….I just lost to Australia. I love Joe but I wanted to stop him. It hurts. I think this experience is going to make Donovan better. We have to go hard when we go for the national team, but we also have to go that way with Utah. I’m excited for both.”
You would expect a celebration after France’s wins but that was not the case. There were smiles but things were pretty quiet and there was a reason for that. France had beaten the host country and their longtime nemesis Spain back in the 2014 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals. Nobody really remembers that, however, since Serbia beat France in the semifinal. And Even Fournier remembers it: “We have won the quarterfinals, but if we lose the next one, we will return to Paris like suckers. We have seen it when we were beaten by Serbia back in the 2014 World Cup and then we relaxed. It’s obvious that it’s an experience that will help us”.