NEWS OF THE MORNING
No. 1: Krzyzewski, Colangelo downplay effects of George’s injury — Team USA pared down its roster to 16 yesterday as John Wall, Bradley Beal and Paul Millsap were cut, but the squad also will obviously not feature Paul George after he suffered a devastating broken leg injury on Saturday. Coach Mike Krzyzewski and USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo talked with the media about how they will go about assembling Team USA’s roster. Our John Schuhmann has more on what those two men had to say:
“We’ve been in communication with our players,” Colangelo said. “They are all on board. They recognize that injuries and sports go together, unfortunately. And we all have experiences that we could talk about, where players have been lost in practice, players have been lost in games and pick-up games for seasons. I personally have experienced that with my 45 years in the NBA.”
It wasn’t long after George broke his leg that people (rightfully) started to wonder how the injury — seen on national television — would affect the willingness of NBA players to play in international competitions in the summer. And we won’t really know if it will until 2016, when Colangelo calls on players for the Olympics in Brazil.
But he believes the pull of representing your country will overcome any risks players might see in playing competitively in the offseason.
“To be able to represent your country is what it’s all about,” Colangelo said. “It is about being patriotic. It is about selfless service. And our players get that. All you need to do is ask any of them who have been involved with us in our last three competitions and they would, to a man, say they feel they’re better people, better players, and felt a real warming within their soul to represent their country.”
NBA owners, of course, deserve a say in the matter. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has long been a critic of NBA guys playing for their country without compensation, continues to advocate for an international tournament run by the NBA.
“I think people need to read between the lines,” Colangelo said of Cuban’s comments. “He’s against international competition when he believes the beneficiary, being the IOC, is getting the money. So he’s basically saying it’s OK for our players to play internationally if the money goes to the NBA and to the team owners. That’s the difference.”
No. 2: Report: Pacers interested in Marion — Veteran small forward Shawn Marion is still out on the free-agent market, but interest in him seems to be picking up. Just the other day, the Cleveland Cavaliers were said to be in pursuit of the ex-Maverick and now, the Indiana Pacers — who need to fill roster gaps caused by Paul George‘s injury and Lance Stephenson‘s departure — may be interested, too. Shams Charania of RealGM.com has more:
Shawn Marion, the best unrestricted free agent on the market, has received inquiries from the Indiana Pacers and a strong push on a potential deal with the franchise, a league source told RealGM.
Marion spent a half-day in Cleveland to meet with the Cavaliers on Monday, and he remains intrigued about the opportunity to join LeBron James and possibly Kevin Love – even on a veteran-minimum contract.
Marion has since left Cleveland and is scheduling further meetings with NBA teams, a source said.
The Pacers had reached out to Marion early in free agency, before signing C.J. Miles and Rodney Stuckey. In the wake of Paul George’s injury, Indiana has turned its attention to replenishing the wing position and several veteran scorers remain available, including Jordan Hamilton and Jordan Crawford.
No. 3: Report: LeBron has first meeting with Blatt — Cleveland can hardly contain its excitement for when the season begins and LeBron James suits up again for the Cavs. While the city is looking forward to the start of James’ homecoming, what’s surprising is that he had not met with his new coach — David Blatt — until Tuesday. Brian Windhorst of ESPN.com has more on the meeting, the Cavs’ push for more free-agent additions and some other tidbits:
LeBron James met in person with new Cleveland Cavaliers coach David Blatt for the first time Tuesday as he prepares for the upcoming season, sources told ESPN.com.
James has been busy since announcing his decision to sign with the Cavs last month, going on promotional trips for Nike to Brazil and China and shooting a movie in New York. James met face to face with team owner Dan Gilbert before announcing his free-agent choice and had communicated with Blatt by text since signing.
Blatt saw a thinner James at their meeting. James has been focused on cutting his weight by reducing his carb intake since the end of the NBA Finals, and he has lost more than 10 pounds. James’ thinner frame was noticeable in some photos he posted on his Instagram account earlier this week.
It has been a busy week for the Cavs. Mike Miller visited and is expected to soon sign a two-year, $5.6 million deal. Cleveland also hosted veteran free-agent forward Shawn Marion on Monday and is hoping to sign him to a contract as well.
Since June, the team has been deep in discussions with the Minnesota Timberwolves about a trade for Kevin Love. ESPN reported last week that the Wolves and Cavs are focused on completing a deal once No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins is eligible to be traded Aug. 23, as multiple league sources have begun to describe a Love-to-Cleveland trade as inevitable.
James wasn’t in the same room as his front office this summer, but he has been working alongside team officials.
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Prospective new L.A. Clippers owner Steve Ballmer says he thinks it may be a while before Seattle gets another NBA team … MarShon Brooks, who was an All-Rookie Second Team member in 2011-12, is likely headed to play in Italy … Might the Knicks be willing to deal Pablo Prigioni and/or Wayne Ellington? … Wizards backup forward Drew Gooden is planning to play for Finland in the FIBA World Cup …