No. 1: Rose won’t forsake his Team USA commitment — The U.S. Men’s National Team is practicing away in Chicago on the second leg of its preparation stint for the 2014 FIBA World Cup. It’s the first time the squad has practiced since Paul George suffered his leg injury during the team’s scrimmage in Las Vegas. His absence from the team — coupled with Kevin Durant pulling out from the team for personal reasons — has thrust Bulls star Derrick Rose into the spotlight as the likely No. 1 option on the squad. Rose, for his part, told the media after Thursday’s practice he’s sticking with Team USA no matter what. The Chicago Tribune‘s K.C. Johnson has more:
But seeing Paul George on his back, his right tibia and fibula fractured and his 2014-15 NBA season over before it began, won’t deter Rose from his commitment to USA Basketball and his own comeback. The Bulls star stated as much on Thursday following Team USA’s practice at Quest Multisport, Rose’s first public comments since George’s horrific injury cut short an intrasquad scrimmage in Las Vegas on Aug. 1.
“I have no fears, I have faith,” Rose said. “I know that I’m going to be fine. I know that I busted my ass the entire two summers — you can say two seasons — to get back to where I am right now. Just try to keep it moving, stay positive every day, do everything consistent like I’ve been doing.
“I think everything will go my way.”
And so Rose keeps pushing forward, on to a Friday practice and Saturday exhibition against Brazil at the United Center. Next week, training camp shifts to New York and more exhibitions before the FIBA World Cup begins in Spain on Aug. 30.
Neither Rose nor USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau believes George’s injury or Kevin Durant’s subsequent departure create an added burden.
“There’s a lot of depth to this team,” Thibodeau said. “We have a ton of scoring. “I don’t think anyone is going to be taxed with heavy minutes.
“That’s the value of having depth. I still think it’s good for him to come back in this setting.”
No. 2: Blazers’ brass submit All-Star Game bid — The Portland Trail Blazers have been in the NBA since 1970, have won a championship and appeared in three Finals and boast a rich history of overall success. One thing Portland doesn’t have on its franchise resume, though, is having served as host to an NBA All-Star weekend. The team is hoping that will change soon, though, after submitting a bid for a future All-Star Game/weekend, writes Mike Tokito of The Oregonian:
The Portland Trail Blazers are one of three NBA teams that have never been given the opportunity to host the league’s All-Star Game. The franchise took a major step toward changing that Thursday, submitting a bid to host the 2017 or 2018 game at the Moda Center.
Team president Chris McGowan, who spearheaded the bid, said the game, along with the numerous activities that surround it, would be a major high point in the state’s sports history.
“It’s going to be the biggest event from a sports perspective hosted in Oregon’s history, I think,” McGowan said.
McGowan said the league sent teams bid packets that asked for information on hotel availability, arenas, airports, sites that could host events and other data.
“It’s very comprehensive,” McGowan said. “It’s probably 60 or 70 pages.”
The Blazers submitted their bid Thursday, one day ahead of Friday’s deadline.
McGowan said he has not yet been told when the league would make a decision, but he understands it could be as early as the first quarter of 2015.
Earlier this week, the Charlotte Hornets announced they had submitted a bid. McGowan is not sure what Portland’s other competition will be.
“I’ve heard rumblings that there are anywhere from six to 10 teams that are going to be bidding,” he said. “But I haven’t heard specifically of any other teams other than us and Charlotte.”
McGowan said despite the money flowing into local businesses, the Blazers would probably take a loss from hosting the game, but would be OK doing so because of the positive impact for the city and region. Paul Allen, who owns the team and the Moda Center, is all in on the effort, McGowan said.
“This isn’t a money-maker for us — hosting these events actually costs money,” McGowan said. “But it’s so great for the city of Portland and the region that Paul’s completely supportive of it, and obviously, everybody knows how big a fan he is of the NBA. He definitely thinks the fans deserve it, but he would also love to witness a game in his arena and in the city in which he’s owned a team for a long time.”
No. 3: Trainer opens up about Anthony’s weight loss, offseason — We mentioned in this space yesterday that Carmelo Anthony has shed weight in the offseason to reportedly fit better into the new triangle offense the Knicks are likely to run in 2014-15. That’s true, but his reasons for losing weight go deeper than that, according to Anthony’s personal trainer Idan Ravin. The New York Post‘s Marc Berman caught up with Ravin, who detailed Anthony’s offseason regimen:
Idan Ravin, Anthony’s personal trainer since he left Syracuse after winning the NCAA title 11 years ago, said his client’s dramatic offseason weight loss stems from his desire to lead the Knicks vocally and by example.
Ravin also said in an interview with The Post Thursday his offseason work with Anthony is not done and there’s not always assurance weight loss will translate into greater basketball performance.
“Amazing people have been hired over there and he wants to come in as the leader and a top-three player in the world,’’ Ravin told The Post, adding Anthony wants the Knicks to follow his lead. “If [he’s] being meticulous, you should not just follow [his] word, but follow [his] actions.’’
The trainer, whose other full-time clients are Chris Paul and J.R. Smith, said Anthony’s dedication has been astounding. He said there was no specific diet regimen, though eliminating carbs is a staple.
“It’s consistency,’’ Ravin said. “That’s what it is. No, I’m not going to just juice and cleanse for four days and drop a few pounds. That’s what’s causing the long-term changes.
“Give someone chocolate cake, it’s easy to say no when someone’s around,’’ added Ravin, author of “The Hoops Whisperer,” a new book on his life. “When no one’s around, it’s a gift [to say no].
“Making fundamentally sound choices, eating smart calories, not wasted calories,’’ Ravin said of his strategy with Anthony. “We go out to eat, he’s making good choices.’’
Sources told The Post Wednesday Anthony wants to be speedier in the triangle offense and play with an athleticism similar to his rookie year, when he weighed 230 pounds. Anthony was listed at 240 pounds in the preseason media guide last year, but appeared heavier.
According to Ravin, pounds aren’t the issue, body fat is.
“Weight loss doesn’t always mean better performance,’’ Ravin said. “It’s weight loss along with other things. We’re not talking about this being ‘The Biggest Loser’ contest. He dropped weight, yes. Is he skinny? No. He’s a world-class athlete. He’s very fit.
“[But] it’s not losing weight. It’s decreasing body fat. It’s a piece, just like flexibility and strength. It’s one element of a bigger piece.’’
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Steph Curry had second thoughts about playing for Team USA after Paul George‘s injury … Pacers officials say the team isn’t expecting Paul George‘s injury to hurt ticket sales too much … The Wizards are expecting to get some kind of production this season out of second-round pick Joseph Blair … Should the Pistons think about trading Greg Monroe? …