Morning shootaround — Aug. 19

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Final cuts loom for USA | Irving says he hasn’t been a ‘leader’ on Cavs | Boeheim: ‘Melo should have picked Bulls | Scott to keep Madsen on staff

No. 1: Final cuts for Team USA looms — The players vying to make Team USA’s roster for the 2014 FIBA World Cup are in New York this week as exhibition dates against the Dominican Republic (Wed., 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV) and Puerto Rico (Friday, 7 ET, ESPN2) loom. By that Friday game, though, it’s likely the roster will be set as the U.S. gears up for the start of FIBA play roughly a week later. ESPN.com’s Marc Stein reports that the final cuts for Team USA could happen Thursday:

Final cuts to the Team USA roster could come as soon as Thursday, according to USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo.

Colangelo told ESPN.com that one scenario under consideration by USA Basketball officials is reducing the current 16-man roster to 12 or 13 players after Wednesday night’s exhibition game against the Dominican Republic at Madison Square Garden.

“We’ve said we wanted to wait through the end of the week in New York before we made cutbacks,” Colangelo said Monday, “but that could still change.”

The appeal of making cuts after the game against the Al Horford-less Dominicans, Colangelo said, is setting up coach Mike Krzyzewski and the group that will ultimately represent the United States at the FIBA World Cup starting Aug. 30 in Spain for “one good practice together” before Friday night’s MSG exhibition against Puerto Rico.

Colangelo, though, did stress that keeping all 16 players through the Puerto Rico game is also still an option. Team USA is then scheduled to fly to Europe on Saturday to begin a 23-day stay in Spain for FIBA’s inaugural World Cup, which runs through Sept. 14.

USAB must submit its official 12-man roster for the World Cup on Aug. 29 — one day before the tournament starts — but Colangelo said there remains “a possibility we could carry 13 to Spain” and then make one last cut in the final week before the tournament begins.


VIDEO: Coach Mike Krzyzewski talks about how Team USA his progressing

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No. 2: Irving admits he hasn’t been a ‘leader’ in Cleveland — Accolades have followed Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving throughout his still-young NBA career as he’s already garnered the Rookie of the Year trophy, has been an All-Star and is a potential member of Team USA. Yet for all that success, Irving sees a glaring hole in his on-court skills — that being in leadership. In a chat with RealGM.com’s Shams Charania, Irving opens up about how he is looking forward to having LeBron James and other NBA veterans aboard next season to learn from:

Across the NBA, LeBron James and Kobe Bryant heaved praise on Irving at such a young age, as such a genius scorer and wizard of the ball, and only he understands the truth. He knows he’s been no leader, no influence for players, but just a one-and-done collegiate athlete given apprentice status and ownership of an underdeveloped program.

“I haven’t been a leader – not at all,” Irving told RealGM.

He swears he’s unconditionally focused on USA Basketball, but away from here LeBron James has long since returned and helped bring Mike Miller, Shawn Marion and James Jones to Cleveland. Kevin Love is coming, too. The Indiana Pacers pushed hard for Marion, and sources say they laid out a $1.7-plus million offer and an outline of a significant role in discussions with the free agent veteran.

Irving is an unquestioned talent, and he admits his ongoing lessons about turning personal accolades into team success – knowing how desperately he needed this roster upgrade, in talent and professionalism.

“Everybody asks me if this is my year to be a leader … I haven’t been so far though, not at all,” Irving said. “I’ve just been a kid trying to figure it out. There’s no perfect way to be a leader, and coming in as a 19-year-old kid and having everything bearing on your shoulders, there are a lot of ups and downs. Now it’s about being the best every single day and not being afraid.

“I’m more than excited with our new veterans. I’m really excited just from the standpoint of how the locker room is going to go and how to really be a professional. I’m not saying that the veterans that we had weren’t professionals themselves, but we didn’t have enough. Given the right and wrong things to do in the league, I’ve had to learn on my own and that’s what some of us been doing.

“Now, we have guys who’ve been in the league for years, guys who’ve won championships and have had to give a piece of their game for the greater good of the team. It’s something I admire and something I’m going to learn from.”

And out went Mike Brown; in came David Blatt, a creative offensive coach abroad. When hired, Blatt reached out to Irving and swiftly laid out an initial game plan. “My offense is tailored to you, to all my players, and what your strengths are,” Blatt told Irving.

Irving says his decision to re-sign with Cleveland on July 1 was simple, and yes, a five-year, maximum-salary deal brings ease to that choice. Yet, Irving is adamant: “I had nothing to do with the [coaching search].” No input and consultation needed, he says, and David Griffin had been entrusted with the hiring process.


VIDEO: Kyrie Irving talks about his potential role on the U.S. National Team

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No. 3: Boeheim thinks ‘Melo should have picked Bulls — Give Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim credit for this: he’s consistent on his message. Back in late June, Boeheim said he thought the then-free agent Carmelo Anthony — a former player under Boeheim at Syracuse — would thrive if he signed with the Chicago Bulls. Anthony decided to re-sign with the New York Knicks instead this summer and how that will play out going forward is anyone’s guess. As Ian Bagley from ESPNNewYork.com reports, though, Boeheim is holding to his opinion about where Anthony would have had the best chance to succeed:

If Carmelo Anthony had based his free-agency decision this summer purely on basketball, Jim Boeheim believes that he would have been better off in Chicago than New York.

“Just from a basketball point of view it would have been better to go to Chicago because they’ve got better players,” Boeheim, who coached Anthony on Syracuse’s national championship team in 2003, said on Monday. “But he wanted to be in New York and he wants to see if they can turn it around there. I think that’s a great thing.”

Boeheim’s belief that the Bulls are currently a better team than the Knicks isn’t unfounded. Chicago boasts a team featuring Derrick Rose, Joakim Noah and the newly signed Pau Gasol.

“I think anybody would agree with that. That’s not rocket science,” Boeheim said after Team USA practiced at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Boeheim also said that Anthony probably would have left New York if Phil Jackson hadn’t taken over as president of the team.

“I would think so. He stayed because he believes Phil,” Boeheim said. “Derek Fisher, he knows the game. If you’re going to pick a coach who hasn’t coached, he would be the guy I would pick. I think he’s a great choice. I talked to Derek a little bit. I think he’s really smart. I think he’ll be a really good coach. I think they’ll show significant improvement this year. If they get a couple of guys down the road, I think they’ll be good.”


VIDEO: Knicks.com looks at the team’s 10 best matchups for 2014-15

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No. 4: Scott rounding out his staff in L.A. — New L.A. Lakers coach Byron Scott has a few months to go until the team opens up training camp, so it makes sense for him to get his cadre of assistants squared away well before then. According to Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News, Scott will retain Mark Madsen as an assistant and add a couple other folks to the mix:

Mark Madsen is expected to stay, according to league sources, after spending the past year as a player development coach for former Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni and an associate head coach with the team’s Las Vegas Summer League team. Madsen also played a heavy role with the Lakers’ drafting efforts, attending both the NBA pre-draft combine and participating in various draft workouts. Madsen also had played nine years in the NBA and was on the Lakers’ 2001 and 2002 championship teams. It is not currently clear what Madsen’s title will be under Scott.

Scott is also expected to add veteran assistant Jim Eyen to his staff, according to league sources. Eyen has spent 23 years as an NBA assistant coach in various capacities, most recently with the Sacramento Kings (2009-2013). Such stops also included the Lakers (1989-92), Clippers (1988-89, 2003-09), Milwaukee Bucks (1992-96) and Portland Trail Blazers (1997-2001). Eyen also had scouting jobs with the New York Knicks (1996-97, 2003), was an assistant coach at University of California at Santa Barbara (1984-88) and served as a consultant for professional teams in the Netherlands, Germany and Japan. Eyen is also the son-in-law of Bill Bertka, the Lakers’ current special assistant and basketball consultant to general manager Mitch Kupchak.

ESPN Los Angeles first reported the Lakers’ likelihood to add Eyen to Scott’s staff.

Scott will likely have four people on his coaching staff. Possibilities include Lakers assistant Johnny Davis and player development coach Larry Lewis, both of whom are still under contract. It is widely expected that Scott’s son, Thomas, will join his staff after coaching with the D-Fenders, the Lakers’ Development League affiliate.

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SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anthony Bennett is doing what he can to try and tune out the Kevin Love trade rumors … GM Billy King says the Nets don’t plan to limit Brook Lopez‘s minutes next season … The Knicks will reportedly hire Jim Cleamons as an assistant on coach Derek Fisher’s staff … Former Phoenix Suns guard Leandro Barbosa may be nearing a deal with the Miami Heat … Ex-Heat guard Toney Douglas will reportedly play in China next season … Former Grizzlies player Josh Selby will be playing in Israel next season

 

20 Comments

  1. digitioli says:

    Where is my comment?!

  2. Mark says:

    @johnnyhoops1980 8th most efficient PG in the league…so still not that elite (but YES MCW was top 15!). Anyways, Curry, Lillard and even Wall are ranked ahead of him. I’m sure Rose would be if he were healthy.

  3. so excited for the final cut of USA team.hoping that irving will make it to the team.

  4. BIGGIE says:

    LMAO!! KEEP SLEEPING ON DEMAR DEROZEN11!! HIS THE 8 SCORING LEADER IN THE NBA…

  5. harriethehawk says:

    Kyrie Irving is young, how could he have been a leader? It’s a wrap anyway, the King is back in town…I’m more excited about the news that Barbosa may finally get picked up by a team, the Miami Heat. Best wishes Leandro!

  6. Anthony says:

    Irving admits he has been a ‘cheerleader’ in Cleveland

  7. See red says:

    The Knicks will be crushed in all those matchups named in that video. Top ten most intriguing knicks games= top 10 worst losses of the year

  8. Unkle Daddy says:

    Irving is a very good player, but a leader he was never gonna be. There are guys we expect to much of when the come in this league, we go oh he’s talented I bet he can lead, not every talented player is a leader. He has a leader with him now to learn from, so he’ll be ok.

    • charless702 says:

      That is a little unfair to say. I’m not big on Kyrie and I’m definitely not going to “crown” a guy that has accomplished nothing, like so many others do. IMO he’s not even a top 10 PG. That being said he’s a good up and comer. It’s kind of hard for a kid to lead grown men. Last year was Kyrie’s 3rd year in the NBA but you had a number of rookies or second year players who were older than him. It’s kind of hard to lead when you don’t know what to do. Even if he knew exactly what to do coming out of the gate, which he didn’t, and he still doesn’t, he’d have to prove himself before these older guys would follow him. Also to make myself clear to everyone else reading this, I don’t mean he doesn’t know how to play basketball, I mean he doesn’t know how to win.

  9. Titus says:

    Carmelo would have definitely been better on the bulls however his decision was totally financial..he’ll never win a ring..but who can blame him for getting his money though, unlike these other players who believe what the owners are trying to tell them” u have to take less money to win”…lol, really? The owners will not stop at anything to take money away from players and keep money in their pockets..I just hate that the veterans of yesteryear voted on high school students having to go to college for one year in order for them to get larger vet minimums on their way out the league….so selfish!!!

  10. James Soften says:

    NBA, stop trying to make Irving a superstar. He is just a ball hog with good handling skills.

    Cleveland should have traded him, no Wiggins.

  11. TTKIN says:

    Few weeks ago rumor had it that Byron was gonna try getting Gary Payton. Still hoping that happens.

  12. Irving admits he hasn’t been a ‘leader’ in Cleveland ……..

    Uhm, tell us something we don’t know, surprise us, impress us….this ain’t news at all

    “Everybody asks me if this is my year to be a leader. I haven’t been so far though, not at all,” Irving said.
    I’m wondering who is asking such questions???
    I guess we all know who is going to lead the squad from now on…& who will need to follow the leader in a new role.

    I predict that we will see some heated coversations on the Cavs bench like LBJ & Chalmers had last season.

    • charless702 says:

      Lebron will probably turn Irving into Chalmers. Chalmers could average 20 PPG too if he shot the ball 18 times a game. Expect Irving to have a Mario Chalmers type season next year. Only difference is Chalmers was probably a better piece next to Lebron because he’s a better shooter than Irving.

  13. love the honesty of irving. his a huge talent and yeah,maybe some upgrades in terms of defense then he’ll be the best point guard in the league. CAVSFORTHETITTLE.

  14. johnnyhoops1980 says:

    Bash Kyrie all you want. He’s one of the best, most explosive, young point guards in the league and he’s only getting better. His offensive numbers are great, although he does need to improve on his defense, but that will come. Even though the Cavs struggled last year, he was still one of the most efficient PG’s in the league per The PG Index: http://straighthoops.com/the_pg_index_revised.html

    • charless702 says:

      We don’t need to bask Kyrie, he has done that himself. Also did you read the article from your link? This is a direct quote from the 2nd paragraph: “an efficient point guard in today’s NBA needs to run the offense, score, defend, distribute the basketball, hit free throws, rebound (somewhat), and not turn over the basketball. Oh, and most importantly, you have to help your team win games. You can score 24 ppg or dish out 15 apg, but if you win 25 games a season, or if you can’t get your team into the playoffs, then what you’re doing is not working.” You can usually tell a decent PG by a stats page. However a stats page won’t tell you who’s elite. If you went by stats Lebron probably isn’t the best player in the NBA, however anyone who has watched more than a handful of basketball games knows he’s the best player. Kyrie isn’t a top 10, or IMO he isn’t even a top 15, PG. In fact I’d say there are multiple PG that don’t have the numbers that Kyrie has, yet they are far better PGs than him. Also this “efficiency list” has a warped view of the game. First steals have very little to do with playing good defense. Next they act like PPG, APG, T.O.PG, SPG, Winning % and free throw shooting are the only things that matter to a PG or when it comes to being efficient which is just ridiculous.

  15. randomguy says:

    Huh, well at least Kyrie is admitting to some of his faults. Now if he actually steps up on defense as well I will take the Cavs seriously.

    • charless702 says:

      Kyrie will never be a reason to take the Cavs seriously. If Lebron didn’t go back they’d still be competing for their 4th First Overall Pick in 5 years. Also Kyrie’s defense isn’t even his biggest flaw. Honestly I’m tired of people trying to crown players when they haven’t earned it. Kyrie hasn’t done anything except lead his team to back to back first overall picks, while playing in a horrible Eastern Conference. He wins All-Star MVP, which is a game where no one plays defense, and he crossed some guy up in the Rising Star game or whatever it was and people act like he’s this amazing player. You could even argue that Isaiah Thomas is a better PG than Kyrie. They almost have identical numbers except Thomas needs less shots to get his 20 points. He was also a better value since he was the last pick in the same draft, instead of the first.