2012 Olympics

Latest On Kings, Sacramento, Seattle

Mayor Kevin Johnson conducted his "State of the City" address in Sacramento tonight to discuss the city's goal in preventing the Kings from moving to Seattle. As we relayed earlier, Mitch Richmond is set to join local investors in an attempt to buy the team along with Mark Mastrov, and Ron Burkle was revealed as a prominent figure in helping fund a new arena in Downtown Plaza. There were a plenty of updates during the speech, and you can find the more noteworthy links below:

  • Yahoo Sports' Adrian Wojnarowski says that Mastrov's bid is "slightly lower" than the offer from the Chris Hansen-led Seattle group, which has agreed to pay $341MM for 65% ownership of the Kings. One source told Wojnarowski that while Sacramento's efforts are a long shot, the bid is close enough to cause debate. Mayor Johnson, along with the investors he has put together, will still have to make a case to the NBA Board of Governors in April and convince NBA owners to vote against the ratification of the agreement between the Maloofs and Seattle. 
  • While Burkle is leading the charge for a new arena, he would also receive a stake in the team if the city's bid is successful, tweets Ken Berger of CBSSports.com. He also writes that Johnson appeared confident about making his case to the NBA: "As a city we have done everything that the NBA has ever asked of us. Everything. Each time the NBA put a challenge in front of us, we not only stepped up, but we over-delivered. There is literally nothing more that we could have done, and I am convinced that in return for our efforts, the NBA is going to make the right decision. … A small market that is [as] committed to this league as we are will be rewarded by keeping its team." 
  • Near the beginning of his address, Mayor Johnson adamantly stated: "I do hope (Seattle gets) a team one day…it is not going to be this team, not our team. No way." (Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today).  
  • It was confirmed that there are 20 local community investors who have committed $1MM each toward buying the team (Twitter link via Ken Berger). 
  • Berger also relayed that the proposed new ownership group plans to bring back the city's WNBA franchise – the Sacramento Monarchs – to share the downtown arena with the Kings. 
  • NBA.com's Scott Howard-Cooper says that Mastrov is expected to submit a bid to the league office tomorrow. According to Mayor Johnson, tweets Berger, the bid will be "strong and competitive" and David Stern has made assurances that it will receive "full consideration." 

Odds & Ends: Stoudemire, World Peace, Lillard

Saturday afternoon linkage from around the Association..

  • Concern about the health of Amare Stoudemire, who's set to return to the Knicks soon, led Team USA officials to pass him over for a spot on this year's Olympic team, even though the squad was short on big men, as Marc Berman of the New York Post reveals.
  • Lakers forward Metta World Peace has been relegated to the bench, but he won't be asking for a trade over it, writes Janis Carr of the Orange County Register.  In fact, the veteran seems to be taking it all in stride.  “I just want to win, that’s our focus,” World Peace said. “I can’t speak for other players, but its all about us wining. That’s our whole purpose.
  • The Blazers' Damian Lillard remembers being considered the No. 2 point guard in the draft at one point behind the Suns Kendall Marshall, but refuses to knock the North Carolina product, writes Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com.
  • Brian Geltzeiler of Sheridan Hoops issued a letter of apology to Magic General Manager Rob Hennigan for his criticism of the Dwight Howard trade.  At the time, it appeared that Orlando allowed themselves to be pillaged by three NBA teams, but they ultimately made the best move for the club in the long-term.

Odds & Ends: Olympics, Blazers, Jason Terry

With the Olympics in the books and the start of the 2012-13 nearly three months away, we've hit a lull in the year where basketball of any sort still remains weeks, not days, away. Make sure you take a moment to catch up on our features and other original content to help you get your NBA fix. With Friday nearly in the books, here's the latest news and headlines from around the league…

  • Much speculation has been made about a possible age limit for the 2016 Olympics in Rio where only players 23 and under would be eligible to play for their country. Patrick Baumann, the head of FIBA, conducted an in-house interview on Friday and announced that FIBA has no plans to implement an age restriction for 2016. 
  • Beyond adding three assistant coaches to the mix on Friday, the Trail Blazers will retain former NBA guard Hersey Hawkins as the player development director, tweets Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com. Dan Dickau's future as an assistant to Hawkins remains unclear as he is a part-time employee (via Twitter).
  • Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld says Jason Terry will be key to the Celtics' title hopes given his experience with the Mavericks. Even though the Heat will remain the favorite entering the season, Ingram believes the Celtics will be contenders as the 2012-13 season approaches.
  • Celtics assistant general manager Mike Zarren has emerged as a contender for the Sixers' general manager position, reports SI.com's Sam Amick. The position has become more desirable as a result of the team acquiring All-Star center Andrew Bynum via trade earlier this month.

Poll: Who Should Be Team USA’s New Coach?

Mike Krzewzyski is set to step down as head coach of USA Basketball. He will finish with an all-time record of 62-1. Following the USA's victory over Spain to capture the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, people including LeBron James and Doc Rivers weighed in on who should be his successor.

James and Rivers both endorse San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich to succeed Krzewzyski, although Rivers adds that Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins would also be a strong candidate, and that Rivers himself would accept the position if offered to him.

Who do you think should coach Team USA going forward? Should it be Rivers, Popovich, Collins, or someone else? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Olympics Notes: Bryant, James, Popovich

Kevin Durant's strong performance throughout the Olympics served as a major reason why Team USA's leaving London with gold. The three-time reigning NBA scoring champion averaged 19.5 PPG, 5.8 RPG and 2.6 APG over the course of the Olympics. Let's catch up on the latest news and headlines from London…

  • Doc Rivers endorses Doug Collins to succeed Mike Krzyzewski as head coach of Team USA.
  • One of the many secrets to Kobe Bryant's success has been Dr. Judy Seto, the Lakers' physical therapist, writes Mike Trudell of NBA.com. Dr. Seto's so important to Bryant that she's accompanied Bryant to the last two Olympics to ensure his health while playing abroad. Bryant wanted to have Dr. Seto's services entirely to himself during the 2008 Olympics so he didn't tell Lakers teammate Pau Gasol that she was in Beijing.
  • LeBron James joined Michael Jordan as the only players to win NBA title, Olympic gold, NBA regular-season MVP and NBA Finals MVP in the same year, tweets Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. Durant stands as the most likely player to join this elite club in 2016 when the Olympics head to Rio.
  • With Krzyzewski set to call it an Olympic career, much conversation has come up regarding his replacement. Chris Tomasson of FOX Sports says both Rivers and James believe Gregg Popovich should be the next USA Basketball head coach (via Twitter).

Team USA Knocks Off Spain To Win Gold

Team USA secured its second straight gold medal after defeating Spain 107-100 on Sunday in London. Strong play from LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who led all scorers with 30 points, allowed Team USA to match Spain for three quarters and pull away in the fourth. Kevin Love continued with his dominant post play as he grabbed nine rebounds to go with nine points. 

The victory gave head coach Mike Krzyzewski his 62nd and final win with Team USA as he is set to step down from the position. Kobe Bryant, in his final Olympic appearance, scored 17 points, but deferred to James as the reigning MVP took over in the fourth quarter with his all-around outstanding play. Coach K expressed sheer jubilation by jumping up and down on the sidelines once the outcome was no longer in question.

Durant leaves London as the most prolific scorer in Team USA history over the course of one Olympics. The Oklahoma City star scored 156 points over the course of the tournament to add to the growing scoring accolades he's earned over the course of his young career.

For Spain, Pau Gasol's standout performance wasn't nearly enough as the team was plagued by Marc Gasol's early foul trouble. Former Grizzlies guard Juan Carlos Navarro seemingly scored at will early in the game, but disappeared later in the contest. While Spain came up short, they gave the United States all they could and nearly came away with the upset. 

Olympics Notes: Kevin Love, Coach K, FIBA

Team USA will attempt to make it two gold medals in a row on Sunday when it takes on Spain in the Olympic men's basketball final. The team has looked strong throughout the Olympics but will face a challenge from Spain, who features arguably the strongest frontcourt thanks to Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol. Before Team USA and Spain do battle, let's catch up with the latest news and headlines from around the Olympics.

  • Chris Palmer of ESPN The Magazine has the story of how Kevin Love met Tyson Chandler when he was a pudgy middle schooler and Chandler was months away from being taken second overall in the 2001 NBA Draft. "I’m gonna be in the NBA one day," Love told Chandler. "You’ll want my autograph someday. You’ll see."
  • Mike Krzyzewski has had quite the run as the head coach of the USA Basketball team as he's set to call it an Olympic career after Sunday's game, writes Marc Stein of ESPN.com. With a victory over Spain, Coach K will run his record to 62-1.
  • FIBA chief Patrick Baumann says that the three-point line for international play will be moved to the NBA distance at some point in the future, tweets Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. "We think probably we should have gone sooner to the NBA distance from Day One," said Baumann.

Hunter Promises Player Input On Olympic Age Limit

A recent piece written by Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports suggested Billy Hunter, executive director of the players union, was "too weakened and distracted" from the recent discord within the union to put up much of a fight against a move to limit the Olympics to players age 23 and under. Hunter, who has a seat on USA Basketball's board of directors, insists the players will have a voice in any discussion of an age limit, Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today writes.

"Whatever the players decide, that's what I'll end up supporting," the union chief said. "They don't want anybody being able to dictate whether they can or cannot do that."

NBA commissioner David Stern told Zillgitt last week that he's in no rush to push for an age limit, and Hunter, who said he met with Stern two days ago, echoed that an age limit is still a long way from becoming reality. There are no meetings scheduled to discuss the topic, though USA basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo wants to begin formal talks shortly following the London Games. 

Stern, at the behest of Mark Cuban and other owners who've expressed displeasure about allowing NBA players to take part in competitions that aren't under NBA control, has spoken publicly about engaging FIBA in discussion on limiting player participation in the Olympics and funneling them into the World Cup of basketball, a rebranded World Championships that would take place every four years under some kind of partnership between FIBA and the NBA.   

Odds & Ends: Blazers, Timberwolves, McGrady

The NBA does not make a profit by sending its stars to play at the Olympics, and a move to re-direct their headline players into a rebranded World Cup of Basketball would certainly change that. While Ken Berger of CBS Sports understands the idea of pulling NBA stars out of the Olympic games in the future, he says that it should be based on the premise that "Dream Teams" have run their course, and not because it is driven by an opportunity for David Stern and NBA owners to try to make money elsewhere. With that aside, here are some of tonight's miscellaneous links…

  • Bill Ingram of HoopsWorld mentions that Jeremy Lamb, Royce White, and Terrence Jones cannot be included in a potential Dwight Howard trade until the end of August, specifically 30 days after each of them signed their rookie deals with the Rockets on July 26 (Sulia link).  
  • In a series of tweets, Jason Quick of The Oregonian reports that Trail Blazers GM Neil Olshey has concluded the second round of interviews and will "move on to the next phase" of the process once all four finalists are given due consideration.  Although team owner Paul Allen was not involved in the interviews with Terry StottsSteve CliffordKaleb Canales, and Elston Turner, Quick assumes that Olshey will ultimately present a recommendation for hire to Allen after deliberation.  Chris Haynes of CSNNW.com (via Twitter) pointed out that Turner's interview lasted for four-and-a-half hours today.
  • When asked if the Timberwolves had more changes to make after the Olympics, GM David Kahn replied, "Maybe it’s a tweak here and there, maybe even something big, to make us even better still" (according to a tweet by Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune).  In a separate piece, Marcus R. Fuller of the Pioneer Press documented Kahn's thoughts on the team's new additions this offseason.  
  • HoopsWorld's Alex Kennedy says that although the Bulls and Tracy McGrady have flirted in the past, it doesn't sound like a deal is close (Twitter link). 

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Souhan On Wolves, Olympics

Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune has written a new column tracking several members of the Timberwolves' performances in the London Summer Olympics:

  • New signees Andrei Kirilenko and Alexey Shved, teammates on the Russian national team, both turned in strong performances in an opening victory over Great Britain and have already developed chemistry.
  • Kevin Love, playing with Team USA, was impressed with the team's two new Russian players, and has already spoken to Kirilenko about the upcoming season.
  • Kirilenko and Shved were likewise impressed with Love, both today and during the 2011/12 season, and are excited about playing in Minnesota.