While Team USA’s seventh-place finish at the 2019 World Cup in China wasn’t exactly a catastrophic outcome, given the stateside apathy toward non-Olympic international tournaments, USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo admitted to Chris Mannix of SI.com that the result will nag at him for the next year.
“There has not been any disappointment around USA Basketball in a while,” Colangelo said. “This will bother me until the 2020 Olympics.”
Colangelo, who believes that Team USA could still have won this year’s tournament if not for injuries to Kyle Kuzma and Jayson Tatum, said that two or three of the players on the World Cup roster have already earned spots on the 2020 Olympic squad. While Colangelo didn’t name those specific players, Mannix surmises that Kemba Walker and Donovan Mitchell are good bets.
As for how USA Basketball will fill out the rest of the Olympic roster, Colangelo suggested that star players interested in participating will be considered on an individual basis, though he hinted that he’d look more favorably on those who didn’t withdraw at the last minute this year.
“The disappointment I feel is not from the guys who said they wouldn’t play,” Colangelo said. “It’s those that said they would, and then backed out.”
Let’s round up a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world…
- Former No. 2 overall pick Darko Milicic, who hasn’t played basketball professionally since suiting up for the Celtics in the 2012/13 season, is reportedly making a comeback overseas. Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays a report from Basketball Sphere, which indicates that Milicic is joining a team in his hometown of Novi Sad, Serbia, where he’ll primarily focus on mentoring younger players.
- Ben Stinar of Amico Hoops passes along the G League incentive bonuses for the 2019/20 season, which include a modest $3,000 bonus for earning NBAGL MVP honors.
- The NBA and NBA 2K developer Take-Two Interactive are expanding their esports partnership, according to ESPN’s Jacob Wolf, who writes that the NBA 2K20 Global Championship will be launched this October. The tournament will run from October to February, with the championship winner taking home $100K.
- Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights takes a deep dive into NBA salary figures to see if he can determine the average salary for a starter – or a starter-caliber player – in 2019/20.