And-Ones: I. Thomas, Hezonja, P. Gasol, All-Star Bonuses

Team USA won two games in convincing fashion over the weekend, defeating the Bahamas and Mexico in the FIBA AmeriCup qualifying tournament, according to an Associated Press story. The team, which advances to the September 2022 tourney, featured familiar names such as Joe Johnson, Brandon Bass and Isaiah Thomas, who was hoping to use the event to boost his chances for an NBA comeback.

Thomas, who hasn’t played competitively since being traded to the Clippers and waived last February, scored 19 points in Friday’s game and nine on Saturday.

“The world knows I’ve got what it takes. So, it’s just about showing that I’m healthy,” he said. “My skill didn’t go anywhere, it was just about getting a hundred percent healthy, which I am right now.”

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Mario Hezonja, who was in training camp with the Grizzlies, has reached a deal to play for Panathinaikos in Greece, writes Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. The new contract will cover the rest of the season with an option for next year. The fifth overall pick in the 2015 draft, Hezonja played for the Magic, Knicks and Trail Blazers in five NBA seasons. He averaged 4.8 points and 3.5 rebounds in 53 games with Portland last year.
  • Veteran center Pau Gasol denied rumors over the weekend that he’s close to signing with Barcelona, but Spanish national team coach Sergio Scariolo hasn’t given up hopes of seeing him play again, relays Alessandro Maggi of Sportando. “It’s a rumor, obviously we hope to see Pau on a basketball court again,” said Scariolo, an assistant coach for the Raptors. “Our desire is to see him still play at the top level and we will keep our fingers crossed.”
  • With the All-Star reserves set to be announced Tuesday, ESPN’s Bobby Marks takes a look at the five players whose contracts include bonuses for making the team. The largest, at $1.3MM, belongs to Jaylen Brown of the Celtics, who Marks believes is virtually certain to be selected. Jazz center Rudy Gobert, with a $1MM bonus, also seems like a sure thing. The PacersDomantas Sabonis ($1MM bonus) and the KnicksJulius Randle ($945K) face more difficulty because of the competition in the Eastern frontcourt. Raptors guard Kyle Lowry, who has been to six straight All-Star Games, would earn a $500K bonus for making it again, but he appears to have little chance of being chosen.
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12 thoughts on “And-Ones: I. Thomas, Hezonja, P. Gasol, All-Star Bonuses

  1. Sensitive Fanboy

    These contests aren’t much of a showing for Thomas, if he in fact can play at a high level still.

    Not for the NBA anyway. Maybe overseas if that ever becomes a thing again

    • IHateJamesDolan

      IT gets zero respect. Yea his defense could be questionable but I have no doubt he’d be a better bench scoring option than many teams have. Idk. I feel for IT I like the dude and don’t think he’s given enough credit.

      • MafiaBass

        I feel bad because he played his ass off, through injuries and his sister’s death, but he wasn’t ever going to get the big contract he wanted.

        I’d love to see him back in Boston as a reserve.

      • Walladipo and Wood

        Saying his defense could be questionable is far too generous. At 5’9″ he is at an enormous disadvantage when trying to cover players much bigger than him. In the best circumstances his defense is questionable, while most of the time his defense makes James Harden’s look like Gary Payton’s.

    • Walladipo and Wood

      As bad as Marc has been this season, I doubt Pau would be much better.

  2. stubby66

    I wouldn’t mind seeing the Bucks to find room for Paul Gasol and Thomas

  3. Northern Expansion 416

    IT is still better than Dudley,Wes Iwundu,Jeff Teague,Exuma,Trey Lyles…

    I.T indeed has been blackballed…

  4. ZacharyH

    I.T. doesn’t have explosive quickness anymore. It must feel awful remembering you were 3 months away from 120 million dollars

  5. phillyballers

    I imagine Pau was drinking some tequila on a beach when he found out that he was signing with a team in Spain.

    • Lil_D_Top_3

      I like to imagine he was riding shirtless on a horse through the mountains of Andorra, in search of Catalan pirate treasure.

  6. x%sure

    These days IT is auditioning for a Brinks ad campaign, which after all, should be looking to expand delivery options in this era. Not sure if that’s true but what a spokesman IT would be.

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