Team USA only won one of two games in the first round of qualifiers for the 2023 World Cup this week in Mexico, but veteran guard Isaiah Thomas played against both Cuba and Mexico, leading the U.S. with 42 total points and 13 assists in 49 minutes across the two contests.
After putting up 21 points in Team USA’s win over Cuba on Sunday, Thomas reiterated his desire to get back onto an NBA roster, while leaving the door open to the possibility of playing in an international league.
“The ultimate goal is to get back in the NBA,” he said, per Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link). “I just love playing the game of basketball. So, obviously, at some point, if the NBA isn’t an option I’ve got to look at options overseas. … I love competing and I love playing.”
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- In the latest HoopsHype Podcast, Michael Scotto and Yossi Gozlan identified some potential trade candidates among the group of the players who will become eligible to be dealt on December 15 or January 15. Nuggets wing Will Barton, Pelicans swingman Josh Hart, Rockets center Daniel Theis, and a few Pistons veterans are among the players Scotto and Gozlan discussed.
- Former NBA point guard Jeremy Lin has returned to the Beijing Ducks for another season, as EuroHoops relays. Lin, who has been out of the NBA since winning a title with Toronto in 2019, said in a statement that “playing basketball in China feels at home.”
- After filing suit against his former agent Rich Paul, Knicks center Nerlens Noel now finds himself at odds with the players’ union. As Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic explains, the NBPA’s standard player agent contract states that disputes should be settled through arbitration, which Noel has circumvented by taking his issue with Paul to court.
- ESPN’s Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz (Insider link) updated their top-100 big board for the 2022 NBA draft on Tuesday and shared some insights on several college prospects. Auburn’s Jabari Smith made a significant impression on Schmitz, who said he was “blown away” by what he saw from the 18-year-old and considers him a potential dark horse to be next year’s No. 1 pick.