Jeff Van Gundy

USA Basketball Announces Roster For First World Cup Qualifiers

USA Basketball has announced its 12-man roster for the first round of the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019 Americas Qualifiers, bringing back four members of the squad that won gold earlier this year in FIBA’s AmeriCup tournament.

Here’s Team USA’s full 12-man roster:

The squad, which will be coached once again by Jeff Van Gundy, is comprised almost entirely of G League players, since most of the qualifying tournaments take place during the NBA season, preventing NBA players from participating. Team USA’s goal is for Van Gundy’s squad of G Leaguers to qualify for the 2019 World Cup, which will take place in August and September, when NBA players will be free to participate.

The new-look USA Basketball program is off to a good start, having gone 5-0 this summer to win a gold medal at the AmeriCup tournament. Drew, Hearn, Munford, and Warney were all part of that team.

This time around, Team USA will face Puerto Rico on November 23 and then Mexico on November 26. After those contests, the first round of World Cup qualifiers will resume in February before concluding in July. The top three teams in each first-round group will advance to the second round, which begins in September 2018 and concludes in February 2019, so the qualifying process will take some time to play out.

Meanwhile, the G League teams temporarily losing players to Team USA will be permitted one free move per lost player from the available player pool, tweets Adam Johnson of 2 Ways & 10 Days.

And-Ones: Van Gundy, NBA Calendar, Two-Way Contracts

Jeff Van Gundy is getting his first taste of coaching in more than a decade, writes Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The former Knicks and Rockets head coach is guiding the U.S. men’s basketball team through the qualifying stages for the 2019 World Cup. Gregg Popovich will take a star-studded team into that competition, but first Van Gundy has to get through the AmeriCup tournament with a young, unheralded roster.

Van Gundy has settled into a job as an outspoken analyst on ABC and ESPN, but the urge to coach hasn’t gone away. Wojnarowski states that he repeatedly turned down offers so his family wouldn’t have to move out of Houston, but in the last few years he has become more open to a return. He interviewed for a few jobs, but the right situation hasn’t happened. “One thing you can’t recreate, the competition and camaraderie,” Van Gundy said. “No matter what you do, you’re not going to have that same feeling of a great win. To me, coming into the locker room for the first five minutes after a great win, with a staff you love, and a team you respected, there was nothing like that. That’s what you miss.”

There’s more news from around the world of basketball:

  • ESPN’s Bobby Marks has compiled a list of all the significant dates on the NBA calendar from now through the end of the regular season. Some important ones include the first team practices on September 26, the deadline for accepting qualifying offers on October 1, the deadline for extensions to rookie contracts on October 16, the day all contracts become guaranteed on January 7 and the trade deadline on February 8.
  • Many fans are uncertain about the details of the two-way contracts introduced in the new collective bargaining agreement, so Chris Reichert of 2 Ways and 10 Days has answered a list of frequently asked questions. Among them: two-way deals are open to players with three years or fewer of NBA service, they don’t count against the salary cap and they can be used even by the four teams without direct G League affiliates.

And-Ones: G League Expansion, Mayo, Van Gundy

The G League held its expansion draft to accommodate for the association’s four new franchises and Chris Reichert of 2 Ways, 10 Days has broken down the results, recapping the nuances of the developmental league’s various processes.

As Reichert lays out, teams made their bids for each player’s returning rights for a period of two seasons. What that means is that the G League clubs will effectively reserve those players should they ever find themselves back in the league. Many currently ply their trade either for NBA squads or for teams overseas.

The current NBA crop selected in the G League expansion draft is headlined by Sean Kilpatrick and Okaro White. The big league rotation players, however, are unlikely to return to the G League, at least in 2017/18, rendering them ineffective selections.

There’s more from around the NBA:

  • Speaking of G League peculiarities, the Oklahoma City Blue (the G League affiliate of the Thunder) made a trade with the SLC Stars (Jazz affiliate) for the rights to Marcus Paige but, as Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer explains, Paige will actually suit up for the Greensboro Swarm (Hornets affiliate). Earlier this month the Hornets signed Paige to a two-way deal and that supersedes whichever team owns his G League rights.
  • With one more year left on his suspension, former Bucks guard O.J. Mayo could consider a gig in the G League, Adam Johnson of 2 Ways, 10 Days opines. There is, however, no guarantee that he would be permitted to do so.
  • It’s been a decade since he coached the Rockets, which makes Jeff Van Gundy‘s return to the bench with Team USA all that much more exciting. Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN recently spoke with Van Gundy about his role with the USA Basketball World Cup qualifying team.

17 Players Vying For Spots On USA’s AmeriCup Roster

USA Basketball has begun the process of selecting its roster for the AmeriCup 2017, the first of a series of qualifying tournaments under FIBA’s new format. As Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press details, Team USA doesn’t need to win the AmeriCup to qualify for the next World Cup and Olympics, but it’s a tournament the U.S. must participate in to eventually play in more crucial events.

Because upcoming qualifiers will take place during the NBA season, Team USA is putting together a roster primarily made up of G League players and veterans who have been playing overseas, as we previously learned. With training camp set to begin on Thursday, 17 hopefuls are suiting up for Team USA, with the program poised to eventually pare that group down to a 12-man roster.

Here are Team USA’s training camp participants, via USA Basketball:

Although there are no high-profile names in this group, several players have some NBA experience. Hilliard is currently a free agent, but appeared in 77 games over the last two seasons for the Pistons. Drew, Munford, and Plumlee have all played in at least a dozen NBA games.

Marshall, Morris, and Reggie Williams are perhaps the most notable names on the list, having played regular rotation roles for various NBA teams in recent years. Marshall was a lottery pick in the 2012 draft, while Williams has appeared in more than 200 NBA games since 2010.

None of the players on Team USA’s training camp roster are currently under contract with an NBA club, but Willis – the only player of the group who has yet to play professional ball – has reportedly agreed to a training camp deal with the Pistons.

The club will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy, an international rookie himself, and will eventually participate in preliminary round games in Uruguay later this month. If Team USA wins its group – which also includes Panama, the Dominican Republic, and host Uruguay – it would advance to the semifinals in Argentina in early September.

As Mahoney outlines in his report, Team USA won’t face real pressure to win until November, when the club need a top-three finish in a pool that includes Puerto Rico, Mexico, and Cuba in order to start advancing to later qualifiers. For more in-depth details on how those qualifiers work, be sure to check out FIBA’s breakdowns for the 2019 World Cup and the 2020 Olympics.

And-Ones: JVG, Award Votes, Singleton, Wanamaker

After a decade of rumors about his possible return to the sidelines, ABC and ESPN analyst Jeff Van Gundy has finally landed a new coaching gig — but it’s not an NBA job. As Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical details, Van Gundy has agreed to coach USA Basketball as Team USA attempts to qualify for the 2019 World Cup.

Last month, we heard that the Team USA roster for the World Cup qualifiers wouldn’t feature NBA players. Instead, USA Basketball will put together a squad primarily made up of G League players. Wojnarowski notes that the roster may also include Americans playing in international leagues. Assuming Team USA qualifies for the 2019 World Cup, which shouldn’t be an issue, NBA players figure to take it from there, while Gregg Popovich will take over for Van Gundy as the club’s coach.

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

  • The NBA has published the full voting results for all of its 2016/17 awards, so if you’re dying to know who gave Isaiah Thomas his only All-Defensive vote, you can find out right here.
  • EuroLeague star Chris Singleton has interviews lined up with two NBA teams, and is poised to opt out of his contract with Panathinaikos if he receives an NBA opportunity, tweets international reporter David Pick. However, Singleton’s teammate Kenny Gabriel will remain with Panathinaikos, having opted to pass on a non-guaranteed NBA offer, per Pick (Twitter link).
  • Pick also provides an update on Brad Wanamaker, reporting (via Twitter) that Brad Wanamaker is putting Euroleague offers on hold in the hopes of securing an NBA deal with the Pelicans or Celtics. Wanamaker, who played for Turkey’s Darussafaka last season, was voted to 2016/17’s All-EuroLeague team.
  • Bobby Marks of The Vertical identifies his top 20 free agents for 2017, with a pair of Warriors topping the list.

And-Ones: NBA Owners Ranked, Tomjanovich, NCAA Tournament

ESPN concluded their management series with ownership rankings, citing the Spurs (Julianna Hawn Holt), Warriors (Joe Lacob, Peter Guber), and Celtics (Wyc Grousbeck) as teams with the best ownership in the league (article link). ESPN’s panel ranked owners in terms of “performance in guiding the franchise to overall on-court success, both in the short and long term.” To that end, it perhaps isn’t surprising to see the Kings (Vivek Ranadive) and Knicks (James Dolan) round out the list; two owners who have made unfortunate headlines for on-and-off the court stories this season.

More from around the game…

  • Rudy Tomjanovich, a five-time NBA All-Star and decorated head coach, wasn’t inducted into the 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame class. Several figures around the league were critical of Tomjanovich receiving the shaft, including former Rocket Calvin Murphy and Jeff Van Gundy. (Twitter links) In an op-ed piece for the Houston Chronicle, Jonathan Feigen chastised Hall of Fame voters who “inexplicably” snubbed Tomjanovich. “Tomjanovich, especially, deflected attention, not just in the way he downplayed his coaching contributions, but even in his coaching style that stripped away excess to get the ball simply and quickly to his best player, turning the Rockets from winners to champions,” Feigen writes. “The exclusion of Tomjanovich and others said nothing about their achievements, and everything about the secret panel’s failure.”
  • Tim Duncan‘s ex-adviser, Charles Banks, plans to admit financial misconduct from his business relationship with Duncan (Associated Press link). According to court paperwork, Banks will confess to misleading Duncan into obtaining $6MM in loans.
  • Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress provided an NBA prospect guide to the Final Four, naming South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell as the NCAA Tournament’s MVP thus far.
  • Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett will put his name in the NBA Draft but won’t hire an agent, Jeff Goodman of ESPN reports (link). Per Patrick Brennan of the Cincinnati Enquirer, Bluiett is “certain to again seek out evaluations from industry experts on his likely draft stock.”

And-Ones: Doncic, Seattle, Jeff Van Gundy, Draft

Seventeen-year-old Real Madrid star Luka Doncic has a new agent, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, who reports (via Twitter) that Doncic has signed on with BDA Sports, and will be represented by Bill Duffy. Doncic won’t be eligible for the 2017 draft, but the investment by BDA has a chance to pay off in a big way down the road — the Slovenian guard is considered one of the best European prospects in years, and is currently viewed as the favorite to be the No. 1 pick in the 2018 draft.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the basketball world:

  • Chris Hansen‘s efforts to build a new NBA- and NHL-ready arena in Seattle have been going on for more than five years, but the investor is still confident that it will eventually happen, according to an Associated Press report (link via USA Today). Hansen’s group has increased the private funding in its arena plan and re-submitted it to Seattle City Council, per The Associated Press.
  • Will ESPN and ABC analyst Jeff Van Gundy ever return to the sidelines to coach an NBA team? His brother thinks it’s still a real possibility. “Yeah, with the right situation, absolutely. I don’t know if he will, but I definitely can see it,” Stan Van Gundy said, per Gery Woelfel of The Racine Journal Times. “He misses parts of it (coaching), but he also has a real good job, so it goes both ways.”
  • Within his latest draft notebook for The Vertical, Jonathan Givony of DraftExpress passes along several interesting notes, writing that player agents aren’t enthusiastic about the NBA’s new two-way contracts and suggesting that 2017 will be a weak draft class for NCAA upperclassmen and international players.
  • Terrance Ferguson is the mystery man of the 2017 draft class, according to Neil Johnson of ESPN.com, who takes a closer look at the 18-year-old who is playing professional ball in Australia.

And-Ones: Kalamian, Labissiere, Van Gundy, Udoh

Raptors assistant Rex Kalamian has turned down offers from the Rockets and Wizards and will remain in Toronto, tweets TNT’s David Aldridge. Kalamian just completed his first season with the Raptors after six years in Oklahoma City. A 20-year veteran, he has also been on the bench with the Clippers, Nuggets, Timberwolves and Kings.

There’s more news from around the basketball world:

  • Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere made an impression at the Relativity Sports Pro Day this afternoon at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, tweets Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders. Labissière now has workouts and meetings scheduled with nearly every team that owns a top 10 draft pick.
  • This marks Jeff Van Gundy’s 10th year as a broadcaster for the NBA Finals, and it seems unlikely he will ever return to coaching, writes Brian Mahoney of The Associated Press. Van Gundy was considered as a candidate for the Rockets‘ job that eventually went to Mike D’Antoni, but he and the team never formally discussed the position. After a decade away from coaching, Van Gundy admits a return would be difficult. “You don’t have the same feel for guys that you didn’t coach against or coach yourself. It’s not the same,” he said. “You can watch the games on TV, you can study in that way, but if you’re not competing against people, it’s hard to know as much as you do when you’re coaching.”
  • Isaiah Cousins will work out for the Clippers on Monday and the Lakers on Wednesday, tweets Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv. Zagoria hears the Oklahoma point guard’s “stock is rising.”
  • Iona guard A.J. English has workouts set for this week with the Bulls, Magic and Raptors, Zagoria tweets.
  • Former NBA player Ekpe Udoh is free to leave his Fenerbahce team in Turkey, according to Orazio Cauchi of Sportando. The 29-year-old Udoh’s last NBA experience came in 2014/15 with the Clippers“We will keep the roster intact. Only Udoh is waiting for the NBA,” said Fenerbahce president Aziz Yildirim. “He was afraid because of the attack which happened in Antep. There are 51% chances for him to stay. We will add two more players to that roster and we will keep all others.”

Mike D’Antoni Frontrunner For Rockets Post

1:30pm: Van Gundy is no longer a candidate for the position, Adrian Wojnarowski of the Vertical reports (via Twitter). The former coach and current broadcaster was interested in the slot, but he and the team never formally spoke, the scribe adds.

12:48pm: Sixers associate head coach Mike D’Antoni has emerged as the frontrunner to become the Rockets next head coach, Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle relays. Though the offensive-minded coach has moved to the front of the line for the vacant post, a number of steps need to be completed before any contract offer is made, Feigen adds.

Talks between D’Antoni and Houston have been ongoing, but there are two other coaches who can be considered finalists for the position, Feigen adds, though the scribe doesn’t relay the names of those finalists. D’Antoni has met with representatives from the organization twice, including a sit-down with team owner Leslie Alexander. The 65-year-old has an overall record of 455-426 in the regular season as a head coach and was named as the 2004/05 Coach of the Year.

The emergence of D’Antoni is an interesting development and could potentially cause friction between Alexander an GM Daryl Morey. The owner reportedly wants the team to run an up-tempo offense, which is D’Antoni’s forte, but Morey is said to be seeking a more defensive-minded coach who will instill greater accountability in the team’s roster. A compromise may be in order, with Houston likely to add a strong defensive assistant to the staff if D’Antoni is hired. Grizzlies assistant Jeff Bzdelik is among the coaches the Rockets would consider for that purpose, but they have not interviewed Bzdelik nor been granted permission from Memphis to meet with him, Feigen relays. Bzdelik will be among those considered for the Grizzlies vacant head coaching position, the scribe adds.

The Rockets have also met with former Suns coach Jeff Hornacek, former Cavaliers coach David Blatt, Clippers assistant Sam Cassell, Hornets assistant Stephen Silas and Rockets assistant Chris Finch. Former Pacers coach Frank Vogel and Spurs assistant Ettore Messina are also part of the process, a person with knowledge of talks told Feigen. Messina reportedly interviewed with the team on Saturday, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. Former interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff and former Rockets guard Kenny Smith were also interviewed, but Bickerstaff withdrew from consideration and Smith was told he was no longer a candidate as the Rockets decided to focus on coaches with either head coaching experience or extensive experience as an assistant, Feigen notes.

Jeff Van Gundy, who is also a candidate, has received strong support from Morey for the position, but Alexander reportedly has yet to be fully sold on a reunion with the ESPN analyst, who has been away from coaching since he and Houston parted ways back in May of 2007.

Southwest Notes: Rockets, Spurs, Joerger, Mavs

The Rockets‘ coaching search continues, and the team is focused on candidates that have former head coaching experience, or have significant experience as assistants, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

Feigen hears that while TNT analyst Kenny Smith impressed the Rockets in his interview, he’s not in the running for the position. Frank Vogel and Ettore Messina are believed to still be in the mix, with a source telling Feigen they’re “part of [the] process,” but there has been no confirmation that they’ve had formal interviews. Houston could conduct second interviews with candidates by the end of the week, says Feigen.

Meanwhile, Jeff Van Gundy has received interest from the Rockets as well, a source tells Feigen. Still, Houston has not yet met with JVG as the team takes its time to familiarize itself with other candidates.

Here’s more from across the Southwest:

  • LaMarcus Aldridge and David West, who could have played – and potentially been paid more – elsewhere this past season, said in the wake of San Antonio’s season-ending loss that they had no regrets about joining the Spurs, as Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News details. Aldridge remains under contract with the Spurs for several more years, while West will have to make a decision on his player option next month.
  • Former Grizzlies head coach Dave Joerger – who is now the coach in Sacramento – spoke to Ronald Tillery of The Commercial Appeal about the end of his tenure in Memphis, insisting that his relationship with team management was “excellent.” “I wanted to prove to them that I was the guy to go forward for many years. They didn’t feel so,” Joerger said. “But we move on with a lot of fond memories.”
  • The Grizzlies brought in Northern Iowa guard Wes Washpun to participate in a group workout on Monday, per Michael Scotto of Sheridan Hoops (Twitter link). Washpun previously worked out for the Jazz and Hawks.
  • Kevin Sherrington of The Dallas Morning News doesn’t expect the Mavericks to start the rebuilding process until after Dirk Nowitzki decides to retire, which may still be a couple years away.
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