Eric Gordon

Stein’s Latest: Bahamas, Gordon, Thompson, Jones, Giannis

The Bahamas just had its most successful international run ever, winning a pre-qualifying tournament — and eliminating Argentina in the process — to have a shot at making next summer’s Olympics if the national team can win another six-team tournament.

FIBA drew some criticism for allowing veteran guard Eric Gordon to compete with the Bahamas, as he previously played for Team USA at the 2010 World Cup. However, as Marc Stein writes at Substack, Gordon does have a legitimate tie to the Bahamas — his mother was born and raised in the island nation, and the U.S. granted him permission to switch allegiances, likely due to his advanced age (he’s 34).

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Stein hears the Bahamian national team isn’t finished recruiting NBA players, with Evan Mobley, Isaiah Mobley and Naz Reid all eligible to represent the country. Stein also wonders if the team will recruit Klay Thompson, whose father, former top overall pick Mychal Thompson, is from the Bahamas.
  • Like Gordon, Klay Thompson would have to become a naturalized citizen in order to compete for the Bahamian team, and only one such slot is available in FIBA events. Thompson has already won a pair of gold medals with Team USA. His father neither confirmed nor denied that his son might attempt to compete for the Bahamas in the future, simply telling Stein, “We’ll see.”
  • Derrick Jones Jr. considered signing with the Heat in free agency, league sources tell Stein. The veteran forward, who played two-plus seasons in Miami, instead signed a one year, minimum-salary deal with the Mavericks.
  • The Lakers and Knicks are among the teams that may intrigue Giannis Antetokounmpo if he were to leave the Bucks in the future, according to Stein. The two-time MVP recently expressed a desire to keep winning championships, wherever that may take him. Antetokounmpo can become a free agent in 2025.

International Notes: Serbia, Bahamas, Gordon, Croatia

The Serbian national team has officially announced its 12-man roster for the 2023 World Cup, which tips off on Friday (Twitter link). The Serbians are missing star center Nikola Jokic, along with accomplished veteran guard Vasilije Micic, who made the move from the EuroLeague to the NBA this offseason.

However, the squad still features multiple current and former NBA players, starting with Hawks guard Bogdan Bogdanovic. Heat forward Nikola Jovic, Sixers big man Filip Petrusev, and former Grizzlies guard Marko Guduric are among the notable players representing Serbia at this year’s World Cup.

Here are a few more notes from around the international basketball world:

  • The Bahmas defeated Argentina on Sunday in the final of an Olympic pre-qualifying tournament, with Suns guard Eric Gordon scoring a game-high 27 points, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Following the Bahamian victory, former NBA forward Andres Nocioni – who won an Olympic gold medal with Argentina in 2004 – questioned whether it was fair for FIBA to allow Gordon to suit up for the Bahamas despite representing Team USA earlier in his international career (Twitter link). “Let’s not lose the essence of international competitions,” Nocioni added in a follow-up tweet.
  • A Croatian team led by Warriors forward Dario Saric and Clippers center Ivica Zubac scored an upset victory over Alperen Sengun and Turkey in the final of another Olympic pre-qualifying tournament on Sunday, as Eurohoops details. Croatia, the Bahamas, Cameroon, Poland, and Bahrain won this month’s pre-qualifying tournament to secure spots in next year’s Olympic qualifiers.
  • Vangelis Papadimitriou of Eurohoops highlights a handful of non-U.S. NBA players who could be difference-makers in this year’s World Cup, including Canadian forward RJ Barrett and Dominican big man Karl-Anthony Towns.

International Notes: Bahamas, Poland, Green, Lessort

Veteran Pacers swingman Buddy Hield submitted a team-most 17 points, while Suns guard Eric Gordon and center Deandre Ayton both made meaningful contributions during Bahamas’ 78-62 blowout win over Uruguay during the 2024 Olympics pre-qualifiers Saturday, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic.

Bahamas will now square off against home team Argentina in the final of this year’s Olympic pre-qualifying tournament Sunday night, with the winner earning a spot in next summer’s Olympic qualifying tournament. This is an entirely separate event from the FIBA World Cup, which tips off next week.

Here are more international hoops notes:

  • In winning one of this month’s Olympic pre-qualifying tournaments, Poland has now clinched a spot in the 2024 Olympic qualifying tournament, according to Eurohoops. Poland vanquished Bosnia and Herzegovina, 76-72, in the final. Napoli Basket small forward Michal Sokolowski paced Poland with 16 points and seven boards.
  • While playing their fourth FIBA World Cup exhibition game in Tokyo, Team Australia beat Team France 78-74. Boomers (and Mavericks) wing Josh Green departed the warm-up bout with a mild ankle injury, but the ailment appears fairly minor, per Olgun Uluc of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • After sitting out most of France’s training camp with an ankle issue, national team center Mathias Lessort has been given the green light to suit up for next week’s World Cup, reports Eurohoops. The Knicks own Lessort’s draft rights, though it remains unclear whether he will ever come stateside.

Suns Notes: Ayton, Gordon, Booker, Beal

Suns center Deandre Ayton led the Bahamian national team to a blowout victory over Cuba in a pre-Olympic qualifying tournament game on Monday, putting up 22 points and 10 rebounds in a game the Bahamas won by 41. Ayton, who said it felt “amazing” to represent his home country, was excited to team up with new Suns wing Eric Gordon, as Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic writes.

“Definitely lit,” Ayton said when asked about playing with Gordon. “Definitely something that you never thought would happen. He’s such a great player as well. Just having a feel for his game before we both hit training camp and start fighting each other to figure out some type of chemistry. I’m glad we’re handling that early. Just us trying to make some history now to make the Olympics is truly something special.”

Asked about the former No. 1 pick, Gordon said he believes he’s an ideal fit alongside Ayton both on the Bahamian squad and in Phoenix.

“He’s going to be a threat,” Gordon said. “So we needed to use him as much as possible. When he gets double-teamed, that’s when you got guys like me to space the floor.”

Here’s more on the Suns:

  • Kevin Durant is a former MVP, a 13-time All-Star, and a future Hall of Famer, but former NBA star Kevin Garnett believes the Suns are Devin Booker‘s team, as he said during an episode of Showtime’s Ticket and The Truth (Twitter links). “So down the stretch, Booker’s getting the first look over KD?” Paul Pierce asked. “Abso-f–king-lutely, yeah,” Garnett replied.
  • Gerald Bourguet of outlines four ways that Bradley Beal can raise the Suns’ ceiling and make them legitimate championship contenders in 2023/24, noting that he’ll help carry the play-making load and can also be a spot-up threat when others are handling the ball.
  • In case you missed it, the NBA has announced the schedule for the league’s first ever in-season tournament. The Suns will face the Lakers on November 10, followed by Utah (Nov. 17), Portland (Nov. 21) and Memphis (Nov. 24).

Pacific Notes: Gordon, Ayton, Thompson, Booker, Paul, Watanabe

Eric Gordon, who joined the Suns as a free agent this summer, is playing alongside new teammate Deandre Ayton with the Bahamas national team this month, Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic notes.

The new Suns guard scored 12 points as Bahamas defeated the Kansas Jayhawks, 87-81, Monday in an exhibition game in Puerto Rico, Rankin tweets. Ayton didn’t play in the exhibition. Gordon played for Team USA in 2010. Team Bahamas will play in the FIBA Americas Olympic pre-qualifying tournament August 14-20 in Argentina.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • Warriors guard Klay Thompson had a dust-up with the Suns’ Devin Booker early last season and was ejected for the first time in his career. However, Thompson now characterizes it as a moment of weakness. Appearing on Paul George‘s Podcast P, Thompson expressed his admiration toward Booker, Rankin relays. “He survived a tough regime in Phoenix where everyone is getting traded,” Thompson said. “He’s playing for a new coach every year. Now he’s franchise player who just kept working. I admire the guys who have work ethic like that.”
  • During the same podcast, Thompson said he’s thrilled the Warriors acquired Chris Paul and believes the veteran point guard will elevate his game. “That’s one of the greatest players ever,” Thompson said. “He’s top 75. He’s elevated every franchise he’s ran the point for and me as a shooter, I’m excited because I know CP is going to put it right here on the seams. He’s going to set me up nice. I’m going to get a couple of easy extra buckets every night. And he’s a winner. I’ve played against him so many times and seen how competitive he is. He’ll do anything to win and that’s the vibe you want, you know, with the Dubs.”
  • Yuta Watanabe was one of many free agent pickups for the Suns and Gerald Bourguet of takes an in-depth look at Watanabe’s strengths and weaknesses. Bourguet concludes that Watanabe will be an elite spot-up weapon who will fit in extremely well off the bench.

And-Ones: D. Rivers, M. Jackson, Bahamas, Shooting Tech, Contracts

After letting go of Jeff Van Gundy last month, ESPN/ABC has also laid off fellow analyst Mark Jackson, sources tell Andrew Marchand of The New York Post. Jackson confirmed the news in an interview with Peter Vecsey, Marchand adds (via Twitter).

As Marchand writes, the new top NBA broadcast team at ESPN/ABC will be comprised of longtime play-by-play announcer Mike Breen, former Sixers head coach Doc Rivers, and Doris Burke, who is being promoted. The hiring of Rivers and promotion of Burke aren’t yet official, but they are “quickly moving in that direction,” according to Marchand.

Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald confirms Marchand’s reporting (via Twitter).

Here’s more from around the basketball world:

  • The SunsDeandre Ayton and Eric Gordon, Pacers wing Buddy Hield, and Hornets big man Kai Jones are on the 2024 Olympic qualifying roster for the Bahamas, per Marc J. Spears of Andscape. The Bahamian national team will play its qualifying games in Argentina from August 14-20. “I’m excited to be back playing for Team Bahamas and to see how much the program has grown,” Ayton told Spears. “Can’t wait to play with my guys. It’s truly a special experience to compete with teammates – who are from where you’re from – with Bahamas on your chest.”
  • Tim MacMahon of ESPN details how Breakaway Data — a startup focused on the biomechanics of shooting — has partnered with Overtime Elite and Las Vegas Summer League to provide detailed breakdowns of each player’s shot. “I thought it was very informative,” Overtime Elite product Amen Thompson, drafted fourth overall by the Rockets, told ESPN. “Not everything works for everybody, but that [data] can’t really be a bad thing. It can only help to get as much information as possible. I felt like that’s what it gave us.”
  • Which players have inked the most lucrative contracts in NBA history? Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype provides the list. Jaylen Brown‘s new super-max extension with the Celtics is the current largest deal ever, Gozlan notes.

Suns’ James Jones Talks About Rebuilding Roster

In an interview with Duane Rankin of The Arizona RepublicSuns president of basketball operations James Jones gives himself an “eight out of 10” for how he was able to construct the team’s roster around its new Big Four. Jones was limited in the moves he could make after trading for Bradley Beal to team with Devin Booker, Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton, but he found an intriguing mix of veterans and young talent.

Eric Gordon turned down better offers and accepted a veteran’s minimum deal for the chance to win a title. Yuta Watanabe, Chimezie Metu, Drew EubanksKeita Bates-Diop and Bol Bol also agreed to sign for the minimum.

“We knew going into it who our four top players were,” Jones said. “The guys who were going to lean on heavily to reach our goals. I think that gave us more clarity and I think it gave the players more clarity around how we would play and how they could fit with our team.

“So when it comes to minimums, I think it’s that label or contract value that people look at, but I look at it more from a perspective of identifying the guys who have the attributes and skills that would complement our group and finding players that believe that this environment will increase their productivity and give them a boost for their careers going forward. This was more forward looking than backwards looking for us and for the players that we targeted.

“I think that clarity allowed us to move quickly and efficiently through the free agency process because we knew exactly who we wanted and we knew exactly who wanted us.”

Jones addresses several other topics in the discussion with Rankin:

On the decisions to re-sign Josh Okogie and trade Cameron Payne to the Spurs:

“Just balancing versatility, and I’m not just talking about from a player skill set and roster construction perspective, but it just gives us options. It gives us options from a roster perspective. It also gives us options going forward. JO is someone who had a tremendous impact on our team last year in a specific role that we think can grow and Cam was someone who had an impact on our team, but he was part of a team that was a different team that played differently. Those two moves allowed us to create balance and gave us some versatility and options to continue to build a more complete team.”

On Bol’s potential after a promising season with Orlando:

“He’s going to get a chance to compete. He fits the profile of the team we’re trying to build. Long, athletic, skilled. Has played some high-level basketball. Has dealt with high expectations and has bounced back from some tough setbacks. The mental grit, the resilience and adaptability that he’s displayed is something that I think will help improve our team and if he can play the way he envisions himself playing, it just gives us another high-level player that we can count on and rely on as we try to march toward a championship.”

On new owner Mat Ishbia’s input during his first offseason with the team:

“He talked about speed, focus and understand what it is we’re trying to accomplish and get after it. Don’t second-guess it, don’t overthink it. Trust your instincts, trust your team and then go out there, find the best options for us and then make those options work. For me, it’s clear focus. He’s given me clear direction that allows me to focus on the things I enjoy the most, which is figuring out how to maximize the environment for our players and coaches and get a win.”

Western Notes: Braun, Thunder Arena, Jones, Gordon

The Nuggets lost a key all-around performer in Bruce Brown during free agency. That could thrust second-year guard Christian Braun into an expanded role and he’s eager to show he can handle it, he told Sean Keeler of the Denver Post.

“I want that challenge. I want a bigger role and I think everybody wants a bigger role,” he said. “But the fact that the Nuggets show confidence in me and (in) our young guys to come in and take over that role and make that next step means a lot to me. And obviously, I’m going to prove them right.”

We have more from the Western Conference:

  • Oklahoma City mayor David Holt doesn’t want to raise taxes to help pay for a new arena for the Thunder, according to Jana Hayes of The Oklahoman. He’d prefer to extend a temporary sales tax. “We just know that we won’t make a proposal that raises the tax rate,” he said. Negotiations are ongoing, including the potential cost of the arena and terms of the lease agreement.
  • Suns general manager James Jones believes the team’s experience can lead to a championship, he told Duane Rankin of the Arizona Republic. After numerous free agent signings, the Suns have a dozen players who are 26 and older. “Versatility and balance and more importantly, experience. It takes a unique combination of skill, and know-how to navigate a regular season and a postseason,” Jones said. “You have to have success and failures in the postseason to understand what it actually takes to, ultimately, to be successful and win a championship.”
  • In a subscriber-only story, Gerald Bourguet of describes how Eric Gordon‘s offensive skills could make an impact on a top contender. Gordon signed a two-year, veteran’s minimum deal with the Suns after the Clippers declined to guarantee his original $20.9MM salary for next season.

Pacific Notes: Vincent, Gordon, Vezenkov, Jackson-Davis

Discussing his move from Miami to Los Angeles, Gabe Vincent said that he was “honored (the Lakers) reached out to me” when he became a free agent, as Khobi Price of The Southern California News Group (subscription required) writes.

After earning the minimum salary during his first four seasons in the NBA, Vincent received a considerable raise as a free agent this summer and will make $11MM annually on his new three-year deal with the Lakers. Despite the substantial pay bump, the 27-year-old is ready to accept whatever role the team he wants him to play, big or small.

“I’m just here to add on,” Vincent said. “They have a great core, a great situation, and hopefully I can just add to it and help us bring home a championship.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After falling short of an NBA title during his time in Houston, Suns guard Eric Gordon is bullish about his chances of contending for a championship with his new team, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Gordon took a significant pay cut, agreeing to a minimum-salary deal with Phoenix. “I’m older in my career so I’ve played for a long time and money is not always such an issue,” Gordon said. “Of course, I want a lot more, don’t get me wrong. But at the end of the day, I want to do well here every year that I’m here and we’ll just see what happens down the line, but that’s why I want to come here, win a championship.”
  • Although Sasha Vezenkov has officially signed his contract with the Kings, who submitted it to the NBA’s league office, the forward is still awaiting a letter of clearance from FIBA in order for that contract to become legally binding, a source tells Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. That’s expected to happen soon, at which point the Kings will officially announce the signing.
  • After missing the Warriors‘ first three Las Vegas Summer League games due to a right hamstring injury, second-round pick Trayce Jackson-Davis made his debut on Thursday, scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds in 20 minutes. C.J. Holmes of The San Francisco Chronicle takes a look at what Golden State is getting in Jackson-Davis, a mature 23-year-old rookie who may nonetheless find minutes hard to come by in his first NBA season.

Pacific Notes: Suns, Warriors, Saric, Lakers’ Moves, Carroll

The Suns’ willingness to give numerous free agents a two-year deal with a player option has helped them trump the Warriors in the free agent market, as Anthony Slater of The Athletic explains.

Golden State has been unwilling to provide minimum-salary offers with a second optional year due to luxury tax implications and the risk of committing a 2024/25 roster spot to a signee who didn’t work out. The Suns also had more playing time available and those factors helped sway Eric Gordon, who was the Warriors’ top backcourt target in free agency.

The Warriors are planning to go with a 14-man roster and have two slots open, which they intend to use on bigs, Slater writes. Power forward Dario Saric remains their top target still on the board.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • The Athletic’s John Hollinger gives the Suns high marks for their free agent catches, including a couple of underrated players in Keita Bates-Diop and Drew Eubanks. Bates-Diop, who previously played for the Spurs, could emerge as a key role player in the postseason, since he can guard multiple positions and shoots reasonably well from long distance. Eubanks is an energetic backup center who’s a superior rim protector and defender than Jock Landale, whom the Suns let go.
  • The Lakers‘ front office made a series of shrewd moves this summer, Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times opines. The Lakers’ didn’t chase another star, as they have in the past. Instead, they re-signed Austin Reaves, D’Angelo Russell and Rui Hachimura and signed two other solid players in Gabe Vincent and Taurean Prince, rather than trying to sign Kyrie Irving or trade for Bradley Beal.
  • DeMarre Carroll is joining the Lakers as an assistant coach, ESPN’s Dave McMenamin tweets. Carroll was an assistant on Mike Budenholzer‘s staff with the Bucks last season and now will join Darvin Ham‘s staff. Carroll played for the Hawks when Budenholzer was the head coach there and Ham was one of the assistants.