Jamahl Mosley

Team USA Finalizes Select Team Roster

USA Basketball has officially announced its Select Team roster, announcing in a press release that 14 players will get the opportunity to train with and scrimmage against the primary 12-man national team roster as it prepares for the 2023 World Cup.

Those 14 players, most of whom have been previous reported, are as follows:

As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press notes (via Twitter), Galloway, Jenkins, and Mika aren’t currently in the NBA but were among the players who suited up for Team USA during the qualifying games for the World Cup, ensuring that the U.S. earned a spot in the tournament. They’ll be rewarded for their contributions by getting spots on the select team and taking part in the lead-up to the World Cup.

“We are confident that our USA Men’s Select Team will do a great job helping prepare the men’s national team for the 2023 Men’s FIBA World Cup,” national team managing director Grant Hill said in a statement. “We have a good mix of young NBA players and those who helped us qualify for the World Cup, all of who will play a huge role in our success in Manila, as we continue to develop the national team pipeline for years to come.”

The select team will be coached by Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley, who will be joined by assistants Jim Boylen and Matt Painter. Boylen, a former Bulls head coach and current Pacers assistant, was Team USA’s head coach during the qualifying contests. Painter has been the longtime head coach at Purdue.

As we’ve previously noted, members of the U.S. select team would be candidates for promotion if any players from the national team roster have to withdraw from the World Cup for any reason.

Even if no substitutions are necessary, the players on the select team could eventually be called upon by USA Basketball to join future Olympic or World Cup teams. Brandon Ingram, Anthony Edwards, Tyrese Haliburton, Mikal Bridges, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Jalen Brunson are among those on this year’s World Cup roster who were members of the U.S. select teams for the 2016 Olympics, 2019 World Cup, or 2021 Olympics.

In addition to Ingram, Edwards, Haliburton, Bridges, Jackson, and Brunson, the U.S. World Cup roster consists of Cameron Johnson, Austin Reaves, Paolo Banchero, Bobby Portis, Josh Hart, and Walker Kessler.

Southeast Notes: Magic, Houstan, Young, Kuzma

The Magic are in the midst of their best nine-game stretch in more than a decade, but there’s no single reason why it’s happening, writes Khobi Price of The Orlando Sentinel. Orlando has moved into the race for the play-in tournament by winning eight of its last nine games, and head coach Jamahl Mosley believes everything he’s been trying to teach his young players over the past two seasons is taking hold.

“We’ve been saying it from the beginning: understanding we’re close (and) getting over the hump,” Mosley said. “You just have to stick with that process. The growth, understanding those close games and what those mean later on in the season. It’s just the belief system these young men are starting to grow into.”

The Magic own the NBA’s second-best rating in clutch situations and have started winning tight games that they couldn’t close out earlier in the season. Orlando is also among the league’s top seven teams in both offensive and defensive rating during the last two and a half weeks.

“As a young team, sometimes we can get caught up in ‘Oh, we won a certain amount of games. Let’s get comfortable,’” said Wendell Carter Jr., who returned to the lineup Friday after missing more than a month. “I feel like the biggest thing for us is to continue to do what got us here. Not to change the formula or too many things. Just do what got us to this point.”

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • The Magic have considered sending Caleb Houstan to the G League to get more playing time, tweets Aaron Goldstone of Orlando Pinstriped Post. The rookie small forward has appeared in 22 of the team’s 34 games.
  • Trae Young‘s father responded to a recent article by Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report speculating about Young’s future in Atlanta and a tweet by Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer suggesting the Hawks guard isn’t willing to play off the ball alongside Dejounte Murray. “Although I like Kevin’s stuff, now there’ll be articles on Trae like this just because ‘rival execs’ believe something!” Ray Young tweeted. “Trae doesn’t talk to other teams. He’s busy trying to win in Atlanta. Will this ever end?”
  • With their roster almost fully healthy, the Wizards understand they have to start producing to prevent a shakeup at the trade deadline, per Josh Robbins of The Athletic. “It’s tough for you to make decisions without a healthy team, and we’ve got to make up some ground,” Kyle Kuzma said. “We’ve been injured a lot, but we’ve got a chance to rewrite some things. The trade deadline is in six weeks, and everyone in this locker room knows about that.”

Magic Notes: Draft, No. 1 Pick, Mosley, Weltman

By securing the No. 1 pick in this year’s NBA draft, the Magic may finally get the impactful big man they’ve been searching for, Zach Kram writes for The Ringer. Orlando has taken chances on young frontcourt players in recent years, drafting Jonathan Isaac sixth overall in 2017, Mohamed Bamba sixth in 2018 and trading for Wendell Carter Jr. in 2021.

To this point, Isaac, Bamba and Carter haven’t been game-changers, though all of them are still 24 years old or younger. Orlando will select first in the draft, likely choosing from a consensus top three in Chet Holmgren, Jabari Smith Jr. and Paolo Banchero, all of whom are power forwards or centers.

Outside of their big men, the Magic also have young players Cole Anthony, Markelle Fultz, Jalen Suggs, R.J. Hampton, Chuma Okeke and Franz Wagner. The team is clearly trying to figure out the best combination for the future, a group that could be headlined by this year’s No. 1 pick.

Here are some other notes from Orlando:

  • Khobi Price of the Orlando Sentinel examines who the Magic should draft as they continue their rebuild, specifically with the top selection. The team is coming off a 22-60 season, which was the worst record in the Eastern Conference and the second-worst record in the league.
  • Mike Vorkonuv of The Athletic takes an in-depth look at the night of the draft lottery, which awarded the Magic the No. 1 pick. President of basketball operations Jeff Weltman was originally supposed to represent the Magic on the lottery stage, but was replaced by Jamahl Mosley because the head coach “felt lucky.” As it turns out, Mosley had good reason to feel lucky.
  • By securing the top pick, the Magic put the decade-long “Dwightmare” to an end, Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel opines. Bianchi, referring to former Magic center Dwight Howard, explores how Orlando hasn’t received a No. 1 selection since drafting Howard in 2004. Howard had six All-Star seasons in a Magic uniform, with perhaps his best coming in 2010/11 (22.9 points, 14.1 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game). The Magic also haven’t won 50 games since then, which was one of the last years Howard played with the team.

Southeast Notes: Collins, Oladipo, Mosley

John Collins‘ right ring finger injury won’t improve much if he continues to play this season, an orthopedic specialist told The Athletic’s Chris Kirschner.

The specialist, Deepak Chona, said the proper treatment requires the finger to be immobilized in a splint for the tissue to heal. The best-case scenario if Collins continues playing would be partial healing in two or three weeks and moderate improvement in his shooting as the Hawks forward becoming used to his shooting hand being compromised.

Collins is averaging 9.3 PPG on 35.9% shooting in four March games. Collins, who is unsure whether he should continue playing, will sit out against Portland on Monday.

“I want to rest. I want to feel right,” he said. “But I know in an 82-game season, it’s not always going to be the case to feel 100 percent.”

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Victor Oladipo didn’t play in the second game of a back-to-back on Saturday and Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said they don’t want to push him too much physically, Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel writes. “This is just a matter of I’m not going to try to fast track this,” Spoelstra said “This is going to be about us tempering the expectations.” Miami plays Detroit on Tuesday.
  • Oladipo is averaging 6.7 PPG and 3.0 APG in 16.7 MPG since returning from his quad injury. The former All-Star admitted to The Athletic’s Joe Vardon that it’s been a humbling experience. “It did affect me, going through all of those things,” said Oladipo, who will be a free agent again this summer. “Feeling like people kind of wrote me off, and feeling like people are kind of being weird, moving weird around me as a person. It was just weird, and I didn’t help myself either. I had to change the people I was around, who I was letting represent me. I had to change who I was letting manage my life. I had to change a whole bunch of stuff.”
  • Jamahl Mosley has put his stamp on the Magic in his first year as head coach and the Orlando Sentinel’s Khobi Price takes a closer look at Mosley’s early impact on the franchise.

COVID/Injury Notes: Batum, Hawks, J. Murray, Celtics, More

Clippers head coach Tyronn Lue told reporters, including Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), that forward Nicolas Batum will be available Friday night at Philadelphia. Batum had been placed in the health and safety protocols as a result of an inconclusive test, missing Wednesday’s 130-128 overtime loss at Denver, but obviously has been cleared by testing negative twice since.

Here are more COVID-19 and injury-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Hawks head coach Nate McMillan told reporters, including Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (via Twitter), that starting center Clint Capela will return to action Friday night against Miami, but will be on a minutes restriction. Capela had missed Atlanta’s last six games with an ankle injury and the team went 2-4 in his absence. Spencer also tweets that the Hawks will be without Bogdan Bogdanovic (knee) and Danilo Gallinari (sore Achilles), while Gorgui Dieng will be available (non-COVID illness).
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray, who’s still rehabbing from a torn ACL suffered last April, has entered the health and safety protocols, Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports tweets.
  • Celtics head coach Ime Udoka told reporters that Marcus Smart and Aaron Nesmith will miss Friday’s game vs. Portland, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps (Twitter link). Smart is still ramping up his conditioning after battling COVID-19, while Nesmith is dealing with a sprained ankle.
  • Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma is out Friday vs. Toronto with a sprained neck, per Marc J. Spears of the Undefeated (via Twitter). Kuzma is having a solid first season with Washington, averaging 15.7 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 43 games, all starts.
  • Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley and top assistant coach Nate Tibbetts have both cleared the protocols and will be coaching Friday’s game against the Lakers, Orlando’s PR department tweets.
  • Grizzlies forward Killian Tillie has been upgraded from questionable to available for Friday’s game at Denver, so he has cleared the health and safety protocols, Memphis’ PR department tweets.

COVID-19 Updates: Grizzlies, Doumbouya, Oubre, Pistons, More

The Grizzlies now have a league-high four players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. When they updated their injury report on Tuesday for Wednesday’s game vs. Milwaukee, the Grizzlies removed Yves Pons from the protocols, but added key contributors Kyle Anderson and Desmond Bane (Twitter link). Big man Killian Tillie also remains in the protocols for Memphis, and point guard Tyus Jones was added today (Twitter link).

While the Grizzlies shouldn’t have to wait too long to get some of their players back from the protocols, they’ll likely be shorthanded on the wing for their next few games, with Anderson and Bane both unavailable and Dillon Brooks (ankle) still on the shelf too.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates:

  • Lakers two-way forward Sekou Doumbouya entered the COVID-19 protocols on Tuesday, according to the team (Twitter link via Kyle Goon of the Southern California News Group). Doumbouya had been in the G League with South Bay, so his absence won’t have a major impact on the NBA club.
  • Hornets forward Kelly Oubre and Pistons guard Frank Jackson are among the players to have exited the protocols this week, according to their respective teams (Twitter links). Jackson missed Tuesday’s game vs. Golden State due to reconditioning, while Oubre is listed as questionable for Wednesday’s contest in Boston.
  • Pistons rookie Luka Garza, who was on a G League assignment, had his status changed to “health and safety protocols” on Tuesday night’s injury report. Meanwhile, this morning’s injury reports no longer list Jazz guard Jared Butler or Kings wing Robert Woodard, an indication that both players have cleared the protocols.
  • Magic head coach Jamahl Mosley and top assistant Nate Tibbetts both entered the protocols on Monday, resulting in assistant Jesse Mermuys taking over on a temporary basis as Orlando’s acting head coach, per the team (Twitter link).

Florida Notes: Suggs, Miami Backcourt, Butler, Spoelstra

Magic rookie guard Jalen Suggs continues to develop his skills at the next level despite remaining sidelined due to a fractured right thumb, writes Dan Savage of Magic.com. Savage notes that the injury will not require surgery, and the club will continue to monitor it with check-ups every other week.

Rather than rehabilitate at home, Suggs wanted to travel with his Magic teammates for the club’s recent Western Conference road trip: “For me, the biggest part was still being around the team, hearing what the coaches are saying, being on the bench, and being engaged into the game. That was the biggest piece for me for wanting to come and hoping they’d let me come. Again, just continuing to build the camaraderie because I love to be around these guys.”

Savage reports that Suggs is going through game film with head coach Jamahl Mosley and assistant coach Nate Tibbetts as he hopes to take strides even while unavailable for the Magic.

“Just trying to see the flow, see where certain shots come in, see how I can better control the game in certain situations,” Suggs said. “I think they’ve done a great job of keeping me involved and keeping me engaged.”

Across 21 games thus far this season, the 6’4″ 21-year-old point guard out of Gonzaga is averaging 12.3 PPG (albeit on lackluster shooting percentages), 3.6 APG and 3.4 RPG.

There’s more out of the Sunshine State:

  • Due to a rash of injuries early in the 2021/22 NBA season, the Heat have been compelled to tinker with lineup optionality, writes Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. The backcourt tandem of veteran point guard Kyle Lowry and up-and-comer Gabe Vincent has emerged by necessity, and may become a favorite for head coach Erik Spoelstra going forward. “You have toughness and that defensive disposition from both of them,” Spoelstra said. “Either one of them can play on the ball or play off the ball and they feel equally comfortable in that role. I think the different roles that Gabe has had to play for us the last year and a half have really prepared him to be able to complement Kyle very well.”
  • Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, in his first game back from a tailbone injury that kept him sidelined for four contests, appeared to re-injure himself after suffering a hard fall in an eventual 105-90 defeat against the Grizzlies Monday night, per ESPN.com. “It is a contact sport,” head coach Erik Spoelstra noted. “But he definitely re-aggravated it. You can tell from that point on he was not his usual self. So we’ll reevaluate him [Tuesday] and see where we are.” When available, the 32-year-old swingman has looked like his usual All-Star self, averaging 22.8 PPG on 50.9% shooting from the floor and 85.2% from the charity stripe, while chipping in 5.8 RPG and 5.2 APG across 18 games.
  • Spoelstra discussed his frustrations with himself as a coach in the wake of the Heat‘s recent slump, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. The team has lost four of its last five contests overall, including three games on its home court. “I have to do a better job getting the team organized and getting the team comfortable, where the ball’s going, how we’re going to play offensively,” Spoelstra said. To be fair, the team has been without All-Stars Jimmy Butler or Bam Adebayo, out with injuries, for most of those games. The Heat are currently still the fourth seed in the East at 14-11. The lead man in Miami since 2008, Spoelstra is the second-longest-tenured NBA head coach, behind just Gregg Popovich of the Spurs.

Former Mavs Exec Voulgaris Discusses Tension With Nelson, Exit From Team

Appearing on the ESPN Daily podcast with Pablo Torre, former Mavericks executive Haralabos Voulgaris publicly addressed for the first time his exit from the franchise and reports of discord between him and longtime head of basketball operations Donnie Nelson, who also left the team this offseason.

A report from The Athletic in June stated that Voulgaris had either initiated or approved nearly all of the Mavs’ roster moves for the last two seasons and suggested his influence was virtually on par with Nelson’s. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who worked with Voulgaris in the past and brought him aboard in 2018 as the team’s director of quantitative research and development, disputed The Athletic’s portrayal of how much power the executive had. However, Voulgaris’ abrasive personality was reportedly a source of some tension in the front office and he was said to have a “strained” relationship with star guard Luka Doncic.

As Tim MacMahon of ESPN details, Voulgaris told Torre the Mavericks’ basketball operations department was a “very gossipy workplace” and likened the team’s dysfunction to “high school drama.” Although he denied some details from The Athletic’s report – including that he dictated lineups and rotations to then-coach Rick Carlisle – he didn’t challenge others.

Voulgaris told Torre that he came to believe Nelson “didn’t want me around,” adding that other people in the front office may have felt threatened by his close relationship with Cuban.

“I didn’t have a working relationship with other people in the front office at all, to the point where it was awkward,” Voulgaris said. “But that’s kind of the M.O. of the way that front office was run — like, surround yourself with people who are not threats. You don’t become an NBA general manager and hold on to your job for that long unless you are very, very good at keeping your job.

“… I think Mark had this idea that maybe we (Voulgaris and Nelson) could work together, the stuff that he’s good at I might be deficient at and vice versa,” Voulgaris continued. “(Nelson is) more of a, kind of like a wheeler-dealer, like when you shake his hands, you want to make sure your rings are still there. Not in a bad way, but he’s that guy. He’s a deal-maker. He’s a broker. My working relationship with Donnie Nelson was seeing him every once in a while and getting a fist bump. That was it. Whether it was a fist-bump text message or a fist bump in person, that was his thing. He was very nice and cordial to my face, (but) I think threatened by me.”

Voulgaris also confirmed The Athletic’s claim that his relationship with Doncic worsened after he left his courtside seat with the Mavericks down 10 points and under a minute left in a game in April. Doncic viewed it as a sign of Voulgaris quitting on the team, while the executive considered it a non-issue and was upset that others in the organization didn’t back him up at all.

“You have a great relationship with this player. Why are you not telling him that I didn’t quit on the team?” Voulgaris said, referring to one of the Mavs’ assistant coaches, possibly Jamahl Mosley. “I just went to my desk to look at something on my computer or got up because I normally get up. There are plenty of other instances of me getting up in the middle of the game. … It was such a non-event that I didn’t think it was a big deal, and the fact that it became a big deal led me to believe that this is just not worth it to me.”

Voulgaris wasn’t fired by the Mavs, and didn’t step down from his role either — his contract simply expired and the two sides didn’t work out a new deal. While the franchise may have been seeking a fresh start following the hiring of Nico Harrison to replace Nelson, Voulgaris made it clear that he also felt his time in Dallas had run its course.

“If I’m distracting that f—ing guy (Doncic), I don’t need to be around,” Voulgaris said. “Whatever the case may be, no matter how I see it, it doesn’t matter at the end of the day. He is the fulcrum of the team. So I was like, ‘Cool.’ Plus, I was trying to find a way out of this job to begin with.”

Southeast Notes: Butler, Thor, Magic, Dinwiddie

After finalizing his new four-year, maximum contract extension over the weekend, All-NBA Heat swingman Jimmy Butler spoke about why he wanted to commit to Miami long-term, according to Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald.

“They allow me to be me here, love who I am as a person and player,” Butler said of the Heat organization. “Love the guys I have an opportunity to hoop with. I think we’ll be a really good team. We’re consistently getting better, adding the right amount of vets to get over the hump and win a championship. It means everything to me to represent this great organization.”

Butler, who turns 32 in September, said that he wants to finish his career in Miami.

“It’s a place for me,” Butler said. “Teammates allow me to be me. When I’m wrong, they’re going to tell me I’m wrong. When I’m right they still probably tell me I’m wrong. I love them for that. Blessing to play with these guys and [head coach Erik Spoelstra] and [team president] Pat Riley.”

A four-time All-NBA selection, five-time All-Star, and five-time All-Defensive Team member while with the Bulls, Timberwolves and Heat (he did not earn any of these honors with his other NBA team, the Sixers), Butler showed no signs of slowing down during the 2020/21 regular season. He averaged 21.5 PPG on 49.7% shooting from the field and 86.3% from the free-throw line, as well as career-best averages of 7.1 APG, 6.9 RPG, and 2.1 SPG.

There’s more out of the Southeast Division:

  • Hornets rookie power forward JT Thor was signed to a four-year deal, with the first two seasons guaranteed, using some of Charlotte’s cap space, reports Bobby Marks of ESPN (Instagram video link). The 18-year-old big man was selected with the No. 37 pick out of Auburn in this year’s draft.
  • The young core of the rebuilding Magic – including rookie lottery picks Jalen Suggs and Franz Wagner, along with second-year point guard Cole Anthony – is exhibiting encouraging signs of development during NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, writes Dan Savage of Magic.com. “It’s about them developing camaraderie, and their ability to just tie together and move forward growing together,” new head coach Jamahl Mosley said of the Summer League squad. “Just continuing to build off each other and for each other.”
  • After having waived shooting guard Dwayne Bacon this weekend, the Magic project to have an open 15th roster spot, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Robbins anticipates Orlando will probably leave this final roster spot available in case an opportunity arises for the team to take on an unwanted contract – along with a draft pick – into its sizable trade exception.
  • New Wizards starting point guard Spencer Dinwiddie has several intriguing incentives in his three-year, $62MM deal with Washington, as Michael Scotto of HoopsHype details (Twitter link). Dinwiddie will earn a $1.5MM bonus if he plays in 50+ games, $100K if the Wizards win a first-round playoff series, $571K should the Wizards make the Eastern Conference Finals, and $400K if the Wizards qualify for the NBA Finals. As Bobby Marks of ESPN (Instagram video link) first reported, Dinwiddie would net a scant $1 bonus for winning the NBA Finals. Marks added in the same video that the partial guarantee on Dinwiddie’s 2023/24 salary will become fully guaranteed if he plays in 50+ games during the 2022/23 season.

Eastern Notes: Smart, Jokubaitis, Magic Staff, Aldridge

The Celtics have offered Marcus Smart a four-year extension, longtime beat writer Mark Murphy tweets. The Celtics are awaiting a response from Smart’s agent, Jason Glushonworth, on an extension worth approximately $17MM annually, Murphy adds (Twitter link). The maximum possible extension the Celtics could give Smart would be worth around $77MM, Ryan McDonough of NBC Sports Boston tweets. The extension would kick in during the 2022/23 season. Smart has an expiring $14.33MM contract for next season.

We have more tidbits from the Eastern Conference:

  • The assumption that Rokas Jokubaitis was a draft-and-stash pick by the Knicks last month may not be entirely accurate. The Lithuanian guard, chosen with the No. 34 pick, hasn’t ruled out the possibility of playing in the NBA this season, Marc Berman of the New York Post tweets. It’s unclear whether New York is on board with that possibility or if the team prefers to stash Jokubaitis for at least a year.
  • The Magic have settled on a number of coaching hires to assist new coach Jamahl Mosley, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweetsNate Tibbetts, Jesse Mermuys, Dale Osbourne, Bret Brielmaier and Lionel Chalmers will join Mosley on the bench. The expected hires of Tibbetts and Osbourne were previously reported.
  • If LaMarcus Aldridge chooses to come out of his health-related retirement, the Bulls could be his destination. Both K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago and Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times report that there could be mutual interest between the club and the veteran big man (Twitter links). Aldridge would require team medical clearance from his heart-related issues in order to sign a contract and take the court again.