The latest NBA whispers out of USA Basketball camp and one more trip to Sin City
Cade Cunningham, Trae Young, Joel Embiid, Jeff Van Gundy and some dribbles from free agency ... all found here in our latest around-the-league notebook
LAS VEGAS — The United States has won four consecutive gold medals in men’s Olympic basketball since a humbling bronze-medal finish in 2004.
Yet you can be sure that no one with USA Basketball has forgotten that the last FIBA World Cup it contested in China in 2019 ended with a seventh-place pratfall — worst in program history since NBA players were welcomed onto the international basketball stage starting with the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona.
The road to World Cup redemption began last week with the start of training camp on the campus of the Nevada-Las Vegas, necessitating a second trip to Sin City in a short span — shame on me for making it sound like a chore — after summer league in July. Rather than holding trials and making cuts based on camp performance, USAB officials selected 12 players before a single practice: Orlando’s Paolo Banchero, Brooklyn’s Mikal Bridges, New York’s Jalen Brunson, Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, Indiana’s Tyrese Haliburton, New York’s Josh Hart, New Orleans’ Brandon Ingram, Memphis’ Jaren Jackson Jr., Brooklyn’s Cam Johnson, Utah’s Walker Kessler, Milwaukee’s Bobby Portis and the Los Angeles Lakers’ Austin Reaves.
A U.S. squad with zero international experience on its on-court roster plays the first of five World Cup warm-up games Monday night at T-Mobile Arena on the famed Vegas Strip when it hosts Puerto Rico at 10 PM ET on Fox Sports 1. Golden State’s Steve Kerr is serving as head coach and will have plenty of first-hand warnings to dispense after his stint as an assistant to Gregg Popovich on the ill-fated 2019 team as well as the group that rebounded to win gold at the Tokyo Olympics.
I dropped in on training camp briefly and collected some notes for the sort of around-the-league dispatch we like to do on Mondays. Read on for the latest …