There is no denying the best basketball talent in the world is American born. LeBron James, Steph Curry, Russell Westbrook, James Harden, Kahwi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and the list goes on. The problem for Team USA in this year’s FIBA World Cup was that none of the aforementioned suited up in red, white and blue. Despite an all-star coaching staff, Team USA rolled out a C-level team in China. Coming into the tournament with a 58-game unbeaten streak, Team USA breezed through group play with a 5-0 record. They were led by the likes of Donovan Mitchell, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown, Harrison Barnes, Jayson Tatum, among other second and third tier NBA “stars.” Is that a roster good enough to win an international competition? Maybe.  But if the big dogs were on the court, it never would have been in doubt. USA encountered France in the quarter finals and were beaten 89-78. On paper, the talent levels match up, but the chemistry these other big basketball countries (France, Spain, Serbia, Australia, Canada) have with their teams is much better than that of the US team. In the game against France, it showed. The loss would have been more shocking if team USA had their big ballers, but they didn’t.  Losing to Serbia a day later in the consolation bracket was also not very shocking given that players, at that point, were ready to go home. Can we fault this version of Team USA for not bringing home a title? Not really. Hopefully, it inspired the best of the best to put on the jersey and represent the best basketball nation in the world on the international stage next time.

Ohio University basketball fans remember their star player DJ Cooper.  He never made it to the NBA, but he has found a place in the European leagues.  That is, until now.  Mr. Cooper just got a nasty two-year suspension for failing a drug test.  The test revealed that he was pregnant!  It was not performance enhancing drugs or recreational drugs that brought him down, it was substituting his girl friend’s specimen in an apparent attempt to avoid something else that got him.  It’s a first.  His FIBA suspension was actually for fraud, but it’s the same thing, right?  Cooper’s friend didn’t know she was pregnant at the time, so in spite of being out of work, the good news for DJ is; you’re goin’ be a daddy.  Congrats.

NBA Free Agency officially opened up on Sunday, and from the jump, some high profile players have already committed to deals. NBA Twitter was filled with Woj bomb after Woj bomb on Sunday, and depending on who you support, it was either a really good day, or a really bad day. Let’s take a look at some of the notable action from yesterday.

  1. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving team up in New York. Despite Durant’s injury these were the top two free agents on the market outside of Kawhi Leonard, and the two of them are joining forces in New York, only, it’s not with the Knicks. The Brooklyn Nets the surprise winners of free agency landed both former NBA Champions on 4 year deals at slightly below max money. The duo taking slightly less opened up money for the Nets to sign DeAndre Jordan on a 4 year deal as well. Brooklyn also signed Garett Temple on a 2 year deal. Huge day for Brooklyn.
  2. Staying in the news of Brooklyn, the Nets sent D’Angelo Russell to the Warriors in a sign in trade, and he inked a 4 year $117M max contract. The guard broke out this year in Brooklyn leading them to their first playoff appearance since the Deron Williams days. He will team up with Steph Curry, Draymond Green, and in all likelihood Klay Thompson when he returns from his injury. A big add for GSW to fill the void of Thompson as he recovers from an ACL, but in order to clear up cap space, they had to send Andre Iguodala to Memphis.
  3. Kemba Walker signed with the Boston Celtics on a 4 year maximum deal ($141M). The former all-star heads to the Celtics with an opportunity to finally compete for something in the Eastern Conference after spending all of his career with the lowly Hornets. He is a great replacement for Irving and should be better for team chemistry as well under coach Brad Stevens.
  4. Jimmy Butler is heading out of Philly to Miami in a sign and trade. Details of the contract have not been announced yet but likely will be a 4 year max. In return the 76ers pick up Josh Richardson. Despite losing Butler, the 76ers stayed busy, resigning Tobias Harris to a 5 year $180M max deal, and five time all star Al Horford to a 4 year $109M deal. Miami gets an adult in the room to go along with their young core, as do the 76ers with Horford who will bring immediate credibility into their locker room. The 76ers also saw JJ Reddick leave to New Orleans on a 2 year deal.
  5. The Milwaulkee Bucks kept some of their core intact resigning Brook Lopez and Kris Middleton. Lopez gets 4 years $52M, while Middleton cashes in with a 5 year $178M deal, the third highest contract in NBA history! While the two pivotal players for the Bucks stay in town with the Greek Freak, the Bucks did lose Malcom Brogdon who signed a 4 year $85M deal with the Indiana Pacers.
  6. The New York Knicks, missed out on some of the top free agents of this year’s class, but managed to make a couple good moves to help build a roster around their young developing players. They signed Taj Gibson on a 2 year $20M deal, Julius Randle who broke out last season on a 3 year $63M deal, and Bobby Portis on a 2 year $31M deal. The contracts give the Knicks some flexibility down the line as they will look to their younger players including #3 overall pick RJ Barrett to become the next generation of Knicks basketball.

Other notable signings and moves:

  • Derrick Favors is heading to New Orleans for two second round picks
  • Patrick Beverley stays in LA with the Clippers on a 3 year $40M deal
  • Mario Hezonjia goes to Portland on 1 year minimum deal with a team option
  • Ed Davis signs with Utah on a 2 year $10M deal
  • Rodney Hood signs 2 year $16M deal with Portland
  • Bojan Bogdanovic signs 4 year $73M deal with Utah, leaving Indiana
  • Terrence Ross agrees to 4 year $54M deal to return to Orlando
  • Jonas Valanciunas agrees to 3 year $45M deal to stay in Memphis.
  • Derrick Rose signs 2 year $15M deal with Pistons
  • Harrison Barnes agrees to 4 year $85M deal to stay in Sacramento