Another big day in Olympic basketball today, as Team USA took on one of the strongest teams in the competition, Lithuania. For a report on that, check out the fifth installment in Chris Sheridan’s Diary of the Uncredentialed. Also, if you missed it yesterday, look at Nick Gibson’s preview of today’s Olympic action, and compare his predictions to what actually went down. Check back a little later for his recap of all the action today.
And now, as always, here’s the latest news from around the NBA.
- Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe has a lengthy interview with Paul Pierce up, in which Pierce talks about the departure of Ray Allen, and what, if anything, Rajon Rondo had to do with it: “You know what? There’s a lot of stuff that goes on in NBA locker rooms that don’t even get talked about. I had beef with a number of players that just don’t get talked about. And the reason I say that is that it’s nothing that’s new. It’s every year. Every year I’m almost getting into fights with some of the guys but you realize, I get in an (argument) with my wife. You’re around each other all the time and sometime you have disagreements. That’s just the nature of it sometimes when you got strong personalities in one locker room. You’re going to have differences. You’re around each other 24/7, bus, plane, lunch, dinner. Sometimes you have arguments. I didn’t see nothing any different that went with on with Ray and Rondo that went on with me and KG or me and Brandon Bass or stuff that has been going on over the years.” The whole interview is an excellent read, so clickthroughs are highly recommended.
- Washburn has a second interview with Pierce that’s less focused on Allen and more on Pierce himself: “I really did look this as our last run. I did. I really thought this was it. I thought we were going to not going to sign KG, maybe trade me. If not trade me, maybe (approach) mediocrity if I was going to stay here. I didn’t think we would be right where we’re at talking today about the opportunity to be a contender next year.”
- More from the Pierce interview, this regarding his contract, which has a team option for 2013-14: “I think I am going to play this one out. I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life. I think I am going to play this one out. A lot can change in two years. My body (may not) be where I want it to be, I could retire, a lot of things could happen. It’s not about the money at this point. I love the game. I made as much money as I possibly can. It’s about winning a championship and if I feel like it’s the right thing to do, maybe so (come back) but I really don’t know the specifics on the KG deal or Jason Terry’s deal. If i solidify my third year, maybe they opt out, so it’s about keeping your options open.”
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel has a comprehensive look at where the Magic stand as we approach the end of free agency, and naturally, it includes some Dwight Howard news: “Having Howard on the roster to begin camp would create enormous distractions for the Magic. With so much attention centered around one player, it would be more difficult for Vaughn and Hennigan to instill the team-first culture they want,” Robbins writes, but then goes on to mention that “It’s unclear whether Magic officials still believe there’s a legitimate chance they can convince Howard to remain long-term. Perhaps the team’s brain trust thinks the potential reward outweighs the possible risk. At the bare minimum, the Brooklyn Nets still would trade for Howard once Brook Lopez becomes trade-eligible again Jan. 15.” So it looks like Dwight may get his original wish after all, just deferred a few months.
- The Salt Lake Tribune has a report on extension negotiations between the Jazz and forward Paul Millsap: “was offered a three-year extension worth about $25 million, The Salt Lake Tribune has learned, which is the maximum extension Millsap can receive under the new collective bargaining agreement. The proposed deal features an annual 7.5 percent raise, would kick in after Millsap’s current contract expires June 2013, and could keep the career Jazzman in a Utah uniform through June 2016. Initial indications are Millsap won’t agree to the extension, though, preferring to enter free agency in 2013 with plans to cash in on an inflated 2012 market that saw mid-tier forwards such as Gerald Wallace, Andrei Kirilenko, Nicolas Batum and Ryan Anderson recently receive lucrative multiyear contracts.”
- The Warriors appear poised to take the leap into the playoffs, but center Andrew Bogut isn’t ready to say it’s time for that yet, as Marcus Thompson of the San Jose Mercury-News reports via Sulia: “Center Andrew Bogut said he likes the job Warriors’ front office has done. But he stopped short of saying the Warriors had arrived. ‘We got much better on paper. Paper doesn’t win games. We have work to do.; While many people, including myself, are calling the Warriors a playoff team. One of the locker room leaders are trying to make sure the players don’t get ahead of themselves. That’s a good sign.”
Dan Malone just completed his sophomore year at University of Kings College in Halifax, Nova Scotia, and is spending the summer in Baltimore, where he covers the Single-A minor-league baseball team the Aberdeen IronBirds for OriolesHangout.com. He will be blogging on weekends for SheridanHoops this summer.