Archive for the ‘ International ’ Category

While they won’t be playing for Canada in next month’s FIBA Americas tournament in Venezuela, give this country’s two newest NBA players credit for showing up.

No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett and No. 13 selection Kelly Olynyk are in Toronto for this week’s Canada Basketball camp, lending whatever they can to the group of players assembled.

“It’s tough — I always wanted to play, especially with (this) great group of guys,” said Bennett after watching practice at the Air Canada Centre on Friday. Bennett is still recovering from a shoulder injury, and with Olynyk on the shelf as well, their respective pro teams in Cleveland and Boston would have likely had serious reservations if the frontcourt players had suited up in the maple leaf.

“Everyone wants to be here,” said Olynyk. “It’s really nice to see that everyone is so keen to represent their country and do it as a team.”

Reported by John Chick, special to the Toronto Sun

Pau Gasol meets with Syrian refugees in Iraq

Lakers forward Pau Gasol was moved by his recent trip to Dohuk, Iraq, to visit with Syrian refugees.

“Most of the people didn’t know who I was. They didn’t know what I do,” Gasol told The Times on Friday via telephone from Spain. “They saw someone that cared for them who was there to help them. That was there to listen to them, to play with children and be their speaker and be their voice and carry a message for them. It was a great experience. ”

Armed conflict in Syria has caused more than 1.7 million people, many of them children, to flee their homes.

Gasol, an ambassador for UNICEF since 2003, found his visit both challenging and heart-warming.

Reported by Eric Pincus of the Los Angeles Times (Blog)

After failing to field any NBA offers that entailed guaranteed deals, Andrew Goudelock has accepted a one-year deal to play with the Russian basketball team BC UNICS Kazan.

The offer is worth “considerably more” than Goudelock would’ve made with an NBA minimum salary worth around $1 million, according to a source familiar with the details. But exact terms weren’t immediately provided.

The Lakers declined to grant Goudelock a $1.1 million qualifying offer, which would’ve made him a restricted free agent and enabled the Lakers to match any offer sheet he fielded.

Reported by Mark Medina of the Los Angeles Daily News (Blog)

Chris Paul may play 2016 Olympic Games

A floor general in basketball is always important. But when you take a group of stars and try to teach them to also play like smart role players, leadership is even more crucial than ever. With that said, Team USA could really use a point guard like CP3.

Chris Paul

Chris Paul has changed his mind and is leaning toward playing in the 2016 Olympics.

The Los Angeles Clippers point guard, who was on the 2008 and 2012 gold medal teams, said he was leaning heavily toward bypassing the 2016 Games — until Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski announced he was returning to coach the team.

“If it had been another coach than Coach K, I was prepared to be done,” Paul told ESPN.com.

Paul will be 31 when the 2016 Olympics, which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, take place. He will still likely be a major piece for the team, despite a strong crop of young and talented point guards that includes Derrick Rose, Kyrie Irving, Russell Westbrook and Stephen Curry.

Reported by Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com

So far, Kevin Durant and Kevin Love are in. It’ll be fun seeing who else joins the squad.

Canadian hoops squad set to assemble

Canada Basketball is set to open camp ahead of the 2013 Americas Championship for men.

The event will take place in Venezuela and runs from Aug. 30 to Sept. 11. The top four teams qualify for next year’s World Cup in Spain.

Canada will tune up for the competition with its camp, which runs from July 31 to Aug. 15 at the Air Canada Centre, and with two games against Jamaica at the Jack Donohue Classic on Aug. 8 and 10 at Ryerson’s Mattamy Athletic Centre.

It’s not yet clear exactly who will comprise Canada’s roster, but NBA players Tristan Thompson (Cleveland), Cory Joseph (San Antonio), Kelly Olynyk (Boston) and Joel Anthony (Miami) will be on hand.

Reported by Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun

Atlanta Hawks will sign Pero Antic

According to the agent for Pero Antic, the European power forward/center has agreed to a two-year contract with the Hawks. Misko Raznatovic stated the news Wednesday on Twitter.

The Hawks have not announced the signing as there likely are details that must be finalized. According to Raznatovic, the second year of the deal is an option.

Antic, 6-foot-11, 260 pounds, played in the Greek League the past two seasons. He helped Olympiacos to consecutive Euroleague championships.

Reported by Chris Vivlamore of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Get to know new Celtic Vitor Faverani

Get to know new Celtics Vitor Faverani

He played last year for Valencia Basket Club of the Spanish ACB League, averaging 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds in 17 minutes in 23 games.

Also, Faverani was eligible for the 2009 NBA draft but was not selected.

“He was not drafted because he was very immature and did not take the game seriously,” said an Eastern Conference scout who said he spent considerable time scouting Faverani.

“He could not be trusted. He has done a lot of growing up, both on and off the floor, and has turned the corner, so to speak.”

In terms of how Faverani fits in with the Celtics, the scout said, “I can see him as a pick-and-pop big, offensively. Where he fits defensively and being a consistent rebounder will be the key.”

Reported by Baxter Holmes of the Boston Globe (Blog)

Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski arrived in Las Vegas with a group of 28 players ready to participate in a four-day camp that will mark the beginning of preparations for next summer’s World Cup in Madrid.

LeBron James isn’t on the list. Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant aren’t here, either. Not one player with significant Olympic experience.

And that is exactly how they planned it.

This camp, which is scheduled to begin on Monday, is geared toward bringing some fresh faces into the mix. As Colangelo, the managing director of USA Basketball, likes to put it, it’s all about keeping the pipeline filled.

“There should be turnover each competition because then the young players can see that happening,” Colangelo said Sunday night. “They can say, ‘If I progress as a player and if I’m part of this program and culture, I’ll have a chance to compete.’”

Players like Indiana’s Paul George, Cleveland’s Kyrie Irving, Portland’s Damian Lillard and Washington’s John Wall will be among those taking part in the camp. New Orleans forward Anthony Davis, who played sparingly for Team USA last summer, is the only player with any Olympic experience on the roster.

Reported by Jon Krawczynski of the Associated Press

As far back as Gal Mekel can remember, he was always a basketball junkie.

“Basketball was my first love,” said Mekel, who was born and raised in Israel. “I started [playing] when I was 5 on the court right next to my house, and I started with a serious team when I was 6 of 7.

“When you grow up you have posters of Michael Jordan and everybody on your wall. It’s a dream of everybody.”

And it’s a dream for Mekel, a 25-year-old free-agent point guard who signed a three-year, $2.3 million contract with the Dallas Mavericks earlier this month.

When the regular season starts, Mekel will join Houston’s Omri Casspi as the only players from Israel to play in the NBA.

Reported by Dwain Price of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Signs seem to be pointing toward 7-foot Brazilian center Vitor Faverani finally becoming a Celtic. Faverani’s Spanish team in Valencia issued a press release on Friday that the 25-year-old has officially told them that he is leaving the team to pursue his basketball career elsewhere.

The Celtics and Faverani had essentially agreed on a three-year, $6 million framework of a deal, but the transaction had been delayed due to the Celts’ continuing attempts to get below the luxury tax line of $71.7 million. The C’s were $2 million over that line before this deal.

Reported by the Boston Herald

Shane Larkin’s ankle injury moved Gal Mekel into a more prominent role in the summer league and ended up giving Mekel the opportunity to be the most consistent player on the floor for the Mavs.

He finished the summer league by averaging 9.7 points and 5.0 assists while shooting 45.1 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from 3-point range. Not bad, considering the Mavs ended the summer league playing four games in four days.

“For me, I think it was a great week the first time getting to know the NBA game,” Mekel said. “I think I played pretty good for the first time.

Prior to the summer league team leaving for Las Vegas, Mekel, 25, was considered a unique prospect because no one really knew what kind of game he had. Fresh off a title and MVP award in Israel, the guard’s resume impressed his coach.

Reported by Bryan Gutierrez of ESPN Dallas

Raul Neto will not yet join Utah Jazz

It looks like it will be another year before Brazilian playmaker Raul Neto is officially a Utah Jazz point guard.

Neto, who began training with his national team Thursday, said he anticipates returning to his Spanish team, Lagun Aro GBC, for another year instead of beginning his NBA career in Utah this fall.

“Go to the NBA is a dream I want to accomplish. I think we took the first step, but it is something that cannot be in a hurry,” Neto said, according to a Portuguese-to-English Google translation from a Basketeria.com.br report. “I have to wait for the right moment.”

The Jazz acquired the 21-year-old Neto on a draft-night trade with Atlanta after the Hawks selected him 47th overall. The 6-foot-2 point guard had an impressive debut with Utah at the summer league even after not being able to practice with his new team for almost a week because of a delay in receiving his clearance from basketball’s international governing body.

Reported by Jody Genessy of the Deseret News

Detroit Pistons President of Basketball Operations Joe Dumars announced today that the club has signed free agent forward Luigi Datome to a multi-year contract.

Datome, 25, has played professionally in Italy since 2003 with Montepaschi Siena, Givova Scafati Basket, Basket Olbia and Acea Virtus Roma.  The 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward was named Italian League Most Valuable Player with Roma in 2013, posting averages of 16.7 points (.478 FG%, .415 3FG%, .928 FT%), 5.7 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 33.1 minutes in 45 games.  He’s played with Roma for the past five seasons (2008-2013).

The 25-year-old Italy native has been a member of the Italian National Team since 2007.  His basketball achievements internationally include being a member of Italy’s U16 National Team (2003), U18 National Team (2003-05) and the U20 National Team (2004-07).  He was a member of the Italian U20 National Championship team in 2004.  In the qualifier for the European Championships in 2012-13, Datome averaged 11.1 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.5 assists while shooting 51.5% from the field and 48.4% from 3-point range in eight games.  He was named Eurobasket.com All-Italian SerieA Player of the Year, All-Italian SerieA Domestic Player of the Year and All-Italian SerieA First Team last season.

Ron Artest

Metta World Peace wants to play for the New York Knicks, according to a person close to the veteran small forward.

World Peace cleared waivers late Sunday afternoon, making him an unrestricted free agent. A source told ESPN.com’s Brian Windhorst that the Knicks, who can offer him part of their taxpayer mid-level exception [roughly $1.7 million], already have reached out to the former Los Angeles Laker.

While the Knicks are World Peace’s first choice, he is also holding onto the Los Angeles Clippers and China’s Shanghai Sharks as possible teams to join next season.

World Peace spoke Sunday with Yao Ming about playing in Shanghai, a source said.

Reported by Chris Broussard of ESPN the Magazine

Dallas Mavericks sign guard Gal Mekel

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have signed free agent guard Gal Mekel (pronounced GAL MEK-el).

Mekel (6-3, 191) spent two seasons at Wichita State University (2006-07, 2007-08) before leaving school early and beginning his professional career in Europe. In his first season overseas, he was named the 2009 All-Israeli League Newcomer of the Year.

Last season, the point guard led Maccabi Haifa to an Israeli League Championship en route to claiming his second Most Valuable Player award. Mekel averaged 13.3 points, 5.4 assists, 2.6 rebounds, 1.4 steals and 32.3 minutes in 30 games while shooting .525 from the field and .779 from the free throw line.

The Petah Tikva, Israel native is just the second Israeli-born player to sign with an NBA team. He follows in the footsteps of veteran forward Omri Casspi.

The newest member of the Detroit Pistons made the announcement on Facebook.

Italian small forward Luigi Datome wrote: “I made my decision to be a player of the Detroit Pistons. I think that Detroit is the right place to make another step in my career and to realize a dream. I am very excited to play with the Pistons.”

A person familiar with the situation confirmed the signing and told the Free Press the deal is expected to be two years. The source requested anonymity because the deal isn’t final until Wednesday, when the league’s annual free agency moratorium ends. Yahoo! Sports is reporting the agreement is worth $3.75 million.

With the agreement, the Pistons addressed one of their biggest needs — outside shooting.

Reported by Vince Ellis of the Detroit Free Press

Datome, 25, averaged 16.6 points and 5.8 rebounds for Virtus Roma last season, shooting 47 percent from the field (41 percent on 3-point attempts) and 92 percent from the free throw line.

The Pistons can’t announce contract agreements with free agents until Wednesday, when the league moritorium on signings is lifted.

Reported by the Associated Press

The Nets came to an agreement last night with 2011 second-round pick Bojan Bogdanovic, according to a league source.

Bogdanovic will sign a three-year deal with the Nets starting at about $2.5 million when the NBA’s moratorium on transactions ends Wednesday. The deal also contains a player option in the third year, the source said. The Nets used most of their taxpayer’s mid-level exception to sign Bogdanovic, the only way they could sign a player for more than the veteran’s minimum, due to the fact they are far over the luxury tax threshold.

By not using all of the mini mid-level exception — which starts at $3.18 million this year — the Nets saved themselves roughly $3 million on what will be a massive luxury tax bill thanks to their massive payroll following the blockbuster deal with the Celtics.

Reported by Tim Bontemps of the New York Post

Chris Bosh

Having recently helped the Heat win a second-consecutive NBA title, Chris Bosh will turn his attention to helping the league conquer a new frontier.

The eight-time All-Star will visit Mumbai, India, July 16-18, to participate in a series of activities to help grow interest in the game. Having gained a stronghold in China, the NBA has targeted India and its population of more than 1 billion as the next lucrative international market.

Reported by Craig Davis of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel

The Dallas Mavericks are set to add Israeli point guard Gal Mekel in free agency.

Mekel’s agent, Sam Porter, says the 6-foot-3 Mekel has agreed to join the Mavericks on a three-year deal with $2.3 million guaranteed. Free agents can’t sign until July 10.

The Mavericks added Mekel after getting Miami point guard Shane Larkin in the NBA draft last week. Mekel and the son of Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin are expected to battle for the backup job.

– Reported by the Associated Press

Manu Ginobili

Writing a first-person commentary for the Argentine newspaper “La Nación,” veteran guard Manu Ginobili made his strongest comments yet about his desire to return for another season with the Spurs.

Ginobili admitted it took him three days after the conclusion of the NBA Finals, a Game 7 loss to the Miami Heat, before he could focus on his future.

Now, he can’t see himself not continuing his Spurs career.

“After much thinking, going over and over the bad plays, I feel better and content in spite of the bad outcome, and I find it difficult to believe that I won’t play anymore,” he wrote in La Nación.

“I don’t feel exhausted or frustrated playing basketball, I mean not enough to say I’m done. I don’t know about everything; I haven’t made a decision, but I see it is unlikely that I will not play anymore.

“I try not to let the tree in front of me block the forest. This is practically an unbeatable situation in sports. A moment of anger and frustration should not cloud the day-to-day and how well I am doing over here.”

Reported by Mike Monroe and Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News

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