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jrcp3 07-17-2008 12:25 PM

Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
If you like drama, then Canada's heart-stopping, lurching, improbably comeback win over South Korea Wednesday morning was for you.

There was conflict, tension and a major plot twist - and that was before the Canadian national team even left their hotel.

According to multiple sources, the decision to have Philadelphia 76ers centre Samuel Dalembert leave the team came just hours before Canada's do-or-die win against South Korea.

National team coach Leo Rautins confronted Dalembert as the team bus was about to leave for the arena, questioning his commitment to the team. Dalembert in turn challenged Rautins.
One source said it was Rautins who told Dalembert to "get lost," while another said it wasn't clear who had the final word, only that there was mutual agreement the team and it's high-profile centre should part ways.

Attempts to reach Dalembert yesterday were unsuccessful, but his agent, Marc Cornstein, disputed the notion his client's commitment to the national team program was ever in doubt.

"I did talk to him briefly," Cornstein said from Las Vegas. "The only thing I can say is questioning any type of commitment on Sam's part is ludicrous. It's been extremely difficult to get high level NBA players to become part of the national team program and Sam not only made the effort last year to get his Canadian citizenship, he committed his off-season last year to helping Canada qualify for Greece.

"And this summer, unless I'm mistaken, he was there at the beginning of training camp and hasn't asked for any special treatment, so I don't know why anyone would question his commitment."

National team veteran Rowan Barrett said the team is unified going forward.

"The bottom line is you're representing Canada here," Barrett said. "The coaches, Leo, the last guy on the team, the doctors - we are all united here. We aren't waiting for Steve Nash or Sam Dalembert. We have to do it with the guys who are here."

The move came only a day after Dalembert struggled badly in Canada's opening game against Slovenia in which he was 1-of-9 from the field and grabbed four rebounds.

In interviews after the game, Rautins called for Dalembert to give a greater effort offensively and defensively, but added he wasn't singling him out for the loss.

Yesterday, Rautins said the decision to part ways with Dalembert had been "brewing for a while."

According to sources, some of the tension began last summer in Las Vegas when Dalembert - though initially enthusiastic about being part of the national team program for the first time, even going so far as to treat his teammates to a few nights out - increasingly isolated himself from the team, was regularly late for meetings and was quick to opt out of practice.

This year, the frustrations started when Dalembert, despite advance warning of the national team's schedule, volunteered for the NBA's Basketball Without Borders program even though it conflicted with the summer season. Dalembert eventually withdrew from the program and arrived on time for the team's three-week training camp. Again, he took his teammates out for a night in Toronto, but once more seemed to lose enthusiasm for the task.

He took himself out of Canada's final three exhibition games, citing a pre-existing hip problem. At the time, Rautins praised Dalembert for continuing to participate in meetings and attend practice - and he was an enthusiastic teammate on the bench.

In Europe, insiders say Dalembert didn't participate in team meals and spent most of his time with a group of friends he had travelling with him.

"He's not a bad person," said one player agent who asked not to be named. "But his level of dedication isn't the same as a Rowan Barrett or a Joel Anthony. He's kind of got an NBA aura. He's a role player in the league, but he sees what stars can get away with there and now that he's in a smaller pond, he's pulling a lot of the same stuff."

Dalembert came to Montreal from Haiti as a teenager before moving to New Jersey to pursue basketball and finish high school. Rautins worked diligently to push Dalembert to get his citizenship work done.

Sources say Rautins may have created some of the issues because the program was desperate to add a player of his stature in the absence of the likes of Nash. "He's a player's coach and he was so happy to have Sam that he may have overlooked some things and set up a double-standard," one source said.

Dalembert is the second big man Rautins has sent home in less than two weeks. On the eve of departing for Europe, he cut former Niagara University star Juan Mendez in favour of Rens Brempong.

Canada's inside rotation will be sorely tested tomorrow against Croatia, which boasts one of the bigger and more experienced front lines in the tournament.

jrcp3 07-17-2008 12:28 PM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
Wow Leo Rautins is RETARTED, his man goes on his knee's last year to get Dalembert now he kicks him off the team ( Because he had a bad game and prolly was alittle mad ) STRAIGHT STUPID, and he prolly feels REAL nice because they beat KOREA ! WATCH OUT NOW ! ...... he kicked off Juan Mendez ( top scorer in greece last year for canada and Brown as well ...... this guy doesn't know what he is doing and it will show trust me ..... BIG MISTAKE BUD

DaveM123 07-17-2008 12:49 PM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
I give the guy credit for standing up for the team.
No one player is bigger then the team. Doesn't matter who.
Sounds like alot of players backed the coach's decision.

T-Low 07-17-2008 01:09 PM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
The way this sounds, Dally's commitment was not to great. We need commitment from every player, doc, coach, trainer, etc. because just to be associated with Basketball Canada is merely amazing.

YaoMing4MVP 07-17-2008 02:59 PM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
I am a bit divided on this. On one hand, a bad attitude Dalembert is better than no Dalembert at all. On the other hand, I agree that no one player is bigger than the team. I am not completely convinced that Dalembert lacks committment for team Canada. I don't doubt that he might have a bit of attitude problem, thinking that he deserves special treatment because the rest of his teammates are no where near his caliber. However, I think Leo Rautins over reacted just a bit too much. He needs Dalembert. A good coach would have worked out his differences with his key player before it gets to this point. This shows that we have a young coach who lacks interpersonal skills. He may have won the battle, proving that no one on his team will get special treatment, but he lost the war. Canada will not qualify for Beijing 2008 without Dalembert.

RAPSCANWIN 07-17-2008 03:26 PM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
There saying that this was brewing for awhile, so I doubt Leo turfed him based on one bad game.

Sammy D was having a hard time adjusting to the FIBA game,

Im not one to stick up for Leo, I'd much rather Jay Triano was there, He's a damn good coach that got screwed by politics in the National Program. Stupid on them, cause thats basically why Nash isnt playing.

YaoMing4MVP 07-17-2008 03:38 PM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways

Originally Posted by RAPSCANWIN
There saying that this was brewing for awhile, so I doubt Leo turfed him based on one bad game.

Sammy D was having a hard time adjusting to the FIBA game,

Im not one to stick up for Leo, I'd much rather Jay Triano was there, He's a damn good coach that got screwed by politics in the National Program. Stupid on them, cause thats basically why Nash isnt playing.

Do you think the likes of Phil Jackson could have handled this situation better? I don't think Dalembert would have dared to challenge high caliber coaches like Phil Jackson, so my point is that Leo is just too inexperienced. I agree that Jay Triano should've been the coach, it wouldn't have gotten to this point.

Jalen5 07-17-2008 03:57 PM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
We need brand new ppl to run canada basketball if we are to get nba players to play in it, Dalembert leaving another big slap on the face for canada basketball.

Really makes you wonder why Nash isn't playing and now Dalembert. This is 1 of those things where we will never find out what really happen because these types of stories always have 2 different sides to it.

From the start I always thought Leo Rautins is a boarder line boardcaster, and i never like how he present himself when he is boardcasting any raptor game.
I remember this 1 time many many years ago during a raptor boardcast, Chunk just gone slience for a few minutes because Leo is a retard n said something to Chunk which he didn't like.

Burgz 07-17-2008 11:08 PM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
the globe and mail reported something to do with Dalembert having to abruptly cut his time short with Basketball Without Borders to be on time for training camp, and they claim that might have been the starting point to Sam's decline in attitude.

If this is true then Sam is acting like a teenage boy. When you wear the Canadian flag on your chest you should be proud to wear it, and you don't play for yourself, you play for every single canadian in this country. That's a massive commitment, and if you aren't up to it, or can't handle it, you should have declined in the first place.

b4ball 07-18-2008 12:22 AM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
Hold on here folks. Their is absolutely no justification for team Canada to dump an established NBA player during an Olympic qualifying tournament. Dalembert would have had to get caught with drugs or broken a very grievous law.

Leo blew this big time. Embarrassing an NBA player by booting him off our team in this manner has repercussions that Leo can't begin to understand. Team Canada should have had a "chef de mission" that would be dealing with a rogue player and not the coach.

And Leo was not happy enough booting him out, he had to embarrass him by saying the things he has said after the incident. I would have thought that after thinking about the incident that Leo would have showed some professionalism and taken the heat for what ever happened. But Leo has not shown any class or maturity what so ever.

If there had been some issues with Sam, things should have been worked out long before Athens.

The coach takes the hit on this one in my opinion

Zan Tabak 07-18-2008 08:20 AM

Re: Dalembert, Team Canada go separate ways
regardless of what happened ..I would like to see Canada be more NBA player friendly ..we can use all the help we can get.

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