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Finally, a little good news on the basketball front.
But don’t get too excited. This is only future good news. We’re still very much in a holding pattern when it comes to sports.
The Olympic Games, of which basketball is a part and potentially could be huge for Canada assuming the NBA commitments it received earlier this year still hold, took a step in assuring that remains a strong possibility when the decision was made to retain pretty much the same schedule in 2021 for the Games that would have existed in 2020.
There was talk that a later start date to the Olympics was in play and if that was the case, Canada’s NBA basketball involvement, as well as that of the USA team, would be in jeopardy much as it was last summer at the FIBA World Cup.
The IOC’s decision to schedule the Games for July 23-Aug 8 in 2021 should alleviate any concerns of players bailing because it’s too close to training camp.
The only concern to NBA participation next summer would be a change in the NBA schedule. There already has been plenty of talk about moving the season back permanently to lessen the overlap with the NFL and take their chances with regular season baseball as competition for ticket buyers and TV ratings rather than the world-swallowing NFL reach.
If that occurs, these dates could be either too close to the end of the season or overlap the NBA playoffs.
But assuming there’s no radical schedule shift, this has to be viewed as a good thing for NBA participation.
And that’s a very good thing where Canada’s basketball hopes are concerned.
ANOTHER BIG THREE?
It worked out pretty well in Miami, though not immediately, with LeBron, DWade, and Chris Bosh.
Now there are at least rumblings that the two-star heavy Brooklyn Nets would like to add a third to their cast of Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst got this talk started with the suggestion that based on the tire-kicking the Nets were engaged in at the trade deadline, and mid-season comments by Irving suggesting a roster upgrade was necessary, there seems to be at least an indication that the Nets would be pushing hard for a third star to join the Nets next season.
The talk really is a slap in the face to a trio of excellent young home-grown Nets in Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Jarrett Allen.
But to obtain another star via the trade market, it would take two or more of that group to get another team’s attention.
Dinwiddie turns 27 in April, LeVert is 26 in August and Allen is 22 in April. That’s three young elite NBA players who haven’t reached their peak yet.
The Raptors proved a year ago just one mega-star is enough if you surround him with the proper pieces and a good coaching staff.
TELL IT LIKE IT IS, KERR
Steve Kerr is as straight a shooter as there is on an NBA bench. He speaks his mind and, more than that, speaks up when it might be easier to otherwise stay silent.
So when he Kerr, in an interview on “The Full 48,” recently said he would be surprised if the already eliminated from playoff contention Golden State Warriors were to play another regular season game in the current season, it’s probably wise to listen.
Kerr, at this point anyway, believes any return to the court will be for a playoff only given the time crunch the league would be looking at in a post-coronavirus pandemic world.
“If the league was somehow to start up again, it’s very unlikely we would be playing regular-season games given that they’d be in such a time crunch,” Kerr suggested. Who knows?
“But I’m feeling for all the teams in the fight, in the thick of it for a championship, that are in the playoff race, teams that have put so much into this, and this was obviously a year for us where we were trying to get healthy, trying to develop some young guys. So I’m not concerned about our guys, our team. I feel sorry for the teams that are kind of in limbo right now.”
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is suggesting that any draft or trade deadline by the NBA could be postponed into September to accommodate a drawn-out 2019-2020 NBA playoffs. Draft night is normally rife with trades, so to have the draft while teams were still playing in the playoffs would make that problematic … The league shared a few minutes of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson on its Twitter feed, opening the floor to questions from the general public for the Hustle King. About the only interesting thing to come out of the 20-minute exercise is that Hollis-Jefferson now considers himself a “TV show specialist.” Not much of a hobby really, Rondae … On this date 13 years ago, Morris Peterson hit one of the most unlikely shots in NBA history. His half-court heave with less than a second remaining was only possible because Washington’s Michael Ruffin considered throwing the ball straight up in the air a reliable clock killer. Instead Peterson caught the ball and immediately fired towards the Washington basket before time expired. He made the shot and forced overtime, which the Raptors won. One of the great moments for an all-time Raptors good guy.
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