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Smack / Jul 29, 2010 / 12:06 am

The Next Step for Team USA

Kevin Durant (photo. Jared McMillen)

Surprise: Kevin Durant was not among those cut from Team USA when Coach K brought out the axe yesterday. The four who were let go — O.J. Mayo, Gerald Wallace, Tyreke Evans and JaVale McGee — will not make the trip to New York City in August for the World Basketball Festival, the first exhibition games, and the final round of cuts … Tyreke was the only “sure” cut, and that was only because he hurt his ankle early in training camp and wasn’t able to participate. Crash and McGee had to be considered just because Team USA is lacking depth in the frontcourt, and O.J. was raining buckets in the intra-squad scrimmage. We thought he had a good chance to make the final 12, and at least the final 15-man group … So knowing what we do now, what does your USA starting five look like? … We got the worst news possible out of Memphis, as Lorenzen Wright has reportedly been found dead after his family said he went missing around July 18-19. Details are still coming in, but one TV station in the area said Wright had been shot, and that the wound may be self-inflicted. Other sources said he was shot up to 12 times. Thoughts and prayers go out to Lo’s family. From his days with the UM Tigers to the NBA’s Grizzlies, he is one of the defining figures in Memphis basketball … Josh Howard has re-signed with the Wizards, a 1-year deal worth $4 million. Howard won’t be on the court for a while, though, as he’s still recovering from a torn ACL. He’s gotta be up there with T-Mac as guys who were legit stars just a couple years ago and fell off faster than Murphy LeeWill Bynum re-upped with the Pistons for three years, $9.75 million. Good for Will. Considering he put up about 10 points, 4 dimes and a steal per game last season while making less than $1 million, he was maybe the most underpaid guy in the entire League — the anti-Eddy Curry, if you will — and when he’s on the court is one of those guys who you always have an eye on because he can do some amazing things … Joe Johnson may have signed the biggest contract, and Wes Matthews may have gotten the biggest raise, but nobody saw their Q-rating jump higher than Chris Bosh. Dude is everywhere all of a sudden; at the ESPYs, doing Jimmy Fallon’s show, ringing the bell at the New York Stock Exchange — he became a celebrity overnight after leaving Toronto. And every time we see Bosh out, he’s got a huge grin soldered onto his face. He’s got the least pressure on him of all the Miami superstars … While Duke is busy defending its national championship, North Carolina is just trying to get back to the Big Dance. College ball’s biggest rivalry might have a down year (again) this year, but don’t sleep on UNC vs. NC State being a must-watch matchup. Both teams are Top-10 material if their highly-touted freshmen classes produce up to expectations. So yesterday we were talking about the State/UNC matchup in the office, and Todd Fuller‘s name came up. You remember him, right? Seven-foot lefty out of NC State was the 11th pick in the ’96 Draft — yeah, he was picked before Kobe, Steve Nash, Jermaine O’Neal and Priest Lauderdale — and didn’t do much in the NBA. Did we just see the next Todd Fuller walk across the MSG stage when Cole Aldrich was picked this year? … We’re out like Lauderdale …

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  • Bruce

    Go TEAM USA!

  • LeBron West

    This is just crazy. Looks like ESPN confirmed it as well. I don’t know how it can be self inflicted if he’s shot 10+ times. But I think this is tragic regardless. It’s a sad day for the NBA and Memphis.

    http://espn.go.com/blog/collegebasketballnation/post/_/id/13777/memphis-remembers-lorenzen-wright

  • Bruce

    The Rupaul in Chris Bosh is coming out! I swear, I hate that scrub!

  • Stunnaboy09

    CB is making up for lost time, he was stuck north of the border and lost some of his appeal in USA. People rag on LeBron when Chris Bosh is the real attention whore int he trio.

    Good for Will, solid backup PG, decent in everything and really looks to set up his teammate, remember he had a 20 assist game. Better pure PG than Stuckey at this point.

  • IGP

    RIP Lorenzen Wright. Thoughts go out to the family. He was definitely a baller and will surely be missed.

  • Chaos

    Sorry to hear about Lorenzen, my prayers go to the fam.

  • LMNOP

    with the USA cuts, out of the OJ/Gordon/Curry trio im surprised that OJ was cut first, but they are all similar players and Curry might be the best shooter and passer so Gordon is probably next.
    They will keep all the point guards, Billups is the leader, Rose is the best individual player, Westbrook knows how to play with Durant and Rondo sucks but will get in for D.
    One Wing will get cut and Durant and Gay are locks, so its down to Iggy or Granger, and Iggy is less like the other 2 so Granger is probably out.
    Both Centers are a lock now that McGee is gone so a PF will get cut, it probably wont be Love… so the last cut comes down to Green or Odom. Odom is old and played alot of basketball this year, but hes better than Green, i dont know who they will choose.

    This team is small, i personaly think they should have cut broken jumper Rondo and Kept McGee, they got enough PG’s and could do with some size off the bench.

  • ManilaFTW

    Did you guys hear about the LeBron article in ESPN that was pulled out??

    That self-proclaimed King lost a fan after I read that article.

    Read it here:
    http://sportscasm.com/2010/07/28/espn-deletes-story-about-wild-lebron-james-party-text/

  • chris

    I’m a UNC fan and I wouldn’t even say we’re top 10 material this year. I mean, we’ll probably be starting Will Graves for f*ck’s sakes…

    R.I.P. Lorenzen.

  • sh!tfaced

    No surprise. LeBron always seemed like the ultimate douchebag trapped inside a 6-foot-8, 250 pound frame…

  • sh!tfaced

    RIP, Lo. Big loss for the city of Memphis.

    They need to investigate that uncle who kept saying Lorenzen was vacationing in Europe.

  • http://clutchfans.net Robb

    Hah, i remember when Todd Fuller came down and played in Australia for a season.. Didn’t do much in the NBL, either, let alone the NBA.

  • BUFFALO BRAVE

    Will Bynum is just a better basketball player than Stuckey period. Dumars is going our of his way for stuck to cover the fact he FAILED holding him and dealing billups. All because stuck reminded him of himself.

    EPIC FAIL

  • LMNOP

    i dont even know whats wrong with that deleted lebron article. hes hardly gone on a fear and loathing style drug binge has he.
    if i had just signed a 9 figure contract and then been paid 6 figures to host a party over a weekend in Vegas… well shit.. i dont even know what would happen, unthinkable, incomprehensible, unimaginable insanity would go down, not just imaginary basketball with furniture and a dance off with lamar odom.

  • That’s What’s Up

    what’s the average age for someone that uses “EPIC FAIL”? 12, 15? stupidity at its best

    RIP Lorenzen Wright – I hope your kids will be okay after this

    …is it strange that Bosh, Wade and Lebron’s jerseys all add up to 10 – as in a perfect 10. I’m sure that was no accident

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    Is it a coincidence that MJ and Pip’s jersey numbers added up to 56? Then if you add up those digits (5+6) it equals 11!! Which is 1 higher than 10… talk about foreshadowing. Maybe they knew the 3 Amigos would get together and wanted to 1-up them from a mathematical standpoint.

  • http://minusthebars.blogspot.com don

    Rest In Peace, Lorenzen Wright.

    Tragic death.

  • Pareja

    Lebron… Bosh. sad story about human characters getting destroyed by $$$.

    man i miss those days when superstars earned 3 million a year. than you could be a fan of mentally normal person.

  • That’s What’s Up

    JAY – get on Stockton and Malone’s numbers – work up a logorithm or two and then we can compare notes

  • SJ

    I know where Bosh wasn’t – in Vegas with LBJ and Dwade! Maybe he annoyed them too much and they needed a break?

  • FK

    Funny thing about Bosh is that the NBA market he plays in has no effect on his ability to be at the ESPY’s, on Fallon, or any of that crap he’s doing.

    Dude thinks people like him as a comedian or somenthing, and unless I’m in the minority that’s totally false.

    I still appreciate the kid as a basketball player, but wish he’d focus on being good at that than being Cedric the Entertainer…

  • eazy yeezy

    Yeah, I bet Rupal is really enjoying the spotlight right now.

  • http://richjanitorreviewed.org BV

    Looking forward to Team USA winning it all and Durant establishing himself as one of the best players in the world.

  • Skeeter McGee

    @#7

    First off, I’m not a LeBron nut hugger. That sounds like a weekend in Vegas done right, and not to mention being paid $100,000 to party? Count me in.

    I think the article was pulled because people think of LeBron as this overly mature 25 year old with great respect for former players and stuff, but really he’s still just a kid with a shit ton of fame and fortune.

    I’m 24 years old so I can honestly say I’d be doing the exact same thing, except not leaving with Maverick; I’d take the chics home dressed up as cheerleaders ya dig haha….

  • http://www.espn.com Sho-Nuff

    I can give a shit what any of these dudes do off the court. I just want to watch good basketball on the court.

    “F*ck him and his crew, unless you were getting paid too”=Ice Cube

  • Spliff 2 My Lou

    Yeah that article had Lebron looking like a douchebag but who wouldn’t want a weekend living like that in Vegas. I do.

    Anyway, I like the team Miami built for one reason only. I can now add them to my list with the Cowboys and Yankees as teams to root against.

  • Chise

    Lol people have such a natural inclination to hate. My man partied in Vegas, you’re a lame if you find something drastically wrong with that.

  • control

    There really wasn’t anything wrong with that article about LeBron, in fact it was really funny how they described Glenn Davis walking near, then walking away (probably turned down by security).

    The only disturbing thing about it, is that LeBron is shadow ballin in hotel casinos, while Kobe has probably already picked up a new skill to add to his weapons for next year. I don’t know LeBron’s schedule or anything, but from the sheer amount he’s been in the media, making stupid 1 hour tv specials, etc. He really hasn’t been picking up something like a post game or anything.

  • Sporty-j

    Man whats up with these dudes on here reporting everything Lebron does as if they work for the popperotsy. I dont give a dam when he takes a sh!t or what he does off the court. Some dudes are worse than FEMALES. Lets keep this a basketball forum and take that sh!t to celebrity gossip forum or whatever where all the FEMALES are at…

  • Kudabeen

    RIP Lo Wright…crazy news, but we all are prey to death…how are you going to live moving forward??

    Team USA Starters:

    Chandler – has the type or athleticism, shot blocking and offensive rebounding that would be a great energy boost to the starting squad.

    Odom – Underrated defender that actually is a better defensive rebounder than you think off hand, because of how high the expectation people in general have for his overall game, even after a decade plus of him showing us exactly what he is…a Swiss army player. Very handy at the right time.

    Durant – Really at the 2 position. He will be protected against the smaller/quicker swing players because Team USA has some great zone concepts that still applies pressure. Durant is just an oddity. He has the shooting ability of Dirk and the length, but he can put the ball on the floor to create. At 6-10 he has every shot to score…the man has a pretty good floater to boot. He will power the offense for the first team for sure.

    Iguodala – I Was debating with the starting two guards with starting Billups/Rose, but with Iguodala you don’t lose play making, you gain defense, and with him playing with a great scorer he actually becomes a great 2nd third option to play of another offensive greatness. He also has showed the best chemistry with Durant in the little we are able to see/read as outsiders.

    Rose – While I think Coach K will probably start Billups like he did J Kidd, but really only having him play minimum minutes to set the stage and let the young guns (Rose and Rondo) reek havoc on the floor for the bulk of the 40 minutes to play…I think Rose is the most dynamic guard we have and will be the most featured at the position. He and Rondo are aliens by comparison to what kind of guards they will see in this tournament…

    Coach K has said that he shes Durant playing a lot at the 4, so if that was to happen a starting backcourt of Billups and Rose is more likely, but I don’t like that from a rebounding and power perspective against the better teams.

    Also If Lopez and Love show more assertiveness defensively I think they should get a large split in minutes (15-20 for Lopez and 10-15 for Love at the 4/5 spots). Durant is a very good rebounder even with his slight frame, so we may be better than I can anticipate. Also All of our guards and swing player are terrific defensive rebounders…Team USA looks good for gold, but it will not be a parade of highlights and towel spinning.

    We have to see how these guys match the physicality of the game…With all the athletes/shooters and talent we have…who are the straight DAWGS!! on the team that will bark and bite when these bigger teams start to flex?? Rose/Rondo/Billups for sure, but Jeff Green, Lopez, Love, Chandler, Granger (if he makes it), Gay, etc aren’t proven…

    I would put Iguodala as a Dawg, but I’ve witnessed first hand with him that when things get tough he is 50/50 on what he will do.

    Really look forward to not only the World Championships, but how much better these guys will be for their teams afterward…

  • Mike Mihalow

    Bosh = Odom

  • datdood

    Todd fuller is a touchy subject for warriors fans… i dont like to speak his name.

    I was out in vegas this past weekend and saw LeBron in the club. He was at Lavo in the Palazzo on Friday and Sunday night, and Tao on Saturday. Venitian cashed dood out. He was the biggest person I have ever seen teaching me how to dougie… a lot. the dougie was his go to move.

  • LakeShow84

    Yeah that article was whack..

    Way overdoin it like it had some bit of controversy in it..

    Dude is immature we get that, who cares??? I thought they were going to bust out the YAYO or something.. Dude just partied it up in Vegas who cares.. Pay me 6 figures to party and i woudlve been the dudes dressed as Indiana Jones on the zip line..

    The only thing that pissed me off about the article??

    WHAT THE F#$K IS LAMAR ODOM DOING THERE?? That foo should be workin on his game.. all i hear about is Lamar doing all this partying shit.. Luv doo as a person but as a bball player he better get his shit together.. WE WANT CONSISTENCY.. We’re going to need him more than ever next year..

  • LABaller

    @ sportyj

    wtf is a “popperotsy”

    i take it english wasn’t your best subject?

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    @That’s what’s up.
    Nice. I wish I had time to mess around with Stockalone’s numbers. Too much shit to do at the office. I hate it when work gets in the way. Bosses can be so selfish sometimes. :)

    @Kudabeen
    You really put some though into that, huh? Too bad only 10% of us will only read half of it. and half of us won’t bother.

  • http://www.cnnsi.com JAY

    One more thing… I’m a LBJ hater down to the bone-marrow. that was one article about him that didn’t give me ammo to hate on him. Other than the shadow-ballin, as Lakeshow mentioned, everything was normal. Imagine if the article read like this, “So, Lebron was in Vegas. and he read a book in a coffee shop the whole time. The End.”… we’d all think THIS GUY IS A LOSER!!!
    Surprise, surprise… LBJ parties in Vegas. So fuckin what?!?!

    …back to work….

  • LABaller

    agree w you guys above..i think the dude is a douche..but wtf is he supposed to be doing in vegas? going to church?

    you’re a MULTI millionaire…you are one of the most famous people in the world right now and to add to your ridiculous wealth u just got paid 100,000 to party (which he shoulda donated or something as a good PR move..cause he can use all the good press he can get right now)…

    im surprised it didn’t read like…” ..and after James finished with his orgy of him and 12 of the finest women in Vegas..he drank a bottle of Louis out of a diamond encrusted plastic cup that he threw away after he was done..” … my story would have..

  • Three Stacks

    I heard Lebron sprinkles diamonds on everything he eats, cause 1) its the most ballerest sh*t you could do to your food, and 2) he likes how it makes his dookie twinkle.

  • Kudabeen

    @JAY

    I don’t care about 99% of the people in the world, so 10% of people who actually care to take in and exchange in BBall dialogue on a Basketball site rather than gossip and argue is a pretty good percentage to me…

    I’ve been on Dime for almost 5-6 years it seems…I’m pretty familiar with how it goes…Dime asked a question and I know they tend to read things they ask about. I haven’t checked out the article being discussed about LeBron and probably won’t, but I’ve watched the Team USA game 4 times since Saturday…that’s what I’m about.

  • LakeShow84

    LMAAAAOOOO @ Stacks

    Lebron: “This is the most BALLINEST SHIT EVAAAA!!!!!”

  • LakeShow84

    @ LABaller

    hahahaha you forgot he threw the cup away and shot the waiter for being a dude.. who wasnt wearin panties lol

  • Stunnaboy09

    The only thing remotely interesting about that account was

    a) Big Baby walking away, come on man hit the fucking gym.
    b) Odom and LeBron dougieing it out
    c The thought of LeBron shadow dribbling still cracks me up till now.

    But as people said, he’s a multi millionaire in Vegas, tf do you expect.

  • K Dizzle

    First off, RIP to Lorenzen Wright. I remember seein that dude in the Mickey D’s all-star game….damn, I feel old..

    2nd, why would espn even pull that article? It’s like the “facial” Jordan Crwaford put on him last summer. Officially blowin ish outta proportion

    @ Kudabeen – I read it and I like the lineup but I’d go small since it looks like most teams won’t have their centers and just push the athleticism:
    C – Lamar
    PF – KD
    SF – Iggy
    SG – Curry
    PG – Billups
    I like Rose off the bench like DWade did for the Olympic team, providin that energy that no other team can match and I’d like Curry’s shootin creatin space

    They just showed that clown wearin that Lebron Miami jersey poppin his jersey gettin taken out of the stadium last night. Dude got serious issues temptin fate like that…..just sayin

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    So of you…just don’t get it.

    If you have every played real basketball then you know that the incredible speed of TEAM USA will absolutely destroy the rest of the world. The only thing holding them back at this point is Coach K effing up the substitution patterns. In a slowed down game (only on offense) Team USA has Durant, Billups, Lopez, Love, Odom, Granger and DRose, who all know how to play in a system and be 2nd fiddle (maybe not Durant, but he’s very unselfish).

    And most importantly, the speed and athleticism of the backcourt will give migranes to every Euro guard they face. Spain will be a problem? LMFAO, they will get slaughtered because the lack the speed to keep up. the pressure that Rondo, Rose, Westbrook, Iggy will put on the perimeter players will make them crumble. Those guys aren’t used to seeing that. Hell, NBA guards aren’t used to seeing that, because Rose and those guys have to conserve energy for offense over a 48min span plus DStern HATES defense so the rules keep them from playing hard. Now that they can go all out for 15-25min you will see absolute maddness by these young guards. With the FIBA rules its going to be nasty.

    I’m all for the rest of the World becoming better players and making this a real competition, but until they start doing some slave breeding with the Genes of Lebron and Shaq, they will continue to get overwhelmed by superior athletes.

    Basketball is a technical sport to an extent, but when you mix technical skill (mainly defense) with the athletic prowess of Rose, Durant, Rondo (minus the shooting), Westbrook it pretty much spells doom to anyone who cant match up.

  • LakeShow84

    @ ChiTown

    Are u forgetting about what happened BEFORE the redeem team??

    They werent called the REDEEM team for no reason.. and even with the ALPHA dogs out there Spain still pushed us wire to wire..

    Just sayin.. Team ball trumps Athletic ball all day, everyday..

  • http://getyourishbusted.net Chicagorilla

    Lakeshow,

    The 2004 and 2002 WC teams were highly flawed and weren’t even close to being athletic or as athletic as this team.

    The guys getting the most time on those teams were a very selfish Iverson and Starybury. The starting backcourt!
    The perimeter was Rich Jefferson and Shawn Marion who can jump a little but he ain’t close to the freakish athlete that someone like Igudola is with his strength and leaping.

    While Bron, Melo, and Wade were on the 04 team, they barley got any tick except for maybe Wade but he barley got minutes.

    And to top it off, Larry Brown was the worse possible coach for that team because he is a teacher of the game more so than a coach. So he didn’t have close to enough time to work his magic with that team.

    And I guess this is more speculation than anything because they haven’t finished picking the teams. I’m basing my opinion on a roster of:

    F – Durant
    F- Iggy
    C – Lopez
    G – Billups
    G – Rose

    G – Rondo
    G – Curry
    G – Westbrook
    F – R.Gay
    C – Chandler

    F – Granger
    F – Odom
    C – K.Love

    So with that as the roseter. Team USA will just run, press, trap, and frustrate the other teams opponents