The iPod Shuffle - "Smartz"
7.22 The Cooler

Team USA looking for anybody to play; Yao goes under the knife

By 07.22.09
USA 1 & 1A

USA 1 & 1A

Does anybody want to play for Team USA anymore? The list of guys who have dropped out of this year’s USA Basketball mini-camp (which starts tomorrow) was already getting long — Brandon Roy, David Lee, David West, Big Baby Davis, Andrew Bynum and LaMarcus Aldridge among them — and then yesterday a couple more confirmed they won’t be participating: Jerryd Bayless is out due to a wrist injury suffered in summer league, and Danny Granger will attend the camp but won’t take the court in order to rest his knee. We’re already enlisting not-so-elite guys like Anthony Randolph, Ronnie Brewer, Greg Oden and D.J. Augustin to cover the losses; if this keeps up, James Singleton and Von Wafer will be rocking USA jerseys while Christian Laettner spins in his grave … (We 100% threw Oden onto that “not-so-elite” list just to mess with the overzealous Portland fans we know. Seriously, whenever anyone even hints G.O. is a bust or that the team should’ve taken Kevin Durant, the Blazermaniacs get more defensive than Britney Spears fans.) … Some good news in a summer full of bad news for the Rockets, as Yao Ming‘s foot surgeries went down without a hitch. Yao had two procedures: one to repair the hairline fracture, another to realign the bones in his foot and flatten his arch. At this point, it’ll be considered a success if Yao only misses this season. With any luck he’ll be able to bounce back like Zydrunas Ilgauskas, but what should the expectations be if Yao does play again? Should he still be expected to put up 20 points and 10 boards a night? Will it be more like 15 and seven? Twelve and six? He’s looking like our generation’s Bill Walton … Portland is still looking for somebody to spend their money on; the latest reports say it’s come down to Andre Miller and David Lee. For what the Blazers need, ‘Dre makes more sense. Every team could use a rebounder/hustle guy like Lee, but the Blazers aren’t hurting at the four with LaMarcus, and rookie Dante Cunningham looked solid in the summer league and could be a decent backup … A couple weeks ago, Nets GM Rod Thorn said he expected Yi Jianlian to start at power forward, and he seemed OK with that. Whatever happened since then, the Nets have recently been involved in rumors surrounding Carlos Boozer and Big Baby Davis. Boozer and Brook Lopez would be a hell of a frontcourt tandem, and could set a new standard as the most universally hated interior combo since, well, Brook and Robin Lopez … Speaking of big men, Sean May signed with the Kings. Apparently he was swayed when Kenny Thomas vouched for the quality of burger at the Carl’s Jr. nearest ARCO Arena. (Actually, they say May has gotten himself in good shape, but we’ll believe it when we see it. We’ve been burned too many times by Shawn Kemp claiming the same thing, then showing up on “Pros vs. Joes” looking like Anthony Anderson) … Troy Hudson is also trying to make a comeback. Last we heard from T-Hud — definitely one of the coolest NBA dudes to ever randomly drop by the Dime office and drink beers with us at 10 a.m. — a hip injury had pretty much forced him to retire when he was with the Warriors, and we assumed he’d be focusing on his music career. But Hudson recently held a workout in Vegas where four NBA teams checked him out. If he’s healthy, he’s not a bad pickup as a third PG … Have you heard what Ed O’Bannon is up to? Now 36 years old and a successful car salesman, Ed is the lead plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit against the NCAA, saying they have “illegally deprived former student-athletes” from revenue such as that from video game sales, DVDs, memorabilia, TV rebroadcasts and advertisements. (We kinda remember ex-Nebraska QB Sam Keller bringing a similar lawsuit not too long ago, but we’re not sure where that went.) The debate surrounding college athletes and compensation is always a hot one, and will continue so long as more guys like Latavious Williams spurn the NCAA for the overseas pro leagues. However this case turns out, it better not mean the end of our college hoops video games. That could start a hunger strike in the office … We’re out like Yi starting …


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