The Next Step for Team USA

07.29.10 7 years ago 46 Comments

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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