Much of Spain’s talented roster has spent significant time in the NBA. They know mind games when they see them, and more importantly, they know how to play them. Of course, none of them are as affluent in playing possum as Gregg Popovich or Phil Jackson are. But that’s beside the point. They just have to be somewhat believable, and in an event like the Olympics where so much is on the line in so little time, that can make a Boris Diaw-sized difference. The two best teams in the Olympics square off today at 4:30 ET on ESPN2, and while it’s only an exhibition, it feels like so much more. Don’t tell that to the guys from Spain. Marc Gasol is saying they may not go all out. Jose Calderon believes they won’t use all of their sets and plays. And Pau Gasol says he’s thinking about letting Kobe beat him today and then returning the favor in the gold medal game. You can go ahead and think it doesn’t matter. Just know, the game is being played in Spain. They can’t just allow Team USA to come in and take their lunch money. “It’s gonna be tough going over there, man,” Kobe admitted during the World Basketball Festival. “These teams are going to be well-equipped and ready to play to take advantage of some of our weaknesses. We just have to make sure we’re prepared for some of them.” Spain presents the biggest matchup problems because of their frontcourt trio of Serge Ibaka and the Gasol brothers. Does that mean Kevin Love and Anthony Davis will get more of a chance to eat? Probably not. Coach K is going to ride this small ball thing until the end, and even if Andre Iguodala admitted to us after the Brazil game that Davis has been great at taking in all the information they’ve thrown at him, neither one will probably play a major role … In the meantime, check out the new USA Basketball collection at Nike Vault. The apparel is all must-have … And ever since we deemed Hakeem Olajuwon as the NBA’s Yoda of the offseason, it seems like everyone wants to spend time with the Dream. What was Olajuwon getting out it? We’ve heard the man, this coming from @SoleCollector, among others, charges $50K a week. That’s a lot of cheddar. Spectacular idea, though. How much you wanna bet this becomes a trend? When he’s done playing, Kobe Bryant could start a summer camp on the art of the concocted facial expressions. Ray Allen could do the same to teach everyone how to shoot a perfect-looking jump shot. Even Derek Fisher and Manu Ginobili could run a camp for flops … Keep reading to hear about Tony Parker’s new “hipster” glasses …
Can Dwight Howard and the Magic just go away? Can someone grant the NBA and David Stern the same power the NCAA received against Penn State so they can just wipe the slate clean with these guys? In the never ending Dwightmare saga, now ESPN reports are indicating the Magic might not make a move at all until the trade deadline, because they’re refusing to do a deal unless it is perfect for them. Okay, we get it. They want their just due for Howard. But as long as Dwight contends he will leave, they will NEVER get equal value. And the longer this plays out, the worse it is for everyone. These dudes are really going to try to play the first half of the season with a star who’s not all the way in … While playing basketball for the French national team, Tony Parker is rocking some of the most ridiculous in-game shades we’ve ever seen. They look like a cross between something Michael Phelps and Russell Westbrook would wear, with perhaps a little Kanye West mixed in there as well. But unlike some of these other fools out here, he actually has good reasons. In the club fight between Drake and Chris Brown earlier this summer, Parker almost lost his eye, and now has to wear these things to protect himself … Did you catch the video of Brandon Roy playing in Jamal Crawford‘s Pro-Am League in Seattle recently? According to BlazersEdge.com, it was the first public appearance for Roy on the court in around 15 months. The former All-Star looked great, even if it was only summer league and everyone there was playing less defense than Amar’e Stoudemire on a good day. His jump shot wasn’t totally on point and neither was his explosion to the rim. Yet for a guy who probably hasn’t been playing a lot of ball lately, it was great to see that his silky-smooth game is still there. We hope he can make it back with Minnesota and be a viable contributor; With the way surgery has helped many NBA veterans, there’s still a chance Roy can find peace with his knees. But even at his best, we’re not sure he’ll be close to where he was before the deterioration of his knees … As for other NBA offseason news, Marco Belinelli has signed on for just under $2 million with the Bulls while Nazr Mohammed was also signed by Chicago for $1.4 million … The Clippers officially announced their Ryan Hollins signing … And guard Alexey Shved is coming to Minnesota from CSKA Moscow … We’re out like Penn State football.
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