Team USA finalizes the roster; Free-agent vets in high demand

07.08.12 7 years ago

The Olympic gold-medal favorites have their squad in place. Team USA can now get down to the business of defending their crown after fillings its three remaining roster spots on Saturday with Blake Griffin, Andre Iguodala and James Harden. That trio will join LeBron, Kobe, Carmelo, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love in taking on the rest of the world at the London Games … To be honest, Blake’s spot was never really in doubt. But just to confirm it, he shut down one practice over the weekend with an off-the-wall pass to himself for a vicious dunk. How can Coach K and Colangelo see that athleticism and power and say no? … Two years ago, who would’ve thought the Oklahoma City Thunder would be the only NBA team with three players on the U.S. Olympic roster? Because memories are so short these days, it was kind of surprising to hear Harden had been picked after he played like Bugaloo in Above the Rim during the NBA Finals. But with D-Wade out of action, the U.S. only had one true two-guard (Kobe) and nobody who is actually accustomed to coming off the bench. So Harden gets the Michael Redd memorial spot as the guy who you might forget is on the team until you see him hoisting a medal at the end … OK, so we know this would never really happen, but how cool would it have been for USA Basketball to give the last roster spot to Allen Iverson? For as much as A.I. has meant to the game — and he did mean a lot, don’t get it twisted — the man never did get a proper send-off. And whether you believe that’s his own fault or not, you can’t be too offended to see Iverson get his own Magic-in-1992 farewell tour. Would A.I. hurt the team? Highly doubt it. Remember, he was the model teammate/ambassador during the ’04 Olympics, and that U.S. team probably doesn’t even get a medal without him … Serge Ibaka said something about Spain’s talent is on-par with Team USA. Ibaka also said something recently about LeBron not being a great defender, so obviously he’s suffering from an undiagnosed concussion or something … There’s a Portland reunion happening in Minnesota. Brandon Roy has agreed to begin his NBA comeback with the Wolves, and now Nicolas Batum wants to be there so bad that his agent is reportedly begging the Blazers not to match Minnesota’s four-year, $45 million offer sheet. Roy and Batum would join ex-Blazer Martell Webster, former Blazers coach Rick Adelman and former Blazers legend Terry Porter (Adelman’s assistant), not to mention Kevin Love grew up near Portland. No word on whether Wolves GM David Kahn is trying to sign Greg Oden, then package Nikola Pekovic and Darko to Memphis in a trade for Zach RandolphRay Allen is on board in Miami, and the Heat are also trying to bring in Rashard Lewis. This pretty much confirms what we’d already suspected right after Miami won the championship: That Mike Miller and James Jones will retire this summer with their rings, and the Heat need to replace those snipers in the lineup … Marcus Camby is another popular vet on the free-agent market. Miami wants him — apparently because Juwan Howard needs somebody with whom he can go to the casino and talk about the ’90s — as does San Antonio, New York and Dallas. If Camby is seriously about winning a chip on his way out, that’s bad news for the Mavs and Knicks … Meanwhile, one team reportedly interested in Derek Fisher is the Cavs. And here we thought Uncle Drew was a lock to be the oldest guy on Cleveland’s roster … According to everybody’s buddy, League Sources, the Rockets aren’t giving up in their quest to land Dwight Howard in a trade. Nevermind that they turned those once-attractive 2012 first-round draft picks into a trio of players — Jeremy Lamb, Terrence Jones and Royce White — that isn’t even as enticing as Brooklyn’s offer that centered on Brook Lopez and Kris Humphries. And forget that Dwight has never shown interest in playing for Houston. Maybe if they throw Andre Johnson, Arian Foster and Beyonce into the deal, the Magic would give it another look … So we’re all familiar with the concept of pro athletes coincidentally have a big year when they’ve got a new contract coming up, but what about guys who know they’re at risk of having their current contract axed? Take Carlos Boozer, for example. If he has eyes and ears he knows the Bulls are thinking of using the Amnesty Clause on him at the end of next season to dump that monster contract, so what if he puts together a monster season in response? Just like a guy showing off for a new deal, Boozer could rediscover his 20-and-10 Utah form and put himself back in Chicago’s good graces. Amnesty Year might be the new Contract Year … We’re out like Chael Sonnen

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