|Weekly NBA Draft Watch: Free agents to watch in ’15||05.14.14 at 11:02 am ET|
In my last column, I wrote about some free agents who potentially could catch Danny Ainge‘s eye this summer. However, if you expect a 2007-ish rebuild to happen overnight again, I’m afraid your expectations are too high. The Celtics are going to take a couple of years to build back up, making 2015 an equally important offseason.
A lot can happen between now and next summer, but a strong free agent class is anticipated. Much like the last column, not all of the names may look like fits now, but under the right circumstances could be in the future. Following is a handful of names that should be on Ainge’s radar for 2015.
Brook Lopez – First and foremost, Lopez needs to prove he can stay healthy. He’s had serious foot issues so far in the NBA, but he also is one of the best scoring centers in the league when healthy. Lopez is a legit 7-footer, something Ainge is looking for in his next big man.
Lopez signed a four-year extension in 2012, but 2015-16 is a player option, so he could choose to opt out if the Nets begin to fade from contention. The Nets have the potential to implode over the next couple of seasons due to age and bad contracts. Even as players begin to come off the books, Brooklyn still should be over the cap for years to come, making the team’s future a delicate situation.
This signing would be a risk, but if the price is right, Lopez could be the perfect fit next to Jared Sullinger … on offense, that is. Defensively Ainge still would need to find a solution. That said, a frontcourt that features and healthy Lopez and Sullinger is scary for any team to face.
Robin Lopez – For twin brothers, Robin and Brook sure have different games. Robin is much more of a low-post defender and shot-blocker than his brother, but he is nowhere near as developed on offense.
With the scoring ability of Sullinger, Robin would be just as good a fit as his brother in Boston. Robin would not be leaned upon to score, allowing him to do what he does best — defend and rebound. He has had a ton of success in Portland this season playing alongside scorers, including in the playoffs. The more I think about it, despite Brook’s All-Star appearance; Robin is the Lopez brother to watch in 2015.
|Rondo added to Team USA roster||07.15.10 at 5:56 pm ET|
NBA.com reports Rajon Rondo was added to the 2010-12 USA Basketball men’s national team roster used to select teams for the 2010 FIBA (International Basketball Federation) World Championship and the 2012 Olympics in London.
Rondo expressed his excitement via Twitter: “Playing for Team USA this summer. Looking forward to repping our country.”
The Celtics 6-foot-1 guard joins Mavericks center Tyson Chandler and Suns center Robin Lopez, bringing the Team USA player count to 24.
All three additions are expected to participate in the team’s training camp in Las Vegas next week, culminating with the 2010 USA Basketball Showcase July 24.
NBA.com confirms the following players will participate in the camp, which runs July 19-24: Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets), Chandler, Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors), Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento Kings), Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies), Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers), Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers), Jeff Green (Oklahoma City Thunder), Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers), David Lee (Golden State Warriors), Brook Lopez (New Jersey Nets), Lopez, Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), O.J. Mayo (Memphis Grizzlies), Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers), Rondo, Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls), Amar’e Stoudemire (New York Knicks), Gerald Wallace (Charlotte Bobcats), and Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder).
Rondo led the Celtics to the NBA finals last year, averaging 13.7 points and 4.4 rebounds in the regular season.
Rondo has some experience with USA Basketball after playing for the 2005 USA U-21 World Championship Team that went 7-1 and finished fifth. Rondo recorded 27 steals (3.4 spg) to lead the team and set a new USA U-21 record that year.
The FIBA World Championship takes place in Ankara, Istanbul, Izmir and Kayseri, Turkey, from Aug. 28 to Sept. 12. The U.S. will open the 2010 World Championships Aug. 28 against Croatia, which has never faced the Americans in championship play but has an 0-3 record against them in the Olympics.
The USA has won 10 medals in the World Championship — three gold medals (1954, 1986 and 1994), three silver medals (1950, 1959 and 1982) and four bronze medals (1974, 1990, 1998 and 2006).
USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo said Rondo initially declined the invitation to participate in February, when the roster was first constructed, but that some miscommunication may have been behind it.
Colangelo said in a statement, “Tyson, Robin and Rajon are outstanding additions to the national team and they help give us the talent and depth required in making sure we field the very best USA Basketball teams possible.”
Players selected in the Las Vegas training camp will regroup in New York to train more next month and compete in the first-ever World Basketball Festival, a four-day basketball bonanza, put on by Nike and USA Basketball, celebrating the performance and the culture surrounding the sport, before they fly overseas for the World Championship.