Three more days until the draft lottery.
Build your shrine to the lottery gods and follow Benny’s suit.
• Team USA has started to fill out its roster for the 2021 Summer Olympics, and while there are some key big names still missing from the growing list, the team already looks to be ridiculously stacked. It was announced on Friday that Bradley Beal and Devin Booker plan to join Damian Lillard, Jayson Tatum, and Draymond Green in Tokyo this summer.
Phoenix Suns All-Star guard Devin Booker has committed to join the 12-man Team USA roster for the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2021
Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal has committed to Team USA for the Tokyo Olympics, sources tell me and @joevardon. Beal joins Portland’s Damian Lillard, Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Golden State’s Draymond Green among initial pledges.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 18, 2021
• Now, someone please give my boy Zach LaVine a call! The Bulls All-Star has expressed a clear desire to play for the team in the past, and he was added to the Team USA Preliminary Roster back in March. So while it’s clear he is considered to be in the running for a roster spot, it’s unclear how many people have to say no before an offer is extended. The fact elite backcourt scorers like Booker, Beal, and Lillard have already said yes certainly makes LaVine’s chances feel that much more slim. However, Team USA is also simply hunting for elite talent, so the fact all four would fill a similar role should not matter too much.
• There are so many benefits to putting on that Team USA jersey. Not only does it take a player’s basketball reputation to another level, but it provides an amazing opportunity to compete with the best guys in the world. And we’re not talking that half-ass All-Star Game kind of competition. We’re talking full-blown, practice hard, play to win a gold medal competition. For LaVine, further developing his game in this environment could only be a good thing. He will be able to pick up tips and tricks from some of the game’s strongest athletes, many of who have experienced winning at a high level. There is absolutely no way LaVine would walk out of Tokyo, if invited, without having a better understanding of what it means to be a winning player.
• Oh, and there is the opportunity for some Grade-A tampering! LaVine seems to be a well-respected guy around the league, but whether or not he is close with many superstars is a worthwhile question. This would give him an awesome opportunity to build stronger relationships while representing what the Bulls are building in the process. On the flip side, it could also mean Jayson Tatum convinced him to come to the Celtics and the Bulls are screwed.
• Here is a good tidbit from Sam Smith’s latest mailbag:
I’m also interested because what little we’ve learned about Karnisovas so far is he says he’s deliberate, and then he lights the fuse. He seems to have things in mind that no one even seems to speculate about. Point guard was a priority pre-Coby injury, so, of course, even more so now. Especially with that summer of development lost for White and him probably not even being ready to start the regular season. It’s a tough injury.
• While I don’t think the White injury has forced the front office to steer too far off their original track, I do think it has added a level of desperation. We don’t know how soon White will be caught up to speed next season, and with winning the clear priority, it will be important to have another reliable and experienced presence off the bench. More importantly, Smith’s point about Karnisovas’ unpredictability feel like a necessary reminder. We are all looking through the free agent market for the Bulls next point guard, but who is to say there isn’t a trade or two AK has in mind to reinvent this roster?
• The Celtics seem to be zeroing in on their next head coach.
Brooklyn’s Ime Udoka, Milwaukee’s Darvin Ham and Clippers’ Chauncey Billups are among head coaching candidates who Boston hopes to interview for a second time, sources tell ESPN. Celtics’ search continues to focus in the assistant ranks.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 18, 2021
• Also, shoutout Terance Mann who decided to just casually play like a superstar last night.
THE MANN OF THE GAME 💪
Terance Mann came up big for a spot in the conference finals. pic.twitter.com/eYQ04Tme6w
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) June 19, 2021
— Nicolas Batum (@nicolas88batum) June 19, 2021
• Happy Juneteenth!!
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) June 19, 2021