LAS VEGAS — Only a week after the NBA successfully wrapped up its league enterprise with the conclusion of the summer time league right here, lots of its finest American gamers have returned to the desert to start preparations for a busy upcoming two years for Workforce USA.
Because the group readies to return to motion within the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China and the 2020 Summer season Olympics in Tokyo, beginning with practices at UNLV on Thursday and Friday, listed below are a number of the questions that can probably be answered this week:
1. Gregg Popovich’s Workforce USA blueprint
For the previous 12 years, this system has been centered on Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski, who took over earlier than the 2006 world championships in Japan and led Workforce USA to gold medals in every of the previous three Olympic Video games, in addition to the previous two world championships.
Now, although, the duty of main this system will fall to Popovich — although it’s arduous to think about one of many best coaches within the historical past of the game struggling to take the reins. Popovich will in all probability nonetheless have some totally different opinions on how one can construct his roster and the way the workforce ought to play. This week would be the first probability to shed some mild on that.
2. The continued fallout from the Kawhi Leonard commerce
Leonard received’t be taking part in practices, which suggests he’ll keep away from having to speak about this summer time’s megadeal. Popovich and DeMar DeRozan have each talked about it, however that doesn’t imply they received’t must once more this week. However it is going to maybe be most fascinating to listen to what Kyle Lowry has to say — notably about Raptors normal anager Masai Ujiri’s feedback that Toronto had plateaued with a basis of Lowry and DeRozan.
It’s one factor for DeRozan to be aggravated by that — however he’s now taking part in for Popovich in San Antonio. Given Lowry continues to be a Raptor, his tackle the state of affairs shall be of higher significance transferring ahead in Toronto.
3. Gamers discussing contract selections
There have been loads of noteworthy selections made by gamers this summer time — and lots of of them shall be right here this week. There was Paul George selecting to take a four-year deal to remain in Oklahoma Metropolis. There was Jimmy Butler selecting to not lengthen his contract with the Minnesota Timberwolves — which, financially, was essentially the most logical choice to make. There are the rumored extension negotiations by Klay Thompson and Draymond Inexperienced with the Golden State Warriors that would decide how lengthy the league’s preeminent superteam will stay collectively.
All needs to be taking part this week, which means all will get an opportunity to handle their selections and what they imply for his or her respective futures.
4. Level guards with murky futures
It is a golden age for level guard play. A lot of these guards shall be round this week — although it’s not completely clear the place a few of them see their futures headed.
There have been rumblings of Damian Lillard being annoyed with the route issues are headed in Portland. In the meantime, each Kemba Walker and Kyrie Irving will be free brokers subsequent summer time, and there’s the likelihood each will go away their present groups (the Charlotte Hornets and Boston Celtics, respectively) once they get the possibility. Isaiah Thomas, in the meantime, needed to take a one-year deal for the minimal with the Denver Nuggets as he recovers from hip surgical procedure.
It will function a chance, because the mud settles on the summer time, to gauge their ideas.
5. What’s subsequent for Anthony Davis?
“The Forehead” has blossomed into precisely the sort of participant he was anticipated to be when he was made the primary general choose in 2012 and was a member of that summer time’s Olympic workforce. However after a tumultuous offseason in New Orleans — one which noticed the Pelicans lose Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins in free company and change them with Elfrid Payton and Julius Randle — how does he really feel about issues in New Orleans?
Whether or not Davis is prepared to take the supermax subsequent summer time is probably the largest query looming over the NBA, with a complete host of groups hoping he received’t — which means he can be in play as a free agent in 2020 and a possible commerce goal between from time to time.
This would be the first probability Davis has needed to tackle every little thing that’s occurred and what it would imply for his future. There shall be loads of groups ready to listen to what he has to say.
6. The brand new-look Rockets
We now have heard loads from the Warriors in regards to the state of their workforce after including Cousins in free company. However we haven’t heard loads from the Rockets after what has been a busy summer time in Houston.
Between the re-signing of Chris Paul, the losses of Trevor Ariza and Luc Mbah a Moute, the upcoming addition of Carmelo Anthony (as soon as he clears waivers Friday, now that the commerce sending him to the Atlanta Hawks is official) and the lingering standing of restricted free agent Clint Capela, there’s a lot to debate.
With Paul and James Harden each right here this week, they’ll have an opportunity to provide their opinions on all of it.