All Bull - Chicago Bulls
That USA-Spain gold medal game everyone assumed would cap off the FIBA World Cup? Well, it won't happen.
Spain was upset by France 65-52 in Wednesday's quarterfinal round. With the host team eliminated from medal contention, the final four is set: USA vs. Lithuania on Thursday and France vs. Serbia on Friday.
Defense carried France to the surprising victory, outscoring Spain 23-9 in the fourth quarter. Boris Diaw led France with 15 points, followed by guard Thomas Heurtel with 13. France does not have Tony Parker or Joakim Noah at this tournament, but still has a fair amount of NBA talent with Portland's Nicholas Batum, Denver guard Evan Fournier, Utah center Rudy Gobert and ex-NBA forward Mickael Gelabale.
The Atlanta Hawks storyline was already strange, but additional information has surfaced about the comments about ex-Bull Luol Deng reportedly made by Hawks GM Danny Ferry.
The Atlanta Journal Constitution and WSB-TV in Atlanta are reporting a letter was sent by Hawks minority owner Michael Gearon asking for the resignation or termination of Ferry.
According to the reports, Ferry spoke to members of the Hawks ownership group on a conference call about free agency. Deng, who eventually signed with Miami, was a potential target.
Speaking about Deng, Ferry reportedly said the former Bulls forward is "a guy who would have a nice store out front, but sell you counterfeit stuff out of the back."
The strange NBA story of the weekend had its roots in a poorly-worded scouting report on free-agent target Luol Deng, according to espn.com.
Atlanta Hawks owner Bruce Levenson self-reported a racially-insensitive e-mail he wrote a few years ago, which was made public on Sunday. The subject of the e-mail was his thoughts on how to attract more affluent customers to Hawks games, which is essentially what the NBA is all about these days with its outrageous ticket and concession prices.
Deadspin ran the complete e-mail if you're interested:
Feel the basketball excitement in the air? No?
That's understandable, since FIBA, the governing body of international basketball, decided to wait until the opening of American football season to begin the renamed World Cup of Basketball.
The event begins tomorrow (Saturday), with Team USA battling Finland in Bilbao (2:30 p.m., ESPN). That's the first of five games in six days for the U.S. Here's the full slate:
Saturday vs. Finland, 2:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sunday vs. Turkey, 2:30 (ESPN)
Tuesday vs. New Zealand, 11:30 a.m. (ESPN)
Wednesday vs. Dominican Republic, 2:30 (ESPN)
Thursday vs. Ukraine, 11:30 (ESPN)
Round of 16: Sept. 6-7
Quarterfinals: Sept. 9-10
Semifinals: Sept. 11-12
Gold Medal game: Sept. 14
The Bulls have not yet released their preseason schedule. But Cleveland did on Friday and it features a game against the Bulls on Monday, Oct. 20 in Columbus, Ohio at the Schottenstein Center.
This is relatively late in preseason, so fans may get a reasonably good look at the expected Cavs trio of LeBron James, Kevin Love and Kyrie Irving playing together.
The Cavaliers are playing LeBron's old team, the Miami Heat, on Oct. 11 in Rio de Janeiro.
The Bulls will also get a chance to check on No. 1 draft pick Andrew Wiggins with Minnesota. The Bulls will face the Timberwolves on Oct. 24 at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.
Derrick Rose took to the court in Las Vegas on Monday as Team USA opened training camp in preparation for the FIBA World Cup next month.
The NBA sent out a couple of video clips from practice. One featured Rose dunking with two hands on an inbounds play and the other saw the Bulls guard scoring on a drive to the basket while getting fouled.
"The strength in his leg is great. His explosion is back. That’s all there,” said Bulls coach Tim Thibodeau, an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski on the Team USA coaching staff.
Joakim Noah hosted an event in the city Friday. His charitable organization, the Noah's Arc Foundation, unveiled a public service announcement urging Chicagoans to take a stand against violence.
The 60-second clip features Noah and teammate Derrick Rose, as well as renowned rapper Common, a Chicago native.
Noah also talked about the Bulls' summer, which so far has included missing out on free agent Carmelo Anthony and successfully signing former Lakers power forward Pau Gasol.
"I'm really excited," Noah said. "I think Gar (Forman) and (John Paxson) and everybody did a real good job. I'm really, really excited about the Bulls. It just makes you want to work hard and be as ready as possible for the upcoming season."
Carmelo Anthony talked about his free-agent recruiting experience in an espn.com article.
Here's a synopsis: He doesn't care about money, tough decision, was pretty much always between Chicago and New York, and ultimately he believes in Phil Jackson.
We already knew it's never about the money, right? Here's a link to the full article:
Kevin Love to the Bulls doesn't make a ton of sense.
I've talked about this several times before. The clear trend in the NBA is perimeter stars win championships. San Antonio, Miami and Boston were outside-oriented. The Lakers won two titles with the standard, two-star format – one inside (Pau Gasol) and one outside (Kobe Bryant).
Love, Gasol and Joakim Noah on the same roster would give the Bulls a powerful rebounding game, but that hasn't been a championship formula in recent years. Miami won two titles as one of the league's worst rebounding teams.
The Bulls' run of summer-league success ended with a thud Saturday. They lost to Sacramento 80-61 while rookie Doug McDermott sat out with a foot injury.
Whether this injury is significant or an excuse to end McDermott's summer workload isn't clear right now. The rookie from Creighton played in four summer games, averaging 18 points, 4 rebounds and 2.8 assists, while shooting .442 from the field.
Tony Snell finished a strong summer league by scoring 20 points against the Kings. He averaged 20 points over five games, shooting .466. Second-round draft pick Cameron Bairstow showed some promise, averaging 10.2 points and 7 rebounds. Simeon grad Lazeric Jones, a 6-1 guard, was the best of the non-roster players, averaging 10.8 points and shooting better than 50 percent from the field.