USA Basketball could receive a boost this summer as Chicago Bulls point guard Derrick Rose plans to join the team once he's recovered from a second major knee injury. The former MVP will miss the rest of the 2013-14 NBA season before spending the summer getting back into game shape with the national team.
Rose made the announcement on his official Facebook page:
I'm looking forward to getting back on the court this summer and having the chance to represent our country. It's an honor to play for Team USA and Coach K.
If all goes according to plan, Rose would presumably play in the 2014 FIBA World Cup, which is held Aug. 30 to Sept. 14 across Spain. With Chris Paul expected to sit out the event, Rose would likely be the team's primary point guard after starring in the 2010 FIBA World Championships.
Wizards want to re-sign Gortat
For both sides, this may be the logical conclusion after the Wizards traded Emeka Okafor and a protected first-round pick to the Suns to land Gortat before the season. He's mostly played well in a Wizards uniform, averaging 12.1 points, 8.7 rebounds and 1.6 blocks over 42 games, and the team will have cap space available this summer.
Some fans might suggest that Washington should shoot higher than retaining Gortat, but the team clearly thinks highly of the big man after giving up a coveted first-round pick to get him. Allowing him to walk after the season for absolutely nothing would sting, so this may end up being the inevitable move for the Wizards, as underwhelming as it is.
Jazz claim Thomas off waivers from Spurs
The Utah Jazz claimed forward Malcolm Thomas off waivers from the San Antonio Spurs on Saturday, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports. The power forward, who was waived by the Spurs two days ago, will give the Jazz some additional depth as Derrick Favors battles ongoing hip issues this month.
For Thomas, this continues an active year. The 25-year-old big man split the 2012-13 season between the NBA, D-League and Israel's Maccabi Tel Aviv, then played for the Bulls in the Las Vegas Summer League. He played quite well in Vegas, but ended up starting this season with the D-League's Los Angeles D-Fenders before signing with San Antonio in December.
Since then, he's spent most of his time with the Spurs' D-League affiliate, the Austin Toros, although he did record two points, nine rebounds and two blocks in 15 minutes against the Bucks last Sunday. On Thursday, the team waived him to open up space for Othyus Jeffers.
Magic, Vucevic interested in extension
The Orlando Magic and third-year big man Nikola Vucevic both have interest in a contract extension, reports Brian K. Schmitz of the Orlando Sentinel. The 23-year-old is set to make a paltry $2.75 million next season before hitting restricted free agency in the summer of 2015.
Magic C Nik Vucevic on possible contract extension: "I'd love to be in Orlando for a while." GM Rob Hennigan: "We hope to have him here."— Brian K. Schmitz (@MagicInsider) January 24, 2014
Acquired from the 76ers in the Dwight Howard-Andre Iguodala trade, Vucevic has proven to be a steal by general manager Rob Hennigan over the past two years. During that time, he's averaged 13.1 points and 11.7 rebounds over 105 games, making him one of the league's best double-double threats.
Considering he's a young, skilled guy who stands 6'10 and has two years of solid play under his belt, Vucevic will likely command a pretty sizable contract, whether it's this summer from Orlando or next summer from another team. However, as a restricted free agent, the Magic will hold the ability to match any offer he receives, so it may make more sense for both sides to complete an extension early.