We Remember: 22nd Anniversary of the Dream Team Winning the Gold Medal

Twenty-two years ago today, the Dream Team completed its domination of the 1992 Summer Olympics by beating Croatia in the gold-medal game.

Michael Jordan dropped 22 points and six other players scored in double figures in a 117-85 victory.

The Dream Team, which was the first Olympic team to use NBA players, still remains the greatest basketball team to ever take the court. The team went 8-0 in the tournament, with an average margin of victory of 43.8 points.

Although Jordan gets all of the attention, it was Charles Barkley who was the team’s leading scorer.

Here are the players on the team who were eventually inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame: Jordan, Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson, Karl Malone, Chris Mullin, Scottie Pippen, David Robinson and John Stockton.

After the Dream Team’s dominance, every great United States Olympic team is compared to the greatest team in basketball history.

[NBA, YouTube]

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James McAdoo Deserves Chance at NBA Dream After Going Undrafted

There’s a lesson to be learned for all college underclassmen looking to declare for the NBA draft early. Making it to the NBA is difficult, and the road is not as easily paved as some highly touted college prospects might think.

James Michael McAdoo of North Carolina learned that lesson the hard way.

McAdoo came to the Tar Heels as an emerging star with hopes of being a lottery pick in the NBA draft after his career in Chapel Hill. Those ambitions fell well short on Thursday night, as the two-time second-team All-ACC player fell out of both rounds and is now simply looking to crack a roster.

Bret Strelow of the Fayetteville Observer offered his advice to any players hoping to avoid McAdoo‘s path:

So maybe that’s the next option for McAdoo. If he doesn’t make an NBA roster after this summer, maybe he just packs it up and looks to play overseas.

Before he makes any brash decisions, he might want to consider a list of players who also went undrafted and went on to have successful careers in the NBA. Names like Bruce Bowen, John Starks and even Avery Johnson rose to stardom in the league thanks to hard work and dedication.

Will he ever find that same rise to the NBA as very few before him have? Maybe, but before he can ever reach that level, NBA consultant Chris Ekstrand breaks down where McAdoo needs to improve, per Ed Miller of The Virginian-Pilot:

“There’s talent there, there’s the ability to achieve at the highest levels, at least of college basketball,” Ekstrand said. “Why he didn’t do that consistently is sort of an open question.”

Chris Moore of the ACC Sports Journal and Brooke Pryor of Carolina Blue Magazine, two writers who followed McAdoo throughout his tenure in Chapel Hill, provide their thoughts on the former Tar Heel:

Maybe it was the timing of his decision—would he have been selected last season? Or perhaps it was the fact that he still needed to prove more to have his name called in the draft.

Following his freshman year, there were still talks about untapped talent that scouts hadn’t seen from McAdoo and what he could eventually be at the next level. But with McAdoo staying at UNC for another season, those questions were still being asked as he failed to shine for the Heels.

The 21-year-old noted the change between his first season and when he decided to leave UNC, via Aaron Dodson of the Daily Tar Heel:

After my freshman year and I was like, ‘Dang, I’m good enough to play in the NBA.’ Then these last two years to now, I’m really having to fight my way into the league. But I got two more years of my education, and I’m that much closer to getting my degree. I’m married and have no regrets about my time there.

At the end of the day, we’re here now. We’re in the present and I’m still living my dream.

What McAdoo has to do now is prove himself through the summer league and potentially D-League. Talent can only get a player so far, but he has enough to turn some heads in the next several months and eventually win scouts over.

Simply put, McAdoo has shown the ability to crack an NBA roster, but fell short during his collegiate career. Despite averaging over 14 points and 6.8 rebounds per game during his final two seasons with the Heels, he ultimately didn’t show enough to convince NBA scouts that he was worthy of a draft pick.

Whatever it was, McAdoo is now simply left searching for a team after leaving UNC early. For the rest of college basketball players planning to do the same, consider this a lesson learned.

 

Follow @RCorySmith on Twitter.

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LeBron James Nothing More Than Pipe Dream for Los Angeles Clippers

Can you imagine LeBron James and Blake Griffin running down the court in transition with Chris Paul leading the charge and waiting to throw an alley-oop to whichever of the two uber-athletic targets presents him with the best option? 

No, this isn’t some far-fetched scenario in which the NBA‘s two conferences mix All-Stars and play a pickup game during the midseason break.

It’s supposedly a realistic possibility, as LeBron and the Los Angeles Clippers apparently have some mutual interest.

“The most intriguing move on the mind of James and his camp, sources told Yahoo Sports, would be a sign-and-trade scenario with the Los Angeles Clippers in which James could play with close friend Chris Paul and under president-coach Doc Rivers,” reports Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowski while discussing the offseason options of the four-time MVP, who recently opted out of his contract with the Miami Heat.

“Intriguing” doesn’t mean it’s actually going to happen, though.

It’s fine to dream of LeBron wearing those baby blue uniforms and helping CP3 advance to the conference finals for the first time in the point guard’s impressive career, but do so while recognizing that it’s still nothing more than a pipe dream.

If you sorted the list of candidates for LeBron’s services by their realistic chances of landing him, the Clippers would be quite far down in the rankings. Behind the Atlanta Hawks. Behind the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Behind everyone with a remote chance of gaining access to James’ talents.

 

Clearing Cap Space Is an Impossibility 

According to ESPNLosAngeles.com’s Arash Markazi,The Clippers’ current salary is slated to be $73,660,731 if Glen Davis, Darren Collison and Danny Granger opt out, as ESPNLosAngeles.com reported they will. That figure also includes their first-round draft pick (No. 28) and empty roster charges.”

LAC could also save itself nearly $1.5 million by cutting ties with Willie Green, who’s operating on a non-guaranteed salary, though the cap hold for the empty roster spot would negate much of what’s gained.

With well over the salary cap already committed to current pieces, could the Clippers possibly clear up enough space to have a shot at a maximum-salary player?

That’s the question Markazi asked Larry Coon, the foremost expert on all things dealing with the salary cap and the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement:

Let’s say they dump Jordan, Crawford and Dudley, and also get rid of the No. 28 pick while they’re at it. They’d then be at $53,625,152. This assumes that all assets are dumped for future considerations only, with no salary coming back to the Clippers. The team would need to get down to $42,540,368 to make LeBron a max offer. They’re over $11 million short.

It’s worth noting that the 2014-15 salary cap is projected to come in at $63.2, a figure that also comes from Coon (h/t BasketballInsiders.com’s Eric Pincus).

So, at this point, the Clippers would be able to offer LeBron a salary just under eight figures. That’s probably not going to cut it, huh?

Coon continues:

If they also dump Reggie Bullock and Matt Barnes for nothing, they will get down to $50,042,854. That’s still about $8 million short. So there’s still no way. This also presumes the Clippers will be able to dump five players with no salary coming back, which is a pretty tall order.

There are a couple things to note.

The Clippers would be able to offer LeBron just over $13 million at this point. Then they could fill up the rest of the roster with cap exceptions and players willing to operate on veteran minimums. But as the CBA expert hints at, the figure LeBron makes might be even less than that.

This plan requires trading DeAndre Jordan, Jamal Crawford, Jared Dudley, Reggie Bullock and Matt Barnes to teams with enough cap space to absorb their salaries without going over the threshold. Otherwise, they’d be left trading salary back to LAC in order to make the deals legal.

That’s hard to do with one player, much less fiveespecially when Jordan is set to make $11.4 million in 2014-15.

Additionally, let’s think about the core of players who would be left.

LeBronassuming he even signed, as the Clippers could be gutting the roster without receiving anything useful for the 2014-15 campaignPaul, Griffin, J.J. Redick and Green.

That’s it.

Technically, Redick could be dealt in similar fashion while the Clippers cut ties with Green, but they’d still be pressed up against the cap with only three rostered players after signing the Miami standout. Is that really a championship core? Better yet, is that a championship core in the Western Conference?

LeBron looked exhausted during the 2014 NBA Finals, the result of playing a season’s worth of extra games over the last few years. The responsibility of carrying the Miami offense, the extra playoff games and the Olympic experience clearly took their collective toll.

Would he really sign up to star on an even thinner roster in a tougher conference?

The Clippers have way too many hurdles to overcome for this to be a realistic possibility.

They’d have to trade almost all their players for nothing but future draft picks. They’d still have to convince LeBron to sign for less than a max deal. Then they’d have to fill up the roster in such fashion that LeBron wouldn’t wear down, and that’s saying nothing of the toll Paul’s notoriously fragile body might take with such a heavy responsibility.

This may as well be impossible. Fortunately for the Clippers, there might be another optionwith “might” being the operative word.

 

Forget About a Sign-and-Trade

Should James seek a max contract, he could still find his way to the Clippers, but the Heat would have to help facilitate a sign-and-trade deal. Right off the bat, that’s quite unlikely.

As Wojnarowski writes, the Heat have never shown any signs of being willing to consider such a transaction:

As for sign-and-trade scenarios, in which Riley would have to assist James in getting his maximum financial payout with a new team, the organization has been privately adamant that they’d never do it, league sources said. If James wanted to force his way to the Clippers, he’d have to create the fear within Miami that it could lose him for nothing to a team with the salary cap space to sign him.

This is a big assumption, but let’s just pretend that the Heat would be willing to facilitate.

Should LeBron still be working with a max contract, the Clippers would remain mired in financial trouble, regardless of who they sent back.

Even if the Clippers completed a sign-and-trade that sent Griffin to Miami for James after he re-signed to a maximum deal, Coon said the Clippers’ cap would be about $74 million and hard-capped at about $81 million, leaving just $7 million to fill out the rest of the roster,” writes Markazi.

The CBA includes restrictions for sign-and-trade deals, one of which indicates that a team on the receiving end can’t go above the “apron,” which is set at $4 million above the luxury-tax threshold.

That serves as the hard cap that Markazi and Coon are referring to up above.

In this scenario, the Clippers are looking at rostering only a handful of players, losing Griffin and having $7 million to sign about six veterans and rookie-scale players. Does that really sound like a good situation for LeBron?

There’s one other problem here as well. The Clippers have been rather adamant that they won’t trade Griffin. Not under any circumstances.

While the Clippers would need to move significant players and money to make a run at either James or Anthony, sources told ESPN that Clippers president and coach Doc Rivers has told Griffin on numerous occasions that he considers him ‘untouchable’ in any trade,” reports ESPN.com’s Ramona Shelburne.

That’s rather significant, as it knocks the one option Miami would strongly consider out of the equation. There’s a chance Rivers could budge on that stance if LeBron-for-Griffin was a swap that awaited just his signature on a dotted line, but why would LeBron even agree to play for a capped-out team on which he and CP3 were the only stars?

Too many logical leaps are required in this scenario.

The only realistic possibility involves a different sign-and-trade, one in which the Clippers don’t cut salary beforehand, require LeBron to take a significant pay cut and then send the Heat back a monetary equivalent.

The big question is would all three opt out and take [$13 million per] to allow the Heat to build their roster back up?” an NBA executive asked Fred Kerber of the New York Post. “Miami then would have flexibility for another $13-$14 million player. But as we saw in the Finals, it’s not about your payroll, but team chemistry.”

If LeBron is willing to take that type of massive pay cut to stay at South Beach, who’s to say he wouldn’t do the same thing in order to play with Paul, one of his best friends, and Griffin, one of the more intriguing young talents in the game?

The earning potential from endorsements in Los Angeles would surely trump the loss in salary, after all.

Let’s roll with this assumption for the sake of the argument. As you might have noticed, these assumptions are already piling up in these pipe-dream scenarios.

Because the Clippers will be at roughly $73.7 million once Glen Davis, Darren Collison and Danny Granger opt out, as discussed earlier, money would still be tight—even tighter because that $81 million hard cap would still exist after the completion of a sign-and-trade.

So if LeBron really were willing to sign for $13 million in a sign-and-trade agreement, the Clippers would have to send Miami just about that much money.

The ideal way would be trading Jordan and Dudley, who are set to make a combined $15.7 million during the 2014-15 season, to South Beach in exchange for the four-time MVP.

Another option would be combining Redick, Crawford and Bullock into one package—really, any combination of Redick, Crawford, Dudley, Barnes, Green and Bullock that adds up to around $13 million would work.

But what’s the appeal for Miami?

There isn’t any, which is why Jordan—assuming Griffin really is off the table—must be included.

Parting ways with the promising big man would be difficult. The Heat taking on his expiring contract with no guarantee of re-signing him would be even tougher. And, remember, that’s assuming Pat Riley budges from his “no sign-and-trade” stance.

Even then, the Clippers would have a roster comprised of Paul, LeBron, Griffin, Redick, Crawford, Barnes, Collison and Green with only about $10 million left before hitting the hard cap.

There’s no center on the roster, much less a starting-caliber one to help LAC survive the rigors of the West, nor is there a backup big man at either power forward or center.

Long story short, there’s no way to get LeBron into a Clippers uniform while making the finances work, convincing LeBron it’s worth his while, getting the Heat to agree to their part and keeping the roster strong enough to be competitive while fighting through the Western gauntlet.

Each route involves too many unlikely twists and turns, and even the ones that are relatively simple would involve LAC losing the appeal that would draw LeBron there in the first place.

He wants to win championships while playing with friends, not play with friends at the expense of having a realistic shot at rings.

So enjoy those dreams of LeBron and Griffin bolting down the court and waiting to see who CP3 chooses as the recipient of his inevitable lob.

Your head is the only place such a scenario will ever take place.

 

Salary information courtesy of ShamSports.com.

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College Basketball Recruiting: Dream Package Deals from the 2015 Class

On the heels of Duke’s success in landing both Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, package deals have become a major storyline in college basketball recruiting.

Although few high school stars will actually wind up tying their college selection to that of a friend as Okafor and Jones did, the chance to get two elite prospects for the price of one is tough to pass up for a coach—and tough to ignore for fans speculating on how to secure the best class.

One such hypothetical pairing could see two of the nation’s most celebrated big men arrive on the same campus, with Stephen Zimmerman and Chase Jeter forming a potential package. The two high-powered centers have already shown that they can play together effectively for Las Vegas’ Bishop Gorman High, so continuing their partnership at the next level wouldn’t be too much of a reach.

Read on for more on the twin-towers possibilities for Zimmerman and Jeter, along with a half-dozen more package deals (announced or imagined) that might come out of the class of 2015. Note that only uncommitted players were considered for these packages, and that (in the interest of variety) only one suggested package is discussed for any given player, though other possibilities often exist.

Begin Slideshow

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Dayton, Stanford trying to extend dream runs (Yahoo Sports)

Stanford's Chasson Randle, right, works out during practice at the NCAA college basketball tournament, Wednesday, March 26, 2014, in Memphis, Tenn. Stanford plays Dayton in a regional semifinal on Thursday. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

The 6-foot-10 Dayton center said the Flyers would be a good addition to that list. No. 11 Dayton (25-10) faces No. 10 Stanford (23-12) on Thursday in the Sweet 16 of the South Region with the winner earning a shot at playing for a spot in the Final Four. Dayton toppled Ohio State and Syracuse. Stanford foiled New Mexico and Kansas.


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Joakim Noah’s Dream Team Starting 5 Includes Corey Brewer

Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah‘s top five NBA players of all-time list might create a buzz, but it may not be for the more common reasons we’ve seen. Per SLAM Magazine‘s Adam Figman

It’s not entirely clear whether Noah is mocking the trend of each player naming their “NBA Mount Rushmore” or simply paying respect to a former college teammate, but what is clear is that Noah continues to be one of the most entertaining characters in the NBA on and off the court.

Corey Brewer has average 9.9 points, 3.0 rebounds and 1.6 assists throughout his NBA career. 

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Kent Bazemore: Playing with Kobe Bryant Would Be ‘Dream Come True’

A deadline trade to the Los Angeles Lakers earned some on-court time for the best hype man in the NBA, and Kent Bazemore is hoping that was only the beginning.

As he told NBA.com’s Jeff Caplan, this is just the first chapter of his NBA dream. He’s hoping that the next phase, playing alongside future Hall of Famer Kobe Bryant, will be his next basketball domino to drop:

Shoot, that would be a dream come true, and with the track record he has, the body of work he has, I would be all ears. For a guy who’s been through everything he’s been through, playing half of his life in this league, winning multiple championships, why not listen? If I got to go against him every day, I know I’m not cheating myself, so I would look forward to it. In all honesty, I don’t think he’s that tough to play with. If he demands a lot, he just wants to be great. You can’t really knock that.

The Lakers, in need of some young talent to fuel their rebuild, might have unearthed a gem in the second-year guard. In 10 games with his new team, he’s averaged 14.6 points on .459/.404/.595 shooting, setting a slew of personal bests along the way:

If he’s found a path to consistent offense, the potential payoff for the Lakers could be great. He took home the Lefty Driesell National Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2011 and left Old Dominion University with the Colonial Athletic Association’s best career defensive rating (89.59), via Sports-Reference.com.

He has the tools to be the defensive complement to Lakers coach Mike D’Antoni’s offensive system. He’s long (6’5″ with a 6’11.5″ wingspan), athletic and motored by the insatiable energy needed to thrive at the defensive end.

He’s also a discount contributor, making just $788,872 this season with only a $1.1 million qualifying offer needed to keep him off the unrestricted free-agent market, via ShamSports.com.

Will the Lakers make that call? That’s hard to say.

What’s becoming more evident by the day, though, is that it’s an option at least worth considering for LA.

“The young guard hasn’t yet reached his ceiling,” Bleacher Report’s David Murphy wrote. “It would be wise for the Lakers to invest in Bazemore’s development, because that’s how teams with lousy records actually improve.”

He might not become the heir apparent to Bryant that the Lakers still haven’t found, but his game could grow exponentially alongside the “Black Mamba.”

Plagued by a nagging knee injury, Bryant hasn’t yet begun to teach the newest crop of Lakers guards. But that hasn’t kept Bazemore from clamoring for a front-row seat once the Bryant School is back in session.

 

Unless otherwise noted, statistics used courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.

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Christian Laettner’s Dream Buzzer-Beater Stands Alone in March Madness History

Christian Laettner’s turnaround jumper against Kentucky in the 1992 Elite Eight game is cemented in college basketball history.

The month of March has seen some incredible finishes on the hardwood, but Laettner’s dagger against the Wildcats will forever be in a class of its own.

Duke would go on to beat Michigan in the title game that year, but that became a mere afterthought. His buzzer-beater in the regional final game became the face of the ’92 tournament.

Watch the video and relive history.

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At Syracuse, Tyler Ennis makes dream a reality

Ennis’ transition to college basketball has seemed seamless.

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Celtics Trying to Fulfill Boy’s Dream of Seeing Team Play Before He Goes Blind

A New Zealand boy who has longed to see the Boston Celtics play may be getting his wish soon.

Louis Corbett found out last March that his sight was deteriorating due to a condition called retinitis pigmentosa. It is an inherited disease—two of Louis’ four siblings also have the conditionthat makes one’s vision progressively worse, and according to the Foundation Fighting Blindness, most people with the condition are legally blind by the age of 40. 

In the last six months, Louis’ vision has deteriorated rapidly, according to Celtic Louis, the family’s website. With his eyesight declining, the Celtics are working hard to make the boy’s dream of seeing the team play live a reality.

The New Zealand Herald’s Vaimoana Tapaleao shared the details:

Top US basketball team the Boston Celtics have reached out to a young Kiwi fan whose one wish is to see them play live before he goes blind.

[...]

His story featured in the Weekend Herald and owners of the Boston Celtics heard about it via Twitter.

Co-owners of the team Wycliffe and Corrine Grousbeck have a son, Campbell, who is blind and attends the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts.

In a joint statement to the Herald yesterday, they said: ‘We found out about Louis through the magic of social media and the fact that some of our followers knew about our connection to Perkins and tweeted the article to us.’

They have offered to pay for Louis to travel to the US to watch a game.

The Celtics have offered to host the 12-year-old on March 5 when they take on the Golden State Warriors.

According to Celtic Louis, Air New Zealand has offered to pay for Louis’ flight to the United States and pay for part of his father’s ticket. The family is still looking for ways to raise money for the rest of his father’s airfare—and possibly getting the two to Disneyland.

Louis’ story made its way around the web, and now the boy is getting closer to being able to see his favorite basketball team play in person.

 

[H/t Yahoo! Sports' Ball Don't Lie]

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