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NBA Rumors: Kristaps Porzingis, Jamal Murray, and Mavericks

This edition of NBA rumors and news surrounds Kristaps Porzingis, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Jamal Murray. I will also look at news from the Dallas Mavericks and Team Canada camp.

NBA Rumors: Kristaps Porzingis, Jamal Murray, and Mavericks

Kristaps Porzingis Dealing With Foot Injury?

Boston Celtics center Kristaps Porzingis may be unavailable for Latvia men’s national basketball team’s first FIBA World Cup appearance, per Rupert Fabig of the Hamburger Abendblatt. Fabig reported that Porzingis missed Latvia’s first two World Cup tune-up games due to a foot injury, and the Celtics will wait until the last minute to decide his status.

With Boston and Porzingis’ willingness to wait to make a decision, there is some belief that the injury isn’t severe. However, Boston’s hesitation in allowing him to participate is understandable. Danilo Gallinari could not play for the Celtics in 2022-23 after suffering a torn ACL while playing Italy last summer. It is possible that the injury could linger into the 2023-24 campaign, and the C’s want to protect their investment. Boston and Porzingis agreed to a two-year, $60 million extension after trading for the 7-3 big man.

Will Jamal Murray Play For Canada?

Will Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray for Team Canada in the 2023 FIBA World Cup? That is the big question for a Canadian national team seeking its first medal in the event. Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca states, “No one knows for sure, one way or the other.”

Murray, who set a career-high with 6.2 assists per game, is coming off one of his best seasons while helping the Nuggets to their first-ever NBA championship in mid-June. As a result, it was expected that Murray would be brought along slowly after reporting.

Grange reported that while Canadian national team brass and coaches signed off on Murray taking it easy early, it is unlikely that he will be part of the team in Japan if he does not play any exhibition games.

“Definitely, if you’re going to play in Jakarta, you need to play at some point,” senior national team general manager Rowan Barrett said.

Team Canada is currently playing a three-game FIBA World Cup prep series in Germany. The Canadians fell to Team Germany 86-81 on Wednesday as Toronto Raptors guard Dennis Schroder tallied 15 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and doled out seven assists for the winners.

For his part, Murray seems to be committed to playing for Canada. During the Canadian’s training camp, he spoke to Grange for his article.

“I want to be here, I want to play, I want see the guys, be around the guys, be a part of this. Everybody knows these are good friends of mine, we’re not just teammates, we’re peers. We all grew up playing against each other, playing with each other so it’s fun to be in this environment and just have fun playing basketball.”

This year’s World Cup is Canada’s best chance to medal for the first time. The Canadians finished 21st in the 2019 World Cup in China. Their best finish over the last 30 years was 1994, when they finished seventh.

More Team Canada News

While Murray may still play for Team Canada, a few other national team players have bowed out of World Cup competition. Recently minted Golden State Warriors reserve point guard Cory Joseph won’t be playing this summer due to a “mutual decision.”

Boston Celtics forward Oshae Brissett and Team Canada veteran Kevin Pangos won’t play in the World Cup. Brissett began to experience some tightness during two-a-days last week and was held out as a precautionary measure. The good news is that Brissett didn’t suffer a knee injury, as some reports suggested. He wants to play it safe and focus on preparing for his first training camp with the Celtics.

Meanwhile, Pangos isn’t playing due to insurance issues after coming off injuries last season while playing for Italian club Olympia Milano. Pangos has spent most of his career in Europe though he did play 24 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers during the 2021-22 campaign.

Dallas Mavericks Make Trio of Roster Additions

The Dallas Mavericks have been busy over the last couple of days. After agreeing to training camp deals with free agents Greg Brown III and Joe Weiskamp on Tuesday, the Mavericks signed Derrick Jones Jr. to a fully guaranteed contract on Wednesday, per  The Athletic’s Shams Charania. However, no other details of Jones’ deal were disclosed.

Jones became a free agent at the end of June after declining his $3.36 million option with the Chicago Bulls. Jones is an athletic wing who can also play power forward and center. He is a slasher who loves to finish above the rim and can block shots. However, defense is his best attribute.

Jones is coming off a down season where he only averaged 14 minutes a game. However, the 26-year-old could have a more prominent role this year with Dallas as the Mavs have revamped their roster this summer with an emphasis on upgrading their defense.

Once the signing is official, Jones will be the 15th player on a standard contract. The Mavericks also have filled two of their three-way roster spots. Meanwhile, the signing of Weiskamp and Brown means that Dallas has filled 20 of their 21 training camp spots. Undrafted rookie Jordan Walker previously agreed to an Exhibit 10 contract.

Greg Brown III and Joe Weiskamp

The 43rd overall pick in the 2021 draft, Brown spent his first season-and-a-half as a pro with the Portland Trail Blazers, appearing in 64 games. The 22-year-old forward averaged six minutes of action over 16 contests for the Blazers last season before being waived in February. He finished the year with the G-League Ontario Clippers.

Brown had a productive session with the Philadelphia 76ers this summer. Brown averaged 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, and 2.5 blocks in eight games in Vegas and Salt Lake City. He posted a shooting slash line of .638/.429/.714.

Wieskamp was drafted two spots ahead of Brown in 2021. The 24-year-old wing appeared in 29 games with the San Antonio Spurs in 2021-22 and nine games with the Raptors last season. Toronto waived him last month before his 2023-24 contract became guaranteed.

Weiskamp, who has struggled shooting the ball in the NBA, played for Toronto’s summer league squad. In four games, Weiskamp averaged 13.5 points but continued to shoot the ball poorly as he compiled a shooting slash line of .429/.273/.857.

Giannis and Kostas Antetokounmpo To Play In FIBA World Cup?

Greece national basketball team coach Dimitris Itoudis told Harris Stavrou of SPORT24 that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Kostas Antekounmpo have yet to join the team.

“They are still not practicing with the team, and we don’t have something more to say right now,” Itoudis said.

With Itoudis’ statement, it seems highly unlikely that the Antetokounmpo brothers will play when Greece heads to Manilla, Philippines. Antetokounmpo, who set a career-high with 31.1 points,  underwent a knee procedure after the Milwaukee Bucks were upset in the first round of the playoffs.

Without the Antetokounmpos, Greece is 2-1 during World Cup prep games. The Greeks beat Slovenia twice but lost to Serbia on Tuesday. They face Italy today.

Thanasis Antetokounmpo is the only other NBA player on Greece’s 22-preliminary roster.

 

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