NBA players mulling overseas option amid lockout; league’s reputation stained

NBA training camps had been expected to open on October 3 with the regular season beginning in early November, but that could be in jeopardy with the sides still bickering over the salary cap structure.

With the lockout still in place, a bevy of NBA players have opted to take their talents overseas.

With the lockout issue likely not to be resolve soon, NBA players have been mulling offers from overseas.

Kenyon Martin is the latest from a long list of players who left the league during the lockout, and is the sixth Denver Nuggets player to do  so.

Before him, Ty Lawson signed in Lithuania with Zalgiris Kaunas, Timofey Mozgov signed in Russia with Khimki Moscow, Danilo Gallinari returned to Olimpia Milano, Wilson Chandler and JR Smith signed in China.

While Lawson, Mozgov and Gallinari can return if there indeed is a 2011-12 season, Martin won’t be able to leave his Chinese Basketball Association squad until the season ends in March.

Smith and Chandler have also elected to play in China, which won’t allow NBA players to opt out of their one-year contracts should the lockout end.

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Spurs busy during the lockout, Richards signs with Lugano Tigers

The NBA lockout maybe in full swing, but that doesn’t mean the San Antonio Spurs are short on basketball news.

Spurs' 2010 draftee, Ryan Richards.

Aside from some of their key players participating in Olympic qualifying tournaments, some Spurs players have participated in various summer league events and are set to play in the Impact league later this month.

On top of that, other Spurs players, most notably DeJuan Blair, have chosen to play overseas during the lockout.

Add another Spurs affiliate to that list — British big man Ryan Richards.

Richards did not make it to Great Britain’s final roster that participated in the 2011 EuroBasket, but the young big man have earned the respect of his national coach and have certainly turned the heads of some international scouts.

Sportando.net reports that Richards will play with Lugano Tigers, in Switzerland, next season.

Selected by the Spurs in the 2010 NBA Draft with the 49th overall pick, Richards has already played in Swiss with BBC Monthey in 2009-10 averaging 13.3 points and 5.2 rebounds in six games.

This summer, he helped the Great Britain national team Under 20 to a 13th place finish in the Eurobasket Division B recording averages of 22.3 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 11 games and made a strong impression on Britain’s senior national squad.

Ex-Spur Oberto named to Argentina’s final roster, Spurs’ Richards released by Great Britain

Argentina coach Julio Lamas has announced his squad for the FIBA Americas Championship. Leonardo Mainoldi and Juan Pablo Figueroa were the last players to be cut.

Lamas announced what many were expecting.

“I chose the best twelve players because I can set up the best possible team and I have all the resources I need to play the tournament,” Lamas said at a press conference on Saturday.

Argentina, ranked 3rd in the world, will start the tournament as the favorites to clinch one of the two spots for the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Lamas, however, wants the player to go step by step.

“We still have three more days before tips off, which would represent four or five practicing hours,” the coach said. “We still have things to repeat and improve and we can still evolve in order to play better every day during the tournament.”

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Bertans, Latvia defeats Richards, Team GB in final warm-up game

In their final warm-up game before the 2011 EuroBasket kicks off next week, San Antonio Spurs’ draftees Ryan Richards and Davis Bertans went head to head on Saturday in Jelgava.

Latvia's Davis Bertans

Both teams started out slow, with Latvia taking a 15-13 lead after the first quarter.

The Latvian’s never let up in the second quarter outscoring Team GB 23-13 to take a 38-26 lead at halftime.

During the second half, there were no serious comeback attempts from Great Britain as Latvia won the third quarter 18-15 and the final canto 18-10, on their way to an easy 74-51 victory.

Rolands Freimanis paced Latvia with 14 points, Andrejs Selakovs had 11, and Janis Blums and Martins Meiers added 10 points apiece.

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Great Britain cut roster to 13, Spurs’ Ryan Richards still standing

Laurence Ekperigin and Matthew Bryan-Amaning have both been released from the Great Britain national team (via hoopsfix.com) as they prepare to face the Latvian national team on Saturday.

Neither cut comes as a major surprise after both played sparingly during the London International Basketball Invitational last week.

The three young players who led the GB U20s in a 13th place finish at the European Under-20 Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia, Andrew Lawrence, Devon Van Oostrum and San Antonio Spurs draftee Ryan Richards, have all held onto their spots.

While Lawrence and Van Oostrum have made their presence felt at the recently concluded tournament, it would be interesting to see if Richards would make the final cut, as he also got little playing time at the London Invitationals.

The roster now stands at 13, with the final cut expected to be made after the game against another Spurs draftee Davis Bertans and Latvia.

Team GB team take on Latvia tomorrow in Jelgava at 15.00 BST, their last warm-up game before their Eurobasket campaign begins against Lithuania, Turkey, Spain, Portugal and Poland.

Spurs’ Richards have something to prove

In 2010, the San Antonio Spurs drafted Ryan Richards as the 49th overall pick hoping to address some depth on their frontcourt rotation and perhaps in preparation for the post Tim Duncan era.

Ryan Richards has made significant progress over the summer.

However, he spent the majority of his first year in San Antonio on the sidelines recovering from two operations to repair a shoulder injury.

Since then, Richards had made some significant progress.

He recently helped the GB U20s to a 13th place finish in the European Under-20 Championships in Sarajevo, Bosnia, where he averaged  22.3 points and 8.1 rebounds per game.

His performance with GB U20s squad eventually earned him a call up from the Great Britain senior squad.

If that wasn’t enough, Richards made it to the national team’s initial cut and is confident of making the team when the squad is trimmed from 15 to 12 for the EuroBasket finals in Lithuania later this month.

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Great Britain falls to Brown’s Australia in OT, Parker, France perfect at London Invitational

On the final day of the London International Basketball Invitational, Ryan Richards and Great Britain suffered a heartbreaking 91-90 overtime loss to Spurs assistant coach Brett Brown and Team Australia who played without Patty Mills.

Parker led Team France to 5-0 record at the London Invitational.

Team GB finished the tournament with a 1-4 record, but with three losses by less than five points. Britain’s head coach Chris Finch’s biggest takeaway from the tournament?

“We can play with anybody.”

Robert Archibald, despite seeing the positives from the week, was visibly frustrated after another close loss:

“There’s definitely a lot of positives his week, but at the same time, if I was being honest I’d say we gave that game away today. We can keep knocking on the door of these games to win them, but they’re not gonna open the door for us, we’re gonna have to kick it down eventually and figure out a way to close these games out.”

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Parker returns to action, leads France to victory, Deng debuts for Great Britain

After a one day break and sitting out in the win over China, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker returned back to action for Team France on Saturday as he helped them beat Croatia 83-60 in day four of the London International Basketball Invitational.

Parker led the French national team with 12 points, three assists, and three rebounds while shooting 50 percent from the field and 4-of-4 from the free throw line in 23 minutes of action.

Chicago Bulls’ Joakim Noah had 11 points and nine rebounds while Spurs draftee Nando De Colo added 10 points, five rebounds, three assists, and three steals while shooting 50 percent from the floor, including 66.7 percent from beyond the arc in 27 minutes.

Bojan Bogdanovic led Croatia with 16 points.

Meanwhile, boosted by Chicago Bulls’ Loul Deng, Great Britain get their first victory in the tournament by defeating China 64-56. Spurs draftee Ryan Richards was again scoreless playing just two minutes.

Joel Freeland led Team GB with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the win, Deng had 15 points and five rebounds in 26 minutes in this year’s debut with the British national team.

France will wrap up  their London Invitational against Serbia, while Richards and Team GB will conclude the tournament as they face Spurs’ assistant coach Brett Brown and Australia tomorrow.

Richards’ Great Britain loss a nail biter to Serbia

Looking for their first win at the London Invitational Tournament, Great Britain played a solid basketball game against Serbia.

Team GB finished the opening quarter with a four-point lead 22-18 but Serbia battled back to tie the game 44-44 to end the first half.

In the third quarter, Great Britain lost two key players to injuries (via HoopsFix).

Team captain Drew Sullivan suffered a groin injury getting fouled going to the basket while Joel Freeland twisted his ankle on a rebound play.

Serbia instantly capitalized taking their first lead of the game, 50-48. But Robert Archibald’s  3-point play put GB up 54-52.

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