USA Basketball's Jerry Colangelo talks Rose's chances for 2016 Olympic games


USA Basketball's Jerry Colangelo talks Rose's chances for 2016 Olympic games

LAS VEGAS—With Summer League displaying the youth and NBA dreams players are chasing, Vegas also sets the stage for the elite of the elite next month for USA Basketball.

While the Bulls were playing their third Summer League game Tuesday afternoon in Cox Pavilion, USA Basketball Director Jerry Colangelo sat across the concourse at the Thomas and Mack Center watching Dallas and Washington from a VIP seat.

In a month, Colangelo will preside over what he calls a “celebration” of USA basketball during a three-day minicamp from August 11-13.

There will be a USA basketball showcase at the Thomas and Mack center, a blue and white game that could play a part in determining who’ll make the trip to Rio de Janeiro to represent the country in the 2016 Olympic games.

Bulls guards Derrick Rose and Jimmy Butler (a late addition according to ESPN) presumably will be in Las Vegas hoping to impress Colangelo and USA Basketball coach Mike Kryzyzewski.

[MORE: Report: Bulls' Jimmy Butler receives Team USA invite]

Colangelo, a Chicago native, has paid attention to the road Rose has been on, and said he’s open to having a spot for the Bulls point guard considering his strong finish to the playoffs.

“We don’t want to act prematurely regarding anyone’s prospects or opportunities,” said Colangelo in an exclusive interview with CSNChicago.com. “We have a national team roster. The important thing this summer is for our people to come together, kind of a celebration if you will of USA basketball, get a read on where people are physically, what their attitude is going forward. And we have plenty of time regarding the selection of a roster for Rio.”

Seeing where players like Rose, Paul George (Indiana) and Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City) are with their rehabilitation or overall health is a chief concern for Colangelo. Seeing if LeBron James is up for his fourth run of Olympic play is whom Colangelo was referring to when he said “attitude going forward.”

The Cavaliers star hasn’t said publicly which way he was leaning but Colangelo said he’ll get a feel for what James wants to do next month. As for the Bulls oft-injured star who underwent meniscus surgery in late February before making a return in early April, Colangelo said special attention will be paid to the likes of Rose.

“Absolutely, there’s no question about it,” Colangelo said. “The ballplayers are valuable assets and we want to protect them as much as possible.”

The gruesome leg injury suffered by George at that very gym when he landed awkwardly against the basket stanchion cost George his season and the Pacers a chance at a decent 2015 playoff run.

It sparked concerns about NBA players participating in the USA Basketball program, as well as NBA team owners feeling like the teams inherently take all the risk without getting much in return, with the mob led of course by Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

“We don’t want them to be at risk in any way,” Colangelo said. “Their first responsibility is to their team.”

But he added, “The good news is this: Everybody wants to play, they all want to participate and so it’ll solve itself. It’ll come out in the wash.”

“There’s a lot of considerations when you figure who’s gonna end up playing for you in the Olympics,” Colangelo said.

Golden State Warriors star and 2014-15 MVP Stephen Curry is a shoo-in at point guard while Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving will be out due to recovery for his broken kneecap he suffered in the NBA Finals.

Memphis point guard Mike Conley and Utah’s point guard Trey Burke have been invited to the camp in August, but neither are in Rose’s class as far as talent. Golden State’s Harrison Barnes, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and Tobias Harris are some swingmen who’ve been added to the camp in addition to Butler.

[NBC SHOP: Gear up, Bulls fans!]

Despite the light atmosphere Colangelo wants to establish for the August weekend, it’s clear he has an eye toward the 2015-16 NBA season and ensuing selection process, making attendance to this nearly mandatory for consideration.

“We have another NBA season, a season that will always have its injuries because it’s part of the game,” Colangelo said. “We can watch how guys progress, we can make sure they’re injury free and we’ll be in camp a year from now in preparation for Rio. We’ll have a roster of 15-18, from which we’ll take 12.

“And trust me, it’ll be a real difficult process. There’s so many players who want to be part of it, it’ll be a big job in selecting the team.”

SportsTalk Live Podcast: A sprained MCL and Trubisky's performance. vs the Pats


SportsTalk Live Podcast: A sprained MCL and Trubisky's performance. vs the Pats

David Haugh, Jordan Cornette, Shae Peppler join David Kaplan on the panel.

0:00- Mark Schanowski joins SportsTalk Live to discuss Kris Dunn’s sprained MCL, Fred Hoiberg’s tough luck and Zach LaVine postgame criticisms of the coaching. Plus they’ll discuss another 0-3 team- LeBron’s Lakers.

20:00 – The panel discusses Mitchell Trubisky’s performance vs. the Patriots. Jordan makes the case that the media is giving the former No. 2 pick a pass.

Listen to the full episode at this link or in the embedded player below:

Sports Talk Live Podcast


Bulls bracing for a Kemba Walker onslaught


Bulls bracing for a Kemba Walker onslaught

Through the opening week of the NBA season, Hornets' All-Star point guard Kemba Walker and former Bull Niko Mirotic share the league scoring lead, averaging 33 points per game.

Bulls' fans have seen these hot stretches from Niko before, and chances are he'll start moving down to the mid to high-teens before long. But Walker is a big-time scorer who's quietly emerged as one of the most consistently productive point guards in a league loaded with stars at that position. He's averaged over 20 points and 5 assists in each of the last three seasons, making the Eastern Conference All-Star team twice.

Last season, Walker lit up the Bulls for 47 points in an overtime loss at the United Center in November, making some of the most difficult shots you can imagine to keep his team in the game. He seems to be as this best when facing the Bulls and you can bet Fred Hoiberg and his staff will pull out all the stops to try to slow him down, especially with defensive ace Kris Dunn out 4-6 weeks after suffering a sprained left MCL in his season debut on Monday.

The Hornets made some personnel changes since last season. The one-year experiment with Dwight Howard at center is over. Howard put up solid numbers for Charlotte a year ago, but didn't make much difference in the win-loss column, so he's moved on to Washington in his NBA odyssey. Cody Zeller is now the starting center, backed up by Bismack Biyombo and former Benet Academy and University of Wisconsin star Frank Kaminsky.

Charlotte tried to improve the athleticism on their roster by selecting Malik Monk and Miles Bridges in the first rounds of the last two drafts. Monk is getting more playing time this season, averaging 13.5 points in the Hornets' first four games. Bridges is averaging just under 16 minutes a game as a backup to starting forwards Marvin Williams and Nic Batum. Just like he did at Michigan State, Bridges is providing those highlight reel putback dunks, but it remains to be seen whether he'll develop a consistent enough outside shot to be a quality starter in the NBA.

The well-traveled Jeremy Lamb is now starting in the backcourt with Walker, and the Hornets brought in long-time Spurs' point guard Tony Parker to add some much needed experience and veteran savvy off the bench. Given the current state of the Eastern Conference (post-LeBron), it's not out of the question for this group to contend for one of the final playoff spots.

Here's what the Bulls need to do for a shot at their first win of the season. This also applies to the rematch in Charlotte on Friday.

1. CORRAL KEMBA. For whatever reason, seeing that Bulls' logo turns Walker into an almost unstoppable scoring machine. Walker is adept at working off his big men, either in straight pick and rolls or cutting through the post on give-and-go plays. He's one of the league's most creative scorers, and doesn't require much room to get his shot off. The Bulls' bigs will have to provide help on Walker whenever he comes off screens to keep him from taking over the game.

2. PUT THE BALL IN ZACH'S HANDS. Whether he's playing shooting guard or point guard, Zach LaVine needs to be the primary facilitator with Dunn sidelined. LaVine scored 34 points against Dallas Monday night on just 15 shots, which led to him questioning some of the offensive sets that were run in the 2nd half. LaVine told reporters on Tuesday that he smoothed things over with his head coach, explaining his comments were the result of the frustration he was feeling after a third-straight loss to open the season. Still, LaVine is on a major hot streak, joining Bulls' all-time greats Michael Jordan and Bob Love as the only players to start the year with three straight games scoring at least 30 points. The Bulls will need to ride that hot hand for as far as LaVine can carry them.

3. DEFEND THE 3-POINT LINE. You knew I would eventually get to this, right? Dallas made 15 of 47 3-point attempts on Monday after the Pistons knocked down 18 of 40 in a two-point win last Saturday. The Hornets have all kinds of capable 3-point shooters in Walker, Lamb, Monk, Batum and Williams (they're shooting .397 as a team on 3's), so guarding the arc will be crucial for the Bulls to have a chance at their first win.

Don’t forget you can catch Wednesday's game on NBC Sports Chicago and the new MyTeams by NBC sports app. Coverage begins at 6:30 pm when Kendall Gill, Will Perdue and Kelly Crull join me for Bulls Pregame Live from the United Center Atrium. Neil Funk and Stacey King have the play-by-play call at 7 pm, then stay tuned after the final buzzer for Bulls Postgame Live and the always entertaining Bulls Outsiders.