Andray Blatche. Photo by Cristina Quicler.

MANILA, Philippines – Naturalized center Andray Blatche may not be able to suit up for the Philippine national basketball team in the 2015 FIBA Asia Championship after he was barred by his Chinese team from coming to the country.

Waylon Galvez of the Manila Bulletin reported Monday that the Xinjiang Flying Tigers of the Chinese Basketball Association have rejected Blatche's request to play for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia tournament this September.

Galvez quoted a source who said that China, as the host of the FIBA Asia Championship, "will surely not allow one of its opponents for the title like the Philippines to have a strong line-up."

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Byron Scott paired Jordan Clarkson with D'Angelo Russell during summer league -- a pairing that could bump Kobe Bryant to the power forward spot at times. Stephen Dunn/Getty ImagesWith an infusion of mostly young talent like No. 2 overall pick D'Angelo Russell, Jordan Clarkson and the addition of Lou Williams, the Lakers used their summer-league pairings to start experimenting with their lineup. And that might mean a change for Kobe Bryant.

Coach Byron Scott told it's possible Bryant could spend time at power forward.

"If we don't get another guard, then Kobe's in that mix," Scott said of a potential switch. "I'm kind of going through those scenarios. But not necessarily as far as who's starting and who doesn't ... I think [Bryant] will play more 3 than 2. If we can get him at the elbows and at the mid-post, the more effective he'll be.

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International Basketball

MIAMI -- Goran Dragic of the Miami Heat is not expected to play for Slovenia in the EuroBasket tournament in September.

Heat president Pat Riley met with Dragic about his invitation to join the team, and it was collectively decided that it would be in the point guard's best interests to spend the rest of the summer preparing for his first full year in Miami.

Dragic said in April that he was leaning against playing anyway. He cited several reasons, including free agency -- he wound up signing a five-year deal worth just more than $85 million -- and the fact that his wife is due to deliver a baby in August.

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Patient Celtics hoping they're another step closer (July 28, 2015)
Chris Forsberg [ Source: ESPN ]


WALTHAM, Mass. -- When the Boston Celtics acquired Jae Crowder in December in a swap that delivered Rajon Rondo to the Dallas Mavericks, many believed Boston was cleaning house and accepting a fate of rebuilding through the draft. This made Crowder cringe, so he started knocking on doors around the Celtics' training facility trying to figure out exactly what direction this team was headed.

"I think that was the biggest thing for me because I'm a winner," Crowder said. "When I first came here and we were -- [the media was] saying, 'tanking' -- it was bad. I didn't want to be a part of it, selfishly because I don't like losing. I had to ask. I had to ask our direction moving forward."

So Crowder sought out Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge. Then coach Brad Stevens. Then the assistant coaches. Then weight room guys, ball boys, and employees of the gym that shares Boston's training facility -- anyone who might know what the plan was for this team.

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Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

Talk ‘N Text, which currently holds the No. 1 overall pick in the upcoming 2015 PBA Rookie Draft, is interested in making a push to acquire the second overall pick as well with the team set to look to the future.

The Tropang Texters received the top pick from the Blackwater Elite early last season after trading veteran Larry Rodriguez to the expansion team as well as the right to exchange first round picks in the draft.

Talk ‘N Text coach Jong Uichico confirmed the team’s interest although he said that discussions will still need to take place before the team makes a decision on what they can offer Kia, which will be known as the Mahindra Enforcers, for the selection.

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The Pacers signed second-round pick Rakeem Christmas among a flurry of signings Monday. MICHAEL JOHNSON/ZUMAPRESS

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers have re-signed forwards Lavoy Allen and Shayne Whittington.

The team on Monday also signed swingman Glenn Robinson III to a three-year deal and completed an undisclosed deal with second-round pick Rakeem Christmas.

This month, Allen agreed to a multiyear deal worth $3 million annually. He has averaged 5.0 points and 4.8 rebounds in a five-year career.

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Wanted: big man (July 28, 2015)
Arman Carandang [ Source: Journal ]

Troy Rosario. Journal photo

BARRING any unforeseen circumstances, say, irresistible trade offers, Kia is likely to tab Troy Rosario in the PBA Rookie Draft this August.

Rosario could just be the right man the Mahindra Enforcer (Kia’s new moniker) are badly needing to beef up their frontline and be competitive in their second year in the pro league.

Kia won five of its 11 outings in the Governors’ Cup last season, although that was not enough for it to make the playoff round.

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Anthony Davis is looking forward to what new coach Alvin Gentry can bring to the Pelicans. Derick E. Hingle/USA TODAY Sports

NEW ORLEANS -- Anthony Davis sounds rather pleased that the New Orleans Pelicans have done little tweaking to their roster since a first-round exit from last season's playoffs.

It was that promise of roster stability, combined with the introduction of a new, fun-loving coach with an up-tempo scheme, that made him eager to commit long-term to New Orleans.

"I just felt comfortable here. I like the team. I like the direction that we're heading in. I like the guys who are playing by my side," Davis said Monday. "I have a lot of trust in our organization and what they're doing."

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Matthew Dellavedova could compete with newly acquired guard Mo Williams for reserve minutes in Cleveland's back court. Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

CLEVELAND -- The Cavaliers have agreed to re-sign backup point guard Matthew Dellavedova, who reached cult-hero status during Cleveland's injury-plagued run to the NBA Finals as he filled in for Kyrie Irving.

Dellavedova, a restricted free agent, accepted Cleveland's qualifying offer and will return on a one-year deal worth approximately $1.2 million, a source with knowledge of the negotiations told ESPN on Monday.

By accepting the Cavs' qualifying offer, Dellavedova will become an unrestricted free agent next summer when the league's salary cap is set to balloon.

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Tropang Texters trading Ranidel? (July 28, 2015)
Waylon Galvez [ Source: Tempo ]

Ranidel de Ocampo. Sports5/Pranz Kaeno Billones

Talk ’N Text is reportedly in talks with Kia Motors as it continues to pursue the latter’s first round selection in this year’s PBA Rookie Draft scheduled Aug. 23 at the Robinson’s Place in Ermita, Manila.

The Tropang Texters are said to be offering in a package deal incoming sophomore guard Kevin Alas and veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo for Kia’s first round picks this year and in 2016. first reported the proposed trade, although a source said that there is no finality yet and that trade may be revised upon approval of Manny V. Pangilinan, the TNT boss and owner of Meralco and NLEX.

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