Houston Rockets star guard James Harden has withdrawn from playing for USA Basketball in the FIBA World Cup in China, according to the Houston Chronicle.
Harden has informed coach Gregg Popovich that he won’t be participating, according to the report. The event runs Aug. 31-Sept. 15.
Harden is electing to focus on the Rockets and plans to use the time to adapt to playing with new backcourt mate Russell Westbrook.
Harden is the second NBA star to pull out in recent days. Los Angeles Lakers power forward Anthony Davis reportedly withdrew last week.
–The Indiana Pacers added more guard help in the wake of Darren Collison’s recent retirement, signing a one-year, $4.8 million deal with free-agent guard Justin Holiday.
The move unites Holiday with brother Aaron, who figures to see his responsibilities at point guard increase in his second NBA season. The two are also brothers of veteran New Orleans Pelicans guard Jrue Holiday.
Justin Holiday, 30, averaged 10.5 points and had 3.9 rebounds in 82 games (77 starts) for the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies last season. The Bulls traded him to Memphis in January.
–Former Duke and WNBA player Lindsey Harding has been hired by the Sacramento Kings as an assistant coach.
Most recently a player development coach for the Philadelphia 76ers beginning in April, Harding was the first black woman to become a full-time NBA scout when the Sixers hired her before the 2018-19 season.
Other female coaches in the NBA include Kara Lawson of the Boston Celtics, Becky Hammon of the San Antonio Spurs, Jenny Boucek of the Dallas Mavericks and Lindsay Gottlieb of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
–The Toronto Raptors announced the signing of guard Matt Thomas, a move that had been in the works for weeks.
Thomas, who played college ball at Iowa State, spent the last two seasons playing professionally in Spain.
The deal is reportedly for three years, though official terms were not disclosed.
–Tommy Sheppard will have the interim title pulled off and be named general manager of the Washington Wizards, the Washington Post reported.
Sheppard, who joined the organization in 1994, has been serving as the interim general manager since Ernie Grunfeld was fired in early April.
Sheppard was the team’s senior vice president of basketball operations for most of the 2018-19 campaign. He handled the salary cap and contract negotiations while in that role.
(Field Level Media)