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Simmons plans to play for Australia at FIBA World Cup

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SYDNEY (AP) — Ben Simmons is set to play for Australia at the FIBA World Cup after confirming in an online video “I’m going to be a Boomer” for upcoming events.

Simmons’ NBA season ended when his Philadelphia 76ers were knocked out of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Kawhi Leonard’s Game 7-ending buzzer-beater for Toronto.

The NBA All-Star told his fans to stay tuned about upcoming events in the video he posted on Twitter but he later confirmed on Weibo, the Chinese social media channel, that he was “looking forward to representing my country Australia” in the World Cup. He’s likely to join the likes of Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova in Australia’s squad for the World Cup, which starts Aug. 31 in China.

Simmons was criticized in Philadelphia for his lack of impact in the playoffs, but he used the video to thank fans for their support as well as outline his international intentions.

Australia coach Andrej Lemanis said Simmons’ decision to return after skipping the 2016 Olympics reflected the positive vibes within the national set up.

“The players are truly invested in the program and each other. They are always proud to wear the Boomers uniform and keen to represent Australian basketball on the world stage,” Lemanis said. “Ben is an amazing talent and his skill set will add significantly to the team.

“He has a phenomenal basketball IQ, an ability to create for himself and others and an obvious willingness to play in a team orientated environment.”

Australia’s Boomers have never finished higher than fourth in the World Cup or Olympics but are growing in confidence with an increasing number of players in the NBA.

The Boomers are scheduled to play warmups against Canada in Perth, Australia, on Aug. 16 and 17 and against the World Cup champion U.S. team in Melbourne on Aug. 22 and 24.



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Report: Pau Gasol to join Trail Blazers

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Free agent center Pau Gasol has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Gasol, 39, who was limited to just 30 games last season because of a variety of injuries, has career averages of 17.0 points and 9.2 rebounds over 17 NBA seasons.



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Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers

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Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.

Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.

 The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.

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Report: Kevin Love to withdraw from World Cup

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Cavaliers forward Kevin Love is the latest player expected to withdraw from Team USA’s training camp for the FIBA World Cup, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

This news comes just one day after Damian Lillard reportedly withdrew from the World Cup. Love, who played in just 22 games last season because of a shoulder injury, averaged 17.0 points and 10.9 rebounds in 2018-19.

During the previous two weeks, James Harden, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, Zion Williamson and CJ McCollum reportedly decided not to compete in the World Cup this year.

Although the guard ranks will be somewhat depleted of NBA stars, Team USA continues to have a deep pool of players available.



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