Trans. Sep 9 12:49 ET (Sep 9 12:49 ET ) The ball was bouncing away, threatening New Zealand's last-chance possession, though if a player could just dive on the floor and corral it, any NBA fan would know what to do. When it happened, Slovenia's Goran Dragic of the Phoenix Suns blasted them on Twitter.
The Scoop:Speaking at the FIBA World Cup of Basketball, Dragic said, "Got a very interesting position with the club. Guess I'll break the contract and sign a new one. As I spoke [to the Suns], I immediately during the first week, when the market opens, sign and I will therefore be calm." Dragic is coming off a breakout 2013-14 season during which he averaged averaged 20.3 points, 1.6 threes, 3.2 rebounds, 5.9 assists and 1.4 steals, and should be one of the top 10 point guards on draft boards heading into fantasy drafts.
On a map, Slovenia is a mystery to the U.S. ''Do you know where Slovenia is?'' center DeMarcus Cousins was asked by a European journalist Monday. ''Do you know where Alabama is?'' On the basketball court, the Americans know exactly where to look: on the perimeter. Goran Dragic and the Slovenians are a small team that thrives on the outside but struggles to defend the interior.
Goran Dragic didn't have his best game during Saturday's win over the Dominican Republic, turning the ball over six times to go with 12 points, two boards, six assists, and one steal.
The Scoop:He missed all four attempts from beyond the arc and his entire team struggled from there, making a total of just six treys on 26 attempts. The Slovenians were attacking the rim quite a bit due to the lack of size of the Dominicans, but they won't be able to do that when they play Team USA on Monday.
As NBA training camps approach, there has been no movement on Eric Bledsoe's restricted free agency front in weeks. With the window closing on the 24-year-old point guard's reported max contract demands, his camp is apparently making one last push before crawling back to Phoenix. On his Instagram account, LeBron James, whose power was apparent in the league's deafening silence in July as his own announcement held free agency hostage, posted a picture of himself and the so-called " Mini LeBron " with the caption, "Future All-Star in this league in no time. PHX break bread." The inference from James that Phoenix's front office should be the side caving is a strange one, since the Suns reportedly offered Bledsoe $48 million over four years and last we heard anything on this matter the team's owner Robert Sarver publicly declared, " We haven’t heard from the guy in four months. " While Bledsoe has long been billed as a future franchise floor general — even illustrating that theory with averages of 17.7 points, 5.5 assists and 4.1 rebounds over the first half of last season — a $12 million average annual value seems like a fair shake for a player who has undergone two knee surgeries in his first four NBA seasons, including one on a torn right meniscus that cost him the final 39 games of 2014. Add to that set of circumstances a Suns backcourt safety net of Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas as well as the apparent lack of interest from the league's 29 other organizations in meeting Bledsoe's reported demands for a deal in the five-year, $80 million range, and his camp has little remaining leverage. Bledsoe has tried several tactics this summer , including publicly claiming Phoenix is "using restricted free agency against me." However true that statement may be — since GM Ryan McDonough's suggestion Phoenix would match any offer for Bledsoe's services may have scared potential suitors — it's done little to mend what has reportedly become a strained relationship between the two sides. So, where does LeBron's Instagram account fit into all this? Well, for starters, he and Bledsoe share the same agent, Rich Paul, a longtime friend of James who negotiated the four-time MVP's return to Cleveland. And given the attention to detail that goes into LeBron's marketing campaigns , it's hard to imagine LeBron wasn't trying to wield whatever influence he might have in supporting Bledsoe, especially given that he dropped "#Klutch" in reference to Paul's sports management firm. Not that it makes a lick of difference. A sign-and-trade remains a possibility, as does taking the $3.7 million qualify offer in hopes of cashing in as a 2015 unrestricted free agent, but any way you slice it the bread is going stale in that hot Phoenix sun, and Bledsoe is the one who will ultimately have to break it. More on LeBron: