Antetokounmpo to Miss FIBA World Cup: Two-time National Basketball Association Most Valuable Player Giannis Antetokounmpo will miss the 2023 FIBA World Cup as he wants to use the offseason to recover from his left knee injury. The Milwaukee Bucks star made the announcement on social media, saying that he reached the decision to miss the quadrennial tournament after talks with his medical staff. The seven-foot small forward expressed his disappointment on the matter but pledged to come back strong and help the Greek national team to make the 2024 Paris Olympics. Without Antetokounmpo, the European team have absorbed losses to Serbia, 64-71, and Italy, 70-74, in the Acropolis Tournament that serves as their tuneup for the FIBA World Cup.
Greece Odds Down After Antetokounmpo Announcement
With the “Greek Freak” pulling out of the cagefest, Greece had their odds dropping to +2200 from +900, according to the world’s best top online sportsbook that is set to cover the FIBA World Cup beginning on August 25. Dimitris Itoudis is set to lead the Greek cage squad as they kick off their campaign against Jordan on August 26. Greece and Jordan are part of Group C that includes powerhouse United States and New Zealand. Due to this, the odds board has changed with Team USA emerging as favorites with -120. Canada is second at +500, while France is third with a +700 odds. Slovenia and Australia are tied at +900 while Spain and Serbia hold +1100 and +1300 odds, respectively.
The US squad last won the World Cup in 2014 when they outclassed Serbia and secure a back-to-back. They failed to make it three in a row as they finished seventh in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. The NBA-loaded squad were plagued with injuries and succumbed to France in the quarterfinals. Spain will defend the 2019 title they won over Argentina. They are also riding high to a 2022 Eurobasket title when they outclassed France in the final. Slovenia is among the teams to watch in the 2023 edition due to the commitment of Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic. They are determined to bounce back after a sixth-place result in the 2022 EuroBasket. Serbia will go to the tournament without Nikola Jokic, who decided to sit out the World Cup after leading the Denver Nuggets to their first NBA championship in June.
Antetokounmpo to Miss FIBA World Cup: Josh Hart Stays With the Knicks
Josh Hart and the New York Knicks have agreed to a four-year, US$81-million extension that will take effect in the 2024-25 season. In the upcoming season, Hart will earn US$12.96 million and this will increase to US$18.14 million in the first year of his extension. His salary will increase in stages up to a maximum of US$22.45 million, which will be his salary in the 2027-28 season. The Knicks acquired the forward last February in a trade with the Portland Trail Blazers. He helped New York to make the playoffs with a 47-35 win-loss mark.
The Knicks were able to compete in the Eastern Conference semifinals. While playing 25 games with the Knicks, Hart made 58% from the field and 52% from deep. He formed a great partnership with Immanuel Quickley in the team’s second unit and become one of the feared off-the-bench duos in the league. The former first round pick in the 2017 NBA draft is slated to play for Team USA in the 2023 FIBA World Cup.
Miami Sign Seven Players to Complete 21-man Roster
The Miami Heat made a big-time roster move on Friday as they signed seven players and kept six to complete the available spots on their 21-man roster. The Heat signed forwards Drew Peterson, Cole Swider and Justin Champagnie, along with guards Alondes Williams and Caleb Daniels, to Exhibit 10 contracts. Center Brandon McCoy also signed an Exhibit 10 deal and was immediately waived. McCoy is expected to be with Miami’s G League team in Sioux Falls to start the 2023-24 season. The new signings left the Heat able to sign Jamal Cain to its third and final two-way contract slot.
Cain appeared in 15 games with the Heat last season and 15 more with the affiliate in Sioux Falls. He saw 12.4 minutes of action with Miami and averaged 4.4 points and 2.6 rebounds. Swider (Los Angeles Lakers), Champagnie (Boston and Toronto) and Williams (Brooklyn) played last season. Peterson normed 10 points in four Summer League games with Miami last month, and Daniels averaged 4.8 points for the Heat summer team. Under the new collective bargaining agreement that went into effect last month, the rosters for training camp expanded to 21 players for this season. Miami will attempt to win the title in the coming season after placing runnerup to Denver Nuggets in the 2022-23 Finals. The Heat will be one of the favorites to take home the title in the 2023-24 season, as per NBA odds and trends.