Team USA Notebook: McMillan Preparing to Have Fernandez in Training Camp
McMillan, a Team USA assistant, was asked by FanHouse if his hope is the disgruntled swingman will remain with the team.
"He's a great player,'' McMillan said. "He's a good player. A talented player. Very talented.''
Asked further about the subject and McMillan said, "He is in my notes for training camp. All right.''
Fernandez, unhappy with his role in McMillan's offense, wants to be traded and already has been fined $25,000 by the NBA for that demand having been publicly issued. Through his agent, Andy Miller, Fernandez told The Oregonian two weeks ago he intends to not report to training camp even though he has two years left on his contract.
McMillan spoke to Fernandez, a member of the Spanish national team, two weeks ago when Team USA was in Spain to play exhibition games, but has not divulged specifics of the conversation. But McMillan said he hopes to speak with Fernandez again by this weekend in Istanbul.
Team USA and Spain both have advanced to the quarterfinals of the World Championship. The teams are on opposite sides of the bracket but could meet in Sunday's gold-medal game game at the Sinan Erdem Dome.
"We haven't talked (in Istanbul),'' McMillan said. "But we'll talk.''
McMillan cares deeply about trying to straighten out this matter.
"That's my player,'' McMillan said. "He's my player. That's how I'm approaching it. When I see him, I'll talk to him. I'll wish him luck. And if we get the opportunity to meet each other, then we're going to looking to beat each other. But that's my player.''
For how much longer is anybody's guess.
Not that there was much doubt, but USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo figures forward Kevin Durant can make plans to spend the 2012 Olympics in London as a member of Team USA.
"I think you would assume Durant is going to be on the team. That's one,'' Colangelo said of players off this summer's Team USA outfit marked for London.
Colangelo could see a scenario in which the 2012 Olympic team is mostly a combination of players from the 2008 Olympic team and from this team. None of the players from 2008 opted to play this summer.
But Colangelo stressed it's obviously still extremely early in the process. There are 35 players in the pool now for 2012, with 22 having been on the 2008 Olympic team or on this team. There are some top players in the pool to have not participated in either event and some could be added, namely Clippers forward Blake Griffin.
"We'll always have a fluid roster,'' Colangelo said. "You're always going to have some turnover going forward because players need to look forward for that opportunity. It's not like with some of the countries that we play against, they'll have the same guys playing two or three Olympics in a row or World Championships. But that's not going to be the case with us. It just can't be. It's not realistic.
"The Olympians (from 2008) played three years, took a year off and now we have a new group. It's all about the equity and everybody's earning equity.''
Colangelo said Team USA officials could face extremely difficult roster decisions in 2012 if a good number of players from 2008 and 2010 all want to play in London.
"That's good,'' Colangelo said. "I like those kind of decisions.''
For now, Durant, Team USA's leading scorer with a 17.7 average, was pleased to hear Colengelo say his tickets looks punched for London.
"I hope so,'' said the Oklahoma City star. "So I'm going to do my best but keep that in my mind. I've got to continue to keep working hard.''
Team USA next faves Russia in a Thursday quarterfinal. The Americans, who got a favorable draw for the knockout round, are big favorites. But coach Mike Krzyzewski is taking no team lightly.
"We're beatable. We're not unbeatable,'' said Krzyzewski, whose team took Tuesday off and will practice Wednesday in preparation for the game. "But I've been fortunate to be the U.S. coach for the last five years, and there's no one in our country with a greater feeling of respect for the international game. I just think there are so many good teams, so many great players... We just have to work hard and be our best and that might be good enough to win.''
The Americans last played Russia in the Worlds in 2002, winning a group game 106-92. Russia defeated Team USA 66-64 in a semifinal at the 1998 Worlds, but that was an American team without NBA players due to the lockout.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter @christomasson