The U.S. men’s basketball team began its training camp for the FIBA World Cup on Monday in Las Vegas. Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Kemba Walker are all camp invitees, giving the Boston Celtics a unique opportunity to have a third of the national team come from one team.

While the main focus is on competing for roster spots and winning a gold medal for the United States, Boston’s representatives are also taking advantage of this chance to build team chemistry.

“It feels good just to build that camaraderie right now, early on before the season even starts,” Marcus Smart told NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg. “When it comes time to strap it on for the season, we kind of already have a hint of what everyone wants to do and a feel for everybody.”

Part of that was a dinner between the four teammates. Integrating a new point guard can take some time, but getting the early bumps out of the way before training camp is advantageous. Smart said there was some basketball talk, but most of it was just getting to know each other better.

On the court, the Celtics got to work a little together and some individually.

There is no guarantee all four Celtics will make the team, but a wave of withdrawals has increased the odds significantly.

The 18th World Cup will feature the biggest field ever for FIBA’s flagship event, which runs from Aug. 31 to Sept. 15. The games will be played in eight cities over 16 days and serve as one way Team USA could directly qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Team USA will begin the tournament in Group E with Turkey, the Czech Republic and Japan.

There will be a series of five exhibitions, beginning this Friday night with the intrasquad Blue vs. White scrimmage. The rest will be played in Australia and China.

WARRIORS: Coach Steve Kerr knows that a new era of Warriors basketball is about to begin.

He just doesn’t know what that means yet.

It has been a rough summer for Kerr, whose roster is wildly different following the offseason departures of Kevin Durant, Andre Iguodala, DeMarcus Cousins and Shaun Livingston – all on the heels of the team’s losing the NBA finals to Toronto and Klay Thompson’s tearing an ACL in the last game of this past season. Kerr spoke of the summer of tumult Monday, when USA Basketball opened its World Cup training camp.

“This summer was painful in many ways, losing the guys that we did,” said Kerr, a USA Basketball assistant under Coach Gregg Popovich. “But reassuring, in the sense that we brought back some key guys who are going to help us kind of get to that next era, whatever that looks like.”

HEAT: Udonis Haslem has made his decision: He’s returning to Miami.

Haslem, who was considering retirement, announced that he is returning for a 17th season. The 39-year-old has spent his entire NBA career with the Heat, and looks like he will become just the sixth player in league history to play such a long career with only one franchise.

76ERS: Guard Ben Simmons has explained a social media post that seemed to imply he’d been racially profiled by security staff at a Melbourne casino by saying he and his friends felt “singled out.”

Simmons posted a video on Instagram in which he asked why he and two black friends were asked for identification but another person in their group who is white was not. He deleted the post Tuesday morning, when it started making news and after the casino issued a statement saying its security staff routinely did ID checks on anyone who appears younger than 25.

The 23-year-old Simmons, who recently became the highest-paid Australian athlete when he signed a five-year, $170 million contract extension with the 76ers, apparently wasn’t recognized by security at one of the casino’s entry points Monday. But he was allowed in at a second entry point after providing identification.

After appearing at a charity event Tuesday, he posted on Twitter to explain his earlier video.

“As you know an incident happened last night at Crown and my friends and I felt personally singled out, no one likes to feel like this,” the Melbourne-born Simmons said in a tweet. “I am very passionate about equality and I will always speak up even if it means having uncomfortable conversations.”


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