By Chris Sheridan
As a follow-up to my report earlier this week that Team USA plans to hold training camp in New York City this summer, word came out through the French newspaper L'Equipe today that France is likely to be the Americans' opponent.
We can add to that info by definitively stating that the date for that game is Sunday, Aug. 15, and that negotiations are ongoing to have the Chinese National Team play that day, too, in an exhibition against a fourth international team as part of a doubleheader.
What we cannot guarantee is whether Frederic Weis will make his long-awaited Madison Square Garden debut.
Weis, you may remember, is the 7-foot-2 Frenchman who was chosen 15th overall by the Knicks in the 1999 draft -- one selection ahead of Ron Artest (James Posey was the 18th pick, Jeff Foster the 21st, Andrei Kirilenko the 24th, and Manu Ginobili went 57th). Weis flamed out for the Knicks' summer league team that year (interesting side note: Fabricio Oberto was cut by then-coach Jeff Van Gundy that same summer), and never made it to the NBA. His rights are still held by Houston, which presumably will hold onto them until the Rockets go beneath the salary cap and free themselves of his cap hold by failing to tender him a qualifying offer, which they or the Knicks have done each summer since 2000.
Weis is best known for being dunked over -- not on, but over -- during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. Also, he was involved in the first trade made by Donnie Walsh after he took over the Knicks 20 months ago, his draft rights being sent to Houston for the rights to Patrick Ewing Jr., who was the Knicks' final preseason cut in 2008 (and who was spotted attending the Lakers-Knicks game at the Garden earlier this month).
Weis spent several years with the French National Team, but he was not on their roster last summer when they finished fifth at the EuroBasket tournament in Poland. He currently plies his trade in the Spanish League.
Should Weis make a return to Les Bleus, I'd imagine there might be a little side action in the home locker room on whether any of the Americans will dunk over Weis this time.
Also, it should be quite the spectable to see the reception LeBron James receives if, as expected, he is on the U.S. team's roster.
By then he will have either signed with the Knicks as a free agent or spurned them, meaning he may receive one of the biggest hero's welcomes in the building's history, or be the target of New Yorkers' wrath after they suffered through two sacrificed seasons since Walsh arrived in New York and made it clear his priority was to clear enough cap space to make a run at him.