GERY WOELFEL

Just how patriotic is Carlos Delfino?

Well, he’s so patriotic that he fully intends on playing for the Argentine national team in the Summer Olympics in London — even though it might not be in his best interest.

That’s because Delfino, the Milwaukee Bucks’ starting small forward, has a significant tear in his right groin that will require surgery.

While some players might be inclined to take their time having the surgery, Delfino wants to get it out of the way as quickly as possible.

“I want to get it done soon so I can play for the national team in the Olympics,” Delfino said. “It’ll take about six to eight weeks to heal, so I won’t have much time to get ready for the national team. But I’m going to try.”

Delfino said he injured the groin in a game against the Knicks in New York on March 26. Since then, he’s received treatment for the injury and even got a pain-killing injection.

But Delfino, who averaged 9 points in 54 games this season, said the injury steadily worsened, forcing him to sit out the last four games of the season.

Delfino, who is 29, knows the window is closing for him and his Argentine teammates to win another gold medal at the Olympics.

“This could be our last chance,” said Delfino, a member of the Argentine team that won the gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and the bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics. “I don’t want to miss it.”

* It’s no secret that Bucks coach Scott Skiles is on the hot seat. A report circulated that Skiles, who has one year remaining on his contract for nearly $5 million, is interested in reaching a buyout with Bucks owner Herb Kohl.

Skiles and Bucks general manager John Hammond wouldn’t comment on the matter. But Keith Glass, Skiles’ representative, told me Thursday afternoon, “That’s news to me. I haven’t talked to anyone about that. I’d be surprised if that was true.”

* You might think LeBron James or Kobe Bryant or Kevin Durant or Dwyane Wade or Derrick Rose might have been the toughest player for Bucks forward Luc Mbah a Moute to defend since he entered the NBA four years ago.

Not so.

“Out of all the guys I’ve played against in this league, Brandon Roy and Carmelo Anthony were and are the toughest to guard,” the Bucks’ defensive ace said of Roy, the former Portland star who had to retire because of chronic knee injuries, and Anthony, the New York Knicks star. “Roy was unbelievable. He could do everything.

“And Anthony’s got a game that’s very unpredictable. You don’t know what he’ll do when he has the ball.”

* There aren‘t many better scouting departments in the NBA than the Philadelphia 76ers.

The 76ers scouts unearthed a second-round gem in guard Lou Williams, the team’s leading scorer who was the 45th overall pick in the 2005 draft, and hit home runs with forward Thaddeus Young, the 12th overall pick in the 2007 draft, and point guard Jrue Holiday, who was the 17th overall selection in the 2009 draft.

Young, Holiday and Williams give the 76ers a rock-solid foundation that could make the 76ers formidable for years to come.

Then again, maybe not.

When I asked Williams the other day if he intended to exercise the early-termination clause in his contact after this season, he said, “I haven’t decided yet.”

Rest assured, the explosive-scoring Williams will pique the interest of a bunch of teams if he goes the unrestricted free agent route this summer.

* Monta Ellis has never been selected to the NBA All-Star game, but Bucks assistant coach Sydney Moncrief considers the Bucks shooting guard to be one.

“Anytime you’re trying to be an All-Star at the guard position, you’re going to run into some resistance,” Moncrief said. “The center position is different. The power forward position is different.

“But there are so many good point guards and two-guards throughout the NBA. He was penalized for years because of his team’s records and, even without the records, there were some other good guards in the Western Conference. But Monta has always been a top 20 to 35 player in the NBA and I think he’s still at that level.”

* Mark Bartelstein, the agent for Bucks center Kwame Brown, said his client is right on track in his recovery from a pectoral tear.

Brown played in only nine games this season with Golden State, averaging 6.3 points and 6.3 rebounds.

Brown was part of a blockbuster deal in March that sent Andrew Bogut and Stephen Jackson to the Warriors for Monta Ellis and Ekpe Udoh.

“He’s rehabbing in Atlanta,” Bartelstein said. “He should be good to go in a couple of weeks.”

Asked about the Bucks’ chances of retaining the soon-to-be unrestricted free agent, Bartelstein said, “I know they like him, but we’ll see. I know there was a lot of interest in him by other teams before the injury.”

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