Spurs coach Gregg Popovich was asked what helped to bring about LaMarcus Aldridge’s resurgence: “When he said, ‘I want to be traded.’ It’s as simple as that. I said, ‘Woah, nobody’s ever said that to me before.’ It’s my 20-whatever year, and nobody’s ever said that like, ‘I’m not enjoying this. I’m not confident. I’m not sure you want me here. I want to be traded.’”
He peppers teammates with advice on the bench, with standout Nikola Jokic noting Jefferson can say “one or two sentences just to kind of wake me up.” Jefferson challenges youngsters like Malik Beasley with post moves during pick-up games following practices or shootarounds. He speaks up in the locker room, with Malone particularly recalling Jefferson’s pointed message about a lack of physicality following a December loss at New Orleans that helped carry the Nuggets through their longest road trip to date. “I have no problem being the bad guy, and I’ll say what I have to say,” Malone said. “But when a peer says it, I think it carries that much more weight.”
He also has worked on himself mentally. Last season, his trainer suggested he try meditation. This season, it has become part of his morning routine. He won’t give up many details about it because then “people might try to take it and be who I am,” but it has worked. By paying mind to his breathing every morning, it has helped him focus throughout the day. “Emotions come and go, you know,” Oubre said. “A lot of energies, a lot of forces tug at you and in order to reach your soul’s full potential, you have to be able to conquer who is inside.”
Utah Jazz_ Rookie @spidadmitchell is presented with his Rookie of the Month award for a stellar December 🏀🕷🏀
Leuer, 28, has scheduled the procedure for next Friday and will have a four-month rehabilitation process. “It’s extremely frustrating. Disappointing, anger, all those emotions … we were trying to do whatever we could to avoid this,” Leuer told The News. “I knew even a month and a half ago when I saw the specialist that he kind of suggested (surgery) right away, but we wanted to see if we could try to manage the pain and hopefully get through the season.
“There’s a bone fragment stuck in my ligament on the inside. It’s in the joint, so it’s causing a lot of sharp pain every time I jump and run — even light running and jumping,” Leuer said. “They’re going to take that out. I had a pain on the outside of my ankle too, so they’re going to clean that up and take out a piece of cartilage. “It’s not necessarily from the (last) injury I had. I rolled it a lot; they think it’s an accumulation of things. You don’t know for sure, but the last ankle sprain aggravated it and things moved around in there.”