Giannis Antetokounmpo: The Bucks and John Hammond chose me in the draft, got me in the NBA, kept me in the team with a role from my very first season and they are my basketball family. Not only that, but already at this young age, they have enough faith in me as a leader and they are doing everything in order to develop all of my potential. From my side, I feel that I want to be playing in the Bucks. I’m not talking about my next contract. The way I feel now, I want to keep playing for the Milwaukee Bucks for the next 20 years! You never know how life turns out. Three years ago I was thinking that I might be playing for Filathlitikos forever! All of a sudden, the draft emerged, the NBA, the Bucks and everything that followed. I don’t know how I’ll be feeling and thinking in 2, 3 or more years. Right now I feel like I want to play for the Milwaukee Bucks forever.
July 28, 2016 | 4:15 pm EDT Update
Doc Rivers plans to let Paul Pierce retire as a member of the Boston Celtics if the star decides to end his distinguished career this summer. “If Paul decides to retire then we’re going to make sure that Boston picks him up for one day and he retires a Celtic because that’s what he should retire as,” Rivers said during an episode of The Vertical podcast with Adrian Wojnarowski, which was released early Thursday. “So we have all that in place. We just don’t know what he’s going to do.”
“I think Paul’s going back and forth on it, and I want to give him room. I think he deserves it. From a team perspective you would love that he made his decision eight weeks ago. I think there are certain guys that you just have to give time to, and Paul’s one of them,” Rivers said on the podcast.
Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan have already retired after this past season, and Kevin Garnett still hasn’t decided whether to return for another year. “It may go down as the greatest retirement summer in NBA history,” Rivers said, hailing the competitiveness of that group. “The biggest thing, I think, those guys knew how to play. Kevin’s knowledge of the game — and Kevin doesn’t want to hear it, I literally talked to Kevin last night — but Kevin could be the greatest big man teacher in the game right now if he wanted to be. Whenever he did do it in practice there’s no one better than that. Paul Pierce is an NBA encyclopedia. You can ask Paul Pierce any historical question about the NBA. He knows it, he studies it, he loves it. Duncan’s the same way. What’s neat about all three of them (is) they’re all completely different individuals. I’ve never seen three different people, and Kobe can be four different individuals, yet all great in their own right.”
Rivers has discussed Garnett’s impact on the Celtics organization plenty of times before, but reflected on it again with Wojnarowski. “I’ve never seen anything like it,” Rivers said. “It’s the biggest culture change that I’ve ever seen by one NBA player. Now I didn’t believe it from afar. I always looked at Kevin like, there’s no way some guy’s that excited every night and that nuts. And when he joined our team, his energy at practice, his energy on the airplane — I used to get on our guys, they played cards and stayed up talking about the game the entire East to West flights. And I used to get concerned, like guys, you’ve got to sleep at some point. That team never slept. It was a crazy ride and a great group, but they lived on something else because when Tom Thibodeau is sleeping more than the players you know something’s wrong. And that was the group. It was just a great group, but it was all driven by Kevin, his willingness to sacrifice. The biggest thing with Kevin that I wish the stars understood the most is he had this ability to be coached and to trust. And when he gives his trust to me as a coach, then it’s easier to coach the team. I mean complete trust. Duncan (was) very similar in that right.”
“Every coach, and I say this whenever I speak at clinics, should have had the right to coach Kevin for one minute,” Rivers added. “It would have made their lives better. It would have made them better coaches because when you can get on him — and I got on him — and he says yes sir, I’m sorry, my fault. Some of the times later when I watched I may have been wrong. He still took it. It makes your job really easy.”
The 2016 NBA Champion Cleveland Cavaliers have re-signed forward Richard Jefferson, Cavaliers General Manager David Griffin announced today from Cleveland Clinic Courts. Per league and team policy, terms of the contract were not released.
“RJ’s versatility on the court and leadership off it were core parts of our identity and success last year,” said David Griffin. “In many respects, his impact was greater as the stakes got higher. His NBA Finals performance is a testament to his dedicated, steady approach and his presence in our locker room throughout the year and postseason cannot be overstated. We’re very thankful he decided to continue his career and we know that his teammates appreciate what he brings to this team at a very deep level.”