NBA free agency opens up next week, and the player arguably at the top of the Nuggets’ wish list is one of their own — point guard Jameer Nelson. Nelson’s representation has informed the Nuggets he will opt out of the remaining year of his contract, but Denver remains a strong contender to re-sign him.
August 4, 2015 | 3:18 pm EDT Update
“He was saying they were trying to do something about it,” Gallinari said Tuesday in a phone interview. “And then after that my agent called and we started talking more about what the extension was about.” Less than a month later, a deal was struck and the contract — three years, $45 million — was signed.
The Nuggets knew they wanted Gallinari, and Gallinari knew he wanted to stay in Denver. “I was very fast in saying yes to this extension,” Gallinari said. “I’m very happy to stay in Denver. This extension came because of the people in Denver, the fact that I’ve been in Denver for awhile now and the fact that I love the city.”
Mike Trudell: How did you come upon the decision to step down from the job you’ll have held for 32 years after this season? Gaty Vitti: The plan was always to get to 62 (years old), so that I could begin to collect my NBA pension. You can start collecting at 59-and-a-half, but you get a bump if you stick it out. I had to stick it out, but I could have gone longer if I wanted to. That said, 32 years in this position is enough. I’ve spoken to my children quite a bit about it, and I’ve spoken to my wife. I kind of looked at my life as being divided into thirds. I took this job when I was 30 years old, or a third of my life until I began with the Lakers. It will be 32 years that I will have worked here, so that’s another third. My parents are 94, so theoretically I may live for another 30 years. So that’s a third, a third and a third. Two-thirds are behind me, and I’m looking to the third ahead of me to enjoy the fruits of my labor and the experiences and the memories and the relationships that I’ve had through the first 62 years of my life.
Mike Trudell: What’s the plan for you after this season? Gary Vitti: I have a three-year contract: one more year as the head guy, and I have all the intentions of fulfilling that contract, just like I have the last 31 years of being the head guy; not with one foot out the door, but with both feet in the door. And then the year after I think the title is something like “Athletic Trainer in Residence/Special Consultant to the General Manager.” I’ll have a business card probably the size of your computer screen. I think it would be helping transition the new person into that head trainer position. Still working with the players, coaches and the new staff. I look forward to that as more of a mentorship position. Just like the term represents itself: a consultant.
LaMarcus Aldridge signed a 4-year, $84 million contract with the San Antonio Spurs last month. The 30-year old power forward is from Dallas and just built a new house in Houston. Unfortunately, his new house is not big enough to house his massive sneaker collection. So, like any rich sneaker head, he’s building a smaller house behind his main house where his sneaker collection will live.
August 4, 2015 | 12:00 pm EDT Update
Kobe Bryant says this absolutely could be his last NBA season, but the Los Angeles Lakers’ superstar says he has not made a final decision. Bryant, 36, told Yahoo Sports in a phone interview on Tuesday during a business trip to China that he won’t decide whether he will retire until after the upcoming NBA season.
Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak has hinted that next season can be your last. Could it be? Kobe: “We haven’t set anything in stone and I’ve talked about it before. But could this be the last [season]? Absolutely. It’s tough to decide. It’s really tough to make those types of decisions. Players I have spoken to say, ‘Kobe you will know.’ “I’m making this very simple. Either I like playing the game and going through this process or I don’t. I try to strip it down to the simplest form. Either I like playing some more or I don’t. But I think that decision needs to be made after the season. It’s hard to make a decision like that before the season.”
What do you think about the state of the Lakers right now? Kobe: “They have really set themselves up for a promising future going on years. I think they drafted very well. The free agents that we picked are extremely solid, [Roy] Hibbert, [Brandon] Bass, Lou [Williams]. We have a very good mix of young and veteran leadership. The challenge is going to be blending the two and cutting down the learning curve.
What do you think about playing small forward? Kobe: “I don’t see what the big deal is about it, honestly. What does that even mean anyway? Everyone plays [expletive] small ball anyway. You got forwards that play like [guards]. [Centers] that play like [small forwards]. What’s the difference? Find me some actual [small forwards] and [power forwards] that actually post up now and then.
And the cameos are to die for. From Don Shula and Larry Csonka early on to current NFLers like Jared Odrick, Victor Cruz and DeSean Jackson, it’s loaded with famous faces that will make you smile. None more so than this weekend’s episode “Ends,” in which Miami Heat fan favorite Chris “Birdman” Andersen makes a memorable appearance. Toward the end of the episode, Ricky has been dumped by girlfriend Annabella, and he realizes that he wants to try to win her back. He follows her to a club where, of course, she is partying and dancing with none other than the Birdman himself.
August 4, 2015 | 11:14 am EDT Update
Agents will push teams to price that second cap jump — from about $90 million to $110 million — into any four-year extension struck over the next two months. Both sides knew that Alec Burks wasn’t “worth” $10.3 million per season in 2015 terms when Utah inked him to a four-year extension almost a year ago, but the Jazz understood that if Burks made a leap he could outproduce his salary on the back end. Per several league sources, agents are striking a tough posture in preliminary talks. That doesn’t mean the next two months will produce stalemates, short-term deals, or near-max contracts for anyone who demands one. These same dynamics hovered over contract talks during the past year, and players, with more choices than ever, still opted mostly for long-term security; the risk of injury always looms, and the threat of another work stoppage in 2017 clouds everything.
Boston could always trade a big to ease the roster crunch, and Sullinger might be the likeliest candidate to go. He’s had constant conditioning issues, he’s still a sub-30-percent shooter from deep after two years of hoisting, and he’s probably never going to be a plus defender. His agent, David Falk, does not mess around in extension talks. If Falk can’t get Sullinger a huge deal, he will have no qualms taking him into free agency.
John Henson: Our own Marc Stein reported weeks ago that Milwaukee and Henson were close to a deal, but things have gone radio silent since. The two sides are still on course, per several league sources, and Henson will probably get a payday in the eight-figure range that busts past the “sneaky” label. Bigs get paid. Hell, Aron Baynes just got nearly $20 million over three seasons, and every agent repping a moderately talented big man is ready to wave that deal in a GM’s face. Henson found his NBA niche by scrapping post-ups, slicing down the lane for pick-and-roll finishes, and keeping those condor arms spread wide on defense.
Boban Marjanovic out of Serbian squad for EuroBasket2015 after the Spurs did not allow the big man to play with his National Team. This is the letter sent to Serbian Federation by the Spurs.
Two weeks after this story was posted, Yahoo confirmed the story. “We are excited to confirm that Adrian Wojnarowski will continue to lead NBA reporting for Yahoo Sports, where he has defined the voice fans trust for news and information. Wojnarowski, who joined Yahoo in 2006, has signed a new four-year deal. With a focus on expanded NBA coverage for Yahoo Sports, he will shape the vision, editorial direction and talent development to broaden what many fans already see as the go-to destination. Kathy Savitt, CMO and Head of Yahoo Media, said; “We’re thrilled to continue to have Adrian Wojnarowski drop his ‘Woj Bombs’ on Yahoo users as we deepen our coverage of the NBA and leverage the power of Yahoo to reach fans worldwide.”
August 4, 2015 | 6:09 am EDT Update
Dez Wells is back to working out after a dislocated right thumb ruined his Las Vegas summer league run with the Wizards, who have extended him a training camp invite, persons with knowledge of the situation told CSNwashington.com on Monday.
Wells is unlikely to accept it, however, because the Wizards have the maximum 15 roster spots filled with guaranteed contracts for the 2015-16 season that begins at the end of October. Five other teams have offered him training camp invites. Camps open at the end of September.