Jody Genessy: Interesting news tidbit: The Utah Jazz are considering re-signing point guard Toure’ Murry from the Texas Legends, according to a source.
We talked to five players to learn more about life in the D-League and how that first call up went for them: Anthony Tolliver, Kelenna Azubuike, Keith Langford, Marqus Blakely and Elijah Millsap.
Millsap: “There was not really a special eye-opening moment when I made it to the Utah Jazz. I just felt I had been waiting for that moment for a long time and that I deserved it. I was like, ‘I’m here now, let’s do something special with this opportunity.'” Langford: “When making a decision about the D-League, you have to take into consideration how old you are vs. what your goal is. Anybody that’s younger than 25 and his goal is legitimately to be an NBA player should stay in the States and give it a try. Guys who are over 25 and with a goal of making money playing at a high level of competition, they should take the offers that are available to them (overseas). It all depends on where you fit.
Langford: “I played behind Ime Udoka and he was a consummate professional. He knew what he was doing. Sam Vincent, my coach in the D-League, was always telling me how I needed to follow what Ime was doing and learn from him. In my mind at that time, I was like, ‘I’m better than Ime, who is this guy?'” Tolliver: “Not getting called up my first two seasons in the D-League was frustrating, but it was also a motivation to stay hungry and keep working.”
Blakely: “The D-League was a good learning process. It’s not an easy league to play in when it comes to travel. Not as bad as it is overseas when you’re also away from home for a longer period of time, but getting to the games is more difficult and you’re not really getting paid as much as you could overseas. So it’s a sacrifice. But in my mind I knew it would eventually pay off.” Millsap: “It was tough at first end to pass on offers from Europe. That was in my mind. But money is just money and dreams are dreams. And my dream was to play in the NBA.”
The Phoenix Suns announced today they have signed free agent guard Bryce Cotton. The third GATORADE Call-Up in the NBA this season, Cotton has averaged 22.0 points on 58.7 percent shooting from the field, 61.9 percent from three-point territory and 91.3 percent from the free-throw line in four games with the Austin Spurs of the NBA Development League.
June 2, 2023 | 8:01 pm EDT Update
James Borrego and Terry Stotts potential hires as assistants for Milwaukee
Griffin and the Bucks will now work toward securing veteran assistants for his coaching staff. Two potential candidates are former Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego and ex-Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts, according to the sources.
While the team has not yet made the hire official, league sources tell The Athletic that Griffin has been with the team throughout the week in various meetings and draft workouts in Milwaukee. The Athletic has also learned that Griffin will be paid roughly $4 million per year on a multiyear contract with the Bucks.
Omari Sanfoka II: Pistons have made the Monty Williams hire official. Troy Weaver: “He has high character and high conviction. He will be a great leader and mentor for our young core, and given his career as a player, he’ll connect with our veteran players as well.” pic.twitter.com/fkRgfTLH12
No, Denver Nuggets superstar Nikola Jokic’s point toward his hand as he walks off the floor after wins is not a reference to the championship ring that he’s a few victories away from earning. It’s a gesture meant for his little girl, taken from one of his toddler daughter Ognjena’s favorite songs. “It’s just a song that we sing,” Jokic said during a SportsCenter interview after the Nuggets took a 3-0 series lead over the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals. “It’s not a big deal, but she likes it, and I just want to have some connection with her.”
June 2, 2023 | 7:06 pm EDT Update
Erik Spoelstra on the undrafted narrative: 'That's so disrespectful to keep on talking about that that way'
Yes, the Heat has reached the NBA Finals with a rotation filled with undrafted players. But this also isn’t new, considering the Heat has made the Eastern Conference finals in three of the last four seasons and the NBA Finals in two of the last four seasons with chunk of its rotation made up of undrafted players. “That’s kind of played out,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said during the conference finals when asked about the undrafted success stories on the Heat’s roster. “That’s so disrespectful to keep on talking about that that way. “That story line is over. These guys have proven themselves as competitors and winning players.”
“We don’t typically have a ton of draft picks. That’s just us,” Spoelstra said when asked about the Heat’s impressive ability to develop undrafted talent into rotation players. “It’s not right or wrong, that’s just our philosophy. So we have to stockpile and develop our talent base sometimes in different ways to fill out a roster.
Clutch Points: “I think it’s a lot of mental toughness… I think that stemmed from [growing up] in a military-like household.” Jamal Murray on how his upbringing plays a huge part in where he is today 🔥 (via @Rachel__Nichols) pic.twitter.com/MeLvQArAnn