Most league insiders agree that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert remains the most likely candidate, of the 2013 first-rounders still on the board, to land an extension by month’s end. The French Rejection — or Stifle Tower, if you insist — is one of the foremost draft steals of recent vintage, ranks as a leading NBA Defensive Player of the Year favorite and stands as a key figure in Utah’s rise in the West. Rest assured, Jazz officials are well aware that securing the long-term futures of Gobert and Derrick Favors can only enhance their chances of avoiding the nightmare scenario of seeing free agent-to-be Gordon Hayward leave in the summer.
There is probably more buzz surrounding Hayward's impending free agency than about Paul, Griffin, Kyle Lowry and other starrier names. Hayward is 26, in the meat of his prime, killing it at the thinnest position in the league. Utah waited for Charlotte to max him out last time around, and Hayward has a long memory. The Jazz have a ton of guys to pay, and if they down enough beers (just kidding, it's Utah!), they might convince themselves they have the wing depth to withstand Hayward bolting. His beloved college coach runs a rising team with an easy roadmap to max cap space -- and real interest in Hayward, per several league sources.
Hayward's pending free agency is well known. He's expected to opt out of the final year of his contract next summer and cash in for max dollars, whether it be with the Jazz, or with another team. Beyond Hayward, however, Favors comes off his current contract at the end of the 2017-2018 season. Gobert is set to hit restricted free agency in 2017, and Hood and Exum will become restricted free agents in 2018. That means most of the Jazz core members are in line for new contracts, and most of them — if the free agency period this summer is an indicator — are good enough to make themselves a lot of money.
There is a sense the Celtics would love to pry away Utah Jazz forward Gordon Hayward, who has a player option next year, which few in the NBA believe he’ll exercise meaning he’ll likely be an unrestricted free agent. There were rumors around the draft that Hayward would welcome a trade, but Jazz sources downplayed any reported unhappiness. Still, there is a real risk that Hayward could walk next July.
Gordon Hayward understands that financial realities could break up a team on the rise. "I'm constantly thinking about that," he said. "Contracts are so short now. A lot of our guys are on their rookie deals, and they'll come up for extensions. It all might determine whether or not I stay in Utah."
August 14, 2022 | 3:06 am EDT Update
Brian Windhorst spent much of his Friday episode of “Brian Windhorst & The Hoop Collective” podcast talking about Durant’s situation. Windhorst said he felt the Nets won the recent showdown between Durant and team owner Joe Tsai. But Windy doesn’t necessarily think that means all is over between the sides. In fact, Windhorst says he now could see a world where Durant holds out of training camp. “A week ago, if you had asked me, ‘Will Kevin Durant hold out of training camp if he is not traded?’ I would have been like, ‘eh, I can’t see it.’ Now I can see it. That is what we are headed towards,” Windhorst said.
Some analysts speculated that the Nets would play hardball with Durant. Brooklyn’s calculation would have depended upon Durant’s love of basketball. The thinking was that KD loves playing too much to sit out a season in order to get his way. Now Windhorst says he thinks a scenario of Durant sitting out could be on the table.
Longtime basketball writer Marc Stein reported on Saturday that a matchup between the Grizzlies and the rival Golden State Warriors is on the NBA’s preliminary schedule for the 2022-23 season. Morant, the Memphis star, responded to the news with some trash talk for Warriors counterpart Draymond Green. “we got what we wanted dray. @Money23Green,” Morant tweeted along with a photo of a heated moment he had on the court with Green last year. Green was actually fairly muted and deferential in his response to Morant, tweeting back, “That’s the power of your voice Young! Let’s gooooo! Bring the fam to the crib for dinner after.”
The lawsuit says that by sharing the photos, those involved — including the deputy at the bar and firefighters weeks later at an awards banquet — violated the victims’ families’ constitutional rights to control images of their loved ones’ remains. “Mrs. Bryant feels ill at the thought of strangers gawking at images of her deceased husband and child, and she lives in fear that she or her children will one day confront horrific images of their loved ones online,” Bryant’s lawyers wrote in a complaint. “Many social media users have claimed to have seen photos of the victims’ remains, and their accounts are plausible given the number of deputies who took photos, the ease with which cellphone pictures are transmitted and saved in cloud storage, and the Sheriff’s Department’s egregious failure to take reasonable steps to prevent dissemination of the photos.”
Surveillance video inside the bar showing Cruz and Gutierrez interacting and appearing to look at Cruz’s cellphone together played throughout his testimony. At times, it appeared that Cruz and Gutierrez were smiling and laughing after viewing the photos — but Gutierrez disputed that interpretation. “What type of human being would laugh at photos of other human beings like that?” he said. Bryant, sitting in the courtroom, repeatedly wiped away tears and, at times, held her head in her hands. At one point, while Gutierrez testified about the photos, she asked the judge for permission to leave the courtroom. She stood up and walked out, wiping tears from her eyes. The trial is expected to last at least another week, with 52 total witnesses slated to appear. Villanueva and Bryant are among those scheduled to testify.
August 13, 2022 | 9:32 pm EDT Update
Draymond Green: That’s the power of your voice Young! Let’s goooo! Bring the fam to the crib for dinner after
USA Basketball has picked its 12-man roster for the opening second-round window of World Cup qualifying, as the Americans look to move closer to clinching a spot in the field for next year’s event. Jim Boylen will return as coach, assisted again by Ty Ellis and Othella Harrington.
The roster will include six players — Michael Frazier II, Langston Galloway, David Stockton, DaQuan Jeffries, John Jenkins and Eric Mika — who were with the Americans for the previous qualifying window in July. The other six players for games Aug. 25 in Las Vegas against Uruguay and at Colombia on Aug. 29 are Tyler Cavanaugh, Malik Ellison, Dewan Hernandez, Mac McClung, Robert Woodard II and McKinley Wright IV.