Pelinka helped Bryant get through some of the most difficult years of his career, including the Colorado sexual assault allegations in 2003 (that resulted in a settlement), Bryant’s free-agent decision in 2004 and trade demands in 2007. Ultimately, Bryant finished his 20-year career as a Laker and stayed loyal to Pelinka when he branched out to form his own agency. “He truly cared about his guys, as if he was in their shoes,” Maggette said. “When things weren’t going right for you, he took it hard.”
May 27, 2022 | 12:40 pm EDT Update
Clutch Points: It’s here! The 2022 NBA Finals schedule has been released 👇 (via @NBAPR) pic.twitter.com/Vrlje34hEk
I’m writing a book about P3 called BALLISTIC. This week, that has meant spending quality time in P3’s sports science-infused headquarters in Santa Barbara, where a huge number of NBA prospects (Bill Duffy clients like Chet Holmgren, E.J. Liddell, Leonard Miller, Christian Braun, Jalen Williams, and many others) have been intensively preparing for next month’s draft. Draft experts have had plenty of smart things to say about Arizona’s Bennedict Mathurin. The Athletic’s John Hollinger calls Mathurin the fifth-best prospect in the draft. He raves about his shooting, and highlights a play where Mathurin entirely denies a pass to a smaller guard desperate to receive the ball. Hollinger also notes that Mathurin has good size and “plus athleticism.” It’s that last thing that stands out in this building. If he had competed, I imagine Mathurin would have done well on the vertical jump and sprint tests at the combine in Chicago, but tests like those would miss his Jimmy Butleresque solidity. P3 founder Marcus Elliott uses the phrase “damn strong” to describe Mathurin. It’s obviously true.
Vivek Jacob: Why yes I did ask Pascal Siakam for a Chamions League final prediction, he’s going with Real Madrid. “Shoutout Karim Benzema, I think he’s supposed to win the Ballon d’Or. He’s playing incredible.” pic.twitter.com/t4MfKzqgVq
May 27, 2022 | 11:52 am EDT Update
After Jokic publicly stated his desire to sign the extension late last month, sources say the 27-year-old has reiterated his long-term commitment to the franchise this week and made clear his belief in the organization’s future in the wake of Connelly’s exit. Multiple sources tell The Athletic that when the Nuggets offer Jokic the five-year, $260 million supermax deal in July, the All-NBA center plans to sign the contract.
Jokic’s brothers, Strahinja and Nemanja, met with Nuggets general manager Calvin Booth and assistant GM Tommy Balcetis in recent days to discuss the team’s future. All sides, sources say, left the meeting aligned in their vision. For the new Nuggets regime, it was important to spend time with the Jokic family in person stateside in the aftermath of Connelly’s departure. Booth and coach Michael Malone have also spoken to Nikola Jokic over the phone, as the big man remains on his annual offseason respite in Serbia. Both sides reaffirmed their long-term commitment to the partnership in that conversation.
Yet while the Nuggets are expected to move forward with their core of Jokic, Murray and Porter, sources say this Booth-led front office plans on being aggressive when it comes to improving the roster around them. The focus, sources say, is on adding the kind of long and versatile defensive-minded players who are on display in the Boston–Miami Eastern Conference finals. If that means discussing the team’s draft assets as a way of upgrading the level of win-now talent, sources say, then there will be an openness to doing just that.
It’s obvious why teams have been intrigued with Wood in the past. He’s a unicorn of a big man. That interest hasn’t waned, even in the early weeks of the offseason, sources told The Athletic. Wood is talented enough to where the Rockets can’t let him walk without getting assets back if their tenure is headed for an ending.