Jonathon Simmons craved a bigger role. He has it with his new team, the Orlando Magic. “That’s just a part about me: improving and wanting to be better and having a bigger role,” said Simmons, who left Gregg Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs in free agency this past summer in search of greater opportunities and a big payday. I expressed that to Pop. I said, ‘I can be good over here, but I can’t be great.’ I want to be able to go against the Kawhis night-in and night-out. I even talked to LeBron James over the phone, and he was like, ‘We want you in Cleveland.’ And I said, ‘No, I want to play against you.’ I want to be able to play against elite guys and be able to, in a couple of years down the line, be just where they are.”
June 24, 2018 | 9:20 pm EDT Update
The Sixers say they aren’t shopping him. However, there was a report that they had internal discussions about packing him with Nos. 10 and 26 picks to move up into the Top 5 in Thursday’s draft. And multiple league sources have said that Fultz was available to be traded. But it’s hard to get equal value in return for someone relearning how to shoot. The Sixers know that. They also know that if things do come together, Fultz will be a special player.
Mainly, back in 1998 when the Mavs acquired Dirk Nowitzki in a draft day trade with the Milwaukee Bucks, many compared his game to that of Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird. That didn’t go over too well with the Bird followers. So when the Mavs were asked last week who they fondly compare their latest prized rookie – Doncic – to, their lips were unilaterally sealed. Well, sort of. “I’m not going to make the same mistake we did 20 years ago, because (Doncic, like Nowitzki at the time) is a 19-year old kid that is going to have his rear end handed to him,” said Donnie Nelson, the Mavs’ president of basketball operations. “He is going to go against the elite of the elite, not only outside our walls, but within our training camp. Dirk and I had a long talk coming in. That’s why I want to remain guarded in my comments.”
Besides Nelson, coach Rick Carlisle also weighed in, adding that the comparison game is categorically unnecessary when it comes to describing Doncic and the skill set he’s able to bring to the court. “This kid has really carved out an amazing record of accomplishments,” Carlisle said. “I think he comes to the NBA on his own merits and I think going forward he should be judged on being the first Luka Doncic and not the second coming of this guy or that guy or the other guy, and I think that’s fair based on what he’s done.”
Just a few weeks after Sixers president of basketball operations Colangelo resigned when it was learned his wife used fake Twitter accounts to discuss team business and criticize players, the Heat’s president was asked if he has his own Twitter burner account. “I still have this kind of phone that flips,” Pat Riley said holding up a tape recorder following Thursday’s NBA draft. “Is that what a burner phone looks like? I don’t have any. I’ve tweeted one time. I do have a Twitter account. Only because I need to follow a lot of people like you, which is very interesting. I actually get alerts on all you guys. But I never tweeted out anything except one picture. My boss and his wife and myself and my wife and three championship trophies. I think it’s out there. I think I put it down as soon as I put it up.”