On Bill Simmons’ podcast this week, former Cavs general manager David Griffin related an anecdote win which James – whose enormous basketball IQ is matched only by his other-worldly talent — corrected former Raptor Pat Patterson on where he should be properly standing to start an in-bounds play. “It’s just that he knows all your plays,” one Raptors source said of James. “It’s that he recognizes every NBA action and can blow them up before they happen.”
May 21, 2018 | 6:45 pm EDT Update
Julius Randle on his impending restricted free agency: “I try to separate emotions from business. I know sometimes they go hand in hand, you spend four years in a place, it kind of goes hand in hand. But honestly, I’m just so focused on my craft and continuing to get better as a player. It’s an exciting time to be a [restricted] free agent, it’s an exciting time. Even more exciting for me is the ability to get better and build off this year. So I mean it might be an emotional time, I don’t know, I’ve never been through this process before but I’ll try to separate [business and emotion] and really just try and enjoy the process and things and educate myself. My team, my agent, everybody has done a great job of educating me on the whole thing and I feel prepared.”
Julius Randle on what he values as far as culture when he considers teams in free agency: “I just feel like culture is important. I feel like having an identity as a team of who you wanna be is really important. You look at the teams who are in the conference finals right now: Boston has an identity and a culture, Houston, Cleveland Golden State, those teams have a culture that makes them successful. I think a reason we had success was because we bought into the way we wanted to play every night with the Lakers. So I feel like identity, culture and direction are really important, and I feel like if you get all the players to buy into that, then everybody has success. Because then you know what you’re working for and how you fit into that.”
Julius Randle on the Lakers not negotiating an extension with him last summer in favor of holding onto their cap space: “I feel like I really had no choice but to separate it [his feelings from the business side of basketball]. I think the extension [had] to be done the day before the season, but I really didn’t have a choice. I had to focus on what I could control. I couldn’t control not getting that extension or whatever happened throughout the year with coming off the bench. I could just control what I could control. That’s just like my preparation, the work that I put in, my focus, my attention, my energy, you know, all those things I could control. I knew that I put in the work, so it was only a matter of time before everything would line up and I just feel like I’m in a better position anyway this summer than if I had worked out an extension last summer. So I guess it’s just funny how life works.”
Julius Randle on the locker-room dynamic in Los Angeles with the team prioritizing cap space over keeping the team together, and whether not it was weird: “Not weird, I thought it was, I felt like everybody thought it was funny, like it was jokes. Like constantly, nobody ever took any report or anything that was coming out being said seriously. We weren’t focused on it, because I think a part of being a player is you realize really quickly that you only have so much you can control. So you can’t control being in trade talks, you can’t control contract negotiations, you can only control that with your play. And everybody just bought into each other, tried to build something and win games.”
Potential No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft Luka Doncic won the EuroBasket playing under a Serbian coach: Igor Kokoskov. Doncic thrived under the newly appointed Phoenix Suns head coach who isn’t the only Serbian that the Real Madrid star would play with/for. “Hard question… We all know who is Zeljko (Obradovic), and then there is Sasha Djordjevic. There are a lot of good coaches. And for Serbian players, I think (Bogdan) Bogdanovic. We are friends, he is a great player, I could learn a lot [from him],” Doncic said to Serbian website Telegraf.rs when asked if there are any Serbian coaches or players he’d choose to work with.
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett expressed concerns Monday about the actions of Milwaukee police in the arrest and tasing of Bucks rookie Sterling Brown. His comments came as the Police Department braces for a backlash when it releases the video of Brown’s arrest. Brown did not appear combative or threatening when officers questioned him about a parking violation in January, according to two sources who have watched the video. The sources asked that their names not be used because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly about it.
“I’m going to let the release of that speak for itself, but yes, I definitely have concerns after watching that video,” Barrett said at a news conference. Police officials have been preparing community leaders for the release of the body-camera footage by showing it to selected local officials, including a closed session of a Common Council committee. Bucks officials have reportedly watched the video as well. A Bucks spokesman declined to discuss the matter Monday. “This could be bad,” said one source who watched the video. “The player doesn’t appear to be provocative at all.”