Card games, dice games, enthusiastic chatter and some music from DJ Kyrie, according to several players who all agreed the team’s spirits changed by the time the flight landed in California. “It was a good ride,” Marcus Morris said. “It just so happened to come after we got our ass beat. And at that time it kind of changed the outlook on everything, and guys just had a better attitude, man. Just more positive. And I think it carried over into the games.”
June 30, 2022 | 9:42 am EDT Update
Jake Fischer on PJ Tucker going to Philadelphia: ‘I’ve heard Joel Embiid is on board, … also PJ’s agent resides in Philly. There’s one thing that I know for sure. He has wanted to get paid. He has been a journeyman in this league for years and years and years and years, a mercenary role player on all these contending teams. To my knowledge, I don’t think he’s made over 10 million a year. He’s wanted a double digit salary.
Jake Fischer: ‘Kyrie Irving definitely was considering taking the taxpayer mid-level exception to play for the Lakers before he opted in. That’s just the truth. He was definitely talking about it with people in his circle. And people on the league, we’re talking about that reality, because that was the only way for him to get to the Lakers this season.
The Lakers have a strong interest in retaining Monk, but it will depend on both his market and the quality of 3-and-D wings available to Los Angeles, according to league sources. Players the Lakers will target with their full taxpayer midlevel exception include Otto Porter Jr., Nicolas Batum, Gary Harris, T.J. Warren, Caleb Martin, Cody Martin, Mo Bamba and Danuel House Jr., according to multiple league sources. Players the Lakers will be interested in for the partial midlevel exception or minimum contracts include Nemanja Bjelica, Jeremy Lamb, Jevon Carter and Juan Toscano-Anderson, according to league sources.
Brittney Griner’s trial for allegedly taking hashish oil into Russia is scheduled to begin Friday. At that point it will have been 134 days since the WNBA star was taken into custody while trying to enter the country through a Moscow-area airport. She faces 10 years in prison if convicted. But before the trial even begins, U.S. experts and officials say Griner will be the subject of a show trial, and a guilty verdict is almost a certainty. The entire exercise, they say, is a negotiation tactic to push the Biden administration into trading for her freedom. “It’s a foregone conclusion and the trial is to uphold the state and confirm the power of the state,” says William Pomeranz, the acting director of the Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute in Washington, D.C., and an expert on Russian law. “Justice is not the immediate issue.”
Sources close to Griner declined to say how she intends to plead, but experts say that with no chance of acquittal it would make strategic sense to just plead guilty now. That might cause headaches for the U.S. State Department and the White House, but it could make Griner’s life more bearable, and a deal to go home more likely.
June 30, 2022 | 9:08 am EDT Update
Jake Fischer: Sounds like Isaiah Hartenstein has another suitor: the New York Knicks. No guest, just taking your questions on @getcallin at 4pmET, to help set the table one last time before the free agency horn blares. Make sure to create an account and tune in: callin.com/link/EaFCnvABtD