Marc Berman: Frank Ntilikina: “I’m really excited about being back on the floor with my guys. Being on the side for such a long time was really frustrating but I was doing everything in my power to keep improving. That feeling of being back in a jersey is so different than being in a suit.”
July 2, 2022 | 10:21 am EDT Update
Sources told both Jazz writer Tony Jones and me that Danny Ainge pushed hard to include McDaniels. Earlier versions of Utah’s ask included the four first-rounders, McDaniels, multiple pick swaps and some second-round picks as well. The Timberwolves held firm in refusing to include McDaniels, a versatile defender who blossomed under the glare of the playoff spotlight against Memphis and is entering his third season in the league.
Given all that, and the third-year leap they anticipate from Edwards, the stability they hope will bring even more out of Towns and the belief that it would be hard to find another star player who is open to Minnesota the way Gobert was — sources told The Athletic that Gobert expressed excitement about the opportunity of playing with the Timberwolves and that Towns, in particular, was supportive of the move — that one question just kept gnawing at the group while they labored over the decision.
Word started to circulate on Thursday evening that there was progress being made toward a Gobert deal, but Wolves sources were pessimistic almost the whole way through. By Friday morning, sources said, the deal was in peril. Both sides were sticking to their guns and the Timberwolves started to look hard at other available rim protectors. In addition to Gobert, they had been linked to Indiana’s Myles Turner and Atlanta’s Clint Capela in previous reporting. The Wolves also made several calls to Brooklyn on Kevin Durant, sources said, but the Nets were asking for established All-Stars and a mountain of picks.
Bob Myers warned of an eventual salary limit, an undefined financial threshold where Joe Lacob would finally say no. That red light came on the first night of free agency. The Golden State Warriors let Gary Payton II walk. They offered him the taxpayer mid-level, which sits at $6.4 million. He received north of $8 million from Portland, plus an extra year on an incentivized deal. The difference in the tax penalty — somewhere around $15 million extra in the immediate, a whole lot more throughout a longer-term deal — caused Lacob and the Warriors to balk. It stung several in the organization, per sources. They’d found Payton and grown to not only love the person but also understand the value of his unique skill set. It translated to winning. For the first time, they’d failed to retain one of their own due to an unwillingness to meet a financial demand.
The Washington Wizards announced today that they have re-signed forward Anthony Gill, bringing him back for his third season with the team. “AG provides us with additional frontcourt depth and is the epitome of the type of player we look for in building our team,” said Wizards President and General Manager Tommy Sheppard. “He is a true professional, a leader in the court in the community and is always ready to contribute on the court in a variety of ways when his number is called.”
Lamar Odom says he still feels the presence of his late friend and former teammate, Kobe Bryant … telling TMZ Sports, “He comes to me in dreams.” Odom, wearing the incredible Kobe and Gigi tribute pendant he got as a gift earlier this year on the anniversary of the duo’s tragic death, told us out at LAX this week that it actually happens “often.” “[He’s] just talking to me all the time,” Odom said of the dreams. “‘Hang in there. Keep fighting.’ A lot of s***.”
“His spirit, it’s so strong,” said Odom, who also has a tattoo of Kobe on his neck. “To me, he’s like not too far away. Especially when you’re dreaming of someone, and they talk to you in that dream, you’re definitely going to remember it.”