Ira Winderman: With the Yahoo report of Ja Morant bypassing the Slam Dunk Contest during All-Star Weekend, the expectation now, according to a source close to the situation, is a formal invitation to Derrick Jones Jr. will be extended shortly. He had not been informed before Morant’s decision.
July 3, 2022 | 4:34 am EDT Update
There’s an increasing possibility we’re going to find out. On top of ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reporting Friday that the Raptors are ‘lurking’ in the background of the Kevin Durant trade discussions that have held the NBA hostage in recent days, I can confirm that not only are the Raptors ‘lurking,’ but they also feel they can put together the best package of assets the Brooklyn Nets are likely to get.
There is also a sense – though it’s reading tea leaves at this stage, as teams can’t communicate directly with Durant, who remains under contract with the Nets – that the two-time champion and 11-time all-NBA force of nature is at least open to the possibility of playing in Toronto.
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. Minnesota was unwilling to part with either Edwards or Towns in a KD-centered deal, so there was no traction. Had they gotten more aggressive with San Antonio in talks for Dejounte Murray, they could have outbid Atlanta. But they didn’t, making it clear that they always valued Gobert more.
A league source told The Post any talk of a deal being close to done as premature. One reporter for The Athletic suggested Kendrick Nunn could be part of a larger deal, while another shot down the report altogether. Such is the chaos Kevin Durant’s trade demand has thrown the league into.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the Mavs are looking into the possibility. “Kyrie Irving has several suitors involved Lakers, Sixers and Mavericks, keep an eye out in the next couple of weeks,” said Charania.
Nate Randle: An open letter to Rudy Gobert: You are the most respectful and considerate athlete I have ever had the pleasure of working with. As a former Utah Jazz employee and fan, you will be missed. I have spent 15+ years of my career in sports and have seen it all. Most don’t carry themselves as you do. When we launched the #TakeNote campaign, you were the first player to adopt it. When I said thanks for tweeting it, you sincerely asked me to tell the entire marketing team how much you loved it.
Every time we shot a commercial with you — you showed up on time and never asked to leave early. I can’t tell you how rare that is. When we asked you to “do another take” or “say a different line” – you never complained. I won’t forget the time we were recording voiceover lines. You paused and said, “Does it sound like I mean it because I want Jazz fans to know that I really care.”