Ben Anderson: Jordan Clarkson said the Jazz haven't had any discussions about sitting out games in protest. But supports any players who choose that. "We've got their back no matter what."
Joe Vardon: Jayson Tatum: ‘If we sit out a game or the rest of the playoffs, we understand how big of an impact that would have.'
Chris Grenham: Jayson Tatum: "We're more than just basketball players, we're people. We have these raw emotions and feelings."
Jared Weiss: Grant Williams on boycott discussions: "We started with the kneeling and we hoped it would send a message. It sent a message, but then it was pushed out...There's something that has to happen."
Jay King: Grant Williams on a potential boycott: “If we’re not playing, what are we doing?” Said part of the discussion is coming up with real action that can hopefully lead to actual change.
Marc J. Spears: One Bucks player said to his knowledge there has been no discussion amongst his teammates about boycotting this afternoons game against the Magic, @TheUndefeated was told.
An assembly, organized by players who are emotionally traumatized by the latest police-involved shooting of an African American that was captured on video, was held Tuesday night at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, sources said, and there were multiple conversations about what actions could be taken throughout the day.
Oklahoma City Thunder star Chris Paul — the union president — and Miami Heat forward Andre Iguodala — first vice president of the union — were in attendance to show support, sources said. Players began reaching out to the committee in recent days, sharing that they’re not in the right frame of mind to play basketball, sources said.
The union’s approach is to educate players on the pros and cons of boycotting games and reassuring them that they would be supported regardless of whatever they decide to do, sources said. There is ongoing dialogue on what more could be done inside the bubble to raise awareness to racial injustice in an effort to enact change and thwart police brutality toward people of color, sources said.
The hearts of players are heavy, with some feeling intense guilt for playing and that they’re providing entertainment that is drowning out the injustices that are plaguing this country, sources said. Players can request to speak with a counselor in the bubble by setting up an appointment in the league’s campus app, but because of confidentiality it’s not known if that resource is being utilized, sources said.
June 19, 2021 | 1:07 pm EDT Update
According to a source, Brooklyn’s Blake Griffin asked a Celtics player if he should join the team midseason and was told not to come to Boston because of the apparent dysfunction. At season’s end, multiple sources close to the players said several members of the locker room were welcoming a coaching change, noting Stevens did not appear to hold key players accountable, with complaints he was favoring Smart over others.
Walker maintained his professionalism throughout the season but his health issues, the team’s poor performance and boos from TD Garden fans — something that particularly “pissed him off,” according to multiple sources — made him sour on his situation in Boston and had spoken privately about being willing to move to a new team. It had become clear he was not going to be in the team’s long-term plans.
While Walker’s struggles might have made him seem like a disappointment relative to his role and salary, he was still good last season. He is well-liked, known for his geniality and positivity. According to multiple team sources, there was some dysfunction in the locker room, with the relationship between Stevens and Walker characterized as tension-filled. Sources also suggest that Stevens was also perceived to be harder on Walker than on other top players.
Several team sources felt Stevens was more aggressive with certain players this season, which included Walker who was criticized for his defensive mistakes. Those sources said Walker and Stevens began to butt heads, though the pair were considered to have a productive working relationship and mutual respect for one another.
The Los Angeles Lakers are in the market to hire a new head athletic trainer after injuries ravaged their 2020-21 season. Nina Hsieh, promoted to head trainer two years ago, did not have her contract renewed, sources told ESPN.
L.A. let Marco Nunez go in April 2019 after three years at the helm after a season in which Lakers players lost 212 games because of injury. Before Nunez, Gary Vitti served in the role for more than 30 years. More changes are expected as the team is in the process of restructuring its approach to player health, sources told ESPN.
June 19, 2021 | 12:07 pm EDT Update
Malika Andrews: Nets Jeff Green, in part, on what he expects from Kevin Durant in tonight’s Game 7: “He’s been carrying us and I believe tonight won’t be no different. He’s going to go out there and play his heart out and put us on his back and lead us to the win.”