Andrew Greif: "In terms of boycotting the game tomorrow…

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Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix, who's been in Orlando for the duration of the NBA restart, has observed a group of players devastated by this latest act of police violence against a Black American. "I think it has broken the spirit of every player inside this bubble," Mannix said Tuesday night on NBC Sports Boston. "I know that sounds like hyperbole, but I went to a handful of practices today, I watched it on Zoom calls with the others, and just being around these guys, you could tell that what happened to Jacob Blake has broken them."
After Blake's shooting Sunday, Mannix said, players are wondering if those concerns were valid. "What it's gotten them to start thinking more and more about was the merit in coming to Orlando to begin with," Mannix said. "As we know, Kyrie Irving spearheaded a phone call amongst nearly 100 players where the message was, 'Guys, don't go. Don't participate in something that could become a distraction.' And one thing Jaylen Brown said was that he felt like this had become a distraction -- that the attention had been taken off the Black Lives Matter movement over the past week or so as the playoffs have picked up."
Harrison Wind: Michael Malone says his team has had zero talks about potentially boycotting games. "If our players came to me tomorrow and said we don't feel comfortable playing, obviously I would support that."
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."
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.
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.
Storyline: Players Boycott
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June 19, 2021 | 3:49 pm EDT Update
Larry Brown said the coaching profession has been flooded with those who want premium jobs for the wrong reasons. “I don’t think coaching is for everybody,” he said. “Maybe people will get mad at me as the money has become so great now that a lot of people want to be coaches where maybe before they wouldn’t have even considered it. Guys that really want to coach, the ones that love the players, respect the game and want to give back and with our culture today, the kids are so much younger going into the NBA, so many of these kids have the responsibility of making their families’ lives better. With social media and so many people depending on them, that’s tough.”
He offers astute advice about reaching players and gaining their trust, two traits the Celtics are seeking in their new coach. “A lot of people talk about coach’s having a tree, I have a forest,” he said. “There’s some guys that you know right from the get-go if they wanted to coach could become a coach. They had the ability to get people to do things they didn’t want to do, which I think is so important in the NBA. And then there’s certain guys who aren’t afraid to tell guys what they need to do.”
June 19, 2021 | 3:34 pm EDT Update

Mike Conley talks free agency

On Saturday afternoon, Conley addressed his pending free agency during the Jazz’s customary exit interviews the day after the season. “Obviously you know how I feel about our team and the city and the fans,” he said. “It’s been just a wonderful two years. Definitely an up and down two years but wonderful regardless of how it ended last night. “Free agency is free agency…it’s something that I have to sit back and consider with my family and when that time comes, make the decision that’s best for us, myself. Like I said, obviously I’ve had a great time here, great, great experiences, coaches — Coach Quin and the players, Don and Rudy and everybody, so we’ll just have to see what happens.”
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