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."
Andrew Greif: As Celtics, Raptors mull their choice, LAC's Marcus Morris says he'll back their decision. "I’m all for whatever the Celtics and Toronto do. We have to take a stand at some point ... [If] guys don’t want to play, I’m right there with them and I stand for whatever they got going."
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."
Mark Medina: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert on Celtics and Raptors possibly boycotting their game: "It's great to have those conversations. Obviously all the messages we try to put out there and things we do to make an impact are great. But apparently, things aren't changing."
Ira Winderman: Erik Spoelstra, on talk of boycott at Disney, "I"m just going to observe and see what's going to happen over the next 24 hours."
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.
October 18, 2021 | 7:51 pm EDT Update
The South East Melbourne Phoenix have opened the door for part-owner Dante Exum to join the roster, after the Australian Boomers star was waived by the Houston Rockets. “If and when Dante decides that the NBL is the right move for him, we of course will do whatever we can do to make that as easy for him as possible,” Phoenix GM Tommy Greer said via Newscorp.
Shams Charania: Sources: The Minnesota Timberwolves have picked up third-year rookie scale options on Anthony Edwards and Jaden McDaniels. Rookie option deadline is Nov. 1; Minnesota takes care of their two 2020 first-rounders (Edwards No. 1, McDaniels No. 28) before the season begins.
The Milwaukee Bucks have signed guard Grayson Allen to a multi-year contract extension. Allen was acquired from the Memphis Grizzlies on Aug. 7 in exchange for Sam Merrill and two future second round draft picks.
“Grayson has made a smooth transition and he’s already fit well within our system and culture,” said Bucks General Manager Jon Horst. “We have always been fans of Grayson and his impact on winning and his ability to spread the floor with his outside shooting. He also adds competitiveness, toughness and intelligence to our core. We’re excited to extend our relationship with him.”
Ben Anderson: Joe Ingles said the whole @Utah Jazz roster celebrated Malik Fitts making the team. “Tall, athletic, can shoot the ball. Three pretty good things that an NBA player can have. He was like a little kid when he found out… which was exciting, it was a happy moment for our team.”
October 18, 2021 | 7:13 pm EDT Update
Phoenix now faces an uncertain future with Deandre Ayton. The franchise center is unhappy with the franchise’s consistent stance to his representatives that the organization simply didn’t foresee him as a max player — regardless of which of his peers in the 2018 NBA Draft class earned max deals this offseason, sources said.