In these first three weeks of the season, the league is learning that the hard way. One team official asked before the season, half-jokingly, if it would wind up going on a road trip and leave players in one city after another as it went. So far, two teams — the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks — have had to leave players behind; and in another instance, staff from the LA Clippers had to drive back home from Salt Lake City. The Toronto Raptors, who are playing in Tampa, Florida, this season, reversed course on having fans in attendance at games this week due to spikes in the virus.
August 5, 2021 | 8:39 am EDT Update
New York Knicks All-Star forward Julius Randle has agreed to a four-year, $117 million contract extension — elevating his deal’s total value to five years and $140 million, his agents, Aaron Mintz and Steven Heumann of CAA Sports, told ESPN.
Ian Begley: League sources say part of Julius Randle’s thinking on signing his 4 year, $117M contract extension w/NYK is that he loves the organization/fans & wants to ‘commit his prime to the team.’ Sources add that Randle wants to commit now to give more NYK financial flexibility. ESPN 1st
Marc Berman: No surprise. There will be no free-agency watch for Julius Randle. Source confirms CAA and Leon Rose has locked Julius Randle up on 4-year extension. Insider says Randle preferred giving franchise full flexibility next summer and not muddy things.
Mike Vorkunov: Very good deal for both sides. Knicks lock in Randle long-term and now they have their cap sheet accounted for through summer of 2023. Randle might have been able to get more money next summer but injury + regression are risks. Instead, he still gets a lot of money and no worries
Love will turn 33 before the season begins and has acknowledged he’s no longer equipped to carry a franchise. The Cavs have already spoken to him about minutes and his role moving forward, according to a source. If he can ever get over this calf strain and get in true game shape again, the coaching and training staffs will have to closely manage his minutes (ideally under 25 a night) to try and keep him effective.
Ben Golliver: Gregg Popovich on USA’s sacrifices at Tokyo Olympics: “Khris Middleton’s wife gave birth & he came the next day, after the Finals. Those were pretty big sacrifices. More for his wife than for him, now that I think about it. Take the credit away from him & give it to his wife.”
“I think sportswriters are betting on games they’re covering,” Vic Tafur, The Athletic’s Las Vegas Raiders beat reporter, told me. He knew of a basketball writer who acted on word from a coach: his team planned to slow down its pace on offense—meaning the next game’s final score would likely be lower than oddsmakers expected. The writer “unloaded on the under and made a killing,” Tafur said. “It’s not a rare story.”