Karl-Anthony Towns on losing 8 family members due to COVID-19 as well as contracting the virus himself: “Eight. I just lost a close one last week to COVID. Another one. I was in the hospital…because I got it during the season. And I got discharged.” – Karl-Anthony Towns
June 25, 2022 | 11:17 am EDT Update
Khalifa Diop, 20, a native of Guediawaye, Senegal, played last season for Gran Canaria in Spain, averaging 6.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots in 15.7 minutes of 49 games. President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman said Diop would remain in Spain next season under the watchful eye of ex-Cav Jose Calderon, now a special advisor to the front office.
“It’s a great league for his development, and if it’s the right team, he’ll also play against other teams from other countries,” Altman said of Diop. ‘Hopefully the team he will play for will be EuroLeague level even though it’s in the Spanish League. Jose will make sure he’s well taken care of.”
Ryan Resch, 29, works in basketball operations for the Suns, where he serves as vice president of strategy and evaluation for the Suns and essentially functions as the front office’s chief-of-staff. He attends to the big-picture responsibilities of team-building and runs staff-wide meetings alongside general manager James Jones, who has been a mentor to him. This past winter, Resch came out to Jones, then the rest of the Suns’ staff. He is the first openly gay person in league history to work basketball operations in an NBA front office.
How did you first come out to the Suns? Ryan Resch: My thought was, ‘If I’m gonna do this, then I’m going to do it the right way,’ and I wasn’t going to hide behind it any longer. I told [Phoenix general manager] James [Jones] in my office randomly one day, after practice. We were playing Miami at home and I wanted to bring somebody I was seeing at the time to the game and have him sit with me in our executive suite. And I obviously can’t do that unless you tell the other executives whom you’re bringing. In true James fashion — he has been referred to as the best teammate of all time by several of his former teammates — it was amongst the most nondescript conversations we’ve ever had. By that, I mean there was a beauty in how uneventful it was, because he was just so accepting and so generous and kind about it from the jump.
Have you had any interaction with Sarver since you came out? Ryan Resch: I hadn’t seen him or had a chance to talk to him in person for a few months after I came [out] to James and the rest of the organization. My then-boyfriend had been coming to games during that period. When I told Robert a couple of weeks ago, he was amazing. He told me, “I’m so happy you feel comfortable enough to live as who you are, and bring someone special to you to a game.” We spoke about Rick Welts. The best part of the conversation was our discussion about how it’s the quality of the work that will determine my trajectory professionally in the franchise. It’s about merit.
June 25, 2022 | 11:00 am EDT Update
Andrew Wiggins: When they talk it’s all motivation. When I first got here, everyone had something to say, now everyone is quiet. That’s the best feeling, when people doubt you, and people sleep on you, and don’t think that you can do something that you know you can do, that you’ve been doing your whole life. It’s good to just make those guys kick rocks.