Westbrook spoke of getting back to work in the gym sooner in the past offseason than he has ever done in his career, about a summer full of conversations with Lakers coach Darvin Ham, about a “connection” and “trust” with Ham’s vision to utilize him in a way that impacts winning on these Lakers. Maybe that’s as a starter or maybe it’s off the bench. “I’m all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” Westbrook said. “I’m prepared for whatever comes my way.”
December 9, 2022 | 2:32 pm EST Update
Eric Walden: Jazz PG Mike Conley, on if he’s expecting to play tonight: “I am, yeah. I was hopeful to play tonight regardless, but with (Collin Sexton) out, obviously, it kinda helps make the decision a little bit easier.”
Luol Deng is president of the Republic of South Sudan Basketball Federation and is also on its coaching staff. South Sudan is one win away from qualifying for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, which would be a first for Africa’s youngest country. The Bright Stars need to win just one of three games against other African countries from Feb. 24-Feb. 26, 2023, in Egypt to qualify for the tournament showcasing the world’s top men’s basketball teams. Qualifying for the World Cup could also eventually open the door for the first Olympic berth for war-ravaged South Sudan.
Deng says that South Sudanese basketball fans are very fond of Bol Bol, the son of their beloved late legend Manute Bol. The 7-foot-2 Bol Bol is having a breakthrough season with the Magic, averaging 12.8 points and 7.5 rebounds. “Bol Bol told me he wants to play,” Deng said. “Obviously, this window in February, he’s still in the NBA. So, when we make it to the World Cup, then we can come to Bol Bol and knock on his door again. But in the past, he wanted to play badly. I remember he got hurt, but he wanted to play. But for Bol Bol, for him to [play], he needs to understand that his father’s legacy was for Bol Bol to play. He doesn’t understand how much he’s loved, and I think he will as he gets older. But his dad is loved so much that right now Bol Bol is getting everybody in the country so excited. His games are being watched by every kid.”
Deng will be in Chicago on Friday where he used to play for the Chicago Bulls to host a private fundraiser for the Luol Deng Foundation. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that “creates pathways to opportunity through sport and development,” according to its website, in Africa, the United States, and the United Kingdom. The foundation also has charitable programs that aid youths in education and sport, people with disabilities, people with mental health problems, poor people and men’s and women’s basketball programs in South Sudan.
Starting on Friday, December 9, Spurs Give will be auctioning off rare memorabilia from NBA Hall of Famer and Spurs legend Tim Duncan, according to a new release. The funds raised will help Spurs Give’s goal of expanding the Spurs Youth Basketball League to include an additional 500 kids in the program.
Fans can bid on autographed jerseys and photos from Duncan’s Hall of Fame career. The auction ends on Monday, December 12 at 10 p.m. and fans can bid here. Spurs Give, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization of Spurs Sports and Entertainment has invested $32 million into the community since 1988.
December 9, 2022 | 2:20 pm EST Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: With labor talks ongoing, the NBA and Players Association are agreeing to extend the Dec. 15 deadline that each side has to give notice of plans to opt out of the current CBA in Dec. 2023. Ratification of extension will come at Board of Governors meeting Wednesday.