“I need my man somewhere he can play great basketball all the time and win because he’s that type of player.” Suns big man Deandre Ayton was asked about Draymond’s opinion during a guest appearance on “The Woj Pod” with ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. “We definitely heard that noise. It was promoted everywhere,” the No. 1 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft said. “It’s just outside noise. Book is a dude who really maintains focus, and he just wants to win. He’s a competitor at the highest peak there is in this league. “It’s contagious. Seeing how he plays out there every day — it just spreads. Him and I being the head honchos leading, so any noise like that is nonexistent to me.”
For Booker, the winning has been even sweeter, given some of the criticism he's dealt with over the past few years because of all the losing. Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said on Friday's edition of "Inside the NBA" that "it's not good for [Booker's] career" to stay in Phoenix. "I feel like that's important for this organization, for the fans that have stuck by us for this long and still do so," Booker said when asked about Green's comments. "Since I've been in Phoenix, we haven't had the win success that we had, but the support's been there. And this is what we owe to the fans, we owe to the organization. It's been a long time for us and I think this bubble opportunity was big for us, and we're taking advantage of it."
It became a topic of conversation over the weekend when the New York Post wrote, in a reader mailbag, that the player to "watch out for most" regarding a potential Knicks trade is Booker. The connection between Booker and the Knicks is clear: Leon Rose, New York’s president, used to be Booker’s agent at Creative Artists Agency. William "World Wide Wes" Wesley also has a relationship with Booker. Wesley is the Knicks’ executive vice president and a senior advisor to Rose. Any speculation about a Booker trade includes the assumption that the young star would force a trade from the Suns.
No one knows whether Booker would take that type of stance – either publicly or privately. As we pointed out in the mailbag, it’s worth noting that Trevor Trout of EliteMediaGroup recently wrote that Booker’s father, Melvin Booker, is tired of watching Devin Booker lose in Phoenix.
Something else that’s worth noting about Booker and the Suns: last summer, the Arizona Republic reported that the Suns chose not to pursue D’Angelo Russell, Booker’s close friend, in free agency because the club “apparently felt Russell wouldn’t have been a good influence on Booker off the court.” Booker, per league sources, wasn’t happy with the organization at the time of the report. The Arizona Republic noted that Booker had campaigned for club to sign Russell, who was a restricted free agent.
Again, none of this is to suggest that Booker is going to demand a trade from the Suns. But there is some evidence to suggest that the relationship between Booker and the organization hasn't been unblemished. Even if Booker asks for a trade, it seems unlikely that Phoenix would be in a rush to fill the request.
However, since Leon Rose was hired as president, the player to watch out for most is Suns combo guard Devin Booker, according to league sources. If Rose hires Tom Thibodeau, Towns — a former Rose client — no longer makes sense because of their history. Booker and Towns were Rose clients who played at Kentucky, which means Knicks adviser William Wesley is close to each. Rose has done well with Kentucky standouts because of Wesley.
Booker, 23, made his first All-Star Game in February. Recent rumblings are Booker could get tired of the perennial losing in Phoenix, which is run by a spendthrift owner in Robert Sarver. “I think he’ll do unbelievable,’’ Booker said of Rose. “One of the most genuine guys I know. One of the most honest guys I know. So I’m happy for him in his new position. I think the Knicks are in really good hands.’’ Last week, Rose said he’s prepared to beef up the offensively challenged Knicks through “the draft, trades and free agency.’’
Ben Simmons found himself in a bad position while streaming a Call of Duty match. While waiting for a match to start, the Philadelphia 76ers start to read some comments, including one that could get him in trouble with the NBA. At some point, Simmons said: “I wish Book would come to Philly,” before clarifying he was reading his feed, not stating it was his personal desire to team up with Phoenix Suns guard Devin Booker.
Former Atlanta Hawks general manager Wes Wilcox appeared on NBA TV on Monday and discussed six players who could be traded now, later this season and in the future. The list included Oklahoma City point guard Chris Paul, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love, Washington Wizard shooting guard Bradley Beal, Minnesota Timberwolves small forward Andrew Wiggins, Memphis Grizzlies small forward Andre Iguodala and Booker. Wilcox put Booker and Wiggins in the "future" category. "Of these six names, Chris Paul and (Andre) and Iguodala, we know that they're in the trade market and they're available," said Wilcox during NBA TV's 2019-20 regular-season schedule release special Monday. "Of these other four names, we can probably take (Andrew) Wiggins and (Devin) Booker into the future," Wilcox continued.
It’s tough to predict which players may be available in the long term, but as I wrote in January: Teams are monitoring Ben Simmons (Sixers), Devin Booker (Suns), and Karl-Anthony Towns (Timberwolves). All three players are locked into contracts now, but if the Suns or Wolves keep losing or if Simmons takes a back seat in Philadelphia, situations can sour. The true prize, however, will hit the market in two years.
For the teams looking to add Irving, locking him in before camp opens gives the acquiring team the best chance to fill in their roster around a ramped-up plan that includes Irving. League sources continue to label the Suns as the team with the right assets to obtain Irving, but they remain reluctant to include rookie Josh Jackson or third-year stud Devin Booker in any conversation. Jackson became trade eligible last week and recently joked at the Panini rookie photo shoot that he’d heard the rumors, but if it were going to happen, it would have happened by now.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: So far, Knicks and Suns are without traction on a Kristaps Porzingis trade. Knicks will not get Devin Booker as part of any deal.
September 20, 2020 | 12:22 pm EDT Update
So, I asked, how did Lakers coach Frank Vogel see it after he had watched the film? “We were definitely the aggressors in the game, and the box score I have right here has us with 28 (fouls),” Vogel said. “We got called for 28 fouls. They got called for 26.” It was a savvy stance to take, albeit oversimplified. So as Vogel left his media session to rejoin his team, I admitted to him that I hadn’t noticed that the final fouls tally was in the Nuggets’ favor. “I do my research,” he said with a grin.
When Orange County Register Lakers beat writer Kyle Goon asked Vogel about James’ shot selection this season, it was refreshing to hear a candid and fascinating response from the Lakers coach rather than something more political. James, whose midrange jumper has been so effective for so many years now, has focused more on shots at the rim and beyond the arc this season, in part because of the message being sent by the coaching staff. “It is definitely a coaching point,” Vogel said. “You know, we want to have an analytics-based shot selection mindset with our team. … It’s the free throw No. 1; layup dunk No. 2; corner 3, No. 3; arc 3, No. 4, and midrange is the fifth priority shot we could have. But I will not ever tell my team not to take midrange shots if they are open shots. The No. 1 analytic for me is ‘Are you open?’ or ‘Are you guarded?’ That applies to shots at the rim, applies to 3-point line and applies to midrange. I’ll take an open shot over any zone that you can put up the shot from, and we want to work for open shots.”
“We’re not trying to intimidate anyone,” said Rondo, who had seven points, nine assists and a plus-13 in nearly 22 minutes. “We’re just playing basketball. With the guys we have — Dwight (and his) physical ability, he’s just playing the game. No one’s out there trying to bully people. We’re playing to our strengths. “I’ve been telling (Howard) the last two weeks (that) he’s going to be our X-factor in the series. I’m very happy that he got an opportunity to come out and play and display his talent, and show how much we need him. Like I said, I told him in the Houston series, things don’t go his way sometimes but in a championship run you need all 15 guys, and that’s what we displayed (in Game 1). Coach being able to go deep in the bench, and use guys that we haven’t used last series, so it’s a testament to the management, the way we’re able to be flexible — go small, go big, and (in Game 1) Dwight Howard, especially, was great for us.”
“This has been something I’ve never dealt with. There’s a lot going on for me individually, (and) for my family. And then the rehab, just with (the coronavirus in society) and the bubble and trying to do the best that I can to not have to quarantine for many days coming back here and having to quarantine — basically taking five days off from treatment and rehab and then trying to get myself ready to play in the Eastern Conference Finals, that’s something that’s a daunting task for sure. So for me … I’ve tried to do the best I can each day with it, and not put pressure on myself and just try to help us win basketball games, honestly.”
“To be honest, I didn’t get much sleep the last 48 hours,” Brown, who clashed with Smart in the passionate locker room scene, said when asked about the recovery process for their team. “I was so antsy to get back and play basketball. I don’t think the last two games exemplify what this team is about. So, I couldn’t wait to come out and be the best version of myself and try to add to a win. And I’m glad to be a part of this team and this organization and I’m proud of how we responded. … At the end of the day, we’re a family. We represent this organization. We represent each other and we won’t ever let anything come in between that. We’ve got a tremendous opportunity and we understand that and nothing’s going to stop us from trying to maximize that.”
Back in February, Us Weekly published a story about how Vanessa had been leaning on her mother, Sofia Laine, as she grieved the loss of Kobe and hers and Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Giannia. Laine had moved in with Vanessa at one point, but she now says her daughter has kicked her out of the Bryant home. Laine sat down for an interview with Univision that is set to air in its entirety on Monday. A preview clip, which is only in Spanish, was shared on social media. According to Erika Marie of Hot New Hip Hop, a teary-eyed Laine claims in the interview that her daughter has kicked her out of the Bryant home and demanded that she return a car Vanessa had given to her.
September 20, 2020 | 9:24 am EDT Update
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was hesitant to praise Hayward for his sacrifice partly because he learned about the revelation through the media instead of directly. “If he wants to go back for the birth of his child, that takes priority,” Stevens said. “That’s his decision and it’s, you know, I want to leave it at that. That’s his decision.”
Rachel Nichols: Hayward told me his wife Robyn isn’t in active labor yet, but she’s progressed thru enough pre-labor stages that the baby could come at any time, from tonight to the next few days. He doesn’t have his phone on the bench with him (per NBA rules) but will be checking it at the half
A source confirmed to The Athletic that free agents Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova will not be in attendance during Cleveland’s training camp. Andre Drummond will also not be participating, missing the in-market bubble for personal reasons.