NBA Rumor: Rick Bonnell Death

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Long-time Charlotte Hornets beat writer Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer passed away suddenly on June 1. As Hornets Chairman Michael Jordan said, “Rick became the source for Hornets news in Charlotte.” Rick was a respected journalist, a dedicated father and loyal friend. In lieu of flowers, the Bonnell family asks donations be made to the Charlotte Hornets Foundation to honor Rick’s passion and love for this community, the NBA and the Charlotte Hornets – the team he covered for 30+ years.

There were other, bigger, more important parts: Terrific reporter, proud father, loyal friend, compassionate neighbor. He was the dean of Charlotte Hornets basketball media and, for sheer continuity, one of the lions of NBA writers spanning parts of five decades. Rick also was that rare newspaper sports writer who loved his job, raved about his bosses and rooted for that dead-tree medium to thrive, or at least endure beyond his career, which he confided to me recently that he wanted to continue until he was at least 70 years old.

Bonnell was a valued member of a shrinking Charlotte Observer newsroom, but as is the case with most journalists even pre-pandemic, he spent more time out of the office on his beat than rubbing elbows inside. He was around colleagues like me – Rick took over as president of the Professional Basketball Writers Association when I stepped down in 2007 – as much he was any co-workers, and even more so the players, coaches, front-office execs and other members of the Hornets.

Rick Bonnell, an award-winning sportswriter for more than 33 years at The Charlotte Observer, was found dead in his home Tuesday. He was 63. Bonnell was The Observer’s first beat reporter to cover the Charlotte Hornets during their inaugural season in 1988-89, and he was still breaking stories on the Hornets beat throughout this past season. Jack Bonnell, Rick’s son, confirmed his father’s death Tuesday night and added that police had told him that there was no reason to suspect foul play.
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October 27, 2021 | 2:05 am EDT Update

Jazz brought Dwyane Wade to appease Donovan Mitchell?

One source with knowledge of the situation maintained Mitchell had no involvement in Wade purchasing a stake in the team. In any case, it’s a move many league observers have viewed as a direct attempt by Smith to appease Mitchell, who first formed a strong connection with Wade through their representation at Creative Artists Agency. “It’s a little bit of new-owner syndrome, too,” said an assistant general manager. “You come in, and you’re immediately told, ‘The star player, you want them to like you.'”
There’s a player option in the fifth year of Mitchell’s $163 million contract, which still wouldn’t let the All-Star reach free agency until 2025 at the earliest. And despite the superstar trade request seemingly more en vogue than ever, the Jazz appear to be doing just fine building around Mitchell in Utah. Around the NBA, he’s known as a team-oriented and affable leader, believing this group can compete for a championship. Utah did finish top-five in both offensive and defensive efficiency last season.
There does not appear to be any connection between Mitchell’s interests and the ouster of former president Dennis Lindsey. That decision stemmed largely, sources confirmed to B/R, from a rift between the executive and Snyder in which Smith sided with his head coach. Jazz staffers point specifically to Lindsey selecting Udoka Azubuike in the first round of the 2020 draft, as well as other draft additions that failed to make an NBA impact as a main stimulant in the turmoil between the president and Snyder.
Storyline: Utah Jazz Turmoil?