“It didn’t really bother me,” Mitchell said. “I thought it was blown out of proportion, but that’s just the media in general. When I said ‘Aight,’ for me it meant that’s cool, and that’s your opinion and it’s OK to have an opinion. I play to make sure that I’m the best player I can be for myself and my teammates. “Shaq isn’t my coach. If he doesn’t agree that I’m a superstar, that’s cool. I just have to go out and make sure that I play for my teammates.”
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StatMuse: Donovan Mitchell before/after Shaq’s comments: Before: 24 PPG 4 RPG 5 APG 44/41/85% After: 24 PPG 5 RPG 5 APG 44/44/82% You can’t take credit, @Shaquille O’Neal. Spida has always been elite. pic.twitter.com/LMARAN6sys
What about the Donovan (situation)? For me, he has been amazing media-wise since he got into the league… …Chuck interjects — Charles Barkley: But yeah, you know Sam, let me tell you something. Me and Kenny actually had a conversation this weekend about this, because (Kenny) was talking to his dad. And his dad says, ‘I was watching the show the other night and I went and did some research (and) Donovan has only had one game of double-digit assists his entire career. He’s had only one game of double-digit rebounds in his career. Kenny Smith had 90. He had 90. And Kenny Smith ain’t half the player Donovan Mitchell is. He had 90 games where he had either 10 assists or 10 rebounds. And that was the point.
Charles Barkley: We said the kid was a hell of a player. But as far as being a superstar, nobody’s a superstar until they can win the game multiple ways. And listen, that to me is an indictment on Donovan Mitchell. Come on, man. As much as you have the ball, you only had one game with double-digit assists? And one game double-digit rebounds? Come on. I mean Sam, that’s almost impossible.
O’Neal has been roundly criticized for the interview, with both fans and modern stars like Kevin Durant and LeBron James speaking in Mitchell’s defense. But rather than apologize for his statement, O’Neal has doubled down on it. On Monday, O’Neal posted an Instagram slideshow showcasing former teammates Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Steve Nash, Gary Payton, Penny Hardaway and LeBron James with a caption that read: “This is what greatness at the guard position looks like. I played with the best ever-to do it. You know I know what best look like. #donthavetohate. Y’all kno I got G14 classification to say what I say.”
Immediately after the game he went on TNT and had to hear Shaq, who said earlier in the night that Mitchell was just a scorer, say: “I said tonight that you are one of my favorite players but you don’t have what it takes to get to the next level. I said it on purpose because I wanted you to hear it. What do you have to say about that?” What did Mitchell have to say? “Aight.”
Ben Anderson: Donovan Mitchell on the comments from Shaq and Barkley on @NBAonTNT . “I hate to take a win like this and make it about what they said about me. Look at how we played, look at how we guarded. I’m happy.”
Eric Walden: Donovan Mitchell, on the TNT commentary: “We’ve won seven in a row. I hate to take a win like this and make it about me. … I’m here to play basketball and to win and to be the best teammate I can be. If they don’t like it, they don’t like it.”
Tony Jones: Rudy Gobert on the TNT crew and comments: “At the end of the day, whatever they want to call us, if we keep winning games, they will have to watch us anyway. Hopefully they have to watch us until July. And then they can call us whatever they want.”
Eric Walden: Mike Conley, on Shaq’s comments about Donovan Mitchell: “I’ve been a big fan of Don’s and seeing the way he’s grown, even before he was here. I don’t know how you can make a statement like that regarding his progress at such a young age. He’s gotten better every year.”
Ryan McDonald: Donovan just posted this on Instagram
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August 5, 2021 | 4:09 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: The Charlotte Hornets have emerged with strong interest in a potential offer sheet for Chicago restricted free agent Lauri Markkanen, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium . RFAs can begin signing sheets Friday.
Will Guillory: Pelicans released their 2021 Summer League roster. Trey Murphy will be added once the Memphis trade is completed. pic.twitter.com/tqXzQ5dam7
August 5, 2021 | 3:28 pm EDT Update
Three-time Sixth Man of the Year Lou Williams has agreed to a one-year, $5 million deal with the Atlanta Hawks, agent Wallace Prather of Par-Lay Sports and Entertainment told HoopsHype. Williams had significant interest from several contenders, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told HoopsHype.
Adrian Griffin — Toronto Raptors assistant coach and ex-NBA player — is firing back at his ex-wife, suing for libel after she accused the hoops coach of domestic violence on social media. 47-year-old Griffin filed a defamation suit in New York … blasting ex, Audrey Sterling, as a bitter woman, hell-bent on destroying his life and career by any means necessary.