NBA Rumor: Zylan Cheatham Free Agency

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September 27, 2021 | 9:34 am EDT Update
Towns received treatment at an area hospital, then quarantined at home for the next few weeks, isolated from friends and family. Basketball had been the closest thing in his life to an outlet. Now, by himself, he had no choice but to confront the pain that followed his mother’s sudden death. “I’ve had a lot of situations this year where things were just too much for me,” Towns says. “I just remember [quarantining] in the house, and it was more than just COVID for me. I felt like I was going through a holistic journey.”
A high-calorie diet eventually solved his weight problem. But that night inside Quicken Loans Arena, in the same building with so many people for the first time since he was able to leave his house, anxiety enveloped Towns on the bench. When the first quarter ended he texted his agent: “I can’t be out here anymore. I can’t do this.” He rushed back to the locker room, where Minnesota’s head equipment manager Peter Warden asked if everything was O.K.
There were days when being around teammates carried him. Basketball felt like it could provide a blip of relief. There were others when he thought about stepping away and giving himself space to mourn. “[My mother] made basketball fun for me my whole entire life,” Towns says. “She made it where I wanted to even do this. So for me, I was like, [There’s] too much on my mind. I’m not, I can’t, nah, I can’t.”
Storyline: Jacqueline Towns Death
“That money s— don’t mean s— to me,” he says. “Time is the real thing we losing every day. I just really didn’t think I could play the game of basketball the way I want to represent myself in the NBA. I didn’t want to represent myself in a bad way. There’d be a lot of times we’d play a game. Game’s over. And I’m not even in there. I’m doing my own thing. I’m in the bathroom looking at myself, wondering if this is the man that I really think I am. I had 40. I’m still not happy with the man I see in the mirror. I’m still dealing with a lot of s—.”
Before home games last season, Towns would walk into Finch’s office with a latte in his hand, sit down and chat. Most conversations covered their shared Philadelphia Eagles obsession or baseball, specifically the American League East standings. “We’d just talk about these little commonalities that we’ve had that give us a chance to shoot the s—, so to speak,” Finch says.