Sabrina Ionescu Rumors
Endeavor, the entertainment and sports conglomerate, expanded its sports representation business Tuesday by purchasing a stake in BDA Sports Management, the firm led by the influential N.B.A. agent Bill Duffy. The partnership calls for Duffy, who represents the rising basketball stars Luka Doncic and Sabrina Ionescu, to become an adviser in the sports division of William Morris Endeavor, one of Hollywood’s major talent agencies. Duffy will continue to serve as chairman and chief operating officer of BDA Sports, which will retain its own branding and represents an estimated 130 players in the N.B.A., W.N.B.A. and professional leagues internationally.
Walnut Creek, an East Bay town of roughly 70,000 perched at the junction of two major highways, certainly doesn’t look as if it would have any real significance to basketball’s elite. But in addition to being the hometown of recent No. 1 WNBA draft pick Sabrina Ionescu and a popular workout destination of two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, it is now the training hub of NBA G League Ignite — a team loaded with lottery hopefuls created in April as an alternative to college basketball. Over the past two weeks, players have trained individually at the Ultimate Fieldhouse, a 40,000-square-foot facility that boasts four courts and plenty of office space.
It’s not often you hear a two-time NBA MVP referred to as a “system player.” But that’s exactly how ESPN’s Bomani Jones views Warriors star Steph Curry, as he shared on his podcast Friday. “He’s got sick handle and all that stuff. There’s something different,” Jones said on “The Right Time with Bomani Jones.” “It’s hard to explain what it is with Steph, but Steph is somehow like the greatest system player of all time. And I’m not saying that to shade him. But you are not going 1-4 flat and being like, ‘Get us a bucket.’ ” Curry seemed to respond with a veiled reference to the comments while praising Bay Area native and 2020 WNBA No. 1 overall draft pick Sabrina Ionescu in her professional debut. “And shout out to all the system players in the @WNBA,” Curry said. “We get it done.”
Minutes after Sabrina Ionescu was drafted by the New York Liberty, Joe Tsai’s “other” team, the Brooklyn Nets, was ready. The marketing team tweeted out a welcoming video featuring Kyrie Irving, Joe Harris and Garrett Temple. “Welcome to the family!” said Irving. “The Tsais are a great ownership group,” added Temple. “We love them here with the Brooklyn Nets. You’ll love them with the New York Liberty.”
In her inaugural appearance, at least as a pro, on “First Take,” Tuesday, Max Kellerman joked that Brooklyn may now have the two best starting point guards in the city. He then asked the Oregon product if she sees herself working with Irving (who as Irving noted in his video, is also a member of the “No. 1 pick club.”) She was low-key in her response —she is a rookie after all. Or maybe she didn’t want to give something up. “I’m excited with the pieces that we have in place today. We have the NBA behind us and supporting us and our franchise is great. So I’m excited to bring life back in New York and doing that through sport.”
Posting a touching note to Bryant after his passing earlier this year, and another after going first-overall in the draft, Ionescu reflected on some of the wisdom Bryant imparted during their time together. “We definitely just talked about pressure — he kind of just said, ‘Be you. It’s been good enough and that will continue to be good enough.’ And that’s what he always told me,” she said of Bryant’s advice.