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NBA media days: Lakers ‘Russell Westbrook dilemma, Celtics’ sudden teaching debacle amongst stickiest storylines

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The 2022-23 NBA season is quick approaching. The primary preseason sport is Sept. 30, and the common season kicks off lower than a month any longer Oct 18. However first up shall be crew media days, with most scheduled for Monday.

For probably the most half these are going to be compulsory pressers and reporter scrums meant solely to saturate the web with canned and overly optimistic quotes, however that will not cease reporters from attempting to pry. Absolutely, there shall be some sticky inquiries to which gamers, coaches and GMs shall be anticipated to reply.

Listed here are six groups that aren’t precisely trying ahead to dealing with the microphones.

Rob Pelinka and Darvin Ham already canceled their press convention that was scheduled for Tuesday. Some assume this foreshadows a commerce within the coming days and the GM and coach do not need to speak earlier than something is official. Others assume it is merely a stall tactic to keep away from some robust questions on what, precisely, Pelinka has, or hasn’t, achieved with this Lakers roster.

If it is the latter, Pelinka can run however he cannot conceal. Lakers media day is Monday and ultimately Pelinka should converse to this Russell Westbrook-sized elephant within the room. Are the Lakers going to commerce him? Did they’ve an opportunity to commerce him already and received stingy with their future draft picks? Are they going to present him the John Wall therapy and simply pay him $ 47 million to remain house?

Or, are they critically simply going to run again this miserably failed experiment? In that case, is Darvin Ham going to start out Westbrook? Patrick Beverley – and that is to say nothing of the well-known pressure between these two – is an possibility at level guard, as is newly signed Dennis Schroder. If Ham begins Westbrook for optics and to pacify a cussed former star, who will get the decision in ending time?

It is sticky, to say the least, and everybody in Laker land goes to get requested about it. LeBron. Anthony Davis. Pelinka. Ham. Maybe most flammably, Westbrook himself. Clearly Westbrook is not going to be proud of the best way his sport di lui has been dragged by means of the mud this offseason. He addressed the verbal abuse his household di lui was taking at video games final season, and now his spouse di lui simply occurs to have posted the next message on Instagram – which positive looks like a fairly thinly veiled shot on the Lakers.

Till Westbrook is traded or despatched house, these questions will not cease after media day. That may solely be the start.

Late Wednesday night time, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Celtics coach Ime Udoka could be dealing with disciplinary motion, that might end in as much as a yearlong suspension, for violating an unspecified organizational guideline.

Early Thursday morning, Wojnarowski reported that the unspecified organizational guideline of which Udoka was in violation was, allegedly, “having a consensual relationship with a feminine employees member,” including that Udoka will certainly possible be suspended for the whole 2022-23 seasonand that Celtics assistant coach Joe Mazzulla will possible be named as Udoka’s interim alternative for the 12 months.

So that is fairly the flip of occasions. This can be a coach and crew that must be coming into media day on the excessive of getting completed two wins from an NBA championship. As a substitute, this. And maybe a query or two for Jaylen Brown and the way he feels about probably having been dangled in a Kevin Durant commerce proposal.

Oh, and is Robert Williams’ knee, the identical one which he had meniscus surgical procedure on final March and for which he is now anticipated to endure a second surgical procedure that may preserve him out for the beginning of this season, going to develop into a persistent downside?

Celtics media day simply grew to become an occasion.

You’d wish to assume Sean Marks and Steve Nash are professionals, however they’re additionally human. No one needs to listen to their star participant has known as for his or her head. However that is exactly what Kevin Durant did in what was seemingly a last-ditch effort to leverage Brooklyn into buying and selling him. Fireplace Marks and Nash, or I am out. It did not work. Durant continues to be in Brooklyn. So are Marks and Nash. The corporate line, delivered by Marks, is that everybody has “agreed to maneuver ahead” with “one collective aim.”

We’ll see about that.

Within the meantime, Durant, Nash, Marks, and possibly nearly each different Web, goes to should reply questions on all this summer season’s drama, which did not, and does not, finish with the Durant’s commerce request and subsequent failed hit on his “bosses.”

There is a distraction / Corridor of Fame participant named Kyrie Irving, too. The Nets had been in talks to commerce him. They most likely would have had Durant been moved. Marks has not shied away from media jabs at Irving, saying on the end-of-season press convention the Nets are are on the lookout for gamers who’re are going to “be obtainable,” which is one thing wherein Irving hasn’t confirmed to be terribly .

Oh, and do not forget Ben Simmons. You realize, the man who compelled his approach out of Philadelphia and did not play a single sport for the Nets final season regardless of stories that he was prepping to play Sport 4 of Brooklyn’s first-round loss to Boston solely to drag out on the final minute.

So, Steve, the way you feeling about your star participant who wished to be traded, your different star participant who has not too long ago chosen to spend extra time on his soapbox than the courtroom, and your different potential star participant who actually hasn’t performed since June of 2021 and will or might not be mentally ready to swimsuit up once more, a lot much less go to the free throw line?

Yeah, one thing tells me the Nets would love for this media day to be over in a New York minute.

Issues received lots simpler for the Suns after it was introduced on Wednesday that proprietor Robert Sarver, who was not too long ago suspended for one 12 months and fined $ 10 million by the NBA following the completion of an investigation into his inappropriate office misconduct, has begun the method of promoting the crew.

Previous to the information of Sarver’s intent to promote, Chris Paul reacted rapidly to the league’s verdict, tweeting that the punishment “fell brief in actually addressing what we will all agree was atrocious habits.”

Paul could have a better time at media day having already gotten his ideas on report, however he, together with most likely everybody else within the group who finds him- or herself in entrance of a microphone, will nonetheless should take care of being requested concerning the Suns’ (quickly to be former) misogynist, racist and outright deplorable proprietor as a substitute of with the ability to start the method of turning their consideration again to basketball because the they gear up for what everybody expects to be one other season that includes a championship-contending run.

There’s additionally the Deandre Ayton state of affairs. The Suns had been fairly clearly seeking to commerce him after already electing to not lengthen his rookie deal final summer season. However then Phoenix wound up giving Ayton a four-year, $ 133 million deal after their hand was compelled to both match the Pacers’ supply or lose him for nothing.

Ayton might nonetheless be traded this season, however not earlier than Jan. 15, and it must be to a crew of his selecting as he has a no-trade clause for a 12 months. There shall be questions concerning the state of affairs, the way it dragged out, how Ayton feels about being dangled in commerce rumors, and everybody goes to say the suitable issues – that this can be a enterprise, that everybody is happy to get again to the enterprise of pursuing a championship, and likelihood is it will not be terribly awkward. Particularly with the Sarver information now entrance and middle.

Just like the Suns with Ayton, the Knicks seem to have paid RJ Barrett solely after their hand was compelled. It was broadly reported that their first precedence was to commerce Barrett to the Jazz as a part of a Donovan Mitchell package deal, and Steve Berman of the New York Submit reported that even had the Knicks been capable of land Mitchell with out together with Barrett within the deal, they would not have paid Barrett till no less than the October deadline and probably would’ve waited till their hand was actually compelled in restricted free company subsequent summer season.

The image Berman paints is one the place the Knicks felt squeezed to make some type of splash transfer after placing out on a Mitchell commerce, and the four-year, $ 120 million Barrett extension was, maybe begrudgingly, it.

The important thing line from Berman’s supply was this: … “[the Knicks] like RJ, however he is not considered one of their guys. “

Just like the Ayton state of affairs in Phoenix, likelihood is everybody will toe the corporate line when the inevitable questions on Barrett’s extension and the way the Knicks fairly clearly most well-liked to commerce him are requested, however you’d nonetheless fairly not have to bop round a clumsy reply.

And Barrett wasn’t the one one who was going to be shipped out in a Mitchell deal. Obi Toppin was reportedly included within the proposed package deal. Earlier stories indicated the Knicks had been prepared to commerce Immanuel Quickley, however when Utah countered with Quentin Grimes as a substitute of Quickley, New York pulled again. How does Quickley really feel about that?

Sure, everyone seems to be knowledgeable, and being supplied in a commerce for a participant of Mitchell’s caliber is not, in actuality, something near a slap within the face, nevertheless it’s by no means optimum to come back to media day and begin answering questions on how your crew tried to dump you.

For probably the most half, Monday’s media day goes to be a celebration for the Warriors, who received the 2022 title and convey again the core of the crew that did so. However how lengthy will that core be in place? The Warriors have some robust contract choices to make over the subsequent two summers, beginning with Jordan Poole, who’s eligible to signal a rookie extension till Oct. 18.

If the Warriors do not supply Poole that extension, or if it is low and Poole does not signal it, he’ll develop into a restricted free agent subsequent season, at which level the Warriors must pay him or lose him for nothing. That is tough, as a result of Andrew Wiggins can also be a free agent subsequent summer season. Similar for Draymond Inexperienced, who will most probably decline his 2023-24 participant choice to safe one other major-money long-term deal. Then, in the summertime of 2025, Klay Thompson shall be a feee agent.

The Warriors have made it fairly clear that there’s a restrict on how a lot they’re going to spend, and if it comes down to those robust selections, who’re they going to decide on? Poole or Wiggins? If each, would they actually let Draymond stroll in spite of everything he is achieved for the franchise? Would they commerce him earlier than it involves that?

The Poole determination is the primary domino right here. Bob Myers goes to get requested about it. Poole goes to get requested about it, as a result of barring a max supply from Golden State, he has some incentive to maintain his 2023 free company standing intact with the chance to play his approach into a much bigger deal this season.

These are first-world issues, in fact. The Warriors have been in six of the final eight championships, and have received 4 of them. Having too many good gamers who’re value some huge cash, with solely a lot of that cash to go round, is a pleasant dilemma to face. Nevertheless it’s a dilemma nonetheless, and the Warriors will start a 12 months of dealing with these questions on Monday at media day.

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