If you need me, I’ll be shoving a delicious brunch down my piehole.
• Players talk … and Zach LaVine is no exception. The Chicago Bulls All-Star spoke with the media for the first time as a member of Team USA on Friday afternoon, and he had no problem addressing the types of conversations that go on between superstars behind closed doors.
… But you know how the NBA is. Everybody talks, and it's a player's league, so we understand what goes on. Something happens, it happens."
— Rob Schaefer (@rob_schaef) July 9, 2021
• Team USA member Bradley Beal spoke in an even more blunt fashion at his media availability, telling reporters that he expected “a lot” of chatter about the creation of future superteams. And, hey, can we blame him? These are some of the best players in the world – let alone some of the most competitive – finally seeing what it’s like to play alongside one another in a truly competitive environment (as opposed to the here-is-a-bounce-pass-lob All-Star Game). Also, while LaVine calls it an afterthought, friendships and bonds will inevitably form over this gold medal chase.
• All Bulls fans can really hope is that LaVine is the one doing the talking. Signs might point to LaVine sticking with Chicago long-term, but it’s simply a fact that he can still go wherever he wants next offseason. His star teammates know that, and they could start to plant seeds that make LaVine doubt his own organization’s current trajectory. LaVine’s job, of course, is to do the opposite. He has to try to talk about his new front office and new head coach. Hopefully, he also flaunts the progress of Team USA Select Team member Patrick Williams and hypes up the addition of Nikola Vucevic. Throw in the fact that Chicago is one of the most renowned franchises in the league, and it could be a pretty intriguing pitch to make. How good of a salesman is LaVine?
• If a not-so Top Secret Team USA Tampering Mission is not enough for LaVine, I got another one in mind!
REPORT: Spurs Guards Derrick White and Dejounte Murray Might be “Gettable” This Summerhttps://t.co/UPfTEDwyHl
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) July 9, 2021
• The San Antonio Spurs could make starting guards Derrick White and Dejounte Murray available this offseason, according to The Athletic. I’m sure both will raise ears around the league, but Murray is likely the one to garner more phone calls. The 24-year-old point guard is already an All-Defensive Second Team member, and he is also coming off a career season where he averaged 15.7 points, 5.4 assists, and 7.1 rebounds per game. Even better, he is pals with a certain Bulls All-Star who also comes from Seattle, Washington. The two are known to stay in touch, and perhaps LaVine could give Arturas Karnisovas the extra push to pick up the phone. After all, the more you can do to make him happy before those contract negotiations start … the better!
Zach LaVine Expects Extension Negotiations to “Play Out the Right Way,” But Timing Is Everythinghttps://t.co/Y8RaVDc2Zk
— Bleacher Nation Bulls (@BN_Bulls) July 9, 2021
• In other LaVine news, this is EXACTLY the kind of comment we want to see from him. He took strides as a winning player this season with Billy Donovan at the helm, but battling with guys like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Gregg Popovich, and Steve Kerr in the mix could take his leadership and IQ to a whole new level.
Zach LaVine on joining Team USA: “I was extremely enthusiastic. It’s an honor. I would never turn this down… I just want to bring back winning, a winning mentality. These are guys that have been around winning. This will probably be the best team that I’ll be around."
— Jamal Collier (@JamalCollier) July 9, 2021
• We get our first look at Team USA tonight! The squad will battle Nigeria in their first of five exhibition games tonight at 7:00 p.m. CT!
🚨 24 Hours Out 🚨
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 10, 2021
• Lol … sounds like Sato was celebrating the right way.
Speaking from Team USA minicamp, Zach LaVine said Tomas Satoransky tried to FaceTime him “at like 2 am” after Sato led Czech Republic’s improbable run to Olympics but LaVine couldn’t understand anything Sato was saying.
— K.C. Johnson (@KCJHoop) July 9, 2021
• Reminder: LaVine and Satoransky will face off in Tokyo later this month!
• I don’t know about you, but comparing Giannis’ playmaking skills to one of the greatest facilitators of all time might not be the fairest point to make. I understand where Jefferson is trying to come from, but any argument that implies the Bucks are not better when he is on the court is absurd to me. The lack of impact from the Middleton-Holiday combo (12-37 in Game 2!) is not his fault. If anything, the constant deferring to Giannis and lack of offensive creativity is Budenholzer’s fault, in my opinion.
"When Giannis is at his best … you don't know if everyone benefits around that."
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) July 9, 2021
• Roy Rogers, a former Bulls assistant under Jim Boylen, finds a new gig.
Portland is finalizing a deal for Clippers assistant Roy Rogers to join Chauncey Billups’ new coaching staff, sources tell ESPN. Rogers has shown an ability to help improve team defenses in recent stops, and will focus on that end for the Blazers.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 10, 2021
• The world’s best speller got game!
Shades of @JCrossover 👀
Congrats, Zaila! 🏆 https://t.co/ABG6RTMWjU
— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) July 9, 2021