Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
The Los Angeles Lakers are considered the “most significant threat” for Kyrie Irving if the superstar guard declines his $36.5 million player option and becomes a free agent this offseason.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provided the scoop on Wednesday’s edition of NBA Today.
“The Lakers are considered the most significant threat right now for Kyrie Irving, but that would entail him taking $30 million less than he can opt into in Brooklyn. There’s a $6 million taxpayer exemption he could sign with the Lakers with.”
Wojnarowski went on to say that most players wouldn’t give up that much money but said that Irving’s refusal to get vaccinated against COVID-19 lost him nearly $17 million as he missed games in 2021-22.
Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic reported Monday that there was a difference of opinion between Irving and the Nets regarding his future in Brooklyn.
“However, multiple sources tell The Athletic that conversations about Irving’s future have gone stagnant between him and the Nets. An impasse currently exists among the parties that clears the way for the seven-time All-Star to consider the open marketplace, those sources said.”
Brian Lewis of the New York Post provided a more optimistic outlook Wednesday when he reported that the two sides were still looking to figure out what works best for all parties.
“Despite the Nets and Kyrie Irving hitting an impasse in their talks, both sides are still working to find a happy medium in Brooklyn rather than an exit strategy out of it,” Lewis wrote.
“Or as a source told The Post, “what’s good for both [sides].”
Irving has until June 29 to either pick up or decline that player option, but as Lewis noted, that date could end up being fruitless.
“Declining it doesn’t ensure Irving’s departure, because he can still ink an extension,” Lewis wrote. “And picking it up doesn’t guarantee he’s staying, since it could make moving via trade easier.”
Teams can begin negotiating deals with free agents on June 30 at 6 p.m. ET, but they cannot sign any deals until July 6 at 12:01 p.m.
For now, the Irving Watch is on as his future in Brooklyn appears to be in some question.
If he does end up becoming a free agent and signing a taxpayer exemption with the over-the-cap Lakers, as Wojnarowski posited, then he would reunite with LeBron James.
Per Windhorst, the four-time NBA MVP and champion would welcome a reunion.
The two played together in Cleveland from 2014 to 2017, winning three Eastern Conference titles and one NBA championship.
Sources: Five-star Buzelis picks G League Ignite
11:04 AM ET
Adrian WojnarowskiSenior NBA Insider
- Host of The Woj Pod
- Joined ESPN in 2017
Five-star recruit Matas Buzelis — the No. 11 player in ESPN’s Top 100 for the Class of 2023 — has committed to the G League Ignite for the 2023-24 season, sources told ESPN on Friday.
Buzelis, a skilled 6-foot-10 forward, will bypass college basketball and sign into the NBA’s professional pathway program once he graduates from Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas next spring, sources said.
Buzelis, an Illinois native who starred for Brewster Academy in New Hampshire last season, had narrowed his college choices to Kentucky, North Carolina, Florida State and Wake Forest.
The G League Ignite program is based out of Northern California and constructed to prepare young players ahead of NBA draft eligibility. Former NBA guard Jason Hart is beginning his second season as the program’s coach, and several recent players, including the No. 8 pick Dyson Daniels (New Orleans) and No. 24 pick MarJon Beauchamp (Milwaukee) on Thursday, were first-round draft choices.
Buzelis participated in the Nike Hoop Summit in 2022, and a USA Basketball minicamp at the site of the Final Four in New Orleans. He led powerhouse Brewster Academy to a 31-8 record and a New England prep school championship.
Excel Sports represents Buzelis in name, image and likeness deals.
WNBA union decries overturning of Roe v. Wade
1:39 PM ET
ESPN News Services
The Women’s National Basketball Players Association reacted to the U.S. Supreme Court decision to overturn a woman’s constitutional right to an abortion by focusing on voting rights and urging people to “vote like our lives depend on it. Because they do.”
In a statement, the WNBPA said, “This decision shows a branch of government that is so out of touch with the country and any sense of human dignity.”
“We must recognize that when we cast a ballot it is to elect officials and to connect the dots to policies and legislation that align with our values,” the WNBPA said.
The Supreme Court on Friday voted 5-4 to overturn Roe v. Wade, a decision expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states. The ruling came more than a month after the leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step, and it was supported by the court’s conservative majority.
Alito, in the final opinion, wrote that the original 1973 decision on Roe and a 1992 decision reaffirming it (Planned Parenthood v. Casey) were “wrong the days they were decided and must be overturned.”
Alito wrote that the authority to regulate abortion rests with the political branches of government and not the courts. The decision leaves it up to the states.
“We therefore hold that the Constitution does not confer a right to abortion. Roe and Casey must be overruled, and the authority to regulate abortion must be returned to the people and their elected representatives,” Alito wrote.
Justices Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett and Clarence Thomas joined the majority. Chief Justice John Roberts voted to uphold a Mississippi law that banned abortion after 15 weeks and prompted the case to get to the Supreme Court, but he didn’t vote to overturn Roe.
The ruling is expected to lead to abortion bans in about half of the states, some beginning immediately.
“It’s just incredibly disheartening. There are an infinite amount of reasons why a woman chooses to do what she does with her body or what they do with their body — none of which are anybody else’s business.”
USWNT star Megan Rapinoe
Three of the court’s liberal justices wrote in a joint dissent that the decision would bring “sorrow” for the many millions of American women who will be losing a “fundamental constitutional protection.” The WNBPA statement said an abortion ban “could lead to higher rates of maternal mortality while eviscerating rights to reproductive freedom for everyone.”
In September, a number of prominent women athletes, including soccer star Megan Rapinoe and basketball standouts Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird, joined 500 athletes and groups who signed a friend-of-the-court brief to the justices. The group included 26 Olympians, 73 professional athletes and various athlete associations. They argued that abortion rights have helped the growth of women’s sports and expressed concern that future athletes would suffer without those protections.
Rapinoe on Friday called it a “really sad, sad day” and said the ruling is “completely misguided and wildly out of touch with the desires of the country.”
“The right to freedom and the pursuit of happiness and liberty is being assaulted in this instance,” Rapinoe said. “And it’s just incredibly disheartening. There are an infinite amount of reasons why a woman chooses to do what she does with her body or what they do with their body — none of which are anybody else’s business.”
Rapinoe’s U.S. women’s national soccer teammate Lindsey Horan said, “I’m still a little bit shocked and trying to take it all in. But I do feel like this is taking a step backwards for our country.”
In a statement, the National Women’s Soccer League wrote that the ruling “denies individuals in this country the full liberty and equality that is the cornerstone of a just society.”
The statement added: “Reproductive rights are human rights. Until every individual has the same freedoms as their neighbor, our work is not done. We will continue to make our voices heard.”
Bird, who is engaged to Rapinoe, took to Twitter to react to the Supreme Court’s decision.
— Sue Bird (@S10Bird) June 24, 2022
Bird’s WNBA team, the Seattle Storm released a statement on Twitter that also referenced the Supreme Court’s Thursday ruling on gun rights.
Furious and ready to fight. pic.twitter.com/6fdEHUd4pM
— Seattle Storm (@seattlestorm) June 24, 2022
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert issued a joint statement Friday afternoon.
“The NBA and WNBA believe that women should be able to make their own decisions concerning their health and future, and we believe that freedom should be protected,” the leagues said in the statement. “We will continue to advocate for gender and health equity, including ensuring our employees have access to reproductive health care, regardless of their location.”
The much-anticipated ruling, applauded by pro-life conservatives, was decried by a number of prominent athletes on social media.
Tennis legend Billie Jean King wrote: “This decision will not end abortion … it is a sad day in the United States.”
Wrote Portland Trail Blazers guard Josh Hart: “To the women in this country … I’m sorry.”
Information from The Associated Press is included in this report.
Rooney resigns as manager of relegated Derby
Wayne Rooney has told Derby County that he wishes to leave his role as manager with immediate effect, the club announced Friday.
The news comes after Derby were relegated from the Championship to third-tier League One this past season having being handed two separate points deductions for entering administration and breaching financial rules earlier in the season. The club have also been operating under a transfer embargo.
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“Over the course of the Summer I have been closely following developments regarding the ownership of Derby County,” Rooney wrote in a club statement.
“Today I met with the administrators to inform them of my decision that it was time for me to leave the club. In fairness to them, they tried tremendously hard to change my decision but my mind was made up.
“My time at the club has been a rollercoaster of emotions, both highs and lows, but I have to say that I have enjoyed the challenge.
“Personally, I feel the club now needs to be led by someone with fresh energy and not affected by the events that have happened over the last eighteen months. I will remember my time at Derby with great pride and affection and would like to thank all my staff, players and of course the fans for their incredible support. I will never forget you and hope to see you all again in the near future and in happier times.”
Last week, American businessman Chris Kirchner withdrew his bid to purchase the club.
“Finally, I am aware that the club still have interested parties who wish to take over the running of the club,” Rooney added. “To them I say this, Derby County is a great club with a great history and great fans. I wish you all the best and much success for the future.”
A spokesperson for Derby’s administrators admitted they were disappointed with Rooney’s decision.
“The joint administrators are very disappointed that Wayne has taken the difficult decision to leave the club and we have spent some time today trying to persuade him to stay but understand his reasons for wanting to go,” they wrote. “We are extremely grateful to him for his excellent work in the face of challenging on-field circumstances in the 2021/22 season and admire the manner in which he has led the team, the club and the local community through various off-field issues.
“The joint administrators recognise that staff and supporters will be frustrated and equally disappointed by this news, but we all wish him, his wife Coleen and their four boys every success in the future and we are sure they will always be welcomed back.
“All parties recognise the need to conclude a sale of the business and assets of the Club, as a matter of urgency and the joint administrators wish to reconfirm that Wayne’s departure will not affect those ongoing, positive discussions.”
Despite the turmoil off the pitch and a 21-point deduction, the former England and Manchester United captain guided Derby to an impressive run of form, and relegation wasn’t confirmed until there were only three matches remaining.
It has been a tough start to Rooney’s managerial career after he decided to cut his Major League Soccer playing days short at D.C. United to join Derby and become head coach in November 2020.
After the club’s relegation, Rooney said he would remain at the club next season only if there were new owners.
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