With training camp well underway, many teams are looking to showcase their new rosters and play schemes. Earlier this week, NBA Media Week kicked off. It’s a time where all rumors and long-standing questions that arose in the off-season are finally answered. Here we take a look into some of the biggest takeaways from NBA Media Week.
Kicking things off are the 2021 NBA Champions, Milwaukee Bucks. Head coach Mike Budenholzer and players expressed their feeling of not being satisfied with just one ring. Speaking on his past experience with the San Antonio Spurs, Budenholzer talked about failing to win back-to-back championships.
“Unfortunately, San Antonio was never able to repeat,” Budenholzer said at Monday’s Media Day availability. “Hopefully we can break the code.”
The Bucks franchise superstar and 2021 Finals MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo haven’t let the bright lights fade him. Since winning it all, Antetokounmpo had his mind set on doing it all again the next year.
“Are we satisfied? I’m not satisfied. I’m not even close to being satisfied,” Antetokounmpo said in the 30-minute interview. “That’s the tone we’ve got to set as a team. We understand that teams are coming for us. We’re gonna be ready. Hopefully, we can be ready. Build good habits and play together and compete. And come for them too – it goes both ways.”
When it comes to the Brooklyn Nets, nothing is safe and everything is fair game. Comedian and former late-night host David Letterman made an appearance in the media session to ponder the origin of Kevin Durant’s “KD” nickname. Of course, that wasn’t the talk of New York. Despite not appearing in person, star guard Kyrie Irving was phoned in via Zoom.
According to New York’s COVID-19 mandate, all athletes must be vaccinated to play or practice in the city. Those who don’t get vaccinated, will not be able to play home games in New York. Irving, known to be hesitant about the vaccine, would not answer questions about being vaccinated. Instead, he asked for privacy while his status about the cure can be determined at a later date.
“There’s just a lot of questions about what’s going on in the world of Kyrie and I think I’d love to just keep that private and handle it the right way with my team and go forward together with a plan,” Irving said. “So obviously I’m not able to be present there today, but that doesn’t mean that I’m putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team.”
The one team that has been dominating the offseason headlines is none other than the Philadelphia Sixers.
Nowhere to be found, of course, is Sixers star guard Ben Simmons. It seems the 3x All-star is hiding away in his newly purchased LA mansion, never to walk the streets of Philadelphia again. President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey confirmed the trade rumors about Simmons Monday morning.
Coach Doc Rivers said no one has defended Simmons more than he has and will enter camp “with hopes that we do have Ben at some point.” Both Rivers and Morey both still consider Ben Simmons to be a part of the team. It was reported Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and other Sixers players tried to take a plane to LA and convince Simmons to join the team in training camp. Simmons told them there’s no point, he’s not coming back.
For the Boston Celtics, training is running smoothly. New head coach Ime Udoka was available via Zoom for media day. Udoka is currently in isolation after contacting COVID-19. Celtics spokesman Christian Megliola said the coach, who is vaccinated, was asymptomatic and in the last day of his 10-day quarantine. Udoka is expected to be in person with the team when training camp starts on Tuesday, Megliola said.
And last but not least, the Los Angeles Lakers. After being eliminated in the first round by the Suns, LeBron and company are back with a new look. LeBron spoke about the rumors and talks of the Lakers now being too old.
“Some of the memes and some of the jokes have been extremely funny,” James said Tuesday.
Out of the 14 players on the Lakers, nine happen to be over the age 32 with LeBron himself being 36. Depending on any late moves, the Lakers’ average age is likely to be nearly 31, which would be two years older than any other NBA roster. According to LeBron James, the world is focused on the wrong aspects of their game.
“We come out and we put the time in, we put the work in,” James said. “We make our own narrative. One thing that we know (is) who we are. We’ve got a bunch of guys that have been in this league quite a while that understand and know what it takes to win. The business that we’re in is winning, and doing it all the time.”