Here’s what else was buzzing around the UNLV campus on Day 1 of the Las Vegas Summer League:
Pelicans’ Cheick Diallo: He’s a talker
“Every time [Hield] says, ‘Cheick, you talk too much.’ Because I’m trying to give him [defensive directions], like, ‘OK, go right, go left.’ I’m like, ‘Bro, I’m there behind.’ So when I say go right, I can see it. Because all defense, you have to trust each other.
“Sometimes he says, ‘Cheick, tell me earlier.’ And I say, ‘OK, I got you, boss.'”
— as told to Justin Verrier, ESPN
Execs still processing free-agency deals
Surprised by the spending in NBA free agency this summer? So are team executives.
Despite planning for the salary cap to jump from $70 million to $94 million, executives are still having a tough time understanding some of this summer’s most lavish deals. The profligate spending helps explain why the league is no longer planning for such a large shortfall in what players are owed this summer, causing a reduction in the projected 2017-18 salary cap.
— Kevin Pelton, ESPN Insider
Timberwolves’ Dunn impressive in debut
Kris Dunn did it with the ‘Shammgod’
Bless up, Kris Dunn flashed some God Shammgod flair on the opening day of Las Vegas Summer League.
2016 NBA summer league: Full coverage
The regular season is still a few months away, but prospects, second-year players and roster hopefuls are already on display during the NBA summer league. Follow along with our coverage.
Dunn looks physically dominant. He has a great combination of strength and length.
The Providence College product changes speeds well and his handle was tight. But I wasn’t enamored with his after-the-play antics: staring down the Denver Nuggets bench after a made shot, flexing after another. And he’s clearly pushing off before shooting.
The adjustments Dunn makes during the week will be interesting to observe.
— David Thorpe, ESPN Insider
‘I love playing for Lakers’
This is Larry Nance Jr. on Lakers rookie center Ivica Zubac, who finished with 11 points, five rebounds and three blocks in his summer league debut: “Even during the game, there was one point when [Zubac] came up to me and said, ‘I love playing for Lakers.’ I was like, ‘I know, man. Me, too. This is fun.’
“He’s great to be around and he’s going to be a great locker room guy. Like I said, we love having him around.”
— as told to Baxter Holmes, ESPN
Young Nuggets take their talents to USA Select
The Nuggets were the darlings of summer league last year, with Emmanuel Mudiay leading the way along with All-Rookie First Team selection Nikola Jokic. And the 2016 incarnation seems to be following in the same suit after strong performances by Mudiay and Gary Harris.
The work doesn’t stop after the tourney, as Mudiay and Harris head to USA Basketball camp as part of the Select Team scrimmaging against the men’s Olympic team. Nuggets staffers are thrilled with their inclusion, and feel it will be a rewarding experience for them, not only for skill development, but also for their growth as team leaders. Head coach Mike Malone said he’s looking for Mudiay to take that next step as a leader on the floor, both in terms of his grasp of game management as a point guard and as an example for younger players.
— Amin Elhassan, ESPN Insider