The Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat are in the midst of a frantic bidding war for free agent Gordon Hayward, who is taking meetings with all three over the first three days of free agency. There’s no clear favorite right now, so players on those teams have taken to tweeting their own arguments for Hayward joining those teams. Emojis only, though.
Luke [Walton]’s a helluva coach, but I thought [Russell] was just looking for a fresh start, he told SB Nation. So we’re like a fresh program, fresh start, and I really hope that can jumpstart him.
For Atkinson, a Northport, N.Y. native, coaching the Nets has been a dream too good to be true. But he can’t stop to pinch himself. Atkinson’s a go guy; it’s how he’s risen up the ranks from an assistant coach in France to an assistant coach with both the Knicks and the Hawks before landing his dream job at home.
That’s why pacing back-and-forth along the Thomas & Mack Center sidelines, Atkinson has the demeanor of a man who knows his work is cut out for him. Because the Nets aren’t competing for the now; they’re pacing themselves for the future.
Then there are the good players with question marks. Really good players future or current stars don’t make it to restricted free agency, and if they do, their teams lock them up immediately. The best young players usually sign rookie extensions after their third seasons. Some don’t, and become restricted free agents ever so briefly after mutually agreeing to a new contract (as happened with Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and Draymond Green) or being yanked into a new max contract (as happened with Jimmy Butler). Below the star level, it’s not so simple.