This morning's headlines:
Suns say no Booker for Irving -- The Suns may have the most attractive collection of assets to pry Kyrie Irving loose from the Cavaliers. But so far Phoenix has been reluctant to talk about swapping No. 4 draft pick Josh Jackson and, according to Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com, the team has told Devin Booker they will not trade him:
Among the scenarios under consideration, LeBron James worked out with a number of stars in Las Vegas this past week, among them Eric Bledsoe, the Phoenix Suns guard who's been linked to numerous rumors as a possible target in a trade for Irving.
The Suns also own Miami's first-round pick, which is partially protected in 2018. That'd be the second box checked.
Cleveland also wants Josh Jackson, a 6-8 rookie drafted fourth overall by the Suns in June. Phoenix reportedly doesn't want to trade Jackson, and a source said the Suns told Devin Booker he would not be traded -- which would seem to put a serious hamper in this potential trade.
Rookie Monk says he'd beat Jordan -- A sprained left ankle sidelined Charlotte Hornets rookie Malik Monk for the entirety of NBA Summer League this summer. But that hasn't stopped the No. 11 pick out of Kentucky from making a run at Hornets owner and NBA legend Michael Jordan, as reported by Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer:
Nearly a month after Charlotte Hornets rookie Malik Monk was ruled out of summer league with a sprained ankle, he still hasn’t been cleared for full basketball activity.
But that should change in the next few days
Monk, the No. 11 overall pick last month, said his target date to return to the court is Tuesday. He injured his left ankle in a pre-draft workout, and the Hornets ruled him out of Orlando summer league games and practices.
Monk said he looks forward to playing alongside Hornets starting point guard Kemba Walker. Monk sees similarities between Walker, an All-Star last season, and former Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, the fifth overall pick to the Sacramento Kings.
“Kemba does everything just like Fox,” Monk said.
Monk showed his cocky side Saturday, repeating that he’d beat Hornets owner Michael Jordan in a game of one-on-one. Jordan might have been the greatest player of his generation – maybe ever – but, as Monk noted, he is 54.
“He’s pretty old right now,” Monk said of Jordan. “I think I can get him.”
Hayward’s last contract cost Jazz — It may have seemed like just the matter of one more year at the time. But Gordon Hayward told Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com on The Woj Podcast that not getting a max offer from the Jazz previously was a factor in his decision to leave Utah:
"It lingered for maybe a little bit of time at the beginning of when I signed it. There was none of those feelings were there this time around. Restricted free agency, it’s a little weird.
As a player, you’re sitting there thinking like, '“What the hell?”' You look at all these other players where teams are like, '“He’s our guy.'” Like, '“We’re going to give him the max.”' Blah, blah, blah. And I’ve got to go out and get one? Like, '“Do you not believe in me?”' Like, '“Do you not feel like I’m the guy for you?”'
From a team’s perspective, it’s the smartest thing to do. Like, '“Why would we overpay you until somebody else makes us, essentially?”' You know what I mean?
So, I can for sure see it from both sides. But restricted free agency is weird."
SOME RANDOM HEADLINES: James Harden and Chris Paul are teaming up already in the Drew League ... Tracy McGrady defends his Hall of Fame selection ... Kobe Bryant pays a visit to L.A. Chargers training camp ... G League MVP Vander Blue signs contract with the Lakers.