Michael Malone, the Head Coach of the Denver Nuggets, does not consider the matchups with the Los Angeles Lakers to be a rivalry, but he continues to make pointed remarks. Reggie Bullock has joined a new team, and the Orlando Magic have exercised the option in Franz Wagner’s contract.
According to Shams Charania (The Athletic), several contenders showed interest in Bullock, but he ultimately chose the Rockets, who could presumably offer more playing time. The Rockets’ move is in response to the absence of Kevin Porter Jr., who is currently not with the team due to allegations of domestic violence.
Bullock shot 38 percent from three-point range for Dallas last season but averaged only 7.2 points per game.
Since 2020, the Denver Nuggets have met the Los Angeles Lakers twice in the Conference Finals. However, for Coach Michael Malone, despite various jabs, this does not constitute a rivalry. Malone stated in an interview with Ohm Youngmisuk (ESPN), “You can’t play the same team twice in the Conference Finals in four years and think that’s a rivalry. To me, a rivalry is Boston vs. L.A. or, in the past, Miami vs. New York.”
Instead, Malone dismisses any talk of a rivalry. “For me, it’s not a topic. We’re in the 2023/24 season. I don’t live in the past four months.”
In May, the Nuggets swept the Lakers, and during the Finals, Malone repeatedly made pointed remarks, criticizing that too many reporters were still covering the Lakers even though they had been “sent fishing.” After winning the championship, Malone even joked about the possibility of retiring, referencing LeBron James’ comments after the Lakers’ elimination.
The Lakers have a slightly different perspective on the situation, as Anthony Davis’s comments at the Media Day indicated. “There has been a lot of talk, a lot has happened. We get it, they won, but I’ve had a few conversations with LeBron, and we can’t wait to play against them again.”
Malone found these statements somewhat surprising: “Oh, are they still concerned about us? I can’t speak for anyone in L.A., but if they’re still worried about us, that’s on them.”
It has been an eventful year for Victor Wembanyama, the top pick of the San Antonio Spurs. However, there has been a recent silence surrounding him as he decided not to participate in the World Cup. Instead, he focused on regeneration. “I left everything behind for a few weeks,” he revealed at the Spurs’ Media Day.
“That restored me. I believe that the best players work the hardest, but you also need to know how to rest the hardest. And I rested as hard as I could.” Wembanyama has been in San Antonio for some time now and claims to have gained between five and seven kilograms.
“I’ve never trained as well as I have recently,” Wembanyama said. “Harder, but also smarter. I believe that this offseason can make a difference, not only for the upcoming season but for the years to come. The work I’ve put in will pay off in the coming years.”
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