A lot is happening around the NBA as teams try to shore up their rosters before the start of training camps in the last week of September. Here’s a look at the latest news around the league:
NBA to Retire Russell’s No. 6 Across the League
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) have decided to retire Bill Russell’s No. 6 Jersey throughout the league starting in 2022. It’s the first time any player has had their number retired across the league. The news comes almost two weeks after Russell passed away at age 88.
Besides retiring his number, Russell will be honored next season with a clover-shaped patch featuring his No. 6 that all players will wear on the right sleeve of their jersey. In addition, the Boston Celtics plan to have their own unique recognition of Russell on their uniforms, which the team has said they will announce soon.
Players that currently wear No. 6 can continue wearing it until they voluntarily change it or retire from the league. This is similar to the decision made by Major League Baseball when it retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42 in 1997. Twenty-five players throughout the league wore No. 6 during last season, including LeBron James of the Lakers.
Lakers Offering Two First-Rounders for Irving
According to a recent report, The Los Angeles Lakers are now offering the Brooklyn Nets two first-round draft picks as part of a deal to acquire PG Kyrie Irving. Previously, reports surfaced that the Lakers weren’t interested in any offer with two first-round picks as part of the package to bring Irving to LA. However, it seems they may have had a change of heart.
This doesn’t indicate a trade is imminent, as the Nets would also have to agree to take over Russell Westbrook’s contract. If that’s not part of the deal, it wouldn’t matter to anyone how many first-round picks they’re willing to give up. Finding a third team as part of the deal would be the only way the teams could make this work without Westbrook being involved in any agreement.
It would be in the best interest of the Lakers to deal Westbrook and make a major upgrade at point guard at the same time. However, there probably won’t be any Irving trade until the Nets can move Kevin Durant, if they can move him at all.
Knicks Leading in Race To Acquire Jazz’s Mitchell
The Jazz started the process of rebuilding when they dealt All-Star center Rudy Gobert to the Minnesota Timberwolves in a blockbuster trade this offseason. Although reports indicate that guard Donovan Mitchell has not requested a trade, all parties involved feel that’s the case. To get the most out of next year’s NBA Draft, the Jazz will need to trade Mitchell before the start of the season in October.
The New York Knicks still think they are the only team in the hunt to acquire the All-Star and realize that other franchises interested in Mitchell can’t come close to what they have to offer. They currently have nine first-round draft picks over the next five drafts and control the Dallas Mavericks’ first-round pick in 2023. Many NBA insiders believe it’s just a matter of time before the two teams get the deal done and Mitchell becomes a member of the Knicks.