NBA Media Day Was Not Free From Cringe Moments

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Media Day for the NBA is usually a very joyous time around the league. It is the first time that entire teams are getting together in preparation for the upcoming season and it usually provides a lot of fun memories.

Photoshoots are held, which for a rookie, is always memorable. Plenty of funny quotes and fun back and forths are had between players and the media as the atmosphere is usually light-hearted without any tension.

However, some moments can get a little awkward. This year’s Media Day provided plenty of them as there are a ton of storylines around the league that are not focused on basketball.

Some of the cringiest moments came courtesy of the Phoenix Suns. Jae Crowder and the team agreeing that he shouldn’t report to camp as they work out a trade would normally be atop a list of things to talk about, but it was barely mentioned. Instead, a lot of focus was on the early process of the team being sold following the fallout of the investigation into Robert Sarver.

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jae Crowder, Robert Sarver, Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker & Phoenix Suns Updates

What he did as owner of the team is grotesque and his behavior was reprehensible. Despite that, James Jones and the face of the franchise, Devin Booker, both provided tone-deaf quotes about the matter.

Jones doubled down on the statement that he issued in 2021 in the days following the allegations alongside Sarver, saying, “When I made my statements last year, I stand by that that’s my experience, and I still to this day can’t speak for others and their experience, but now that we know, those things aren’t acceptable, and they’re not cool,” Jones told reporters gathered in Phoenix. “I think those who have been impacted deserve our respect and our support. I’m here for that, but I won’t discount what I said, because it was my experience.”

LATEST NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Jae Crowder, Robert Sarver, Deandre Ayton, Devin Booker & Phoenix Suns Updates

Booker followed suit, saying that was not the Sarver he knew. Booker was failed by his leaders on how to handle the subject as he was put in a position he should have never been placed in.

In addition to that, the Deandre Ayton situation bears mentioning. Has anyone ever been so unhappy to receive $133 million? He looks and sounds like someone that wants out of Phoenix as soon as possible as it was revealed he hasn’t spoken to head coach Monty Williams since they were eliminated from the playoffs.

Across the country, another team is embroiled in controversy as the Boston Celtics have suspended head coach Ime Udoak for violating team rules. Not providing details into what occurred or explaining the suspension has opened players up to a tough spot.

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Marcus Smart defended his boss without knowing what really happened, leading to a cringe-worthy quote, “Nobody died, so I didn’t lose anything,” said Smart. “I still love Ime, personally and as a coach. It’s just something unfortunate that happened to him. It doesn’t take away from what he did as a coach.”

The Charlotte Hornets are handling a delicate matter of their own with Miles Bridges. He was charged with felony domestic violence and child abuse and his basketball career is in jeopardy. However, owner Michael Jordan or general manager Mitch Kupchak were not made available to the media, leaving the coaches and players to answer for it.

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Head coach Steve Clifford made an ill-fated attempt to compare Bridges’ absence to a player being in the health and safety protocols related to COVID-19 or an injury. LaMelo Ball wasn’t trying to add negative energy and is hoping Bridges is back this season, as he was also put in a tough spot.

Investigations into tampering are also ongoing for two franchises. The league is looking into the handling of moves the Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks made this offseason.

Philadelphia’s signings of James Harden, P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr. are being looked into, which general manager Daryl Morey said he cannot comment on. Tucker, on the other hand, likely said too much, admitting this was something that has been in the works for over a year.

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Leon Rose, the face of the Knicks front office, has almost never spoken to the media. He held a press conference Monday but only with team-owned media. His unavailability is cringe-worthy in itself as head coach Tom Thibodeau usually takes all of the bullets in press conferences.

Who would have ever imagined that a story such as Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving explaining their roles in a tumultuous offseason for the Brooklyn Nets wouldn’t be one of the most discussed topics of Media Day?

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