P.J. Tucker gets jail time for super extreme DUI, apologizes

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P.J. Tucker was arrested in May after driving erratically and then registering a .222 blood-alcohol content. 

Following the incident, Tucker signed a three-year, $16.5 million contract with the Phoenix Suns. The Suns reportedly knew about the charge – called super extreme DUI – when re-signing the starting small forward.

Now, Tucker is taking responsibility – both through the legal system and with a public statement.

Kevin Zimmerman of Valley of the Suns:

Tucker pleaded guilty to super extreme DUI at a disposition hearing at Scottsdale City Court and will spend three days in jail in addition to other penalties.

In addition to his jail time, Tucker will face 11 days house arrest, though he will be able to leave for work for no more than 12 hours per day. He will submit to substance abuse screening and counseling, and could face probation for up to five years. Tucker will also have an interlock device installed on his vehicle and have to pay several fines.

Tucker and Suns president Lon Babby also released statements, as relayed by Zimmerman.

Tucker:

“I would like to express my gratitude to the people of Phoenix for their love and support during my time as a Phoenix Sun. Thank you to the Phoenix Suns organization for supporting me throughout this difficult time. And, of course my wife Tracey, family and friends, who just keep loving me. I cannot express how much I appreciate and value the many blessings that I have been given – love and abundance that I never imagined. I am truly blessed. I am so grateful that no one was hurt as a result of my choice to drive impaired.

I am truly sorry and I take full responsibility for my actions. No excuses. It is now my responsibility to examine my life and make the changes necessary to ensure this never happens again. That process has begun and will continue with the love and support of my family, friends and, of course, the amazing Phoenix Suns.

There is both a lesson and an opportunity in this experience: I learned the lesson the hard way – the opportunity is to ensure others don’t.

The good that resulted from making this mistake is realizing people’s capacity to forgive. Thank you all so much for the love and forgiveness that I have received throughout this time.

I will not let you down.

Thank you.”

Babby:

“Like P.J. himself, the Phoenix Suns take P.J.’s behavior very seriously. We remain fully committed to the highest standards of personal and professional conduct as we develop a championship culture. All of the members of our team, both on the court and in the front office, understand the importance of obeying the law and conducting ourselves in a way that honors our community. In considering this matter, we concluded that P.J. was sincere in his remorse and in his resolve to accept the consequences of his actions. We are convinced that he will take the necessary steps to avoid any such conduct in the future. The Suns do not in any way condone his conduct, but we do support him as he works through this.”

It’s good to see Tucker say all the right things. That’s all he can do at this point.

Hopefully, he heeds his words going forward.

Lakers’ recruiting pitch for Paul George leaks

AP Photo/R Brent Smith
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LeBron James doesn’t want elaborate pitches in free agency.

Paul George never said that, though.

So, the Lakers are apparently planning to put some showbiz into their recruitment.

Robin Lundberg of Sports Illustrated, citing a “Hollywood source,” revealed a Lakers pitch for George. The direction:

Less Morgan Freeman/Denzel Washington, and more Jamie Foxx. A bit more edge an attitude to their voice, and a bit less aspirational

The text:

When you were just a kid

In your room
Dreaming from Palmdale

We were dreaming too.

While you dreamt, we built – built for your arrival

And while we dreamt, you built too
Becoming one of the world’s greatest.

Life’s most powerful dream are the one we realize ourselves.

The ones that turn us into legends.
That kid from Palmdale always knew it
Now the world will, too

Who wrote this, noted storyteller Kobe Bryant?

My bigger question: Did or did not the Lakers, who’ve gone to great lengths to make their interest in George known, want this to leak before the official start of free agency?

Report: No divide between Chris Paul and Rockets over contract

AP Photo/David J. Phillip
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That rumor of tension between Chris Paul and the Rockets over his contract?

Sam Amick of USA Today:

As for the recent report from Fox Sports’ Chris Broussard that there are rising tensions between the two sides because Paul wants the full max and isn’t sure if he’ll get it, two people with knowledge of the situation refuted the idea there is any friction between the sides.

Remember, everyone who leaks something has an agenda. But I find this report far more credible than the initial rumor.

Paul’s max projects to be about $205 million over five years. That’s a lot to commit to a 33-year-old, but Paul took a discount to facilitate an opt-in-and-trade to Houston last year. He expects to be made whole.

Until Broussard’s report, all indications were the Rockets would appease him. Barring more information, that should remain the expectation.

Report: LeBron James not planning to sit for elaborate pitch meetings in free agency

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LeBron James held court in Cleveland in 2010, listening to pitch after pitch as teams flew in to recruit the superstar during free agency. That approach became a model, and Kevin Durant followed it in the Hamptons in 2016.

But maybe once is enough.

Durant announced months ago he’d stay with the Warriors. And now LeBron – who could definitely leave Cleveland – is making clear he doesn’t want the hoopla, either.

Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:

sources close to the situation tell ESPN that he has no intention of hearing elaborate pitch meetings from teams.

league sources believe he and his agents Rich Paul and Mark Termini have enough understanding of the stakes and NBA landscape to handle the process without much fanfare.

LeBron is still haunted by The Decision. He’s a great player and philanthropist and does plenty to connect with fans. Yet, people still dislike him purely because of how he changed teams eight years ago.

If I wielded as much power as LeBron, I’d want suitors wining and dining me. He wants to avoid more backlash.

This will probably look similar to 2014 – LeBron’s agents hearing out teams then LeBron meeting with only the most serious options, though the final announcement will likely come via Uninterrupted rather than Sports Illustrated.

The Lakers, Cavaliers, Rockets and 76ers are commonly viewed as the favorites for LeBron. This approach makes it less likely for a longshot to emerge – though, for what it’s worth, we don’t know those four teams are his favorites right now.

Report: Nuggets re-signing Nikola Jokic to five-year max after declining team option

AP Photo/Matt Slocum
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The Nuggets are building around Nikola Jokic.

But a second-round pick turning into a franchise player so quickly creates complications. Denver is resolving one by declining Jokic’s team option, which will send him into restricted free agency (as opposed to unrestricted free agency next year) and paying him.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

This ought to please Jokic. He would have earned just $1,600,520 next season if Denver exercised his team option.

Jokic is one of the best-passing full-time centers ever. He also shoots and rebounds well, though he must improve his defense to become worthy of this contract. At just 23, he’s worth betting on.

That said, I’m surprised the Nuggets didn’t get him on a slight discount. Though they clearly didn’t want to risk him testing unrestricted free agency next year, they gave him a MASSIVE raise (about $24 million) next season when they didn’t have to.

Jokic’s exact max salary won’t be determined until the salary cap and luxury-tax line are set this month. But this clearly puts Denver in cost-cutting mode now.

As constructed, the Nuggets are in line for about $24 million in luxury-tax payments. That’s without considering Will Barton, who’ll be an unrestricted free agent. Expect Denver to look to unload Kenneth Faried, Darrell Arthur, Wilson Chandler and/or Mason Plumlee.

Jokic was always going to be in Denver next season. The Nuggets have now secured him far longer. It will cost them next year – an important season to them – but they also clearly value a future with Jokic.