The past weekend delivered a series of significant NBA updates related to guards from the Eastern Conference. Notably, the Cleveland Cavaliers, Charlotte Hornets, and New York Knicks took the spotlight in the latest news.
NBA Updates: Ricky Rubio’s Focus on Mental Well-Being
Ricky Rubio, the guard for the Cavaliers, made an announcement on Saturday regarding his decision to temporarily step away from professional basketball. He cited the necessity to prioritize his mental health as the primary reason.
“I want to thank all the support I have received from the [Spanish national] team to understand my decision. Today, family makes more sense than ever. Thank you. I would ask that my privacy be respected so that I can face these moments and be able to give more information when the time is right.”
Furthermore, Rubio’s choice adds to an ongoing and essential dialogue surrounding mental health for athletes. The NBA updates state that NBA has intensified its efforts to address the mental well-being of its players, and athletes are becoming increasingly comfortable sharing their experiences to break down the stigma associated with mental health. Notable figures like Kevin Love, DeMar DeRozan, and Giannis Antetokounmpo have been recent advocates in this movement.
At present, it remains uncertain whether Rubio’s absence will extend into the 2023–24 NBA season. Nevertheless, his commendable decision to prioritize his mental health comes as he embarks on his 18th year in his professional career.
NBA Updates: Hornets Secure R.J. Hunter
On Saturday, the Hornets reached an agreement on a one-year, non-guaranteed contract with guard R.J. Hunter. Hunter gained recognition for his notable college career with Georgia State, where he notably scored 12 of their 13 points, including the game-winning three-pointer, leading to an upset victory against No. 3-seeded Baylor during the 2015 NCAA Tournament. He was selected as the 28th overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2015 NBA Draft. However, Hunter faced challenges maintaining consistency. He subsequently played for the Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets before briefly returning to Boston. In one game against the Rockets, he scored 17 points, achieving a shooting success rate of 6/13 from the field and 4/10 from beyond the arc.
Hunter’s proficiency in perimeter shooting will significantly contribute to the Hornets, who finished 27th in terms of three-pointers made per game (10.7) and 29th in three-point percentage (33%). Although he will face competition from reserve guards Nick Smith Jr. and Bryce McGowens, Hunter stands a chance to secure the team’s final two-way contract spot.
Josh Hart’s Contract Extension Aspiration with the Knicks
Following his decision to exercise his $12.9 million player option, Knicks guard Josh Hart has expressed his interest in establishing a long-term commitment with the franchise.
“Opting in, I was going to take it one day at a time,” Hart said. “Hopefully, that’s a place where I want to be and a place I want to call home.”
According to a report by Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, NBA updates Hart could potentially be in line for a four-year, $75 million contract extension in the coming period. As the Knicks restructure their core around key players such as Jalen Brunson, Julius Randle, and R.J. Barrett, Hart’s inclusion in the team’s future plans seems likely as they endeavor to bring a winning basketball culture back to the vibrant setting of the Big Apple.