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2022 trial set in slaying of former Memphis Grizzlies player Lorenzen Wright



MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A Tennessee judge Wednesday set a 2022 trial date for a man charged with conspiring with the ex-wife of Lorenzen Wright to kill the former NBA player nearly 11 years ago in Memphis.

Shelby County Criminal Court Judge Lee Coffee told Billy Ray Turner that his trial in Wright’s slaying is scheduled to begin Jan. 31.

Turner’s trial had been set for October 2020, but it was postponed after the Tennessee Supreme Court suspended trials last year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The state’s high court said in February that trials could resume after March 31.

A murder trial in Wright’s slaying in Memphis would involve one of the most highly publicized homicide cases in the city’s history.

Turner has pleaded not guilty to charges of first-degree murder and conspiracy issued in a December 2017 indictment. He could face life in prison if convicted of first-degree murder.

Wright’s decomposing body was found riddled with bullet wounds in a swampy field in east Memphis on July 28, 2010. Wright, 34, had been missing for 10 days before his body was discovered.

A Memphis native, the 6-foot, 11-inch Wright played 13 seasons for the Memphis Grizzlies and four other NBA teams. He was retired from the league when he was killed. Wright also played college basketball at the University of Memphis.

Wright’s ex-wife, Sherra Wright, entered a surprise guilty plea to facilitation of murder in July 2019. Coffee sentenced her to 30 years in prison. She could be a witness in Turner’s trial.

Turner, 50, has already pleaded guilty to possessing a weapon as a convicted felon. Prosecutors say Turner had two guns when he was arrested in Wright’s killing. Turner was sentenced to 16 years in prison on the separate gun charge.

During a brief court hearing Wednesday, Coffee apologized to Turner for the delay in his trial, which could take two weeks.

Turner told the judge that he has been in jail awaiting trial for years and that he is eager to “prove my innocence and get back to my family.”

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Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter to miss rest of postseason with knee injury



Atlanta Hawks forward De’Andre Hunter will miss the rest of the NBA playoffs because of a torn lateral meniscus in his right knee, the team announced Wednesday.

Hunter, the team’s top perimeter defender, experienced some mild swelling in his right knee prior to Game 1 against the Philadelphia 76ers in their Eastern Conference semifinal series, and he underwent an MRI that revealed a new small tear of the lateral meniscus.

Hunter is scheduled to travel to Los Angeles this weekend and have surgery on Tuesday with Dr. Neal ElAttrache.

Hunter averaged 15.0 points and 4.8 rebounds during the regular season.

Game 3 of the Hawks-Sixers series is Friday in Atlanta. The series is tied 1-1.

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LeBron, Kobe and other Lakers legends to wear multiple jersey numbers



LeBron James intends to change his Los Angeles Lakers jersey number to No. 6 next season, a source confirmed to ESPN.

James, who has worn No. 6 as a member of Team USA and wears the same digit on his practice jersey, had worn No. 23 during his first three seasons with the Lakers. He also wore No. 23 for 11 seasons across two stints with the Cleveland Cavaliers, and previously wore No. 6 with the Miami Heat.

This isn’t the first time James has looked to switch his Lakers’ jersey number. In 2019, when Los Angeles acquired Anthony Davis from the New Orleans Pelicans, James was ready to give up his No. 23 to the team’s newly acquired star as it was also the number Davis wore during his first seven seasons in the NBA. However, due to potential production and financial issues with manufacturer Nike, those plans were halted.

The Lakers captain is not the first to make a number change while donning the purple and gold, as former Hall of Famers and franchise legends like Kobe Bryant and Gail Goodrich have made switches in the past. Here are the top jersey switches in Lakers’ history, including some insight into the motivations that sparked the change.

Gail Goodrich, from No. 11 to No. 25

Hall of Famer Gail Goodrich has his No. 25 hanging in the Staples Center rafters, but that wasn’t the number on his jersey when he debuted with the Lakers in 1965. When the 6-foot-1 guard joined the Lakers as a rookie, the No. 25 he wore at UCLA was taken by center Leroy Ellis, so he settled for No. 11. In 1968 he was selected by the Phoenix Suns in the NBA’s expansion draft, and No. 25 was available to him in Phoenix — and remained available when he was traded back to the Lakers two years later. He played six seasons in Los Angeles wearing No. 25, making four All-Star appearances and helping the Lakers win the title in 1972.

Eddie Jones, from No. 25 to No. 6

When Jones joined the Lakers as a rookie in 1994, Goodrich’s No. 25 had yet to be retired, and had in fact been worn by four other players since Goodrich (including Mitch Kupchak, who was part of the front office that drafted Jones). However, on Nov. 20, 1996, the Lakers put Goodrich’s jersey in the rafters, and Jones switched to No. 6 — coincidentally the same number that LeBron James will sport next season. That is something Jones is used to; he also wore No. 6 for six seasons with the Miami Heat, only to see James eventually wear it there as well.

Kobe Bryant, from No. 8 to No. 24

The reasons why Kobe Bryant wore No. 8 were twofold. One, No. 8 paid homage to the number he wore as a youth in Italy, where his family resided during the time of his father playing professionally in Europe. Two, it harkened back to his days participating at the Adidas ABCD camp where Bryant wore No. 143. 1 + 4 + 3 = 8.

But Bryant made the request to switch to No. 24 in 2005, shortly after the Lakers traded Shaquille O’Neal in a blockbuster deal to the Miami Heat. Kobe was ready for a fresh start, but due to deadlines, he’d have to wait until the 2006-07 season to get his new digits.

“It’s kind of a clean slate,” Bryant said. “I started new. Just start completely fresh, focus on the number that meant a lot to me.”

That clean slate would result in two more NBA championships for Bryant, and his only MVP award. The Lakers would go on to retire both his numbers in 2017, making him the only player in NBA history to have two different jersey numbers retired by the same franchise.

MORE: Kobe’s two legendary careers

Metta World Peace, from No. 37 to No. 15 back to No. 37

Few players have had as many jersey numbers, or name changes, as Metta Sandiford-Artest. Artest, who spent six seasons with the Lakers, was signed as a free agent to a five-year deal worth about $33 million. In honor of Michael Jackson, Artest chose the No. 37 for his jersey, in reference to Jackson’s Thriller album which held the top spot on the charts for 37 straight weeks.

After memorably coming up clutch in the 2010 Finals with Kobe Bryant to win the title over the Boston Celtics in seven games, Artest made another change, back to his longtime number from St. John’s and as a rookie in the NBA — No. 15. Artest would also convert his name, as he officially changed it to Metta World Peace in 2011.

Artest would return back to the Lakers in 2015 after stints in China and Italy, donning the No. 37 once again.

LeBron James, from No. 23 to No. 6

This isn’t the first time James has shelved No. 23 for No. 6. In 2009, the final season of his first stint with the Cleveland Cavaliers, James announced he’d be changing jersey numbers, and suggested that the league should retire No. 23 in honor of Michael Jordan. To date, only two teams have done so: the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat, who have Jordan’s 23 hanging on the wall of their arena (Pat Riley retired it in Jordan’s honor for his contributions to the game), which helped force James’ original jersey number switch.

That wasn’t even James’ first Jordan-related jersey number switch: In the 2004 Olympics, James sported the same No. 9 for Team USA that Jordan had worn in 1984 and 1992. However, after that team failed to win gold, James switched to his now-familiar No. 6 — which he wears in honor of Julius Erving, his second-favorite player growing up — for all future Team USA appearances.

Even while wearing No. 23 in his return to Cleveland and later in Los Angeles, James has regularly continued to wear No. 6 during practices. Now, starting next season, he’ll become the 12th Laker to wear it during a game, joining Chucky Brown, Eddie Jones, Jelani McCoy, Maurice Evans, Adam Morrison, Josh McRoberts, Earl Clark, Kent Bazemore, Jordan Clarkson, Derrick Williams and Lance Stephenson.

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Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James plans to change jersey number from No. 23 to No. 6, source says



LeBron James plans to change his Los Angeles Lakers jersey number to No. 6 next season, a source confirmed to ESPN.

James had worn No. 23 during his first three seasons with the Lakers. The number change was first reported Wednesday by The Athletic.

Fellow Lakers star Anthony Davis will keep his No. 3, a source told ESPN.

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