Los Angeles — A former coach and family friend of onetime Sacramento Kings and UCLA basketball player Tyler Honeycutt says he had grown increasingly concerned about the young man before he was found dead following a standoff with Los Angeles police.
Bort Escoto, who coached Honeycutt in high school, told the Los Angeles Times that Honeycutt’s mother called him early Saturday to say her son had killed himself.
Escoto told the Los Angeles Daily News that Honeycutt had “been going through some things.”
The day of his death, Escoto said he was planning on going to Honeycutt’s home after the 27-year-old called him.
“I planned on going to his house to talk, but his mom called me 45 minutes later saying, ‘He had a gun and was talking crazy,’” Escoto said. “I told her to call 911.”
Los Angeles police said they responded to a call reporting a man with a gun. They were talking with Honeycutt when they say he fired his weapon. Officers returned fire and a standoff ensued.
When police went into the home hours later, they found Honeycutt dead. The department said on Twitter that his injuries were consistent with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Escoto, who remained close with Honeycutt through college and his pro career, said the young man had been calling him recently “and thanking me for all I’ve done for him.”
“He has been acting very unusual lately, and our conversations would leave me concerned for him,” he said.
Escoto told the Times that he never imagined Honeycutt would take his own life but knew the young man was having a hard time adjusting to life in Russia, where he was playing basketball in the Eastern European Professional Basketball League.
“It’s hard for an L.A. kid to go to Russia, not know the language or surroundings,” he said. “I just kept telling him he needed to get out and meet people.”
He said Honeycutt was supposed to sign a new contract with either Russia or Israel the day he died.
LaVine re-ups with Bulls
Zach LaVine is staying in Chicago, with one of the biggest deals of free agency this summer now complete.
The Bulls on Sunday formally matched the four-year, $80 million offer sheet LaVine signed with the Sacramento Kings, a move that was expected almost from the instant the restricted free agent got the offer.
LaVine is one of only six free agents to get deals worth that much so far this summer, joining Chris Paul ($160 million), LeBron James ($153 million), Nikola Jokic ($148 million), Paul George ($137 million) and Aaron Gordon ($80 million). Phoenix’s Devin Booker signed a $158 million deal as well, his coming in the form of an extension and not through a foray into free agency.
LaVine has missed 91 of a possible 162 games over the past two seasons because of injuries, and the Bulls will have some language in this contract protecting them if his surgically repaired left knee remains problematic.
Miles Bridges (Michigan State) scored 14 points for the Charlotte Hornets in their 94-90 Summer League victory over the Miami Heat.
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