April 3, 2020 | 7:43 am EDT Update
Larry Beil: This is how a championship organization operates. The #Warriors Foundation (with owners & players chipping in) has increased its contribution from $1 million to $1.4 for part-time employees who work home games. That’s about $1,000 per person. CHAMPIONS on & off the court.
Paul talked about his mindset heading into his first season with the Thunder with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on All The Smoke: “The thing as a hooper is confidence…so when I went to Oklahoma, I had already started my training, so when the trade happened, I wasn’t tripping… I was more pissed about being away from the family,” Chris Paul said. “When I got to Oklahoma, I had to prove myself…Whether that’s the case or not, if the media puts you out there as somewhat washed, then people start to think that. I had to prove myself to my Thunder teammates, to my coaches, to everybody in the organization. I had to show that I could stay healthy. I had to prove all this stuff.”
Farbod Esnaashari: Matt Barnes reveals that Chris Paul was texting both him and Kobe Bryant when CP3 was traded to the Lakers. It looks like Chris is legitimately sad about not having the chance to play with Kobe. pic.twitter.com/m3gdF06CRz
However, Paul now admits that he “appreciated” Griffin more after he left the Clippers in the summer of 2017. The future Hall of Famer talked to Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes on the All The Smoke Podcast about his stint with the Clippers: “It’s seriously one of those things you don’t realize what you have until it’s gone,” Chris Paul said. “I think about it at times. And me and Blake Griffin absolutely had our issues here and there, but I actually appreciated Blake probably a lot more after I left.”
In a message left on Clippers’ social media, Paul George stressed fans stay strong in this difficult period. George also mentioned that the Clippers have a priority to be the team that’s in the best shape when the season returns. Here is the message in full: “Clipper Nation, what’s good? Just wanted to share some light, keep everybody positive, and their mood right. I know this is a hard time we’re going through right now, but we will get through it. As we’ve been preaching and saying around our team, amongst coach, we want to win the wait. When this thing gets back going, we want to be the team that’s in the best shape and ready to go.
95.7 The Game: “The fiery competitiveness is what’s different.” “With Michael, with Draymond as a teammate or as a coach, you feel it. You hear it. You see it every day.” Steve compares Draymond’s competitive spirit to Michael Jordan. (➡️ @realtordotcom)
“Oh, I love watching him,” Jamal Crawford said about Derrick Rose. “He’s someone who was written off, someone who was — I think people didn’t give him the proper respect on his name. From different places, different situations. “He’s a Hall of Famer. He’s unbelievable. He’s fun to watch. He’s such a genuine person. I’ll always root for him. I’m like his biggest fan to be honest with you. I love watching him. “Think about that, he knew he was this D-Rose all along, whether he was in Cleveland, whether he was in Minnesota, whatever. Getting waived from Utah…But he knew he was this same guy all along.”
Did Nathan Spencer (the team’s head strength and conditioning coach) drop off some equipment to you right before the practice facility closed? Jonathan Isaac: Yes. They were super-mindful of what was going on and they brought me a bike, they brought me weights. They brought me everything that I need to be able to do my rehab. That’s why it works so well. So I have a little impromptu gym in my living room. Every day I get up and I start knocking out what I’ve got to do for the day. Do the rehab specialists watch you via Zoom or FaceTime as you’re working out, or do they speak to you afterward? Jonathan Isaac: They speak to me afterward always, and they took me through all my exercises the day before (the facility closed). So I know what I have to do. And then if I have any questions, I FaceTime them.
Chris Broussard & Rob Parker disputed a fan-voted bracket that put Michael Jordan & Larry Bird as the greatest college basketball player of all time. According to Broussard, Michael Jordan is not the greatest college basketball player of all time. “It is clearly Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. And after him it’s probably Bill Walton. I don’t think Michael Jordan is even in the discussion of the greatest college player of all time,” he said.
Beyond opting not to find a test for himself, Vogel told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan that he isn’t trying to find out which players on his team tested positive. “I don’t even know who are they,” he told MacMullan, “and I’m totally fine with that.”
Adidas AG is seeking more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion) in German government aid as it grapples with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, people familiar with the matter said. The sporting goods maker is in talks with German state-owned bank KfW about a financing package, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Adidas has been discussing a range of around 1 billion euros to 2 billion euros in loans, though the final amount and timing haven’t been decided, the people said.
Growing up in Berwyn Heights, John Beckham spent hours upon hours playing basketball. He never attracted scholarship interest from any of the local Division I schools, but when the 1996 Parkdale High graduate and filmmaker would join pickup games in other parts of the country in later years, he often found he was the best player in the gym. “That didn’t happen very often back home,” Beckham said in a phone interview. “And then every year there was someone else from [Prince George’s County] getting drafted in the NBA. It’s like, what the f— is going on here?” That’s the question Beckham set out to answer in his documentary, “Basketball County: In the Water,” a collaboration with Prince George’s County legend and NBA star Kevin Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures that will premiere on Showtime on May 15 at 9 p.m. Eastern time.
In October, the Los Angeles Lakers invited magician, illusionist and self-proclaimed “endurance artist” David Blaine for a “Genius Talk,” something the team started doing in 2018 to give their players an opportunity to get advice from people that are accomplished in a variety of industries. After their talk with Blaine, the Lakers were scheduled to have practice, but Frank Vogel decided to give his players the day off, and on Wednesday night, we got an idea as to why that was. On Wednesday, ABC aired Blaine’s new special, “The Magic Way,” and it included a few segments of the Lakers having their minds blown by card tricks, which probably sounds silly, but these weren’t your every day card tricks. Who were Blaine’s first volunteers, you might ask? LeBron James and Anthony Davis, of course — with a sprinkle of JaVale McGee.
Dr. Fauci Was a Basketball Captain. Now He’s America’s Point Guard. His teammates in high school looked to Dr. Anthony Fauci for leadership. They’re still doing it more than 60 years later. The basketball team at Regis High School had a 1-16 record as the players entered a rival’s gym in the winter of 1958 fully expecting to leave with yet another loss. The other team’s star was a future NBA coach who would one day run the New York Knicks. Regis was led by a diminutive future doctor who would one day run the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
April 2, 2020 | 9:36 pm EDT Update
Arn Tellem said that in his more than 30 years as a sports agent and five years in the Pistons front office, he has never faced a more difficult challenge. “I’ve experienced long lockouts as an agent,” he said. “I’ve experienced the economic downturns. That definitely had an impact on our business. We went through the tragedy of 9/11, which had an impact. But nothing like this.”
For the time being, and likely for weeks or months to come, basketball is no longer the team’s primary public concern. “We’re trying to get ahead of the game as best we can,” Tellem said. “As part of that, it’s changing our whole public face. Usually we’re talking about upcoming games, the draft, free agency, all those things in our advertising and content online and obviously we’re now changing that content.”
The league has not made public any plans for the remainder of the season or playoffs, which were supposed to start April 18. Per a contract agreement with the league, players received paychecks April 1 despite the suspended season, but the NBA has yet to reach a long-term agreement, ESPN reported. “There will be a time, when we flatten the curve and we’re on the significant down side of the curve, that professional sports and all sports will play an important role in the healing of this country,” Tellem said.
Youngstown State Sophomore Darius Quisenberry announced on Twtter that he has decided to declare for the 2020 NBA Draft. He will not hire an agent, and will maintain his eligibility.
Somehow, though Donnie Walsh still isn’t exactly sure how, he’s been plopped in the middle of America’s most famous infectious disease doctor’s basketball claim to fame. “I said, ‘How did that happen?'” Walsh said in a phone interview Wednesday. “This has been one of the most out-of-the-blue things I’ve ever been involved in.” Sixty-two years ago, Anthony Fauci took his high school’s 1-16 team onto Walsh’s court — and won.
Walsh wishes he could recall that game in 1958, what with all the hullabaloo surrounding Fauci now. But he doesn’t. “I don’t remember this game at all. I don’t remember Fauci,” Walsh said. “I’d like to say ‘I remember him and he’s a tough little guy,’ but I just don’t.”
Ujiri’s contention came in his legal response to Alan Strickland’s litigation, which claims Ujiri hit him trying to access the court after the final buzzer in Game 6 that ended the season on June 13, 2019. Strickland also sued the NBA, which contended as well in its response that the security guard was the aggressor.
April 2, 2020 | 8:15 pm EDT Update
Kyle Goon: Frank Vogel just spoke on a conference call about the possibility the 2019-20 season might not resume: “That certainly is a possibility, and it would be a huge disappointment if we aren’t able to play. However, we get it, and this is bigger than basketball.”
Mike Trudell: Vogel has his assistants “working on the playoff opponents as if the (regular) season were not to resume and they were to go right into the playoffs,” just in case. “So whenever we’re able to resume we’re ready to go.”
Mike Trudell: LAL built terrific chemistry, were in a nice rhythm when the season was suspended, having just beat MIL+LAC, w/a 5.5 game lead. Vogel said they’re going to have to “re-create” it. Can’t assume it will maintain. But he’s confident due to how quickly they found it to start season.
Bill Oram: On conference call with Lakers beat writers, Frank Vogel just said… • Coaches and staff were not tested for COVID-19, only players, saying “everybody recognized the shortage of tests.” • “Us getting back on the court is not the most important thing for the world right now”
P.J. Tucker will release a new limited-edition collection of clothing items next week to help promote awareness of coronavirus safety measures and raise funds for the Houston Food Bank and local businesses and vendors. Tucker announced that he and The Better Generation will make items available for a preorder through the weekend or while supplies last. The items will include long and short sleeve shirts, shorts and a baseball cap and feature COVID-19 awareness graphics.
“We all came together and said we wanted to do something positive,” Tucker said. “With so much negativity and so much stuff going on right now in the world, we wanted to do something to give back and help out. We’re doing three different shirts, three different shorts and a hat. There is a social distancing logo and messaging on the back with the logo for the store.”
Tucker said he “for sure, for sure” hopes the season can be salvaged “in some way, for sure. “I’m all for playing anywhere,” he said. “However they want to do it, I’m all for it. I don’t care. I just want to play.”
April 2, 2020 | 5:36 pm EDT Update
Nuggets rookie Michael Porter Jr. said Thursday that the right ankle injury he suffered at Milwaukee on Jan. 31 was “worse than I thought” and that he was playing through pain when he did return after the All-Star break. Porter called the NBA’s hiatus a blessing in disguise because of that.
Porter, who spent one season at Missouri, said he’s got a private gym that he can access whenever he wants. “I’ve literally been in the gym just as much as I was in Denver, which has been really good,” Porter said on Altitude’s digital show. “I feel like I haven’t really lost a lot. And it’s been good for my ankle, too, because you know my ankle was still kind of sore.”
In his downtime, he said he’s been preparing for the NBA 2K tournament that will air Friday night on ESPN. Porter, a No. 12 seed, drew No. 5 seed Devin Booker of the Phoenix Suns. Booker’s a notorious gamer, but Porter liked his chances. “I’m just naturally good at 2K,” he said. “It’s kind of weird. 2K, if you’re good at actual basketball, like it translates.”
The NBL would like to clarify the current situation regarding LaMelo Ball and the Illawarra Hawks. The league can confirm LaMelo Ball and his management had discussions about being involved with the club while he was playing in the NBL last season.
At this point we are continuing to work with current licence holder Simon Stratford on a number of options for what we hope will be a fruitful outcome for Illawarra and the NBL. The NBL has final approval on any transfer of licence and no application has been made to date. The NBL has no further comment at this stage.
The Atlanta Hawks, through the Hawks Foundation and State Farm, are funding the preparation of 4,000 meals weekly to be delivered to the more than 1,000 frontline healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients at Emory Healthcare through a four-week pilot that is part of the newly-formed Atlanta Healthcare Heroes inaugural program. The meals are provided in partnership with two local Atlanta restaurants, which are now able to re-employ “hundreds” of workers who were recently laid off or furloughed due to the financial effects of the crisis, according to Hawks CEO Steve Koonin.
How important is it to keep the Atlanta economy alive during this time for the Hawks? Koonin: It’s critical to help small businesses. You know, we might be the only place that wears the name Atlanta across their chest when we go to work every day. We’re very proud to be a basketball team that wears its city name and it’s unbelievably important to support that [city].
April 2, 2020 | 5:11 pm EDT Update
If the NBA decides to have a postseason, Louisville could be a destination as a neutral site, according to the New York Post. The article said the league is considering Louisville along with Las Vegas, Atlantic City, Orlando, the Bahamas and Hawaii. It could be a “fan-less, 16-team playoff and a 5-to-7 game regular season prelude” decided in best-of-three series.
If the NBA is weighing this, KFC Yum! Center general manager Eric Granger said he has not heard about it from anyone. “I’ve had no contact with the NBA,” Granger said. “I’ve reached out to a few of my contacts and not gotten a response yet, but obviously we’d be very excited about the opportunity to host this event.”
Though it is just a reported possibility, Granger said he wants to be prepared if it ever did gain some traction, saying it could help prove Louisville would be a good future home for a permanent team. “We’re trying just to make sure the experience is second to none for the NBA,” Granger said. “This would be an opportunity for us to showcase to the NBA what we’re capable of doing.”
Wichita State guard Dexter Dennis announced on his social media accounts on Thursday afternoon that he is entering his name in the 2020 NBA Draft, but plans to maintain his college eligibility with the option of returning for his junior season with the Shockers.
Although it launched last October, the Utah Jazz is using their Utah Jazz Podcast Network as an outlet for players to broaden their off-the-court reach and skills. “Our players have obviously been focused on keeping themselves healthy and making sure that their family and those close to them are healthy,” Bart Sharp, the Jazz’s senior vice president of marketing, said. “But they’ve also expressed a desire to try and provide some sense of normalcy and entertainment to our fan base during this time and wanted to find ways in which they can help people during this unique period.”
Already, some of the Jazz’s most well-known players are lending a hand to help produce content for the team. Utah rolled out its first player-specific podcast series, Ingles Insight, centered around Jazz shooting guard Joe Ingles, on March 21. The fifth-year player out of Adelaide, South Australia, is accompanied on Ingles Insight by his wife, Renae Ingles. The inaugural episode had more than 11,000 downloads in the first week, over 200 five-star reviews, and was the second-most popular basketball podcast in the United States on Apple Music, Sharp said.
Another new video podcast series hosted by Utah power forward Georges Niang, Drive and Dish, launched its first episode on Tuesday, March 31. Filmed out of Niang’s home and recorded through Zoom, Drive And Dish is described by Sharp as an “interview-style” podcast. The first episode saw Niang talk with teammate Jordan Clarkson about what is going on right now in a basketball-less world: what Clarkson is doing during the quarantine, his various tattoos, his distinct fashion taste, and other topics. After the debut of Drive And Dish, Sharp and the Jazz are preparing for another podcast series starring both Niang and Donovan Mitchell.
April 2, 2020 | 4:36 pm EDT Update
Doc Rivers wasn’t immediately impressed with Williams when the Clippers acquired him from the Houston Rockets. On Thursday’s episode of The Bob Ryan and Jeff Goodman Podcast, Rivers spoke about his first impressions of Williams. “When we traded for Lou, I was not having Lou,” Rivers said. “I saw a guy that kept getting traded. And I appreciated his offense, but not nearly, never thought it was this good… When he finally showed up three days before training camp, I was not having him. I was like, ‘We’re not gonna work’, you know?”
“I brought him up in the office and I told him my feelings,” Rivers said. “I said, ‘Lou, you’re one of these guys that wanna do whatever you wanna do, and you don’t want to buy-in. We asked everybody to come in. Everyone did except for you… I don’t know how this is gonna work.’ And he said, ‘I’ve been traded five years in a row. Why would I buy-in to you?’, and I didn’t have an answer.”