Shams Charania: I wrote after the verbal altercation be…

Shams Charania: I wrote after the verbal altercation between you and KD that the season would go two different ways based upon how you reacted. Did you realize that how you responded to the situation would impact everything? Draymond Green: For sure. That can go one or two ways; we would go one way or the other. I knew that it would go whatever way that I wanted it to go. I told Bob (Myers) and Steve (Kerr), ‘At the end of the day, the only person that can correct this is me.’ I promised them I would. I was obviously dedicated toward making that right and making this run to the Finals. I had to draw that line in the sand, and I knew what was most important to me and us. We had a championship in our mind. I understood whatever issue was there, we had to move on. At the end of the day, only I could correct it.

More on Durant-Green Dynamic

How did the team get through the Durant-Draymond incident? Bob Myers: “Just being a decent human being. That’s like anything in life. This just happens to be on a bigger stage. You’re just doing your job. Everybody covers our organization. We’re fortunate to be in a spot where people care about our team as much they do, both good and bad. It was just being a high group of character people and leaning on Steve [Kerr]. That allows us to get through anything, to be honest. I always hearken back to losing Game 7 at home. That was a defining moment. That was a high level of adversity. To respond the way we have, it’s a credit to leadership to Steve’s side and also the players.
I asked: Were you worried that the Draymond-Durant incident might wreck the season? “Not really,” Lacob said. “Stuff like that happens on basketball teams. Those guys are both pretty emotional guys, so it blew up. We all know what happened. No surprise. I think it’s healed. And I don’t think it’s an issue at this point. “Was I surprised that it happened? I guess, a little. But not shocked by any means. Stuff like that does happen. We’ve had remarkably few issues between players. We’re pretty much a family. These players get along better than pretty much any team you’ll ever want to see. We have to consider ourselves lucky that our players are who they are.”
Yet to hear Draymond tell it, these Warriors have mastered the art of compartmentalizing when it comes to the Durant situation. “It’s not important,” he said of the Durant dynamic. “We’re not about to sit around and walk around, or carry something around, that happened in November.”
I don't see KD interact with his teammates anymore, are they ok? How about KD and Draymond do they hang out like before? We only see a fraction of the actual time these players are together, but I would say that what you are noticing is what a lot of people are noticing. Doesn't mean they don't chatter up constantly when we're not looking, but usually what we see is a general representation of how it's going between teammates. I do not believe Durant and Draymond spend as much time together as they used to.
The healing didn’t happen immediately, as things were awkward for some period of time while Curry was still a ways away from returning to the court. “It’s a very select few that have been through the struggle. We have to rely on each other and that’s what got us through, the equity,” Curry said. “We’re all different, we come from different backgrounds, different ways of seeing life and value and appreciate what everybody brings to the table. If there were 15 me’s, we wouldn’t win. If there was 15 KD’s, we wouldn’t win. Fifteen Draymond’s … we have a little bit of everything.”
“[I didn’t know] how hard this is. We always talk about how hard it is to win games, championships. Everybody thinks that’s just putting the ball in the basket,” Curry said. “Many a team, many a championship run, has been derailed by egos and mismatched personalities and drama that never got solved. It’s unfortunate, but we’re not gonna be that situation.”
The healing didn’t happen immediately, as things were awkward for some period of time while Curry was still a ways away from returning to the court. “It’s a very select few that have been through the struggle. We have to rely on each other and that’s what got us through, the equity,” Curry said. “We’re all different, we come from different backgrounds, different ways of seeing life and value and appreciate what everybody brings to the table. If there were 15 me’s, we wouldn’t win. If there was 15 KD’s, we wouldn’t win. Fifteen Draymond’s … we have a little bit of everything.”
“[I didn’t know] how hard this is. We always talk about how hard it is to win games, championships. Everybody thinks that’s just putting the ball in the basket,” Curry said. “Many a team, many a championship run, has been derailed by egos and mismatched personalities and drama that never got solved. It’s unfortunate, but we’re not gonna be that situation.”
The team that prided itself on staying in the moment had a highly dissected moment of slippage due to Green’s emotion and Durant’s impending free agency this summer. Curry’s injury stopped the early MVP conversation that hadn’t included him for a couple years, but that took second place to what felt like the most trying time of this dynastic run. He admitted it could’ve turned into a full-blown crisis “if we let it continue,” Curry told Yahoo Sports recently.
The healing didn’t happen immediately, as things were awkward for some period of time while Curry was still a ways away from returning to the court. “It’s a very select few that have been through the struggle. We have to rely on each other and that’s what got us through, the equity,” Curry said. “We’re all different, we come from different backgrounds, different ways of seeing life and value and appreciate what everybody brings to the table. If there were 15 me’s, we wouldn’t win. If there was 15 KD’s, we wouldn’t win. Fifteen Draymond’s … we have a little bit of everything.”
“I learned about myself by just seeing things that go on and seeing what I can get through,” Green said. “Sometimes, it’s kind of a shocker, like, ‘I can get through this.’ It’s just more challenges, which makes you stronger.”
On top of his list was making things right with Durant. Fixing his relationship with Durant was the challenge that would test Green. It would require the best of who he is, all his wisdom and intelligence and humility. So when they sat down in Dallas, Green listened. He even came away impressed. The talk couldn’t set them on the road to recovery if Durant wasn’t willing. He was. And he didn’t use the opportunity to simply hear Green out or for the chance to exact revenge by going off in return. Durant didn’t just take the high road. He invested himself in making this work.
Durant told Green he wasn’t accepting the emotional excuse. Green’s fire is what makes him great even if it also makes him volatile. But Durant wasn’t buying that it’s uncontrollable. He’s seen Green control it. He’s seen him keep his composure in the crucible of championship stakes. He’s seen him locked in and focused, forcing his emotions to submit to his will. So Durant challenged him to be better. Green accepted.
It was in this forum, the proper one, where Green explained his free-agency concerns with Durant. And Durant explained himself. He told Green how he could’ve been more communicative but that he is just used to letting his actions speak for him. Durant shows how he feels by his work ethic, how he pours himself into his teammates. He shows he is all-in by being all-in, putting in the time, making sacrifices for the team and playing with all his heart.
Green is hoping no matter what, in 20 years, when they are older and gray, they will call each other friends and it will be real. “It’s very rare,” Green said of what he and Durant have. “Obviously, we had a good relationship and then to go through something like we went through and still come out of that with a great relationship, that’s special. Those are the relationships you have for life. My deepest relationships that I have is, like, with people that I went through shit with. It could’ve been a bad argument. It could’ve been ready to go to blows. Those are my best relationships because you go through something and then you come out on the other side and y’all are tighter and better for it. Those are the special relationships.”
"Played with the kids, spent some time with my girl," Green told ESPN of what he did while the Warriors started to move on from the Green-Durant dispute with a 110-103 win over the Atlanta Hawks without him. "Had a couple of glasses of wine. Had a great evening at home. "I don't really get shaken up about too much. S--- happens ... well other than someone saying [on social media], 'Oh he needs to be traded,' something like that, I was fine."
In between prepping for the Warhawks in Michigan State's first home game of a holiday tournament, Tom Izzo was working back channels, calling Steve Kerr and some of Green's closest confidants to glean if one of his all-time favorite former players had made a mistake, lost his cool and possibly crossed the line. More than anything, Izzo wanted to make sure that Green was mentally and spiritually intact. "His number one thing, 'I need to make sure you're in a great head space,'" Green said of Izzo's message. "'I need to make sure that whatever's going on, it don't happen again.' That's amazing."
If the Warriors don't three-peat, or even if they do and then Durant leaves in free agency, there will be detractors who probably will point back to the night at Staples Center when Green and Durant were shouting at each other. "I just really didn't give a damn [about what people outside the Warriors think]," Green said of those wanting to divide Green, Durant and the Warriors. "Because I know at the end of the day, no one wants to see us win again. They would love for us to break up, for it to be broken up by that. Because they can't, f--- ... can't nobody f---ing' beat us. So, I just look at it and laugh."
In the aftermath of that highly publicized incident, Durant received advice from mentors in his life, from his old coaches to old family and friends. One after another, people sent him messages and calls with the same message: “Go to work,” they told Durant. “Go to work the same way.” “People I lean on told me to stay centerfield with my thoughts and my feelings,” Durant explained. “I received so many people reaching out; my former coaches saying to stay centered, stay measured, stay pushing forward and keeping my foot on the gas. At that time, we were losing games, and people were banged up, so it’s easy to go the other way when you’re searching for answers. It was about staying positive and going to work.
But on that Nov. 12 night when his former Golden State Warriors teammates lost their way against the Clippers in Los Angeles, when Draymond Green didn’t pass to Kevin Durant at the end of regulation and they feuded on the floor for all to see, the 38-year-old West found himself wondering what might have been if he hadn’t hung those sneakers up back in late August. “I’m gonna be honest,” West told The Athletic by phone last month. “The only moment (where) I said, ‘Man, I wish I was there,’ was at that Clippers game. When Draymond turned the ball over at the end — and he was going to create the play; he was going to make the play, it just sometimes doesn’t happen — at that moment, when I saw the way he was walking, and I saw KD react, and it was like ‘Oh, I know if I was there that shit wouldn’t have happened.’ That’s the only moment where I felt like, ‘Man I could’ve stopped it.’”
Have you tried to actually play a part here as far as talking to Draymond or Kevin? David West: "We’ve talked. I’ve talked to Draymond. I’ve just tried to be a voice of reason in his ear. I think that’s always been the purpose I’ve served, just to be another voice on his shoulder. He’s a competitive dude, so he’s on edge. Obviously Draymond is going to state his case, and be who he is, and he has every right to do (that). But he knows how to focus, knows how to win, and he’ll get there. He came into the year banged up, and that’s obviously frustrating for guys when you can’t come in healthy. He knows how to do it. … Steve has invited me to practice. I’m going to make my way through there, probably before Christmas."
Mark Medina: Kevin Durant on getting through this past week
Warriors management fumed when this move was viewed as the team picking Durant over Draymond, though it’s hard to independently scold anybody for coming to that conclusion. But after talking to several people, I believe that’s too simplistic.
Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant said last week’s well-publicized, in-game exchange with Draymond Green that resulted in Green’s one-game suspension will have no bearing on his future with the franchise and that he’s more than ready to move on from the incident. “Nah, [it won’t factor],” Durant told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday. “Because at the end of the day, I’m just a ballplayer that’s just trying to be in a great environment to play basketball and groom my skills every day. And I want to compete on a level that once the game starts, I’m just totally comfortable with my surroundings, with just going out there and being me.”
“I never really felt like it was a problem, because I know Dray and he says some crazy [expletive] out his mouth all the time,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “But on top of that, it was just that there was so much coming with it from the outside, and so much stuff that we have to answer now.”
“I was upset, but I know that I can’t hold on to something like this,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “I know that I’ve got to make a choice with myself, like how long are you going to be upset about this to the point where you’re going to let it affect what you do on the floor or how you approach the game? Once it gets there now, I got to make a grown-man decision and tell myself, ‘Look, man, no matter what, you still got to come to work every single day. It’s going to work out. It’s going to figure itself out.’ And I think everyone’s been handling it the best way they could and we’re just trying to move forward with it.”
In the end, Durant said the situation could become a galvanizing force that could bring the team closer. “When you go through some adversity in your personal relationships and you kind of lay everything out on the table with that human, that person, you start to just really get an understanding for everything,” Durant told Yahoo Sports. “… I feel like we’ll all do that at some point. Not just me and Draymond, but I feel like just being with these guys for so long that you start to get comfortable.”
When approached privately by a few people, he declined to discuss each time. When asked about it twice in his postgame group scrums, he batted it back forcefully.
Kevin​ Durant’s initial​ fury​ was​ and​ remains directly tied to Draymond Green’s​ vicious words​ delivered​ on that​ Staples​ Center​​ bench. That’s at the root of the problem that, a week later, is still very much rotting the Warriors’ locker room chemistry at its core. But this potentially dynasty-altering issue — and Durant’s trouble getting over it — is so much deeper than just what Green said. It’s the inescapable result of it: a dramatic, relentless modern-day media storm of “psychoanalysis” about Durant, the thing he despises most in this NBA world and the steep price of his fame, the subject of his most rebellious rants (on and off the record) the past couple years.
So I asked some of the team’s veterans during the road trip: How much more difficult is it to push your team past this when everyone on the outside is reliving it in your face and on your screens? “The one thing I’ll say is it’s a lot more difficult in terms of people knowing everything,” Steph Curry said. “Misinformation is another thing. With how active as our guys are on social media, it’s hard not to see that stuff. “But it tests your character, makes you figure out how to compartmentalize stuff. Either you take it as entertainment or you get influenced by it. “Whatever you think, however you are in real life, in terms of how impressionable you are, how insecure you might be, how confident in yourself you might be, that’ll all reflect in how you handle it.”
What gives you the confidence that KD and Draymond will be able to move forward together? Stephen Curry: They have a lot of equity built in their relationship. They’ve won championships together. They’ve brought out the best in each other. Obviously, I don’t think they’ve had an incident to this level, but you don’t have the experiences we’ve had and go through the journey we’ve been on and let it be derailed by something like that. Obviously, from a personal standpoint, there are some things that need to work through. That’s like any relationship in life. But at the end of the day, they both understand that neither one of them is going to be the reason we don’t win a championship this year.
But isn’t it a risky move to suspend one of the players involved, and not both? Isn’t that choosing sides? “It never even occurred to us. That’s not the point,” said Lacob. “The point is, whether it would be any employee, they’d have to act certain ways to be our employee. Draymond knows that he went beyond — won’t say what he did, or what he said, or anything like that — he went beyond what we felt appropriate, so it didn’t matter who it was. “And he understands that, by the way. I’ve been texting with him, and he totally gets it. I do have a great relationship with him, and I still do.”
But what does that mean though? What form does that take? We saw you walk in together at shoot-around. So when did you guys connect? Draymond Green: Ah, you know none of that really matters. At the end of the day, we’re here to win basketball games, and it takes a certain cohesiveness to do that. And we know. We’ve done it. We know what it takes. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Sometimes in relationships, in friendships, family, sometimes it goes South, you know? And that’s just life. It’s no different than basketball. But the fact of the matter is that relationships are reparable. That’s just what it is.
The people who heard his scathing words loud and clear insist that it was even worse than what has been reported. It wasn’t just about the b-words that were hurled, or the use of Durant’s free agency as a weapon of sorts when Green got so defensive about the criticism that was coming his way. It was the biting, ruthless way in which his message was delivered, all because someone had the nerve to question him in the way he so often does them.
Approximately 35 minutes before tipoff, Durant’s agent, Rich Kleiman, made a point to wait for Green near the tunnel where he would leave the floor after his pregame warmup. There was a hearty hug and a smile-filled conversation between the two — as good a sign as any that the blood might not be that bad after all.
According to sources, this entire saga isn’t about Durant’s free agency as much as it is Draymond’s vocal attitude about Durant’s free agency. There may be others in that locker room who don’t like how Durant has navigated these waters — and our Marcus Thompson has reported that there is — but no one has chosen to share those views like this. “No one cares except for Draymond,” one source insisted.
Durant has been in a foul mood ever since, and he now has the Warriors’ full attention. After the blowout loss in which he posted 20 points and five rebounds, he was asked to characterize how things are between him and Green. “Don’t ask me about that again,” Durant responded.
Durant has been in a foul mood ever since, and he now has the Warriors’ full attention. After the blowout loss in which he posted 20 points and five rebounds, he was asked to characterize how things are between him and Green. “Don’t ask me about that again,” Durant responded.
Hunter Atkins: Draymond Green’s first comments since flair up with Kevin Durant: “I’m never going to change who I am... I read a lot about how...’Did I force Kevin to leave?’...Whatever Kevin decides to do, whatever Klay decides to do, we had great years together. I support everybody.”
Jeff Zilgitt: Draymond's statement, saying he would address the issue one time and one time only. Didn't apologize. But said the Warriors wouldn't crumble because of an argument. Worth a listen.
Mark Medina: Draymond spoke for about two minutes about his situation about Durant and dismissed any concern this will derail the team’s championship aspirations
Nick Friedell: After an opening statement, Draymond does not take any questions about the incident. Says he only wants to address it once and focus on basketball.
Nick Friedell: Kerr says the team addressed some things in regard to Draymond/KD incident during a team meeting prior to shootaround and that he wishes to keep the contents of that meeting private. Kerr says Draymond and KD have spoken.
Durant was upset about not getting a pass from Green before he turned the ball over in the final seconds of regulation against the host Los Angeles Clippers. Sources said Green was perturbed by Durant clapping for the ball and being upset about not getting it for a possible game-winner. Other sources said Green crossed the line when he responded with a very personal expletive-laden tirade. Those words included Green telling Durant that he succeeded before he arrived and questioning the two-time Finals MVP’s loyalty with his upcoming free agency.
He had bypassed pitching the ball to the two-time Finals MVP who clearly wanted the last shot. When Durant came at Green, questioning his decision making, the ever-emotional leader of the Warriors responded. “Don’t talk to me and come at me like I’m ______,” Green said, mentioning the name of a Warriors rotation big man here, per sources. “… I’ve won before you came.”
People around Green have acknowledged that this is the type of situation that he won’t forget easily and it’s why the two will need to speak about the situation to smooth things over.
Green flipped the topic of conversation on Durant by challenging him on the handling of his free-agent season, league sources told The Athletic, perhaps creating more issues that will need to be addressed.
In the press conference, when asked about his friendship with Draymond Green, Durant replied, “I don’t really think that even matters right now.” I ask Andre if the Warriors can win with KD and Draymond at odds like this. Andre responds, “Shaq and Kobe ain’t like each other.” Me: “But that ended in a way you wouldn’t want this to end, right?” Andre: “They won three championships in a row. Ain’t that what you want to happen?” Me: “I guess all things come to an end.” Andre: “Everything come to an end.”
While sources say that Green’s treatment of Durant on the court was the primary reason for their choice to take approximately $120,000 out of his bank account, it’s clear that his caustic comments to Durant that related to free agency played a pivotal part here too. If only we lived in a world with unending candor, where the press release might include a line like, “We’d strongly prefer that Draymond doesn’t pack Kevin’s bags for him and book his flight on one of those Alaska Airlines planes that feature his smiling face and incredible wingspan, and so he was suspended.”
According to several in the locker room, Durant could have ended this by just saying how much he loves playing with the Warriors and his teammates and leave it at that, even if he departs in the offseason. They are all prepared for him to leave so they just want the cloud hanging over them to go away. Another option would be to reject all questions about free agency and force the media to focus on this season, a way of protecting his teammates.
Durant has said he doesn’t want to lead anybody on. But Green is part of a contingent that believes Durant has a hand in creating the hype about his free agency, a tangential focus that detracts from their mission of winning a third straight title.
Green was surprised by the heavy-handedness. A fine was expected. Green had just come back from injury, giving him a rest day for Tuesday’s game against Atlanta and a private fine would have been an acceptable rebuke of his behavior. He was fined a few thousand dollars when he went after Kerr in the locker room in Oklahoma City in 2016. He didn’t think this incident was nearly as bad, so the punishment being drastically worse was shocking.
Why didn’t they just fine him privately as they have before? “If we thought that was the right thing to do,” one front office executive said, “we would have. We have to do what we think is right.”
When asked if he felt Green crossed a line Monday night, Durant said he didn't want to get into specifics. "I'm gonna keep that in-house," Durant said. "That's what we do here. I mean, obviously I know you guys got a job to do, but I'm not trying to give nobody no headlines. What happened, happened. We're trying to move on -- just trying to play basketball."
Logan Murdock: Sense I’m getting re: Durant-Draymond: this dispute, unlike others, did major damage to their relationship. Durant feels like his teammate crossed the line and may be open to a good working relationship in the future, but it’s going to take a minute to get that friendship back.
Green repeatedly called Durant “a bitch” after he was called out by the two-time NBA Finals MVP in the huddle for not passing him the ball, sources said. The organization is of the belief that Green cut too deep in his disagreement with Durant, sources said. Klay Thompson, who is typically reserved, spoke up in the locker room to the surprise of his teammates about the altercation and stressed the importance of sticking together, sources said. It is not yet clear how the Warriors will explain Green’s benching, considering it stemmed from a verbal altercation between two teammates.
Anthony Slater: This is one of those situations where the NBA’s crunched schedule may help the Warriors. Instead of tension boiling/story building during day away, they get weak Hawks team tonight in Oracle. Smoke ATL/downplay tension in media, may die quick. But if they don’t/don’t, it’ll grow.
An angry late game exchange between Kevin Durant and Draymond Green carried into the Golden State Warriors locker room on Monday night in Los Angeles, where some teammates loudly confronted Green for his decision-making on the final play of regulation, league sources told ESPN. After the 121-116 overtime loss to the LA Clippers, some witnesses described the closed-door exchange as one of the most intense of this Warriors era. No one had to be separated, no player left his side and no hint of physicality loomed in the setting, sources said.
Golden State officials were working Tuesday to deal with the situation, league sources said. Teammates did argue with Green over his choice in the final moments to keep the ball instead of passing to Durant for a try at a game-winning shot, sources said. Green was forceful in his defense of himself, which helped to escalate the volume in the room, sources said.
Monte Poole: ‘If I had a vote, I’d vote for him.’ - Draymond Green on Kevin Durant’s Def Player of the Year candidacy.
He then chose far more colorful language — and expletives — to describe their heated exchange during a timeout. Green acknowledges being mad that night. He and Durant are thriving now. "It just shows the trust that we have in each other, the relationship we have that we can go at each other," Green said. "No one takes it personal. You say what you got to say, I say what I got to say. We figure it out and then we move on. That's kind of what that was. You want to grow from moments like that if you're a strong team, if your chemistry's strong, you grow from moments like that. Chemistry's not so strong, you're not much of a together team, you can crumble from situations like that. But our chemistry is one of the things that makes us special."
That's also typical Green, who lately is also having games in which he catches defenses off guard by knocking down 3-pointers. His teammates love it all. "I knew he would make my job way easier and I knew I could help him," Durant said. "I knew that his intensity was going to up the level of everybody on the floor, the way he approaches the game, his passion and love for the game. That stuff stood out more than anything. Obviously he's quick for his position, he's got long arms, he can shoot the 3, he can pass, he can rebound, but just his passion and love for the game that kind of shines bright, and it's contagious."
Storyline: Durant-Green Dynamic
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July 13, 2020 | 4:38 pm EDT Update
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Lowry is certainly going to give it. In all matters. As a member of the players’ association competition committee, he worked with the league in setting up every facet of life for the 22 teams that are now gathered near Orlando for the resumption of the suspended season later this month. He was involved in developing testing protocols, scheduling, what is allowed and what’s not, and has made it clear to his teammates how important that is. He is the franchise’s conduit to a healthy existence.
Storyline: Coronavirus
July 13, 2020 | 3:40 pm EDT Update
The Knicks are continuing to work through the process of the search for a head coach and have completed second interviews with all candidates. Knicks president Leon Rose described his process on MSG Network last month of conducting informal talks and then formal interviews with the 11 confirmed candidates. The Knicks completed the second round last week, holding talks with the candidates who are not headed into the bubble for the restart of the NBA season.
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Search
Memphis Grizzlies rookie Ja Morant called out those players that took issue with the conditions, saying that he wasn’t a “silver spoon guy” and that the options have been fine. Redick agreed with that assessment on Sunday during his media availability with reporters. “Getting outside and golfing yesterday was key. The bubble life has been fine. I think Ja Morant said it best: The hotel is fine, the food is fine, everything is fine. We’re here to play basketball, to further our mission. We have a responsibility and a job to do. It’s fine.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Craig Robinson, who served as the Knicks’ vice president of player development and general manager of the G League’s Westchester Knicks since 2017, has accepted a position as executive director for the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Robinson was not expected to remain with the Knicks, having been brought on by Steve Mills, who was dismissed earlier this year. The contracts of Robinson and most of the front-office personnel are expiring shortly.
July 13, 2020 | 2:32 pm EDT Update
His path from experiencing poverty in Greece to becoming a multimillionaire MVP included sacrifice, which he refuses to lose sight of despite his current status. “I’m in a situation where I’m extremely blessed and I cannot complain. Obviously, it doesn’t matter where you are in life, there’s always something to complain, there’s always a problem and an issue,” Antetokounmpo said. “But I try to kind of not focus on that. So as I said, my apartment in Greece, when I was younger, with my four brothers, was way smaller than the suite that I have in the hotel, so I’m just trying to enjoy the moment.
“This is something special,” he continued. “Hopefully, this pandemic never happens again so we never are able to come back in the campus, but at the end of the day, this is part of history, so just being able to be here, participate in this, I’m just trying to be in the moment, trying to enjoy every moment, trying to enjoy basketball. I’m happy that we’re back playing basketball, something that I love doing, so there’s nothing really to complain about.” Even before entering the NBA’s campus at Walt Disney World, Antetokounmpo said he thought “this is gonna be the toughest championship you could ever win” because of the circumstances. He jokingly admitted that he “sucked” during the Bucks’ first five-on-five scrimmage at Monday’s practice but thinks everyone will shake the initial rust once the ball is tipped for real competition.
Rodriguez, who last starred with the Yankees, and fiancée Lopez have put $300 million of their own money toward the bid. Other investors include future Hall of Fame offensive lineman Joe Thomas, who spent his entire career with the Cleveland Browns, two-time NBA All-Star Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards, and Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee. “Being a former athlete and having a chance to be a part of a group trying to purchase a professional team, it’s pretty cool,” Urlacher told ESPN on Monday. “It’s especially cool to be involved with Alex. Alex is the man. You’ve got Kelce, Joe Thomas, DeMarco Murray. It’s great to be in a group with them.”
July 13, 2020 | 1:31 pm EDT Update

Russell Westbrook tests positive for COVID-19

Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook says he has tested positive for coronavirus. Westbrook tweeted Monday that he tested positive before his Rockets teammates were scheduled to travel to Walt Disney World for the resumption of the NBA season Westbrook tweeted he is “currently feeling well, quarantined, and looking forward to rejoining my teammates when I am cleared.”
3 hours ago via ESPN
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Houston Rockets' Bruno Caboclo breaks quarantine

Houston Rockets forward Bruno Caboclo unintentionally broke quarantine, making him subject to an extended quarantine period and enhanced coronavirus testing, league sources told ESPN. After players entered the league’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort last week, anyone who either is caught leaving for an unauthorized reason or who broke the initial quarantine period (which covered being confined to your hotel room until passing multiple coronavirus tests in a longer-than 24-hour span) will be subject to the league’s re-entry protocols.
This means having to undergo enhanced coronavirus-19 testing – meaning the ones with the long swab up the nose, as opposed to the less invasive ones players are getting during their time in the bubble — in addition to a 10-day quarantine period in their hotel room. Caboclo left his room during the initial quarantine period, a source said. He was unaware that he was not allowed to do so, despite the league informing all players and staff of the protocol. “He should’ve known,” the source said. “It was no secret.”
Sources told ESPN that Caboclo’s time in quarantine is now down to eight days. He is expected to rejoin the team once his quarantine is complete. The Rockets are still awaiting the arrival of stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook in Orlando, as well as forward Luc Mbah a Moute. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni said Sunday that all three are likely to rejoin the team sometime this week.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Since the G League season was officially ended during the league’s stoppage of play and NBA team rosters were expanded for the remaining seeding games and playoffs, Bol has joined the Nuggets in the bubble and has been practicing with the team. “He (Bol) only practiced with us in Denver a few times during the season,” Malone said Saturday. “To see him out there playing and doing things that a lot of people can’t do, it’s really remarkable. I have to remind myself how young he is. He is extremely talented and skilled.”
The Los Angeles Lakers trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Quinn Cook tried to get some 2K action going to pass the time in the bubble, and the results turned out to be catastrophic. Things did not really go as planned, with the servers crashing even before they could get a game in. As it turns out, there were too many spectators on the feed, so the 2K servers were unable to cope.
July 13, 2020 | 11:39 am EDT Update
Rivers: If he was in an era 10 years ago, Boban would be a big-time player. He’s just in an era where he’s 10 years too late. And he’s still in the league doing his thing, but make no mistake about it, if he was in 2003, 2006, Boban would be a force to be reckoned with. Van Gundy: I’ve always wondered if I, you know, should’ve played him more. You get so concerned with the defensive end of the floor, but with what he can do offensively, I’m not sure we wouldn’t have been better off playing him more and dealing with whatever defensive problems came up.
Van Gundy: The guy gets no privacy, yet the way he responds to people is so good and with such generosity and such kindness to people. You would think at some point you would get really, really tired of it, and he may, but he certainly never shows that and I never even heard him convey that. It’s genuine. He’s not out there faking it, and then walking around saying, “I’m really tired of this s— with everybody bugging me.” I think he genuinely enjoys being around people.
Kaminsky: The first time I ever played against Boban, we were playing in San Antonio. Tyler Hansbrough was on my team at the time. … And Boban checks into the game, and he’s standing next to him at the free-throw line, and I’m trying to talk to him, but Tyler’s standing there staring up at him, like, This is the biggest guy I’ve ever seen in my life. Literally, there’s a video, I’m standing on that side of the lane trying to get his attention, he’s just standing there, like, [Kaminsky pauses, leans back, looks upwards, mouth agape, miming what Hansbrough looked like].
The league’s first crack at sponsored entertainment for the players fell flat. On Saturday night, the NBA brought in three disc jockeys to spin records at poolside parties at each of the three Disney hotels housing players. Almost no one showed. “The first time I heard about the DJ thing was (Sunday),” Davis said. “Dwight (Howard) told me he was the only one there. I think, quite frankly, a lot of guys didn’t know about it. I know the NBA is trying to make this as comfortable as possible and as relaxing as possible for us, and just make everyone feel as home as possible.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Another African American senior league executive, speaking anonymously, asked why Eversley didn’t get interviewed for the top job. “With all due respect, I am delighted that Marc Eversley is the GM of the Bulls,” the league executive said. “But why wasn’t Marc Eversley interviewed to be the president of basketball operations? Why was there no one of color interviewed for that position? You mean to tell me that there was nobody in the mind of the leadership of the Bulls qualified to take on that job as president? Or was it just that they don’t know anybody? “So the question I’m asking is what took them so long. Somebody needs to ask the question. That question needs to be asked more and more league-wide.”
As in any industry, connectivity is imperative, and often times cultural perspective can get ignored. But that perspective is pivotal in every aspect of NBA business, from scouting to coaching to negotiations. “It’s a relationship business,” the Western Conference exec said. “You’ve got to have relationships with the players and coaches. For all of us to be connected in some form or fashion it only bodes well. There should be no separation. Everyone should be working together to push the franchise forward and win.”
Pocius went on to play for Real Madrid and Galatasaray — a team in Istanbul — with two more stints with Zalgiris Kaunas sandwiched in between. Seven years into his playing carer, Pocius initially had no intention of stopping. However, his body had a different idea. “Since I played at Duke, I had had seven surgeries,” Pocius said. “It took a toll on my body and I was in this cycle of getting injured, having surgery, trying rehab, all to come back and then have it happen all over again … I was reaching a point where I wasn’t enjoying basketball as much as I used to. I was a gym rat and I loved the gym, and it wasn’t fun being there anymore.”
Connelly looked at Pocius and said, “Well, if you just want to retire and come join us, we’ll make that happen.” Pocius thought it was a joke. And at that time, retiring seemed far-fetched. But after he made the decision to stop playing Pocius reached out to Connelly to see if the offer was still on the table. “I flew out to Las Vegas for Summer League and I met with Tim and all the other guys and one thing led to another,” Pocius said. “I’m truly happy that I decided to retire when I did.”
July 13, 2020 | 9:17 am EDT Update
Alex Poythress joined Zenit Saint-Petersburg on a one-year deal, the Russian club announced on Monday. Eurohoops previously reported on the deal between the two parties. “I am very pleased to join Zenit, an organization that plans to make a breakthrough in EuroLeague this season,” he noted upon signing per the official site of his new team, “I heard a lot of amazing things about Saint-Petersburg and can’t wait to join the team.”
Storyline: Alex Poythress Free Agency
Three weeks ahead of the NBA’s planned resumption of the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World Resort, the league’s Global Innovation Group is considering several scenarios for next season, including one that would begin in March and run through October 2021. An internal planning document obtained by Morning Consult outlines four scheduling scenarios the league is considering for next season, including one in which it would push the start of next season back to March if there is a path to a coronavirus vaccine or therapeutic treatment that increases the likelihood that its teams could host fans in their home arenas over the course of an 82-game schedule.