July 9, 2020 | 9:32 pm EDT Update
Mark Berman: Forward PJ Tucker flew with the #Rockets to Florida. He never thought for one second about opting out: “I want to play basketball. I love playing basketball. I got an eight-year-old son that loves watching me play. He’s so excited right now. He’s super-hyped for me to go play…”
Mark Berman: PJ Tucker has 1 year left on his contract & reiterates he’d like an extension: “I love Houston. I’ve said it many times. I want to retire as a Houston Rocket..The fans, the city have embraced me since day one. So fingers crossed, I hope we can strike a deal and get it done.”
Andrew Greif: Clippers forward JaMychal Green is expected to join the team in Orlando on Sunday, sources told myself and @Brad Turner. He’s tending to a family matter but will join soon.
July 9, 2020 | 8:57 pm EDT Update
Tom Thibodeau, lead candidate to coach the Knicks, had his second interview with the club via Zoom on Thursday, an NBA source confirmed. Thibodeau, a former Knicks assistant and head coach of the Bulls and Timberwolves, has the inside track on the job.
Thibodeau was represented by Creative Artist Agency when Leon Rose and William Wesley — now members of the Knicks front office — ran its basketball department and have a strong rapport. Rose is interviewing at least 11 candidates and already finished interviews with coaches in the Orlando bubble — Jason Kidd, Ime Udoka, Pat Delaney and Jamahl Mosley.
Kellan Olson: Monty Williams said he does think the bubble will work. Said he doesn’t think players are getting enough credit for how much they want to play. He has expectations but understands players will have temptations and miss their families.
Gerald Bourguet: “It’s not that bad, man.” — Monty Williams on the food situation in Orlando. “So many of us are spoiled and we’re used to eating certain foods a certain way, but it’s not bad at all.” Also admits he didn’t have high expectations
Kellan Olson: Payne said he was in the pool when Monty Williams called him. They discussed a lot of their time from OKC together. Monty emphasized consistency and maturity to Payne. Payne described their relationship in OKC as “real, real close.”
Gerald Bourguet: “I feel I can bring a good amount of consistency to the team….I’m a dog, I’m a warrior” — Cam Payne says he’s out to prove he can do whatever the coaches need him to and that he belongs in this league
July 9, 2020 | 8:19 pm EDT Update
The Denver Nuggets expect All-Star center Nikola Jokic to arrive in Orlando from his native Serbia to join the team for the NBA restart in the next couple of days, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Jokic tested positive for COVID-19 in June, but has since tested negative consecutively and is cleared to enter the campus at Walt Disney World.
Ava Wallace: Garrison Mathews, Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton did not travel with the Wizards to Orlando, per sources. Mathews for personal reasons. Bryant and Payton have tested positive for the coronavirus.
July 9, 2020 | 8:12 pm EDT Update
Eric Walden: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert noted that “Staying in a room for 36 hours is not the best thing to do,” but said he’s appreciated the NBA’s level of caution. Said he passed that time by playing Call of Duty, reading a little bit, and sleeping.
Eric Walden: Rudy Gobert, on the wristbands everyone is required to wear, which function as a proximity alarm and provide data tracking: “It’s better to be too cautious than not enough.” Said his alarm hasn’t gone off yet; doesn’t know if it’s not activated or if he’s distancing well.
Andy Larsen: Rudy Gobert, on why he chose “Equality” to go on his jersey: “I think Equality is a powerful word… It’s something that we can strive to attain as a society… I think we’d be lying to ourselves if we thought that was the case today. We’ve got to keep pushing in that direction.”
Eric Walden: Quin Snyder said that his objective for the first practice was just to let guys go out and play, and to get reacquainted with one another on the court. Also said he was looking to get in game situation-type shooting, and to get a handle on everyone’s conditioning.
Mike Schmitz. Another impressive game for Deni Avdija of Maccabi Tel Aviv today, this time in a win over Hapoel Jerusalem: 15 PTS, 6 REBS, 4 AST and 4 STL in 30 MIN while shooting 6-of-8 from 2 and 1-of-4 from 3. Played a fair amount on the ball at 6-9. Fun to watch in grab-and-go situations.
The parents of a California man who died after a security guard allegedly put a knee on his neck filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the security company and Sacramento police. Mario Matthew, 39, was “unreasonably restrained” by private security guards and later responding officers inside of Golden 1 Center, home of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, on July 2, according to a federal lawsuit filed Tuesday by the man’s parents, Elizabeth Avila and Mark Matthews.
Exhibition basketball games were played inside the arena on July 1, followed by a free concert just outside Golden 1 that Matthews attended, according to the lawsuit. Then at about 3:30 a.m. on July 2, a shirtless Matthew entered the arena through a propped open door and he walked on to the basketball floor, according to the lawsuit and security footage released by Sacramento police.
July 9, 2020 | 7:52 pm EDT Update
Eric Walden: Mike Conley said that the first 10-15 minutes of today’s practice entailed “guys just hooping.” He said he was pleased to see that everyone was in shape, that there were “no hands on knees.”
Eric Walden: Utah Jazz PG Mike Conley said that once the team was cleared from quarantine, they went straight to the gym, so they haven’t really had a chance to look around yet. He said everyone is eager to get outside and explore and get some fresh air.
Eric Walden: Asked how he spent his time in quarantine, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder replied: “Having 36 hours-plus by yourself, you gotta be careful not to overthink things — which I may have a tendency to do.”
Ohm Youngmisuk: Scott Brooks says everyone looks forward to time away and relaxing at a nice hotel but this was more “forced relaxation” when Wiz quarantined for 2 days. He said outside of Zoom workout/yoga sessions, FaceTiming family and texting players, he went crazy trying to pass the time.
July 9, 2020 | 7:21 pm EDT Update
Alex Schiffer: Caris LeVert said Jamal Crawford was one of his favorite players as a kid and spoke to him yesterday. When LeVert landed at Michigan, Crawford reached out to him and the two have been friends ever since. Thinks Crawford’s experience and leadership will help them.
The program, known as KINEXON SafeZone, has already been used successfully in the German BBL in their recently-completed tournament. Where the focus for the BBL was on contact tracing data being stored in case of a positive COVID-19 test, however, the NBA is currently more interested in the proximity alarm features of the technology, sources say. Player and staff use of KINEXON technology is optional, per sources.
There remains a possibility that KINEXON SafeZone is utilized further by the NBA for contact tracing data collection in Orlando, per sources, though no agreement has been reached at this point. Such a program would also be fully anonymous, and would allow for detailed tracing of recent contacts for any player or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 within the bubble – potentially allowing play to continue without significant risk of a major outbreak within the campus.
July 9, 2020 | 7:08 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: Houston stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook did not travel with Rockets today to Orlando and will join the team in near future, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Jonathan Feigen: Can confirm that James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not on the flight to Orlando, per source. Luc Mbah a Moute and player development coach John Lucas also did not fly with the team.
Fred Katz: Scott Brooks on Beal: “We felt that we were gonna get all we can during the last three or four weeks to see if he would be able to participate…We’re not gonna put him in harm’s way. He wanted to play. He wanted to give himself a chance…But he wasn’t gonna be ready.”
Fred Katz: Scott Brooks says “a couple of guys didn’t make the trip” to Orlando. Said he can’t get into who it was because they can’t reveal certain medical information.
July 9, 2020 | 7:01 pm EDT Update
The chatter began with The Athletic’s Shams Charania noting the Heat’s interest in adding both Giannis Antetokounmpo and Victor Oladipo — the two players that I had identified a week earlier as Miami’s most likely targets in 2021 free agency. And now comes a Wednesday report from the Indianapolis Star that “despite rampant speculation that he could end up with the Knicks (he fired Leon Rose of CAA, then his agent who is now president of the franchise), the strongest preliminary indication is Miami” as his next team.