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.”
So with 19.5 seconds remaining in overtime and the Hawks trailing by seven to the New York Knicks, head coach Lloyd Pierce checked Carter into the game and the emotions began to hit him as the home crowd chanted. “I kind of made eye contact with coach (Pierce) and he’s like, ‘Yeah, yeah,'” Carter said on the latest episode of “Winging it with Vince Carter and Annie Finberg.” “Right then, it’s like a chill just hit me.”
“I can say this now, who knows how the season ends and navigates, but, regardless – I won with either result, or either way this ends up,” Carter said. “If that was the last game and that was the last shot, I made my last shot and I’m cool with it, and I feel good about my career and how things ended.”
EuroLeague still hopes to complete the season after suspending all action in March. And while having the Final Four in May at this point is a more than a long shot, as EuroLeague Chief Operating Officer Edward Scott recently said to Eurohoops, the last possible scenario to save the season might be an express-tournament, not unlikely the plans of the Chinese CBA.
As Scott said to the Spanish newspaper “El Pais”: “If due to sanitary reasons or deadlines it is not possible to play in the 18 team arenas, we would choose to concentrate all the matches in one or two gyms in a single city. The last option would be for the clubs to establish the corresponding modification of the competition format for a more direct resolution”.
April 2, 2020 | 4:30 pm EDT Update
For now, Leon Rose is proceeding as status quo with an inherited front office in following an unofficial NBA hiring/firing stoppage with the world stopped cold. According to sources, Rose is actively holding scouting meetings with his staff via conference call/video regarding the draft. “I don’t see any teams hiring or firing during this,” one NBA source said. “That’s the sense.”
It’s a good bet Knicks GM Scott Perry will be in place for the NBA Draft 2020 whenever it is held. The current date is June 25. What happens after the Knicks’ draft is unclear. Because of the self-isolation rules, Rose will look to rely on his current personnel men who spent the season scouting college games.
Youngstown native, and former Ursuline basketball player David Collins is entering his name in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Javon Freeman-Liberty announced on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon that he was declaring for the 2020 NBA Draft. Freeman-Liberty becomes the fourth Valparaiso player to declare for the draft as an early entrant in the last five years.
Pelicans shooting guard JJ Redick and his wife, Chelsea, are spearheading a campaign that will provide millions of meals throughout south Louisiana while it battles the coronavirus. On Thursday, the Redicks, the Pelicans and the Lineage Logistics, a food transportation and distribution company, announced donations to Second Harvest Food Bank. Together, they aim to provide 1.8 million meals in 23 parishes.
April 2, 2020 | 4:21 pm EDT Update
On Sunday, the NBA league office reached out to team physicians encouraging players who have recovered from the virus to consider opting in to the experimental treatment, according to a copy of the memo obtained by ABC News. The NBA also donated $100,000 to the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project as part of the NBA Together campaign.
The NBA’s donation and plea for players to opt in to the program comes amid criticism that the league coordinated VIP testing of players while other Americans showing symptoms struggled to access tests. Dr. Joyner said that while “testing at many levels will be highlighted” when all is said and done, the players deserve credit for offering their help.
Marcus Smart, a guard for the Boston Celtics, confirmed through his agent that he is one of the players who will opt in to the program. Smart announced Monday on Twitter that he had been cleared of the virus by the Massachusetts Department of Health. The identities of the other three players planning to participate are not known.
Ohio State star Kaleb Wesson plans to enter the NBA draft. Wesson tweeted Wednesday night that he would forgo his final year of eligibility and declare for the draft. He is ranked No. 54 in ESPN’s rankings of the top prospects for the draft.
Junior forward Romello White became the second Arizona State player in as many days to declare for the NBA draft, doing so Wednesday afternoon, about 24 hours after junior point guard Remy Martin did the same.
Karl has not coached in the NBA since leaving the Kings. Cousins has suffered a number of serious injuries. And so, on April Fools’ Day, Karl decided to joke about a potential reunion, saying that both were headed back to the Kings.