The coronavirus outbreak spurring the NBA to suspend the pro basketball season indefinitely could mean bad news on top of already bad news for sporting goods companies such as Nike. “COVID-19 is impacting Nike’s business inside and outside of China more than we initially anticipated,” Susquehanna analyst Sam Poser said in a note to clients Thursday morning. “On top of which, the cancellation of the NBA season until further notice, announced last night, does little to assuage near term nerves.”
In the interim, Nike’s businesses in China, Europe and even in the U.S. are expected to take a hit, as the virus remains uncontained. U.S. footwear imports from China just had their worst January in a decade, for example, meaning shoes are not coming into the U.S. in as large quantities as they typically do. Manufacturing facilities in China, where 70% of footwear sold in the U.S. originates, are not yet back up and running at full capacity.
Adidas is now expecting first-quarter sales to drop by up to 1 billion euros ($1.14 billion) in greater China and operating profit to decline by between 400 million and 500 million euros. It has not yet factored a global hit from COVID-19 into its full-year outlook. Under Armour, meantime, in February said it anticipated the outbreak in China to lower sales by roughly $50 million to $60 million during its fiscal first quarter. That was, notably, before the virus started to hit Europe and North America much harder.
George Karl: It’s an eerie time. It reminds me of similar moments of crisis- 9/11, the Cuban Missle Crisis and the end of the Vietnam War eg. This, too, shall pass. And it could be a chance to help us reunify!
There were no plans for Nuggets players to be tested for COVID-19 as of Thursday morning, according to the source, after the team traveled home from Dallas late Wednesday night. The Nuggets have tests available should the need arise.
Charlotte Hornets center and players union vice president Bismack Biyombo said the news — that Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert had tested positive for the coronoavirus — made this suspension of the season unavoidable. “We’re around each other so much; if one guy has it, God knows how fast that can spread around,” Biyombo said after the Hornets’ 109-98 victory over the Miami Heat. “We play with the same ball, we sweat and we touch each other.”
Will players stay in Charlotte, with no indication whether any of the Hornets’ remaining 17 games will be played? “The first thing is to stay calm and gather some more information,” said Borrego, whose team is 23-42, seven games out of a playoff spot. “The next 24 hours, we’ll figure out with the guys. Let’s get home tonight, let’s be safe tonight. Then, figure things out over the next few days.”
Barry Jackson: For those wondering how networks that air sports will fill the time, ESPN has expanded SportsCenter tonight. TNT, instead of NBA double-header, will have a 60-minute Inside the NBA with Ernie, Charles& Co. at 8 tonight, then this year's All Star game and Dec. 19 Lakers-Bucks game
In light of the NBA season being suspended and out of an abundance of caution, the Orlando Magic have made the decision to postpone the Orlando Wine Festival & Auction, which was scheduled for Fri., March 13 and Sat., March 14.
Tim Bontemps: The Celtics saying their travel party will be self quarantined through the weekend, and that all players will be tested during that time period. Also say that the Massachusetts Department of Public Health said it’s unlikely they contracted COVID-19 from Gobert or Mitchell. pic.twitter.com/2Xgi0m5HnB
Donovan Mitchell: Thanks to everyone who has been reaching out since hearing the news about my positive test. We are all learning more about the seriousness of this situation and hopefully people can continue to educate themselves and realize that they need to behave responsibly both for their own health and for the well being of those around them.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA has pushed back a Board of Governors call today by three hours -- now set to start at 3:30 PM ET, sources tell ESPN.
Tom Orsborn: #Spurs CEO R.C. Buford just released a statement that says, in part, "The health and well-being of our fans, partners, staff, and players will always be our number one priority. All of us at Spurs Sports & Entertainment fully support the NBA’s decision to suspend the season."
Andy Larsen: Quick update: not a lot we can report right now. Some of it is because things are still being decided. Us 3 beat writers in OKC have been assured by the NBA, Jazz, & state of Utah that we’ll be taken care of. I do feel like we’re in good hands right now. Thanks for the support.
Chris Grenham: Mark Cuban does not think the NBA season will be cancelled (on @GetUpESPN): "I can easily see us playing the last 7-10 games of the regular season to get everyone back on course and then going right into the playoffs going into July if not August."
The CBA was the first major sports league to feel the impact of the COVID-19 virus. And because quarantines escalated through the Lunar New Year in late January, many players and coaches out of town for the holiday have not been able to return. There are now more than 118,000 cases and 4,000 deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization. It was officially declared a pandemic on Wednesday. For the NBA, which is making preparations in the event of a wider spread of the virus in the U.S., what has happened in China is an unsettling look at the fallout from the temporary stoppage of a well-planned and relatively deep-pocketed league. "I haven't been home this time of year since I was in high school," said Andrew Nicholson, a Loong Lions forward who was drafted 19th in 2012 by the Orlando Magic and played in the NBA for five years. "It's been frustrating, but no one could have expected this, no one can control it."
Lance Stephenson plays for the Liaoning Flying Leopards and is one of the players looking to be released from his deal to return to the NBA. A player needs a "letter of clearance" from FIBA, the international governing body, to do so. No players have been granted one as of yet. "FIBA is sympathetic to the situation, but there's no clarity," said one prominent agent with clients in China. "It's complex, and everyone who is working on it is going hour to hour."
Jeremy Lin: Over the past few weeks, I’ve been monitoring coronavirus and the darkness it’s casted over the world. News headlines of racism, xenophobia, attacks on Asians and decaying trust towards people. All heartbreaking and the opposite of God's kingdom. But for every fear-inducing headline, I see hope. I see doctors and nurses fighting the front lines in China, Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy and more. I see people helping people in countries regardless of race or background. Talk less out of hate, more out of empathy. Lets talk about the man who made 16,000 meals for frontline workers. Lets appreciate the doctor who postponed his wedding and then tragically lost his life fighting the virus. He's a hero.Lets be inspired and demand justice for Meera Solanki who defended her Asian friend against an aggressive man in Birmingham only to be knocked unconscious. Lets follow suit and take action like Inner Mongolia who sent 2500 tons of potatoes to Wuhan.
Jeremy Lin: There are many examples of racism but also countless examples of hope - May Lee and her podcast, the Guardian Angels group, companies donating masks, all the bold frontline workers and more. Dont criticize unless youre willing to be a part of the solution. With my bball foundation in China, we’ve donated 1 million RMB to get medical equipment to Wuhan. I’ll also be donating an additional $150,000 towards fighting this virus. Let's all do our part to quarantine, wash our hands vigorously, wear a protective mask to avoid germs spreading and do our part to share facts and preventative measures. Stay together, fight on! Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good -- Romans 12:9
Chris Mannix: Among the next steps for the NBA will be to find out just how many in the Jazz organization are infected, league sources told @SInow, information that should start coming in the next few hours.
Under the direction of team and MedStar medical staff, the Washington Wizards have advised players, coaches and basketball operations personnel to self-quarantine for the next three to four days. The decision was made with an abundance of caution due to the team’s recent game schedule, which saw them play at Utah on Feb. 29 and against New York (who played Utah on Mar. 4) on Mar. 10. Players, coaches and basketball operations staff who exhibit or develop flu-like symptoms will be tested for COVID-19.
Emiliano Carchia: OFFICIAL: EuroLeague suspends Round 29 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague as announced by CSKA Moscow on its Instagram account “Euroleague decided to cancel the games of the 29th round of the regular season". pic.twitter.com/SVJYCwzPma
Emiliano Carchia: Real Madrid’s Trey Thompkins reportedly positive for Covid-19 sportando.basketball/en/real-madrid…
A Real Madrid player of the senior squad has tested positive for coronavirus, the Whites informed via press release on Thursday. As a result, both the basketball and the football teams were put into quarantine to prevent further COVID-19 spreading. According to LaSexta, the player found positive is Trey Thompkins. The whole Valdebebas area which holds the shared practice facilities for both the basketball and football divisions is now under quarantine. As for the members of the squads themselves, they must remain home for 15 days.
Candace Buckner: There's a growing belief among league executives the NBA will begin testing players for the coronavirus soon. Possibly as soon as tonight following the slate of games.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA owners and executives have slammed league office with a myriad of procedural and bigger picture questions. The league’s response: Sit tight until Thursday and let us work through it all. Some teams are planning to close facilities today and give players a couple of days away.
Shams Charania: Sources: The Raptors have informed their players to self-quarantine for the next 14 days due to coronavirus situation. Toronto faced Utah and Rudy Gobert on Monday.
Joe Vardon: As of now, the Cavs — who played against Utah last week — are not being tested for the Coronavirus
According to sources, none of the Knicks players will be tested for coronavirus just yet. Reports, however, said the last five teams that faced the Jazz, which includes the Knicks, are expected to be self-quarantined. While the game was still being contested, the NBA announced it will suspend the season until further notice following Wednesday’s games because a Jazz player — reportedly center Rudy Gobert — tested positive for coronavirus.
Royce Young: According to sources, the Jazz will be staying tonight in OKC at a hotel, and then pending the overnight results of the virus testing, will make plans on how to travel back to Salt Lake. Which could include a positive test charter plane and a negative charter plane.
Oleh Kosel: Adrian Wojnarowski said minutes ago on ESPN that there is optimism the NBA regular season will eventually start back up but on a truncated schedule. Not good news for those teams (see Pelicans) trying to move up inside the playoff bubble.
Now, the NBA will decide what’s next after making sure its players get the medical attention they need. It will have options. It could try to squeeze in an 82-game season (there are more than 260 remaining) and just move back the start of the playoffs, including the Finals, the draft, free agency and the Las Vegas Summer League — while considering the Tokyo Olympics, if that event is held. Or the league could decide to play the remaining games scheduled when play resumes even if it means less than an 82-game season. The league has done that before in lockout seasons — 66 games in 2010-11 and 50 games in 1998-99.
And there’s another scenario. If the outbreak doesn’t slow by a certain time, say it’s still a serious problem in May, it isn't that unfathomable to envision the league canceling the season and going without a champion. No one wants that. But it’s what the NBA, its players, staff and partners may have to confront.
Harrison Wind: Mark Cuban on ESPN: “I trust Adam (Silver). It’s not really about basketball or money. If this thing is really exploding to the point of players having it, you’re thinking about your family and making sure you’re doing this the right way.”
Tim MacMahon: Mark Cuban says the NBA has told teams that they can continue to practice. He adds that players have been told they should not have visitors from out of town.
Mark Berman: #Rockets owner @TilmanJFertitta: “After our phone call (conf call) today & talking about suspending the season or playing the game with no fans, there’s pluses & minuses to both, but after what happened this evening (Utah player tested positive) the NBA made the right decision..” pic.twitter.com/s6PPJQDLPl
Shams Charania: The NBA G League has suspended its season after NBA's indefinite suspension.
Jeff Goodman: Utah Jazz G-League team had game canceled tonight against Phoenix Suns G-League team in Arizona. Two players - Miye Oni and Jarrell Brantley— were with the Jazz last week and are waiting now to be tested to make sure they don’t have the Coronavirus, source told @Stadium.
Royce Young: I've been told that Rudy Gobert was never at the arena tonight, but he was in OKC. If he had been cleared of the virus, he was set to play.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Jazz and Thunder officials worked together on Wednesday as they awaited results of Rudy Gobert's coronavirus test, sources tell ESPN. Jazz wanted to make sure no OKC player had physical contact or became exposed to any Utah player before the result of Gobert's test was known.
And on Monday, Gobert had appeared to joke about the coronavirus after an interview session with reporters. He made a point to touch all of their tape recorders and microphones on his way to the team's shootaround.
Sam Amick: This has everything to do with the Pelicans players. Word spread about official Courtney Kirkland, and it was a tipping point. “Our guys don’t want to play,” one Pelicans source tells @The Athletic
James Ham: Confirmed through a league source that Kings fully intended to play this evening, but the Pelicans decided against coming out due to official Courtney Kirkland's participation in Monday's Utah Jazz/Toronto Raptors game.
Dave McMenamin: There is no practice or meeting scheduled tomorrow for the Lakers players, per a team spokesperson. Players are welcome to come in to the practice facility for treatment, however. Lakers team employees have been asked to work from home.
Adam Himmelsbach: According to a league source, the Celtics are currently scheduled to fly home to Boston from Milwaukee at 11 a.m. tomorrow.
Nick Kosmider: Michael Malone: “It’s scary. You feel like you’re in a movie.” Said players are still trying to wrap their minds around everything.
Kevin Chouinard: Trae Young on the game: "To be honest, we were just trying to figure out the next steps." Players were getting bits of information before the game and at halftime.
The Vertical: "No way?!" Devin Booker was live on Twitch when he found out the news about the NBA pic.twitter.com/LGhOqCbXS0
Rod Beard: #Pistons Langston Galloway on his concern, having just played the #Jazz on Saturday: "It’s in the back of our minds. We understand the space we’re in right now, knowing we just played them."
Turkish Airlines EuroLeague: Euroleague Basketball evaluating temporary suspension of its competitions.
May 16, 2022 | 7:38 am EDT Update
But what happens if Phoenix uses the threat of restricted free agency and a limited market of teams with available cap space as leverage? Would the Suns tell Ayton to go out and get an offer sheet from another team, with the belief it would get matched? ESPN is projecting four teams — the Detroit Pistons, Indiana Pacers, Orlando Magic and San Antonio Spurs — to each have more than $30.5 million in available cap space. A fifth, the Portland Trail Blazers, would need to waive starter Josh Hart to create a max slot. Each of the four teams (and possibly Portland) can offer a four-year, $131.1 million contract.
Considering Phoenix is now getting a discount of $46 million (but with one less year), the likelihood is that the offer is matched. In total, 17 players have signed an offer sheet, with seven going unmatched. The latest was in 2020 with Bogdan Bogdanovic and the Sacramento Kings. The risk for the Suns is a contract laden with an advance payment, trade bonus and fewer years. Instead of having Ayton under contract through the 2026-27 season, there would be the possibility of him becoming an unrestricted free agent in 2024 or 2025. A sign-and-trade is also an option, but that would require the Suns to cooperate.
Since the All-Star break, Booker was one of three players to average 30 points while shooting 50% from the field and 40% on 3-pointers, per ESPN Stats & Information research. The other players were Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum. He is also one of three players to average at least 25 points in each of the past four seasons, joining Giannis Antetokounmpo and LeBron James. Defensively, he averaged a career-high 1.1 steals and held opponents to a career-best 41.9% as the closest defender (according to Second Spectrum tracking) and contested 88.4% of shots faced as the closest defender for the first time in his career. If there is a concern to the supermax it is the $113 million that Booker is owed in the final two seasons.
Crowder is entering the final year of his contract and is extension eligible. The forward is eligible to sign a four-year $58.3 million contract. Crowder started all 67 games he played this season, averaging 9.4 points, 5.3 rebounds and shooting 34.8% from 3. The future finances of Phoenix (new contracts for Ayton, Booker and Johnson) will certainly factor into the decision to extend Crowder.
Overall, he shot 44.3% from the field (his lowest since 2013-14) and 37.3% from three (lowest since 2017-18). A concern with extending Middleton to a lucrative contract is the workload that he has endured since the 2017-18 season. The guard currently ranks seventh in games played and fifth in minutes among all active players. He will turn 33 years old in the first year of a possible new contract.
The Bucks’ financial outlook and the loss of Donte DiVincenzo makes signing Connaughton a priority if he declines his option. The next contract for Connaughton should range between $8 million and $10 million, similar to the two-year, $18.7 million extension that his teammate Grayson Allen signed last October.
June 21: Thanasis Antetokounmpo has a $1.9 million player option in his contract. Antetokounmpo has established Bird rights (on the roster for three years or more), allowing the Bucks to exceed the cap to sign him if the player option is declined. The market for him is the veteran minimum exception of $1.9 million.
Brook Lopez is entering the last year of his contract, and Milwaukee can extend him for four additional seasons and up to $74.7 million (a starting salary of $16.7 million in the first year). The veteran missed 69 games this season recovering from back surgery. Lopez continues to be a presence on the defensive end. Per Second Spectrum, he allowed opponents to shoot 48.8% in the restricted area when contesting shots as the closest defender over the past two seasons. That is the second lowest behind Jaren Jackson Jr. The projection for Lopez on an extension is two years, $20 million.