Ntilikina admitted he was “really scared’’ at fir…

Ntilikina admitted he was “really scared’’ at first but felt the U.S. was starting to become “more prepared.” “We can avoid being sick if we are safe, really good hygiene, take care of ourselves, wash our hands, avoid handshakes,” Ntilikina said last Tuesday at Georgetown. “I think with us and people that are in the league it’s much more elbow to elbow shakes, stuff like that, just being more cautious.”

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Frank Ntilikina’s home base is France, which is on a lockdown, making it more complicated. The U.S. is not accepting flights back from France. International players “can’t currently leave the country,” according to an NBA source. “It’s crazy how things can change from one minute to the next.” Ntilikina wrote on Instagram. “Over the last few days, we have learned that we are all equal. When it comes to global health. I just want to first and foremost to wish to all the people infected by the virus a speedy recovery.
Toronto Raptors’ forward Chris Boucher was photographed at a downtown Toronto Loblaws on Thursday, just one day after he was ordered into self-isolation. The Raptors had been told to self-isolate after playing the Utah Jazz on March 9. Jazz player Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, triggering the suspension of the NBA season.
A photo sent to CityNews showed Boucher at the Loblaws location on Thursday evening, wearing gloves, but no mask. The Raptors have responded to the photo acknowledging it was Boucher, saying he had been asymptomatic since returning to Toronto and has since tested negative for COVID-19. “He has been told to self-monitor for any symptoms. However, he broke protocol. He is extremely regretful,” a statement from the Raptors read.
A sports world that needs some good news right now will be happy to know that Red Panda is OK. “I guess I’m lucky,” the beloved basketball halftime producer told The Athletic on Friday. Red Panda, whose real name is Rong Niu, has become one of the best-known entertainment acts at basketball games since getting her start in what was then an almost nonexistent business in the mid-1990s. She now crisscrosses the country every winter performing her unicycle show at dozens of college and NBA games.
When she took the court at the Big Ten tournament in Indianapolis on Wednesday, she had no idea it would be her last show for the foreseeable future. It wasn’t until her agent called later that night that she learned basketball was in the process of shutting down because of the new coronavirus outbreak. “I don’t know what to say, but I really hope this virus dies down and hope everybody gets back to their job, including me,” she said. “That’s what I really hope.”
Niu, who declined to give her age, has watched firsthand as fears of COVID-19, the coronavirus-caused disease, have gripped the country and affected travel, and she’s happy for now that she’s symptom-free. “I started to notice the flights were so light,” she said. “I had never seen it. Literally, it was one person taking one row. I guess the flight industry is getting hit pretty good, too.” As a precaution against the virus, Niu has been wearing a mask and rubber gloves in the airport, and she pulls a blanket over her head when she sleeps. “It looks weird, but I’m not the only person,” she said.
Americans playing professional basketball in Italy left the country in droves this week as others around the continent took a wait-and-see approach to the coronavirus pandemic that has forced suspensions and cancellations of domestic and continental leagues across Europe. Europe’s major continental competitions — the men’s and women’s EuroLeague, EuroCup, FIBA Champions League, FIBA Europe Cup and the Next Generation Tournament — have all suspended play. Several prominent regional leagues, like the Adriatic Basketball Association and the VTB United League, also paused their schedules.
Some of the top national leagues, including France, Germany, Greece and Spain, postponed everything until further notice. Italy, the hardest hit of any European country, with more than 1,200 deaths and 17,000 cases of the virus, halted its league and allowed players to return to the U.S. “It’s like a movie, really,” says David Lighty, a wing for ASVEL Villeurbanne in France.
Olimpia Milano coach Ettore Messina, the former right-hand man for Gregg Popovich in San Antonio, applauded Italy’s efforts to combat the rapid spread of the virus. The country’s updated case numbers are second only to China, where the outbreak began late last fall. The Italian government on Monday restricted movement of all residents, with the prime minister Giuseppe Conte saying “there is no more time” for anything other than full quarantines around the country.“Tough situation,” Messina says, “but (Italy) and Milan are very disciplined. We’ve been hit hard. Unfortunately we are ahead of other countries who are facing now what we faced two weeks ago. Let’s pray and hope for the best.”
Madison Square Garden sent a memo that stated event-driven employees -- such as those who work at MSG on game nights for the Knicks and Rangers -- will be paid through the next pay period, ending March 22, as the NBA and NHL navigate the coronavirus crisis. Both NHL and NBA seasons are currently suspended. It is unclear when -- or if -- either season will resume. This leaves arena workers who are paid wages for working Knicks and Rangers games without a paycheck.
In the memo, MSG said it is also working to establish a relief fund to help those administrative and event-driven employees "facing a range of personal hardships" due to the coronavirus. "We are truly in this together," the memo said.
Zach Lowe: Memo to teams this a.m. has instructions for taking temp of everyone entering team facilities (if teams wish): * people waiting to have temp checked should remain 6+ feet apart * any temp 100.4+ is considered fever * Those with fever should leave facility pending further tests
Emiliano Carchia: Ray McCallum and Kyle Fogg have already landed in China, I am told. McCallum will rejoin Shanghai, while Fogg will reunite with Beijing BeiKong. Hearing that Fogg has been stucked at airport in China for almost a day but now he should be ok They will have a 14-day quarantine
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have reached an agreement to not subject players to drug testing during the hiatus caused by the coronavirus, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Players typically undergo “six random, unannounced urine drug tests during each season and off-season,” as stated in Article XXXIII of the collective bargaining agreement. This rare agreement is only temporary, sources said.
Marijuana, steroids and performance-enhancing drugs are some of the banned substances in the league’s anti-drug program, even though some states allow recreational and medicinal marijuana use for those 21 or older. According to the CBA, players testing positive for drugs of abuse are banned from the league for a minimum of two years, and players testing positive for performance-enhancing substances are suspended for 25 games for a first violation, 55 games for a second violation and are banned from the league for a minimum of two years for a third violation.
Marc Stein: G League arenas and practice facilities obviously only become options if NBA games are closed off to fans ... which is the growing fear in the wake of the latest CDC recommendations we discussed last night discouraging crowds of 50+ people through at least mid-May
Chris Mannix: Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns announced he will be donating $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic, which has begun rolling out a test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19.
Tim Bontemps: The NBA has extended its ban on team practices indefinitely, league sources tell ESPN. Players are still able to work out individually at team facilities.
Adam Johnson: In an evening memo to top G League officials, the NBA has still not committed to canceling the @nbagleague season according to multiple sources. As states effectively shut down business for an extended period of time, the NBA is still telling teams to hold pat.
Olympiacos has permitted its foreign players to leave Greece, in light of the EuroLeague shut down due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak across the globe.
Tim Bontemps: The NBA has extended its ban on team practices indefinitely, league sources tell ESPN. Players are still able to work out individually at team facilities.
Adam Johnson: In an evening memo to top G League officials, the NBA has still not committed to canceling the @nbagleague season according to multiple sources. As states effectively shut down business for an extended period of time, the NBA is still telling teams to hold pat.
Chris Mannix: Timberwolves forward Karl-Anthony Towns announced he will be donating $100,000 to the Mayo Clinic, which has begun rolling out a test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19.
Olympiacos has permitted its foreign players to leave Greece, in light of the EuroLeague shut down due to the COVID-19 virus outbreak across the globe.
Gallinari also won’t soon forget how quickly he and his teammates were ushered back to the home locker room when the game was abruptly called off after Rudy Gobert, Utah’s All-Star center, had been confirmed to have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Gallinari recalled a lengthy wait for details and the uncommon instructions issued to Thunder players: You can shower, but you can’t leave. “We couldn’t really understand what was going on,” Gallinari said in an interview on Sunday. “We were all shocked. Maybe I was a little less shocked than anybody else knowing what’s going in on my country.”
The N.B.A. on Wednesday became the first major professional sports league in North America to suspend operations in response to the coronavirus outbreak, now a pandemic, but Gallinari, as Italy’s pre-eminent basketball export, had been consumed by the crisis for weeks. [...] Among those deaths was the grandmother of Filippo Conti, Gallinari’s best friend from their childhood in northern Italy — the country’s hardest-hit region — some 20 miles southeast of Milan. So when Gallinari, 31, spoke by telephone from his Oklahoma City condominium, where he is self-quarantined alongside his fiancée at the direction of team physicians and local health officials, he repeatedly brought the conversation back to Italy. “My family has been quarantined for some weeks now,” he said.
Gallinari said he had scarcely touched a ball since the N.B.A. was placed on hiatus, restricting himself to exercises he can do in his condo and, of course, checking in constantly with family members. Gallinari’s younger brother, Federico, is a redshirt sophomore on the basketball team at Rochester University, an N.A.I.A. school in Rochester Hills, Mich. Their father, Vittorio, a former professional basketball player in Italy, is frequently in the United States on business and is currently in Denver, where Danilo played for five and a half seasons. The rest of the family, including the brothers’ mother, Marilisa, is in Italy — but travel restrictions prevent her from visiting Danilo’s grandparents roughly 30 minutes away.
“Everybody is trying to find a new routine at home,” Gallinari said of Italian League players. “Basketball is not in their life anymore for now, so when they wake up in the morning, they’re trying to find something to do during the day, and it’s not easy because they have to stay home. They cannot have a regular social life. “It’s something serious. I see in Italy, right now, for the situation to get better, citizens — they have to behave in the right way and follow the lines and the rules that the government came out with. It’s not just a government thing or a hospital thing. It’s more like a team. We have to be a team.”

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The first NBA player to test positive for the coronavirus, the Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert, released an update from his quarantine on the official NBA Twitter account on Sunday thanking fans and expressing regret for initially not taking the spread of the disease more seriously. "I'm going to start by saying thank you to all the people that have been supportive and for all the positive energy," he said in the video. "It really means a lot. As for myself, I've been feeling a little better every single day thanks to the healthcare people of Utah and Oklahoma City and all the great people around me."
Gobert had joked about the coronavirus during a news conference on Monday and then touched the microphones and recorders in front of him. Two days later, his positive test catalyzed the suspension of the NBA regular season, which prompted the rest of the sports world to effectively go on hiatus. "As you may already know, I just wanted to make sure to remind you guys to keep washing your hands frequently with soap and water," Gobert said in the video. "Try to avoid touching your face, your nose, your eyes, and obviously try to avoid making unnecessary contact with people. It's all about protecting yourself and the people around you. I wish I would have taken this thing more seriously and I hope everyone else will do so because we can do it together. Take care and stay safe."
Charlotte Hornets owner Michael Jordan and his players have stepped up to provide financial assistance to part-time employees adversely affected by the suspension of the NBA schedule. “It was the right thing to do!” Jordan told the Observer about forming a fund to compensate part-time employees who will miss paychecks as a result of canceled Hornets and Greensboro Swarm games, and other lost Spectrum Center events, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The Hornets’ news release said about 500 part-time employees would be eligible for assistance, such as ushers, ticket-takers, entertainers, public-safety officers, etc. The announcement did not provide an estimate how much money this fund would distribute.
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: Hornets players chose to partner as team, not individually. Amount donated by each player to fund part-time employees won’t be announced. Players wanted to avoid optics of competing, self-promotion. “We’re here as a team to make a difference during this crazy time”
NBA referee Courtney Kirkland's coronavirus results came back negative, and doctors cleared him to leave Sacramento, a source confirmed to ESPN. Kirkland had been in Sacramento since Wednesday's game between the Kings and Pelicans was postponed just minutes before tipoff because he also had been assigned to work a Jazz-Raptors game in Salt Lake City on Monday.
The Pistons have confirmed their first preliminary positive case of coronavirus, amid the growing concern of a spread among players. Christian Wood's agent Adam Pensack told The News it's his client, and that "he feels 100-percent fine."
Wood is “100 percent OK” and “feeling fine,” per a source. Wood felt subtle symptoms of the virus on Thursday, and decided to get tested as a precaution. Wood has been in self-isolation since Wednesday.
Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks caught up with Los Angeles Lakers wing Danny Green, who shared his thoughts on the NBA’s hiatus in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. He also offered support for Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who was the first NBA player to be diagnosed with the virus and is catching heat for a clip showing him jokingly touching microphones a few days before he tested positive. “People are blaming him for a lot of things, when obviously he was a little careless at times, but who’s to say that’s necessarily the reason why that’s happened? He probably should have been more careful, but it’s not all his fault. Mind you, you got to look at the positive of things. This was gonna happen regardless of whether it was gonna happen to him or somebody else. Somebody in the NBA was gonna catch the virus and give us a wakeup call…I don’t think he should be blamed or bashed as much as he is. I mean, it could happen to anybody.”
Wood is “100 percent OK” and “feeling fine,” per a source. Wood felt subtle symptoms of the virus on Thursday, and decided to get tested as a precaution. Wood has been in self-isolation since Wednesday.
Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks caught up with Los Angeles Lakers wing Danny Green, who shared his thoughts on the NBA’s hiatus in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. He also offered support for Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who was the first NBA player to be diagnosed with the virus and is catching heat for a clip showing him jokingly touching microphones a few days before he tested positive. “People are blaming him for a lot of things, when obviously he was a little careless at times, but who’s to say that’s necessarily the reason why that’s happened? He probably should have been more careful, but it’s not all his fault. Mind you, you got to look at the positive of things. This was gonna happen regardless of whether it was gonna happen to him or somebody else. Somebody in the NBA was gonna catch the virus and give us a wakeup call…I don’t think he should be blamed or bashed as much as he is. I mean, it could happen to anybody.”
Chris Mannix: Pistons forward Christian Wood reported flu-like symptoms the morning of Detroit's game against Philadelphia on Wednesday, league sources told @SInow. Wood played, but when the Gobert news broke Wood was tested immediately upon the team's return to Detroit.
Shams Charania: Detroit Pistons‘ Christian Wood has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Wood had 30 and 11 rebounds against Rudy Gobert on Saturday night before a career-high 32 on Wednesday. Sources say Wood has shown no symptoms and is doing well.

http://twitter.com/JShawNBA/status/1238987405186785281
A Salt Lake Tribune source familiar with Donovan Mitchell’s thinking has confirmed reports from ESPN and Sports Illustrated that Mitchell, after testing positive himself, was “frustrated” with Gobert for his actions before his positive test for COVID-19 on Wednesday.
Mitchell wasn’t the only teammate of Gobert’s frustrated in the immediate wake of his diagnosis, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported. But Gobert’s Instagram post has messages of support from many of his teammates, including Mike Conley, Emmanuel Mudiay and Royce O’Neale. Georges Niang is among others who wrote a tweet expressing well wishes to Mitchell and Gobert.
On Friday night, Mitchell was involved in a video game stream on Twitch with teammate and friend Royce O’Neale. At one point, O’Neale was asked about the status of Mitchell and Gobert’s relationship, to which O’Neale replied, “Ask Donovan." Mitchell largely stayed silent throughout the stream, laughing here and there. But when a clip of the “Ask Donovan” line started circulating on social media, O’Neale and Mitchell laughed at the drama and downplayed the “beef” on the stream. Someone associated with O’Neale and Mitchell asked the fan who posted the clip to take it down, and the fan complied.
Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert has caught a lot of flack in recent days after he tested positive for COVID-19. Los Angeles Lakers guard Danny Green, however, doesn’t think that’s very fair. “I don’t think he should be blamed or bashed as much as he is,” Green said in a FaceTime with Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks on Saturday. “I mean, it could have happened to anybody.”
Even if Gobert hadn’t have caught the coronavirus, somebody else would have. “This was going to happen regardless of whether it was going to happen to him or somebody else,” Green said, via Bleacher Report. “Somebody in the NBA was going to catch the virus and give us a wakeup call. I think it was needed. It was necessary for us — not just for the basketball world — but for the rest of the world to take it seriously … But this wouldn’t have happened if Rudy [hadn’t] caught it. So I’m glad that things happened the way he did.”
Maddie Lee: The Jazz announce that in addition to donating money to Vivint Smart Home Arena employees, families affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in Utah, and the French health care system, Rudy Gobert has pledged $100,000 of COVID-19 related social services relief to OKC.
Eric Woodyard: NBA referee Courtney Kirkland’s #coronavirus results came back negative and doctors cleared him to leave Sacramento, a source confirms. Kirkland had been there since the N.O. game was postponed. He is also cleared to resume all activities with no restrictions.
Donovan Mitchell thanked fans for the support he's received since testing positive for coronavirus and said he is feeling "fine." The Utah Jazz guard added that he remains quarantined on the orders of health officials in a video message released by the NBA on Saturday. "Just want to say thank you guys so much for your continued support. It means a lot to me," the 23-year-old Mitchell said. "I feel fine. Things are going well. Just taking the proper precautions as told to me by the authorities. I was told to stay in isolation, so, solo in here, playing videogames all day. Can't wait to get back out there and play in front of the best fans in the world. Really miss playing in front of you guys and I'll see you guys soon."
Jeff Zillgitt: Good news from the Raptors. Final coronavirus covid-19 test was negative. No one tested positive. pic.twitter.com/HbpmtMUatS
The Celtics and TD Garden released separate statements indicating Jazz stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell were “unlikely’’ to have the coronavirus when they played in Boston on March 6. That revelation hit the Knicks’ world in a positive way. If Gobert didn’t have the coronavirus on March 6, then they also weren’t contagious when they played the Knicks on March 4 at the Garden. The Knicks and Celtics are still being advised by the NBA to “self-quarantine,’’ according to league sources. The Knicks flew back to New York from Atlanta late Thursday afternoon with all their players asymptomatic and not eligible to be tested under guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and New York Department of Health websites by which the franchise is abiding.
P.I.T.: Due to the Declaration of National Emergency, Declaration of Emergency in the State of Virginia, Declaration of Local Emergency in Portsmouth, VA and in an effort to prevent the spread the Corona Virus (COVID-19) through social distancing, the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament has been cancelled for 2020. Mike Morris PIT Vice Chairman
Barack Obama: A shout out to Kevin, Giannis, Zion, Blake, Steph and all the players, owners and organizations who are setting a good example during a challenging time. A reminder that we’re a community, and that each of us has an obligation to look out for each other.
But on Wednesday when he got off work, Masri, a physician at Ochsner Medical Center in Kenner, canceled his trip. About an hour later, the NBA announced it was suspending play indefinitely after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Masri, a Pelicans season ticket holder who has two seats in section 124, was disappointed that the NBA was halting play just as the playoff race was heating up but understood why the league was taking such drastic steps. “I’m kind of on the front lines of all this on the coronavirus,” Masri said. “I’ve been telling other people, for someone like me to say we should hold off on sports, being such a huge sports guy says a lot.”
In Italy, doctors are so inundated with coronavirus cases, they are forced to choose who to help, according to The New York Times. Doctors there are prioritizing younger patients without preexisting conditions. “We have a finite amount of resources,” Masri said. “On just a routine basis, on a normal flu season, we have several days where the hospital is at capacity.”
Reports of players in Italy flying back to the United States came in bunches on Friday morning. Emiliano Carchia, who runs the Sportando website that covers European basketball, reported the departures of Jaylen Barford, William Buford, Liam Farley, Davon Jefferson and James White from Virtus Roma in Rome. Numerous other Americans in Italy — Travis Diener, Ethan Happ and Terran Petteway among them — also received permission from their clubs to return to the States. Barford told The Athletic that people in the airport were “pretty calm” as he made his flight back to the U.S. The former St. John’s star said he might return to Italy if play resumes after the delay.
Storyline: Coronavirus
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September 18, 2021 | 2:39 am EDT Update

Zach LaVine doesn't want to leave Chicago?

The Bulls’ offseason overhaul couldn’t have come at a better time, as Zach LaVine is on the final year of his contract with an extension yet to be signed. But if it were up to LaVine himself, he’s reportedly all-in on staying in the Windy City. That’s according to ESPN Chicago radio analyst David Kaplan, who’s heard from sources that the All-Star doesn’t want to go anywhere. Via ESPN 1000 FM: “He has told people that I know: ‘Hey man, if they want me here, I’m not going anywhere. I’m building this thing. I’m the first guy in the door. I wanna be part of this.’”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 55 more rumors
Is KAT’s trade value at all impacted by missing the playoffs yet again? If a Simmons deal can’t get done, would you think about trading him now, considering the likelihood that you may need to next offseason? — @JWeAnd1 Definitely no interest in trading him now. Towns will have plenty of value for the foreseeable future, barring a big injury. This is a big season. I think there will be more clarity, positive or negative, when 2021-22 concludes. Then the Wolves can make a real decision on how best to move forward. But Towns remains a focal point right now. That’s not changing anytime soon.
Morey will be in a similar position to Thibs in that rival executives will try to back him into a corner and wait for things to get really uncomfortable with Simmons, thereby driving down the asking price. But Morey is much more experienced in front office work than was Thibodeau, a coach to his core who had not yet started his third season as the lead decision-maker. Those around the league believe that if there is any executive able to stomach the circus that is sure to descend upon Philly, to block out the noise that comes with this kind of drama, it’s Morey.
Ben Simmons trade buzz has been one of the offseason’s hottest storylines, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and the 76ers have yet to pull the trigger in a deal involving the 25-year-old three-time All-Star. Will the Aussie wear the 76ers’ red, white and blue to start the season? By a wide margin, our panel’s vote projects Simmons to remain in Philly — at least until the season tips off on Oct. 19. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 45%
Storyline: Ben Simmons Trade?
Despite the on-paper match, ESPN’s NBA insider Zach Lowe took to his podcast to say there’s a slim chance of that actually happening due to the Clippers’ lack of interest in Russell Westbrook when he was available: “The Clippers were never interested in Russell Westbrook. They were a rumored Russell Westbrook trade in a few places whenever that happened. They were never interested. That was never a real thing. I think they value their optionality too much.” Lowe ultimately concluded, “I just don’t see it,” because, like Westbrook, Wall is over 30 and has a massive contract — $44 million due this season and a player option the following season for over $47 million.
The Philadelphia 76ers earn the top spot for Team Turmoil, as our experts predict which teams will be surrounded by the most drama this season. While the Ben Simmons saga lingers in Philly, the Lakers could share in the dramatics, as head coach Frank Vogel will have to incorporate former MVP Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony along with five former Laker alums. 1. Philadelphia 76ers: 61 points (55.0% first-place votes)
Storyline: Philadelphia 76ers Turmoil?