Individually, Mitchell and Gobert, the two pillars of t…

Individually, Mitchell and Gobert, the two pillars of the Jazz organization, are doing whatever they can to aid the Jazz and NBA community during an unprecedented crisis. But collectively, Mitchell and Gobert, and the remainder of the Jazz, will need to take this hiatus to deal with their own crisis.

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The reports of recent days have been multiple, and confirmed through The Athletic sourcing: Mitchell has been frustrated with Gobert in relation to his positive test. Those reports first surfaced on Thursday, the day of Mitchell’s positive test, and the day after Gobert became the first NBA player to test positive, which prompted a league-wide shutdown. They continued through the weekend, as Mitchell’s Instagram post stoked the rumors, because some of the wording is seemingly directed at Gobert. They were confirmed on Monday morning in Mitchell’s interview with Good Morning America.
Privately, according to sources, Utah hopes the time off does the team well. Neither Mitchell nor Gobert are the type to hold a grudge. Both are affable. And, privately, the Jazz know that they have doused fires before. Teammates everywhere get tired of each other over the course of a long season, and Mitchell and Gobert are no different. When Mitchell showed poor body language towards Gobert in a December home loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder, he realized his mistake and apologized to his big man. After games, their lockers are next to each other and can often be seen talking to each other about what transpired on the floor. They are without question the leaders of this team. They are both accountable to their teammates and to the media.
NBA stars are not the only basketball players wondering whether their teams will get a chance to compete for a championship this season. Around the world, other professional ballers are also on hiatus due to the deadly COVID-19, including former NBA forward Anthony Randolph, who currently plays for Spanish club Real Madrid Baloncesto. “It is a little devastating to know that your season can be postponed for a certain period of time or even canceled,” Randolph told The Undefeated from Madrid last week. “It’s kind of hard to deal with when you put in so much work and we’re positioning ourselves for seeding and the playoffs, getting ready for the real season playing for titles and championships. “But we understand at this time, the health and safety of all the players and our families is the most important thing.”
Randolph, who has averaged 10.7 points and 3.7 rebounds for Real Madrid this season, has been sidelined due to a thumb injury and missed the game in Italy. He declined to comment on Thompkins potentially getting the coronavirus in Italy or his current status, but did say he himself currently has no symptoms of COVID-19. “Most of my teammates and the trainers were all worried about going to Milan to play the game,” Randolph, 30, said. “But you know us as athletes, we kind of shrugged it off as like, ‘We will be all right. They will protect us.’ There were procedures and things put in place to protect us. We just figured [EuroLeague] would protect us. And when the guys came back, everybody did what they were supposed to do.
Sports analyst Stephen A. Smith is convinced that the NBA teams should play the remainder of the season if it is resumed. He rejected the idea of going straight to the playoffs. It will take time for the players to get back in shape and for team cohesiveness to be rebuilt, Smith explained. With almost a quarter of the season still left to play, the teams would get enough games to get in shape for the playoffs.
According to an NBA source, all players are permitted to leave their market city during the extended suspension and self-isolate there. However, Ntilikina’s home base is France, which is on a lockdown, making it more complicated. The United States is not accepting flights back from France. International players “can’t currently leave the country,” according to an NBA source.
Marc Stein: The NBA has begun collecting data on available arena dates at G League buildings and practice facilities through the end of August -- as well as teams' regular arenas -- as it holds of hope of resuming the 2019-20 season, league sources say. In the strain to find silver linings amid this crisis, there are teams out there eager to see if real NBA games in the summer would be as "hot" as some believe -- since there certainly is a pocket of power brokers in the league intrigued by an Opening Night on Christmas calendar.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA will hold a Board of Governors call on Tuesday, sources tell ESPN. This is the third meeting with owners and commissioner since Wednesday. As information flows into league on the coronavirus pandemic, there's plenty to discuss, analyze and eventually make decisions on.

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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.
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.”
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.

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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.
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September 18, 2021 | 5:41 pm EDT Update
You’re here for at least the next five years now that you’ve signed an extension. Do you allow yourself to think – or dream – about what might come over that time span since you’ve talked openly about wanting to win a title in New York? Have you allowed yourself to think about how things might progress? Julius Randle: Obviously, it’s a process. Everything is a process. We’ve been building this from the ground up. But for me, personally, that is the expectation (winning a title in New York). That’s what I want to happen within that time frame. There’s a lot of things, factors that go into that. So obviously you’ve got to weigh that stuff in.
Julius Randle: But as far as myself, I know Thibs (Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau) is thinking (it as well), it’s just win at all costs. For me personally, that’s just how I prepare myself. I prepare myself to compete at the highest level of our game. Like I said, there’s a lot of factors (that go into winning an NBA title). But I trust Leon (Knicks president Leon Rose), I trust Thibs, Wes (Knicks vice president William Wesley), our coaches, Scott (Knicks GM Scott Perry) – all these guys, I trust. That was part of my process in thinking of signing the extension and that’s my goal, that’s our goal as a team and the guys that are around us. We want to be able to say that we won a championship here in New York. I don’t think there’s any better feeling than that.
Did you guys see the video clip of Trae Young at the Garden with WWE? Do you care about that stuff? Julius Randle: Yeah I see it. But honestly, I don’t care. Obviously, that’s (for) entertainment purposes and all that (stuff), so I let people enjoy it. For me, honestly, I don’t care. I honestly didn’t even watch it. Knicks fans, they’re going to make a big deal out of it – they didn’t like it (laughs). But it’s all fun and games and hopefully they enjoyed it.
September 18, 2021 | 12:10 pm EDT Update

Rockets re-sign Dante Exum, waive Tyler Bey

The Rockets have officially re-signed guard Dante Exum and waived Tyler Bey to create a roster space for him, according to the NBA’s transactions log. Hoops Rumors’ JD Shaw was the first to report the Bey transaction (Twitter link). With John Wall not expected to play for the team this season as it seeks to trade him, the Rockets were in the market for another point guard. The Rockets’ interest in Exum surfaced on Tuesday.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 17 more rumors

Timberwolves sign Leandro Bolmaro

When the Timberwolves traded up to get Leandro Bolmaro last November in the 2020 NBA Draft (yes, it was less than a year ago… it still feels weird), the question was would it be a year or two before Bolmaro came over from Barcelona to play in the NBA. The answer is one. Minnesota reached a deal and Bolmaro will be with the Timberwolves in training camp, the team announced Saturday. This is not a surprise; he was expected to come over this season. He will be playing on a rookie scale contract.
September 18, 2021 | 8:54 am EDT Update
There are reports that Anthony Davis will play center for the Los Angeles Lakers this coming season with LeBron James taking the power forward position. In the past AD said that he does not love playing the five but can do it if needed. Lakers legend James Worthy thinks that the best option is to use the former number one pick in the post. “I think initiating Anthony Davis in the post is the best option,” Worthy said on Spectrum SportsNet. “I’ve never been one of those players to say ‘I don’t wanna play three, I wanna play four. I wanna play.’ I don’t know what the problem is, maybe who he defends or where he is on the floor. I think the five is a good spot for him. Because other fives don’t have a shot at guarding him.