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Spurs guard Marco Belinelli is offering financial assistance to hospitals in his native Bologna, Italy, to aid in the battle against the global coronavirus outbreak. The country has been among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, with more than 31,000 diagnosed cases and 2,500 deaths.
The NBA broadcasters are suffering mightily from the loss of programming. Almost $700 million of ads will be at risk for Disney should the suspended season be fully canceled, Geetha Ranganathan, an analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, said in a note Tuesday. Turner, which was going to show the scuttled NCAA March Madness college basketball championship in addition to the NBA, faces a loss of almost $960 million in ads, she said.
Shams Charania: Durant has not had symptoms and was among four positive test results on the Nets. The two-time NBA Finals MVP's message is one for everyone to heed: Stay quarantined.
Connor Letourneau: Steve Kerr, a Team USA assistant, on the possibility of the Summer Olympics being canceled: "Everything's up in the air. We're all sitting here wondering what's going to happen, and so is the rest of the world."
Wes Goldberg: Bob Myers on when he saw Jazz and Thunder players getting pulled off the floor. "Once it did, just connecting the dots for me, my immediate thought was they would have suspend the season."
JD Shaw: Four Brooklyn Nets players have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Only one is exhibiting symptoms while three are asymptomatic, the team says.
David Aldridge: Wow:
Bam Adebayo: Mood Pt.5
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.
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.
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.
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September 28, 2021 | 5:08 am EDT Update