Something wasn’t right. Hundreds of basketball games …

Something wasn’t right. Hundreds of basketball games had tipped off without fail at Chesapeake Energy Arena, but this was an outlier. The three officials gathered to start, then there was a fourth, a suit unfamiliar to this portion of the show. It was the equivalent of a 747 tearing down the runway only to get called back to the gate. When games are ready to go, they typically do. But “typical” is not what’s happening to the world right now. The coronavirus is not typical, nor was March 11, when, in front of 18,000 people, Donnie Strack acted atypical to the NBA machine that was in motion around him.

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Amid a strange scene that ended with the cancellation of not just a game but the postponement NBA indefinitely, Strack remained himself. For those unfamiliar with the 6-foot-5 native of Indiana, his face may have exhibited urgency as he explained the scenario to the officials and motioned for Thunder assistant general manager Rob Hennigan to join the huddle. But Strack’s face maintained the same controlled concern he has when talking to players in pregame with a hand on their shoulder and an even tone.
Strack — who was not made available by the Thunder to speak for this story — didn’t display panic or lack for answers. He was, despite the unprecedented circumstances of the night, operating as if there was a precedent. While Strack was the messenger, he was more. He had to be composed amid potential chaos. Only the NBA had the authority to call the game, which ultimately happened, but Strack was part of the group which had to quickly mobilize to give the league time to make the final call. By the time the NBA did make that call, the players were already back in their respective locker rooms.
South Korea's basketball league, the KBL, canceled the remainder of their season due to safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. The KBL suspended play on February 29th. League officials met to discuss whether to restart the league on March 29th, but decided to cancel the season.
South Korea's basketball league, the KBL, canceled the remainder of their season due to safety concerns from the COVID-19 pandemic. The KBL suspended play on February 29th. League officials met to discuss whether to restart the league on March 29th, but decided to cancel the season.
U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee leaders said, “It’s more clear than ever that the path toward postponement is the most promising,” after surveying more than 1,780 Olympic and Paralympic hopefuls about the coronavirus’ impact on their training and, potentially, the Tokyo Games.
“We are now confident that we have heard a wide range of viewpoints and understand the diversity of challenges our athletes face,” USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland and Chair Susanne Lyons said in a joint statement accompanying the survey results. “We regret that there is no outcome that can solve all the concerns we face. Our most important conclusion from this broad athlete response is that even if the current significant health concerns could be alleviated by late summer, the enormous disruptions to the training environment, doping controls and qualification process can’t be overcome in a satisfactory manner.”
The survey, sent to about 4,000 athletes with a 45 percent response rate, yielded results that included: Nearly 65 percent of athletes said their training has been severely impacted, or they can’t train at all. Nearly two-thirds of athletes feel that continuing to train would either put their health at risk or aren’t sure if it would put their health at risk. Nearly 70 percent of athletes said they would feel comfortable competing if the World Health Organization deemed it safe. 68 percent said they did not think the Games could be fairly competed if continued as scheduled. Nearly 93 percent reported a preference for postponing the Games versus canceling them outright.
In collaboration with the Portland Trail Blazers organizationand players, the Trail Blazers Foundation is establishing a COVID-19 Relief Fund to support local nonprofits serving the community. The funds raised will go to nonprofits who are impacted by the COVID-19 crisis, including supporting the Oregon Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Pooled Fund, which is rapidly deploying resources to community-based organizations at the front lines of the outbreak in Oregon.
New Orleans Pelicans veteran J.J. Redick was preparing to take the floor against the Sacramento Kings on Wednesday, Mar. 11, the night the NBA suspended play due to the COVID-19 pandemic. On a recent episode of his podcast, Redick detailed the players’ perspective on how the night unfolded leading up to the Association’s landmark decision to suspend play.
Arriving at the arena and going about business as usual, Redick and the rest of the team saw the situation with the Jazz-Oklahoma City game unfold on TV about an hour before their own game was to tip off. “The other ESPN game was on in the locker room — all of a sudden it flips to whatever’s going on with OKC-Jazz, and there’s the byline of, you know, there’s a player quarantined or they’re testing a player,” Redick continued. “And then it comes out a few minutes later that it’s Rudy Gobert. He’s tested positive. I was standing next to our PR guy, Will, and within like three minutes, he had a memo from the league that the league had been suspended.”
“We’re getting ready to go out finally to the hallway, to do our prayer, go out for warmups, and Aaron Nelson sprints through the locker room to try to find David Griffin. And that’s when we found out Courtney Kirkland had reffed the Jazz game,” Redick said. “So, then we were having a conversation in the locker room like, you know, ‘I don’t think it’s safe to play.’ No one felt like it was safe to play. Had the NBA made us play, we would have hooped, but I know a lot of guys expressed concern that they didn’t feel like it was safe to go out and play. Not just for us, but for anyone — anyone that was in that arena that night.”
Do you have any thoughts on how you think the league should proceed or how they might proceed once the outbreak is contained? CJ McCollum: "I think as long as they’re doing what’s right from a health standpoint for all parties involved — fans, players, ownership, coaching staff — I think as long as they follow the rules, guidelines and regulations that are issued by the government, I think we’re in a good place and I think the NBA has been at the front of the line in terms of making decisions that are health-based and not based on finances. I think as long as we continue to follow those guidelines, we’ll be in a great spot to return at some point. “
CJ McCollum: "I’m good. I’m staying in the house, just got some kettlebells in, ordering some more products to workout in the house and some more products for my new puppy. I think people should definitely take this seriously. Obviously you have the age gaps to where you’ve got kids of spring break wildin’ out, you got a lot of different stuff you’re seeing and that’s just part of that generation and culture of not taking things seriously. But then you have the people who are following protocol, are staying in the house, especially the people who are more mature. I’ve left the house four times in the last 15 days now. Once was to get my puppy, one was to get some gas and then I went on two walks. I’ve basically been in the house for almost two and a half weeks.”
Mark Cuban is maintaining optimism that the NBA could return sooner than most would've thought. "Hopefully by the middle of May, we're starting to get back to normal and the NBA is playing games," Cuban said. "Maybe not with fans, but we're playing it because sports plays such an important role. you know, people want something to cheer for people want something to rally around, people want something to be excited about."
"I'm proud of Adam Silver," Cuban said. "I'm proud of the NBA and the way we've reacted. I think we've led the way, and hopefully will lead the way out of this. I mean you know no one has perfect information right now, and so all decisions are tough. But, you know, if I had to guess based off the people I've talked to at the CDC and other places -- I would say that the over under would be June 1, and I'm taking the under."
If that were to come to fruition, the NBA could play the roughly 15-18 games that teams have remaining from mid-May to mid-June, and start the playoffs in late June. "I mean, sports is what we need right now and... I think the NBA is ready to play that role," Cuban said. So how do we get there? "Really, one thing we've got to get to a point where our scientists have come up with, not a cure, but a therapy that we know minimizes the impact of the virus," Cuban said.
Rex Chapman is working to mobilize his 576,000 followers to help raise money for coronavirus relief efforts. His Rex Chapman Foundation, which normally is focused on fighting the opioid drug epidemic, has partnered with the Bluegrass Community Foundation to create the Rex Chapman Foundation COVID-19 Relief Fund to raise money to go to any nonprofit organizations that are "providing support and aid to those impacted by COVID-19 nationally."
He rose to prominence on Twitter by circulating sometimes painful videos of collisions of all types with the caption, "block or charge?" as a reference to debate over basketball foul calls near the basket. His account has been suspended at least once for copyright violations regarding videos he has posted. Recently, Chapman has taken to circulating more heartwarming videos on Twitter, especially since the coronavirus pandemic began. As of Monday afternoon, more than 2,000 people had donated to the relief fund in the last 24 hours.

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Regarding life amid the coronavirus pandemic, Gasol said: “I imagine that it’s like everyone else. We must approach it with great concern, great sensitivity, great personal, family and social responsibility. Fortunately, my parents understand the measures and precautions that must be taken, having expertise in the healthcare world. Also, they, who are in advanced age, understand that they must more cautious, if possible because they are people that the virus can affect more, in a lethal way. It’s a time when, as a society, as a country, as a world, we have to be very responsible, follow the recommendations of the our governments and win the battle against the virus.”
Emiliano Carchia: Rodney Purvis and Kevarrius Hayes have left Italy to return to USA, a source told @Sportando . The two players returned to USA with Cantù permission.
In an interview with L’Equipe, Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier has strongly defended National Team teammate Rudy Gobert, who came under fire after being the first NBA player positive to Coronavirus. “It hurts me, he became the face of the virus in the NBA. The behaviour of people and journalists has been disgusting, I don’t understand taking out the names of the sick: it looks like the transfer window when it’s the scoop race. It was a coronavirus free agency, unbearable. You can say a guy is sick without naming him: today Philadelphia and the Lakers have cases and we don’t know who they are”, Fournier said.
Fournier noted that it was just that, a joke, and added that it was easier to blame him as a foreigner: “It’s typically the thing where we’re going to blame the stranger. He’s European so he brought the virus back? When we don’t know. Who says it was not Donovan Mitchell who infected him? The environment is unhealthy, not helped by what Donald Trump says. The joke with the microphones was a joke where no one had realized the magnitude of the thing. It’s easy to point the finger a posteriori. I could have made the same joke.”
The current state of the NBA has left much in peril and question with not only the league but the world in a situation never before experienced in our lifetimes. With regards to the NBA season and its fate, all sorts of potential solutions have been tossed out, ranging from continuing the season from the spot it was paused to forgoing the remaining weeks of the regular season to starting back up with the playoffs. During the Pelicans Playback social show on Saturday, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin gave some insight into the league’s thinking.
“With everything changing so quickly, everything is in a state of flux that I think it would be premature for the NBA to say what it ultimately looks like. I do know unequivocally that the league is very mindful of the idea of getting back to playing. The idea of canceling a season is not all on their minds, and we’re modeling every possible thing we can for how we can deliver a product to the fans. Quite frankly, we’re all going to need a diversion in the future. (But) until we can get to a point where we think we’ve got containment of (the coronavirus), we’re going to continue to stay locked down. Hopefully we’ll get to a point where we can come back sooner rather than later.”
How are you dealing with the coronavirus at the moment? Marco Belinelli (San Antonio Spurs): The situation is really tragic. This virus has been underestimated in all countries since the first moment and immediate procedure wasn’t taken, thinking that it was similar to the flu. Being Italian, I saw all the progress of the virus and the restrictions that have been taken by my country. In the United States, we have been facing this virus for a week.
What’s the current situation in your city? Marco Belinelli: In San Antonio until yesterday (18/03) we had about 12 cases, but the numbers are continuously rising. Restaurants, shops, gyms etc. are slowly starting to close.
Due to the circumstances, what does your daily schedule look like? Do you practice at all? Marco Belinelli: I have been living in “quarantine” for two weeks now. I’m going out to only take my dog for a walk. We do our grocery shopping online, and I’m working out at home. I want to also thank the Spurs staff, that is absolutely present and read to accommodate our every need, by bringing us food and all the necessary tools to continue our sports routine as much as possible.
Bogdan Bogdanovic (Sacramento Kings): It’s shocking, it’s unbelievably difficult for everybody but we’re all in this together. We just have to be disciplined as we learn more things about this new virus. It’s a new lesson for us as a community, as a society. We just have to deal with it like everyone else and be aware of the spreading and the power of the virus.
Bogdan Bogdanovic: (Sacramento) It’s the same as every other city. All the stores are closed, only grocery shops and hospitals are open. There are even more restrictions, compared to last week. We cannot use the gyms; all the arenas are shut down and we have to be patient and figure it out.
Bogdan Bogdanovic: Under these circumstances, no we don’t practice. The arenas are shut down. I’m just trying to get better; that’s the only thing I can do. I’m trying to get my body right and try to be prepared for what’s coming next. The hardest part about all this, is that you don’t know what’s going to happen and when this situation will end. You just got to be ready and work on everything in order to stay in shape.
The Miami Heat were at least able to pick up some sort of victory while the NBA is suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak. On Saturday, Heat forward Meyers Leonard led his team to a victory in a Call of Duty tournament for NBA players. The match was broadcast on Twitch, a live streaming platform for gamers. Leonard teamed with NBAers Donovan Mitchell, Zach LaVine, Mario Hezonja and high school player Bronny James, son of LeBron James. They defeated a team comprised of Josh Hart, Ben Simmons and Royce O'Neale and high school player Terrence Clarke.
Staffers for the Brooklyn Nets boarded a March 13 charter flight from California before the team’s stars and their families got on. The staff disinfected the plane and placed hand sanitizers and masks alongside vitamins in the common area. The NBA had just suspended its season and players were on edge. Some team personnel had coughs and runny noses, so each player was given a piece of paper and asked to write how they were feeling, if they’d been around anyone who was sick, or if they have any family members in a high-risk category.
The Aggie alum says it's been difficult with the season suspended, especially since he can't even use the gym or team training facilities. "Not a gym. We have to be on quarantine. That was the recommendation, the 14 day quarantine after they figured out somebody on the team had it. I'm doing all homework nowadays. I'm looking forward to, eagerly, getting back on the basketball court," explained Caruso.
It was late February and Larry Harris, Warriors assistant general manager and director of player personnel, was wrapping up a two-week trip through three European countries with assistant GM Mike Dunleavy Jr. when he read that the coronavirus had spread to Northern Italy. “We had heard about the coronavirus, that it was already (in China), so we were talking about it, but it hadn’t hit the actual countries we were in,” Harris, told Bay Area News Group in a phone interview Friday. “We had just gotten back (to the United States) within the week. Then we were heading to go see these conference tournaments.”
Without the combine, however, front offices across the league will be forced to rely on reporting from colleges and agents, which can at times be insubstantial. “The biggest concern would be the medical testing portion, which is vital.” Harris said. “The other stuff we can navigate through conversations and in film work and all that. It’s nice to be able to have our hands on these players now that they’ve been out of college for two or three months.”
They will be making their pick with little information compared to teams at the top of past drafts, but assert they have enough to make a quality selection. “I’m confident that not only are we going to get the right guy,” Harris said. “But we’re going to have enough information and video work to be able to make that determination.”
“My hometown of Bihac is desperate to get things right now,” he told NetsDaily, noting delivery could take two weeks or longer. “The equipment was ordered according to the instructions of the management of the Cantonal Hospital in Bihac. The equipment is currently in high demand and almost impossible to find but we were lucky enough to reach a supplier through a friend. I would appeal to anyone but who is able to get involved in helping.”
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver finds himself almost constantly looking at financial numbers and projections. And like the rest of a world that is dealing with the seismic effects of the coronavirus pandemic, he still isn't sure how bad things will get. Silver said Saturday the league is considering all options — best-case, worst-case and countless ideas in between — as it tries to come to grips with this new normal. But definitive answers on any front are in short supply. "It's too soon to tell what the economic impact will be," Silver said. "We've been analyzing multiple scenarios on a daily if not hourly basis and we'll continue to review the financial implications. Obviously, it's not a pretty picture but everyone, regardless of what industry they work in, is in the same boat."
Ray Allen: I had an awesome time playing in the @acehardware @aceshootout20 to help raise funds for @cmnhospitals back in February. You can vote for me as online fan favorite, and if I win, @nicklaus4kids in Miami will receive a $10,000 donation. Vote now by going to aceshootout.org. Tune into the @golfchannel on March 22 at 5pm ET to watch me play on team basketball with my guy @dwill8. #golfchannel #acehardware #cmnhospitals #nicklauschildrenshospital
Jack Ma Foundation: Go Asia! We will donate emergency supplies (1.8M masks, 210K test kits, 36K protective suits, plus ventilators&thermometers) to Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Laos, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan & Sri Lanka. Delivering fast is not easy, but we will get it done! Joe Tsai: In the global war against coronavirus, developing countries need help too. @JackMa is inspiring people to rise to the occasion. @foundation_ma @AlibabaGroup @BrooklynNets
Mark Cuban: Dear @3M, thank you for increasing your production of N95 Masks. No one knows better than your CEO, Mike Roman, that every discussion of the response to the CoronaVirus starts with our healthcare professionals and every discussion
Mr. Duncan along with Silver Airways partnered on the effort in a move to unite families during the national crisis caused by the coronavirus — the deadly pathogen that causes the Covid-19 disease — without creating another financial burden on families, the release said. The Tim Duncan Foundation and Silver Airways on Thursday encouraged students to be certain they have not contracted COVID-19 before coming in contact with family members, particularly elders.
Michele Roberts on Rudy Gobert: "I have not even by any stretch of the imagination heard from players that they think Rudy is somehow going to bear the scarlet letter. I mean, he's one of their brothers. He's one of their teammates."
Bogdan Bogdanovic: Right now, I’m more focused on this situation and how to take the positive things out of it. I don’t think about basketball. I’m not worried about that. There are people that are working on that and it’s their job; to plan the schedule when this thing will be over. I think any opinion right now is not important. Whatever happens, all players have to be ready for everything but in this situation, it’s hard to think about basketball. Everyone is more focused on how to take care of their families and get over this virus. The only way to do that is stay at home for 2-3 weeks or a month and wait, in order for the virus to calm down.
Cook, the Lakers back-up point guard, was on a Washington, DC podcast, Wizards Talk, Friday and talked about KD, who was one of four Nets who admitted he had tested positive for coronavirus last weekend. There’s been no updates on his condition since then. “He’s good. He’s good,” Cook said. “His spirits are good. K is in great spirits, still being K, man. Low, mellow, chill, moving at his own pace.”
The Pelicans' security personnel were alerted, sources said, and they immediately began communicating that information to the team's front office members, who were congregated elsewhere in the arena. Pelicans executives huddled up and grabbed their phones, quickly looking up recent Jazz box scores to confirm the information that had been relayed to them. And there it was: On Monday night, two days prior to this game, Courtney Kirkland had officiated the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz game in Salt Lake City.
There were only about 20 minutes remaining until tipoff, according to those present. Upon learning of Kirkland's exposure to an infected player, Pelicans staffers walked to the visitor's locker room and informed the players. One player wondered aloud, according to sources, "What's the point of even playing this game?" It was decided as a team that they wouldn't participate in the game, according to sources. Remain in the locker room, team officials instructed.
There's no word on whether other referees have been tested. Sources at the league office and referee union both declined to provide further information, indicating that tests and the results of those tests would be made public at the discretion of the applicable state and local health authorities.
Cook, the Lakers back-up point guard, was on a Washington, DC podcast, Wizards Talk, Friday and talked about KD, who was one of four Nets who admitted he had tested positive for coronavirus last weekend. There’s been no updates on his condition since then. “He’s good. He’s good,” Cook said. “His spirits are good. K is in great spirits, still being K, man. Low, mellow, chill, moving at his own pace.”
The Pelicans' security personnel were alerted, sources said, and they immediately began communicating that information to the team's front office members, who were congregated elsewhere in the arena. Pelicans executives huddled up and grabbed their phones, quickly looking up recent Jazz box scores to confirm the information that had been relayed to them. And there it was: On Monday night, two days prior to this game, Courtney Kirkland had officiated the Toronto Raptors and Utah Jazz game in Salt Lake City.
There were only about 20 minutes remaining until tipoff, according to those present. Upon learning of Kirkland's exposure to an infected player, Pelicans staffers walked to the visitor's locker room and informed the players. One player wondered aloud, according to sources, "What's the point of even playing this game?" It was decided as a team that they wouldn't participate in the game, according to sources. Remain in the locker room, team officials instructed.
There's no word on whether other referees have been tested. Sources at the league office and referee union both declined to provide further information, indicating that tests and the results of those tests would be made public at the discretion of the applicable state and local health authorities.
Thunder point guard Chris Paul, home instead of on the court, posted an uplifting message Friday on Instagram. It was the first time Paul has publicly spoken since the Thunder-Jazz game was postponed and the NBA season suspended last Wednesday after Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus.
"I know everybody's trying to make sense of life right now with the situation and the circumstances that we have going on," Paul said. "I'm not here to try to tell anybody how to live their life. Just wanted to give some type of hope or encouragement for those that are having a hard time. It's a great opportunity for us all to step up and lead our families. The best thing that we all can do right now is try to be as selfless as possible.”

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Chris Paul: “I wanna give a huge shoutout to the medical experts and the doctors who are day in and day out giving themselves up from their families to make sure that we're all OK. And know that that stuff does not go unseen. A huge shout-out also to all those teachers out there. It's been a lot of mornings here now trying to fulfill that role with my kids and just using this time as an opportunity to connect and reconnect. I think it gives us a lot of perspective as we're all here spending a lot more time doing things that we may have not done because we're usually all so busy on the go. So take this time to call some of your friends or your family and let them know how much you love them and how much you care about them.”
Vanessa Bryant's trying to get affairs in order for her and her kids following Kobe's death, and coronavirus is making it difficult ... so she's asking the court for some help. Vanessa filed legal docs asking a judge to appoint a guardian ad litem for her 2 daughters -- Bianka and Natalia -- as well as another for Capri ... as it pertains to modifying Kobe's trust to include Capri.
With the Chinese Basketball Association preparing to end a nearly three-month hiatus, the league is welcoming back some of its foreign players, with perhaps the biggest splash of all coming from Jeremy Lin. "Safely landed back in Beijing to finish out the CBA season!" Lin said on social media Thursday after spending 40 hours traveling from his Bay Area home to China, adding, "It's been an awesome 2 months camped out in the gym ... basketball has never been more meaningful. The world needs basketball now more than ever."
As of now, among those who have returned to China are Lin, Ty Lawson, Donatas Motiejunas, Sonny Weems, Kyle Fogg, Pooh Jeter, Marko Todorovic, Antonio Blakeney and Ekpe Udoh. More are expected to return in upcoming days. Hamed Haddadi -- a former NBA center and a veteran of the CBA -- is currently held up in his home country of Iran, where the pandemic has also hit hard. His team Nanjing is working with the Chinese Embassy in Iran to aid in his return.
Lance Stephenson, who is in his first CBA stint with Liaoning, has indicated he will return. "Ready," he posted on Weibo with a video highlight of himself from earlier in the season.
LeBron James did his first-ever live video on Instagram for over an hour Thursday evening, providing an unfiltered glimpse into what life looks like in the James household. James drank wine, played cards with his wife Savannah, made fun of his beard, laughed at Bryce and Zhuri dancing, joked around with Bronny, played with his dog and answered fans' questions.
Cook then praised Durant for coming forward, admitting he was one of the four Nets that tested positive, and spreading awareness about the virus. "He's just encouraging social distancing, staying inside and don't expose others," Cook said on Durant. "For him to step up to the plate and use his platform to spread awareness, it's brave. That's the kind of guy he is. He's fine. He's doing great."
Jeff Zillgitt: Per White House press conference, President Trump said he has talked with Miami Heat owner and Carnival Corporation chairman Micky Arison about using cruise ships for sick patients. Trump said Arison pledged use of ships in various ports if necessary.
The league is using its vast digital footprint and the powerful voices of teams, players, coaches, doctors and others across the NBA family to launch "NBA Together" - a global community and social engagement campaign that aims to support, engage, educate and inspire youth, families and fans in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Storyline: Coronavirus
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April 10, 2020 | 7:25 am EDT Update

Wizards keeping Shabazz Napier?

John Wall’s return significantly elevates expectations surrounding the Wizards next season and will make the team’s offseason decision-making process that much more important. In the case of Napier and Bertans, Washington’s general manager Tommy Sheppard talked highly of both in a Q&A with Dave Johnson Thursday. “I think with [Napier and Bertans], when we acquired them not as rentals we acquired them to stay here,” Sheppard said. “I think the players that we acquired, they’re here to show that they can be here for the future. With Davis and Shabazz, they showed enough to us that certainly we would love to retain them. We plan to.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 24 more rumors
Napier started eight games and averaged 12.2 points, 4.4 assists, 2.4 rebounds and 1.7 steals while shooting 43.1% from the field and 38.1% from three. Based on production alone, it’s not that surprising Sheppard wants to bring the former UConn star back. However, if the Wizards can re-sign Napier this summer, they’d have quite a lot of viable point guards on their roster going into next season. Wall will be back and Ish Smith will be in the final year of his two-year contract.
He is one of professional sports most-outgoing and charismatic owners, and Mark Cuban doesn’t shy away from offering his thoughts on a wide-variety of topics. The Mt. Lebanon native and owner of the Dallas Mavericks told the PM Team he believes professional sports could have games being played in two months. “If things really go our way, it’s not inconceivable to me–and this is me being hopeful and not being scientific–that we could potentially play games in early June,” Cuban said.
But Cuban’s optimism is rooted in science and medicine. “I think we’re coming back,” Cuban said. “I can’t tell you exactly when, but this is purely a science and doctors thing. My attitude always is it’s not about if the glass is half empty or half full, it’s who’s pouring the water. In this particular case, it’s the scientists pouring the water. All I know from all the science and everything that I’m reading, I think we’re making enough advances that several of them will come through so we can start planning what a comeback would look like. I’m a big believer in American exceptionalism, and everything I’m starting to hear in terms of the science is coming along and the medical advances that we’re making to fight this thing makes me very positive. If I had to bet, and this is more a guess than a bet, I’d say early June is when you see teams start to take the field and maybe play games just for television.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
The NBA has considered a similar setup in Las Vegas. Lakers star LeBron James initially voiced his displeasure about playing games without fans but has since softened his stance. “LeBron is right. It’s hard to play without fans,” said Johnson, who stepped down as Lakers president of basketball operations in 2019. “You play one game, you’ll adjust to not having fans there. We’ve all played our whole life on the playgrounds and in pickup games without fans being there. Basketball players will know how to adjust.”
Even if Johnson admitted he is “looking forward to see if the Lakers are going to win the championship,” he seemed more concerned about the COVID-19 pandemic than worried if sports will resume. “I hope that happens. But first the players have to be safe,” Johnson said. “The numbers have to be stabilized. America and all of us who live in this great country we live in need sports, especially in a time like this. But only if everybody is safe.”
Pelicans director of mental health and wellness Jenna Rosen has been working with players twice a day with a Zoom of mental exercises and stress-relieving exercises according to Griffin. “We’re trying to be as creative as we can to have constant contact with people and make them understand that we’re still part of the same family, and family matters vitally to this group,” Griffin said. “I think our players are very close individually. I think organizationally, I think if you talk to most of the people in it, they would tell you that ‘family’ is a big focus of what we’ve brought to this, so we’re trying as best we can to connect with as many people on as many different levels as possible.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
When Thursday night’s quarterfinals action in the NBA 2K Players Tournament wrapped up, the four players remaining come from just two NBA teams — the Los Angeles Clippers and the Phoenix Suns. Young guns DeAndre Ayton and Devin Booker, both from the Suns, won their matchups, while Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell of the Clippers each emerged victorious.
Storyline: eSports
The semifinals begin Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN. The matchups are Ayton vs. Beverley and Booker vs. Harrell, providing Suns-Clippers undercurrents in both games. Interestingly enough, both pairs were the only tournament participants from the same team among the original field of 16. Ayton faced the toughest test among the semifinalists on Thursday during his battle with Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. Booker cruised by Rui Hachimura (Washington Wizards) in the first game and Harrell took out No. 16 seed Derrick Jones Jr., who defeated top seed Kevin Durant during the opening game of the tournament.
“I was 26 at the time, number three pick [in the 2006 NBA draft], a really low point in my life, and I got a text from Robert Lara, the Lakers security and one of Kobe’s best friends. He said ‘Hey, what’s your address, I’ve got something in the mail for you.’” Morrison assumed he was getting a magazine from Lara, whom he had a friendship with during his time with the Lakers. “I get the package, and it’s an autographed jersey from Didier Drogba, who was my favorite player,” Morrison said. “I’m a Chelsea fan. It was from Kobe. A game-worn jersey, signed by Didier Drogba, ‘To Adam, Best Wishes.’”
“The night he passed, I’m scrolling through, reading everything, and I’m emotional,” Morrison said. “And on Chelsea’s Instagram page, it’s him with Didier Drogba holding up a jersey and it says ‘To Adam, Best Wishes.’ So he went up to my favorite player, got it signed for me without me even asking, and sent it to me when he knew I was low. It’s unbelievable. I still have the jersey. That’s what Kobe Bryant was, man. He was just one of those dudes who understood his own aura and could sense when people were down.” Morrison said he was lucky to play alongside Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP and one-time regular season MVP. Bryant was posthumously elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Nonetheless, Johnson still drew parallels between HIV and COVID-19 because of the similarities regarding the misconceptions about the respective viruses, the inadequate testing, the lack of available drugs and how the pandemic has hurt the black community. “African Americans are leading in terms of dying from the coronavirus and most of them in the hospital are African American,” Johnson said. “We have to do a better job as African Americans to follow social distancing, stay at home and make sure we educate our loved ones and our family members and do what we’re supposed to do to keep safe and healthy. Then when you add that up, we don’t have access to health care, quality health care. So many of us are uninsured. That also creates a problem, too. Just like it did with HIV and AIDS.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
Consider the common perception about HIV when Johnson learned he first had it. “When I announced, it was considered a white, gay man’s disease,” Johnson said. “People were wrong. Black people didn’t think they could get HIV and AIDS.” That partly explains why Johnson went public with his diagnosis. It also partly explains why Johnson eventually raised more than $10 million for HIV/AIDs research and charities through his foundation. Nonetheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that in 2018 black people accounted for 42% of new HIV diagnoses. USA TODAY recently reported that black people are dying of coronavirus at much higher rates compared to other Americans in major cities. Johnson offered varying reasons that explain such a troubling trend.
April 9, 2020 | 9:12 pm EDT Update
Will the NBA’s indefinite suspension limit what the Warriors do with the checkbook in the offseason? “We’re looking at all of those questions and the possible answers. But I don’t really have a good sense yet because I really have no idea how this is gonna shake out,” Lacob told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic on Thursday morning. “We don’t know what the salary cap is gonna be, we don’t know what the luxury tax is gonna be. We don’t really know what we can plan on at this point. We just have to look at a lot of different scenarios. That’s what we’re doing right now. It could make a huge difference, it might make no difference.”
Storyline: Season Suspension
As Illinois goes through this together, the United Center, home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, is proud to be playing a critical role with our city, state and federal response to the pandemic. As announced on March 25, our arena and outside campus will be transformed into a logistics hub where we will be assisting with food storage for hunger relief, first responder staging and the collection of critically needed medical supplies.

Moving forward, the Greater Chicago Food Depository, Chicago’s food bank, will be utilizing the United Center as a satellite storage facility in response to the increased need for food. By alleviating space in the food bank’s warehouse, the Food Depository can bring additional volunteers into their facility to build more family food boxes in an environment that adheres to social distancing protocols. These boxes will continue to be distributed to those in need by the Food Depository’s partner network throughout Chicago and Cook County.
Storyline: Coronavirus

April 9, 2020 | 7:56 pm EDT Update

Pau Gasol contemplating retirement

With the league’s current campaign suspended indefinitely due to the global outbreak of the coronavirus, Gasol, who will turn 40 years old in July, is contemplating retirement at this point of his career. “With this recovery process and the injury that I have been dealing with for more than a year, it’s undoubtedly inevitable to think about retirement,” Gasol said in an interview with the Spanish newspaper El País, via NBC Sports. “Also, taking into account that I will be 40 years old in a few months. So, [retirement] is definitely on my mind.”
This rumor is part of a storyline: 14 more rumors
“It’s something that will come one time, sooner or later,” Gasol said of retirement. “We hope that time hasn’t come yet. But I also take the opportunity to focus on the Gasol Foundation and other off-court projects. And also think of what my next professional stage may be, my next challenges. All this while I’m still recovering, trying to give myself a chance to keep playing. Now, the priority is to overcome this pandemic among all. Everything else is completely secondary.”
In 2011, Jacob Hamilton was a 26-year-old cinematographer looking to expand his portfolio by directing a documentary. He came across a two-minute interview online titled, “The Man Who Invented the Jump Shot.” Four years later, Hamilton was screening his short film in Kevin Durant’s backyard, shocked to see one of the NBA’s best-ever jump shooters geek out over footage he’d gathered of Kenny Sailors from the 1940s. The film was still only halfway to the finish line. “Jump Shot” premiered at South by Southwest in 2019, but still hasn’t been released to the public. That will change next week, when the feature-length documentary will be available online April 16-18. Pre-order is underway at jumpshotmovie.com.
“Jump Shot” got two of its most important assists from NBA superstars Steph Curry and Durant. Hamilton had simply hoped for an interview when, through a connection between an executive producer and a chaplain for USA Basketball, the former Golden State Warriors teammates were introduced to Sailors’ legacy. The crew flew to Oakland and were invited to Durant’s home. Partway through the screening, KD asked for the film to be paused. Hamilton feared the worst, a bored millennial. In reality, the former Longhorns star was mesmerized. “These are moves that I’m doing today,” Hamilton recalls Durant telling them. “I was literally working on this in practice this week, and Kenny was doing this 60-70 years ago? This is unbelievable.”
Curry took his adoration a step further when he told Hamilton he was not only up for an interview, but wanted to get more involved. That’s how basketball’s greatest jump shooter became an executive producer. Both players are interviewed in the film, along with a lineup of basketball legends — from Dirk Nowitzki to Bob Knight, Nancy Lieberman and Clark Kellogg. Their astonishment at Sailors’ pioneering shot, particularly a photograph that appeared in Life magazine in 1946, will resonate with basketball fans.
April 9, 2020 | 6:35 pm EDT Update
When this all ends, whenever that is, what’s the one thing you’re most looking forward to doing on that first day? Dion Waiters: Just trying to hoop. Just vibe out and hoop. I’ve had damn near the whole season off. I’m trying to get back and hoop. I got something to prove at the end of the day. During this quarantine I’ve been dieting, getting my weight down, getting in shape. For me, it’s just playing basketball.
“I am in such debt to the people who worked so incredibly hard on the technical side to make what I believe is still magic — there might be some elves involved, it is Disney after all,” ‘The Jump” host Rachel Nichols told Insider. “I can’t believe that they were able to figure out a way to produce an entire television show with everybody at home, not a single person in our television facility.”
April 9, 2020 | 6:29 pm EDT Update
If nothing else at a time when the Clippers have more questions than answers amid the NBA’s hiatus because of COVID-19, the team is confident in at least one thing to be true. Should the season resume, the same roster that had been dogged by injuries since last summer is on track to be the healthiest it has been. “The Kawhi [Leonard] we’ll see will be in phenomenal shape,” coach Doc Rivers said, adding that Paul George “is another guy that’s goig to be in phenomenal shape. Reggie [Jackson], who was injured when we got him, will now be healthy.”
Since there is a pause on all roster transactions across the league, the 10-day contract Noah signed remains in effect one month later. That has left the former defensive player of the year able to work into shape under the supervision of the team’s medical and performance staffs. “It’s been great for him,” Rivers said. “There are certain individuals who this rest period, or whatever this is called, has been a benefit, and Jo is one of them for sure because he’s got a chance now to get healthy, and to get in shape and that will be a factor for him. He will be a guy that will be able to help us.”
A whopping 72% of Americans polled said they would not attend if sporting events resumed without a vaccine for the coronavirus. The poll, which had a fairly small sample size of 762 respondents, was released Thursday by Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business. When polling respondents who identified as sports fans, 61% said they would not go to a game without a vaccine. The margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.6%.
Storyline: Coronavirus
NBA star DeMarcus Cousins first hired Noordin Said to be his personal security guard in 2015 during All-Star weekend in New York. From there, the two hit it off, and Said worked the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro and the 2017 All-Star weekend in New Orleans at Cousins’ side. Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green hired Said to be his personal security guard during the 2018 playoffs, and Said worked this season with Los Angeles Lakers guard Rajon Rondo at most home games.
Storyline: Coronavirus
April 9, 2020 | 5:21 pm EDT Update
As the coronavirus pandemic continues across the world, NBA owners are hoping for the best but preparing for the worst. The league plans to keep all options to resume the season available for the time being, sources told ESPN, but the financial realities of the situation demand near immediate action. That has become clear in talks between the NBA, the National Basketball Players Association and player agents, sources told ESPN, as the league tries to get its finances in order in the event the rest of the season must be canceled.
Storyline: Salary Reductions
The league’s CBA includes a force majeure clause, enabling owners to cancel games and recover salary in the event of a pandemic. This clause also gives the league a 60-day window within which it can rip up the CBA entirely — effectively beginning a work stoppage. No one wants to do that. But it underscores the gravity of the situation. Still, in recent years the two sides have worked as well together as ever, and the CBA isn’t set to expire until 2024.
The agreement between owners and players in the last CBA calls for roughly splitting revenue 50/50 and also splitting the coming losses. So, the owners want to hold back a percentage of players’ checks going forward — both giving them extra money they can use now, if needed, and also to help balance the books in the event some, or all, of the remainder of the season is canceled. From an economic standpoint, both sides would prefer to limit the pain of the shutdown to only this season and not start next season with IOUs on the ledger. Setting the money aside now would help do that.
Karnisovas will have full decision making over basketball operations, including the futures of Forman, head coach Jim Boylen, and the entire coaching staff. He was even asked about Paxson, and had the option of having the organization move on from the long-time Bulls executive if that’s what he desired. However, a source indicated that Karnisovas had no issues with the Reinsdorfs keeping Paxson around.
There were multiple reports that the search angered a handful of African American executives around the league, who felt like people of color weren’t involved in the searching process by the Bulls. A source close to the situation, however, indicated that not only did Michael Reinsdorf reach out to multiple minority candidates to try and get interviews – but was denied permission to do so by their current organizations, and in some cases simply turned down.
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