How have you stayed connected to the Warriors during the lockdown over the coronavirus? Mike Brown: I have been speaking to [head coach] Steve Kerr. I’ve been speaking to him a long time and he’s the best. We have a huge group chat via text where we communicate basically on a daily basis. Steve’s biggest thing is he wants everybody to make sure they take care of themselves, stay safe, stay healthy, take care of the family and try the best you can to enjoy this downtime knowing as coaches, especially, this can break at any time. Be ready.
Brown, who was named the head coach of the Nigerian men’s basketball team in early February, will now have more time to put together a team, hire a staff, build a schedule and get prepared for the Tokyo Games, which have been postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19. “It helps from the standpoint of there are a lot of teams that have been together … the players, especially. A lot of countries have players who have grown up playing together on national teams or All-Star teams,” Brown told The Undefeated. “There are a lot of coaches out there that are in charge of programs that they have been a part of for many years. “To have another year to grasp, not only the talent level of the team, but the direction the team needs to go and making sure we are able to put the best Nigerian team out there, it’s a welcomed advantage to have a little bit more time for a new guy like myself.”
Aminu, who played for the 2019 World Cup team, had surgery on Jan. 7 to repair torn meniscus cartilage in his right knee. How will the delay of the Olympics impact him? Mike Brown: He is obviously a guy who has been instrumental to this program for many years. He is one of the guys who has anchored the program. He has a lot going on right now to get himself healthy so he can compete with his current team, the Orlando Magic. Knowing him, how much pride he has and things he has helped his country accomplish in basketball, I think he’d want to play in the Olympics, especially the way they qualified. It gives him a lot more time to get healthy and get himself in playing shape. I’m sure he’s looking forward to it.
NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tweeted a sensitive message to everyone: "I’m not on the court anymore, but I’m still in the game, today I play for Team LA. Together we got to beat the Coronavirus, so show me what you’re gonna do, to become part of that team.”
For Young, seeing his NBA brethren test positive for the coronavirus has been an eye-opener. “As athletes, celebrities and things like that, sometimes it takes something like this to actually humble people,” Young said. “For us, sometimes you think you are untouchable or things might not happen to you because you are at this stature or whatever. It can. You see guys, big-time guys, superstars like Donovan [Mitchell] or KD get it. It is definitely an eye-opener. “It sucks that this has to happen to us for us to really realize that and for other people to realize we’re actually just human, too. … But we are going to all get through this together as people, not just athletes. We’re people and human together.”
Akron Family Restaurant co-owner Nick Corpas said he got a call last week and was excited to help. He started making his orders almost immediately and began prepping for the meals on Monday. He and restaurant employees arrived at the restaurant at 6 a.m. ET Tuesday to cook and assemble the meals. He said they finished around 4 p.m., and LJFF volunteers parked cars outside the restaurant. Adhering to social distancing recommendations, the volunteers remained in their cars while workers and volunteers placed the food in trunks. Each serving tray provided food for four to five people -- enough for more than 1,300 people to have dinner.
Billionaire Tilman Fertitta said he’s had to temporarily lay off roughly 40,000 workers at his casino, hotel and restaurant empire to limit the economic damage caused by government-imposed shut-downs. The Texas native, who owns the Golden Nugget casinos as well as hundreds of restaurants including Del Frisco’s and Bubba Gump Shrimp under the Landry’s Inc. umbrella, is calling on the authorities to allow businesses to reopen at limited capacity in a couple of weeks to avoid economic disaster. “I think what we are doing with the shut-down is good but in a few weeks people will need to be around people,” Fertitta said in an interview with Bloomberg on Tuesday. “Otherwise you are going to go into an economic crisis that is going to take us years to dig ourselves out of.”
NBA star-turned-marijuana mogul Al Harrington says his Viola company's sales are through the roof since the coronavirus scare took over the U.S. ... and now he's scrambling to meet the demand. Of course, Harrington has turned into a highly successful weed advocate and entrepreneur in his post-playing days ... sharing the medical benefits for athletes, as well as, the average folk.
We spoke with Harrington about the insane demand for cannabis products right now -- after all, EVERYBODY is stressing out over COVID-19 -- and he says his sales have DOUBLED. "The challenge is gonna be making sure that we can keep up with the demand at this point," Harrington tells TMZ Sports. "Everybody is stocking up on their favorite brands. I feel like the 'canna-curious' is really steppin' up right now, especially when you're stuck in the house with your kids 24 hours a day."
The Chinese Basketball Association, seen by many sports leagues as a trial balloon for recovery from the coronavirus crisis, has delayed it's restart, according to multiple reports and confirmed by ESPN. The league had hoped to begin April 15, after about 11 weeks of being shutdown, but now won't attempt resuming until May after failing to get government approval according to reports from China.
The delay of the Olympics contributed to the decision but Chinese officials were also affected by seeing re-starts abandoned basketball leagues in Japan and South Korea over continued concern about the virus in recent days, sources told ESPN.
Chris Forsberg: "Let me tell you something, that virus has never faced anyone like Marcus Smart." @Enes Kanter sends support to a teammate, says the Celtics are maintaining chemistry through video chats, and champions social distancing. 🎧 bit.ly/KanterPod 📺 youtube.com/watch?v=vH7g4S… pic.twitter.com/dJZwxHQZuT
But the spread of the novel coronavirus, which forced the NBA to suspend its season last week, presents an even greater financial challenge to the league. It could push the NBA’s revenue hit past the $1 billion threshold, according to team executives and media estimates, should the rest of the regular season and postseason be canceled. For a league that had enjoyed a decade of prosperity, the combination of the Hong Kong controversy and the coronavirus crisis represents an unprecedented and wholly unexpected financial challenge.
Gauging the precise economic hit of the NBA’s suspended season is impossible, but one high-ranking team executive said that the total damage could reach $40 million per team, or more than $1.2 billion, if the playoffs are lost. Similarly, a FiveThirtyEight.com analysis estimated that lost revenue could exceed $1 billion if the NBA can’t resume play.
Front office executives want the league to provide tentative contingencies on a return to play this season, but league officials have been reticent to share those estimates with teams. The loosest of drop-dead dates on completing the NBA Finals is Labor Day weekend in early September, sources say, which teams say necessitates games starting back up by July 1 -- and practice facilities reopening weeks before that.
Some executives and coaches believed that players are conditioned to find gyms to stay in shape, so why not under the supervision of the team? Perhaps, but teams are left to trust players to stay isolated the way the rest of America and parts of Europe and Asia have been asked to do. As one owner told ESPN, "Of course, it would make all the sense to have our players in the facilities, but if someone were to get sick there, the league and the team would get hammered. The league has no choice right now."
As one league insider cautioned me, we shouldn’t assume next year’s schedule will necessarily change as a result of this year. While all of us in the peanut gallery are jonesing to push the schedule back, that requires a massive undertaking from the league side at a time when it is already in the midst of another massive undertaking. The NBA could also do everything I outlined in this story and still kick off 2020-21 more or less on time this fall. If that’s the case, however, then that Labor Day timeframe becomes even more of a hard deadline for this season to end.
Also, I’m assuming no crowds, which means teams could play at an available arena or neutral site. Sources tell The Athletic that the league is still talking to teams about clearing arena dates in the summer, so I’m assuming this isn’t the league’s first choice, but it does provide several heretofore unavailable options.
Holed up in Houston, Van Gundy hopes he’s wrong, but doesn’t like the signs. “I‘m not an expert, but I’d be surprised if the NBA plays again this season,’’ Van Gundy told The Post. “It’s going to be hard to get it back going. I would suspect it will be very difficult. The good thing is I trust (commissioner) Adam Silver to do what’s right and best and not what is in the best interest of money. “If it does (go on), that will be great because you know Adam is putting no one unnecessarily in harm’s way. I hope I’m wrong. I hope in June, July it’s safe for our players to go back to work. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.”
“It’s horrible,” Ingles said of the test. “It’s 10 seconds … with a swab up your nose that literally goes so far up your nose that it feels like it’s about to pop out the top of your head. It’s one of the most uncomfortable feelings I’ve ever felt in my life … Every guy when they finished was like teary-eyed, because it’s that feeling. And then they back it up with a swab down your throat as well.”
Donatas Motiejunas: So, the whole trip home was intense. I’m worried and trying to make sure that I wash my hands and that I don’t touch nothing. I was kind of paranoid. When I came back home, a lot of people looked at it as a joke. Me and my coach kept telling all of the people, “Hey guys, let’s hope this thing isn’t gonna come to this country because the joke is going to be over as soon as it starts.” Sure enough, two months later, all the way from China it comes to Europe and now my government closes the borders, tried to take action. Like you said yourself, the States didn’t take it seriously and Europe also didn’t take it seriously. We started looking when it had already happened. Right now, the only thing we can do is try to contain it and try to keep it from spreading.
Minnesota Timberwolves star Karl-Anthony Towns revealed in a video posted to Instagram early Wednesday that his mother, Jacqueline Cruz, is in a medically-induced coma and connected to a ventilator due to COVID-19. Towns said that both his father and mother felt ill, then went to the hospital to get checked out and tested for the novel coronavirus. While his father, Karl Towns Sr., was eventually released from the hospital, Towns' mother wasn't allowed to leave as her condition got worse. "Both of (my parents) have gotten (coronavirus) tests. Both of them didn't get the results for a long time," Towns said in the Instagram video. "We all assumed my mom had COVID-19 due to the symptoms that she was exhibiting, and she was deteriorating daily."
Karl-Anthony Towns: WE CAN BEAT THIS, BUT THIS IS SERIOUS AND WE NEED TO TAKE EVERY PRECAUTION. Sharing my story in the hopes that everyone stays at home! We need more equipment and we need to help those medical personnel on the front lines. Thank you to the medical staff who are helping my mom. You are all the true heroes! Praying for all of us at this difficult time.
After finishing his first season as a Tar Heel, Cole Anthony is understandably being asked about his future. In a personal statement, Anthony took to Instagram to give fans an answer. "A lot of people have been asking me if I am going to declare for the NBA Draft. Anyone who knows me understands that playing in the NBA has been a lifelong dream of mine, but given the pain that America and the world are experiencing at this time, I am going to refrain from making any announcements around that topic.”
Cole Anthony: “Lliving in New York City, the Coronavirus hits hard. My family and I know many people directly affected by the Coronavirus-many hospitalized. A few in critical condition and one who has died. New York City is experiencing the highest number of Coronavirus cases in the United States. So my biggest concern right now is trying to figure out how I can help during this crisis. We are all in this together! Stay safe."
Bob Cousy is glad that his fellow Holy Cross graduate and Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient, Dr. Anthony Fauci, is finally receiving some well-earned recognition for a job well done, but unfortunately it took a pandemic for it to happen.
“I can’t say he’s my friend,” Cousy, a Worcester resident, said about Fauci on Monday from his winter home in Florida, “but I’ve been in his company three times and I’ve been telling people for 30 years that he’s my hero.” The 91-year-old Holy Cross and Celtics legend remembers first meeting Fauci many years ago at the Virginia Dental Association’s annual dinner. Ken Haggerty, co-captain of HC’s NCAA championship team in 1947, when Cousy was a freshman reserve, served as president of the association and invited Cousy to attend because Fauci was the guest speaker.
“Obviously, the last three weeks,” Cousy said, “you can’t turn on the television without seeing Dr. Fauci, and he handles himself so well. Talk about being unassuming.” Cousy said he hasn’t left his winter home in Florida lately other than to grocery shop while wearing a mask and gloves. He said he’s looking forward to returning home to Worcester, but realizes his health comes first. “I understand the gravity of it, especially at 91,” Cousy said. “If I wash my hands one more time, my skin is going to fall off. So I’m paying attention.”
The Women's Basketball Hall of Fame has postponed its June 2020 induction ceremony until next year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Class of 2020 will now become the Class of 2021 and be inducted into the hall in Knoxville, Tennessee, on June 12, 2021. There will be no additional members added for next year.
Mills has been in isolation in the United States since the NBA was sensationally shut down following Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert’s positive test nearly two weeks ago. “Stay at home and keep your distance; the better we can control this virus the better we can look after each other,” Mills said.
ONCE THE LEAGUE office delivered news that practice facilities were shut down and players began exiting team cities, the job of running organizations became further complicated. Front office executives want the league to provide tentative contingencies on a return to play this season, but league officials have been reticent to share those estimates with teams. The loosest of drop-dead dates on completing the NBA Finals is Labor Day weekend in early September, sources say, which teams say necessitates games starting back up by July 1 -- and practice facilities reopening weeks before that.
No one in the NBA wants to be tied to Labor Day weekend, because no one -- not the commissioner, not the teams, not the NBPA -- wants to limit the possibility of the NBA salvaging something of a season. If the NBA season could start later in July and finish later in September, well, no one is ruling out that idea either.
For now, front offices are working in isolation, on conference and video calls throughout the mornings and afternoons. Last week, some teams didn't want practice facilities reopened during this volatile coronavirus climate; some didn't want them closed. Several teams closed practice facilities as soon as Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus on March 11, which prompted the NBA to suspend the season within minutes. "Our decision was simply based on looking at the enormity of what was coming," Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard told ESPN. "We were three weeks behind most countries, and the data told us what was ahead. We were going to be conservative with our players and staff."
For teams, letting players leave their markets felt inevitable. The NBPA had pushed hard for player movement during the hiatus, and the league never believed it could do anything but recommend players stay close to their respective organizations. Many players' families live outside of the markets they play in, and the possibility of three months apart before restarting -- or the possibility of a canceled season -- was a non-starter. The NBA has set up testing and treatment protocols in cities where NBA players live, including one non-NBA city: Las Vegas, a league source said.
The last game Jeff Van Gundy called was March 8 – Clippers vs. Lakers in Los Angeles. The ex-Knicks coach-turned-broadcaster believes it will be his last one this season. Holed up in Houston, Van Gundy hopes he’s wrong, but doesn’t like the signs.
“I‘m not an expert, but I’d be surprised if the NBA plays again this season,’’ Van Gundy told The Post. “It’s going to be hard to get it back going. I would suspect it will be very difficult. The good thing is I trust (commissioner) Adam Silver to do what’s right and best and not what is in the best interest of money. “If it does (go on), that will be great because you know Adam is putting no one unnecessarily in harm’s way. I hope I’m wrong. I hope in June, July it’s safe for our players to go back to work. I hope I’m pleasantly surprised.”
Van Gundy has done the NBA Finals for ABC/ESPN for 13 straight years with Mike Breen and Mark Jackson. “There’s a lot of disappointment,’’ Van Gundy said. “If you’re involved in the NBA, you certainly miss it especially this time of year coming down the stretch and playoffs. But NBA people, when I talk to them, the conversations don’t center around, ‘I wish we were playing.’ It centers around, ‘Gosh, I hope we can make moves to get this (coronavirus) under control.'”
Adrian Wojnarowski: 76ers ownership is planning to change course, pulling back on salary reductions for staff, league source tells ESPN.
The Tokyo Olympics are officially postponed until 2021, but Team USA's leadership is recommitting itself to stay in the job. USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo and head coach Gregg Popovich remain committed to the team into 2021, Colangelo said Tuesday. Both men's futures in their roles had been uncertain after this summer.
"The commitments everyone made for 2020 are still there; we're all-in and we're committed," Colangelo said. "It's important to deal with the unknowns and this virus. This too shall pass and we'll be back for everyone's well-being."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Members of Sixers coaching staff and front office on contracts have until Thursday to agree to 20 percent salary reduction, sources tell ESPN. Among many so far, there's apprehension on committing to giving back money -- especially with uncertainty surrounding employment futures.
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.
Just as the three officials were about to take the court, Strack, the Thunder’s vice president of human and player performance, sprinted out toward them. Strack had been informed that Utah’s Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19. He didn’t administer the test. He wasn’t in a lab on the verge of a breakthrough. But when the call came in to the Thunder, Strack was sent out to delay the game until the NBA could make a decision.
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.
In addition to contributions from the Trail Blazers Foundation, the COVID-19 Relief Fund has already raised money from Trail Blazers players and is part of the NBA Family’s goal of raising over $50M to support people and organizations impacted by COVID-19. To date, more than $35M has been raised by NBA and WNBA teams and players.
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.
Spencer Dinwiddie: ’19 brought COVID-19 into our world and has taken it by storm, but ’20 marks the year we unite to take it back. Even though we are socially distanced in the physical world, we can live together in the digital world. #COLIV_20 begins now. Join by donating to the CDC Foundation Emergency Response Fund
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.”
Willie Cauley-Stein: The Corona virus has taken the world by storm and my thoughts are with everyone out there doing their part to put an end to this situation!! Let’s unite together in support with the CDC Foundation by donating to the Emergency Response Fund: bit.ly/COLIV20 pic.twitter.com/g3tXvaeBkU
Japan’s B League returned to play this past weekend, but has already suspended play again. The Japan Times called it a “chaotic weekend of games”. Several players chose to sit out due to safety concerns over playing so soon after being cleared of COVID-19 concerns. A game between Levanga Hokkaido and Kawasaki Brave Thunders was postponed after a player came down with a fever pre-game.
A second contest between Utsunomiya Brex and Chiba Jets Funabashi was called off after one of the referees had a fever. All games were to be played without fans present in the arenas. United States-born big man Jeff Ayres elected not to return to play in Japan due to his worries over the precautions that teams were taking to protect player. Ayers was leading the league in rebounding at the time of his decision. Ayers told ESPN “I felt we were putting ourselves at risk. It was a reckless environment.”
Orlando Magic PR: Orlando forward @JJudahIsaac , a.k.a “The Minister of Defense”, is now playing defense against the impacts of Covid-19. Isaac, a former winner of the DeVos Community Enrichment Award, has teamed with http://Projectlifenow.org to provide food for school children under the age of 18.
September 22, 2021 | 11:35 am EDT Update
Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers wants to change Ben Simmons’ mind. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the star guard has told the team that he will not report to training camp next week and does not plan to play for the franchise again. “Well, I hope we can change that thought,” Rivers said on ESPN’s Keyshawn, JWill, and Max on Wednesday morning. “That’s part of our job.”
Marc Farzetta: “We hear it all, but we’re not going to give up on that…I just love how [Ben Simmons] plays. I love a lot of the things that he does for the team…but we have to go through all this to get him back” -Sixers Coach Doc Rivers on @FirstTake
While Rivers wants to change the narrative, he hasn’t had much of a chance this offseason. He was asked how much he’s talked to Simmons. “Not much, but we’ve had some,” he said. “And I get his feelings. I understand where he’s at right now, but we’re going to keep trying to work on it to get him in the right place.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Free agent G Theo Pinson will go to training camp with the Boston Celtics, sources tell ESPN. Pinson spent parts of his first three NBA seasons with the Nets and Knicks.
Michael Scotto: The Houston Rockets signed Dante Exum to a three-year deal worth $16.22 million if he achieves all bonuses in his contract, league sources told @HoopsHype. Years two and three are non-guaranteed.
Keith Smith: Dante Exum’s contract features likely bonuses, unlikely bonuses and non-guaranteed salary! Current cap hits: 22-23: $5,000,000 23-24: $5,000,000 24-25: $5,000,000 $6.9M in likely bonuses, $1,215,000 in unlikely bonuses. Final two seasons are both fully non-guaranteed. @spotrac
Did you ever wonder what would’ve happened if you didn’t have that injury? Brandon Jennings: I would’ve been an All-Star for sure if I didn’t tear my Achilles, and I believe we would have made the playoffs that year in Detroit, and then I’d end up getting paid. That probably would’ve happened. Then again, who knows what happens after that? I feel like with the injury, that’s when the chaos started happening outside of my career. I felt like with the money, it would’ve probably been more chaos.
When you had that 55-point game, what stuck out to you about it? Was that your favorite NBA moment? Brandon Jennings: The 55-point game was still something I can’t explain. I just got hot, and the ball was just going in. I only scored 10 points in the first half, and I had a terrible first quarter. I just came out in the second half hot. I’m sure everybody is like, that should be your favorite game, but one of my favorite games ever was my first game in the NBA when I almost had a triple-double in Philly. I didn’t know if I was going to start. He told me I was going to start the day before.