July 8, 2020 | 7:06 am EDT Update
Ian Begley: Lance Thomas is among the free agents on the Nets’ radar as the club looks to replace those unavailable to play in Orlando due to coronavirus, per league sources.
The Orlando Magic said Tuesday that one of their players recently tested positive for the coronavirus. Team president Jeff Weltman declined to identify the player to reporters but said the individual is following protocols and hopes to join the team soon.
Weltman said guard Markelle Fultz isn’t with the club because he’s dealing with a personal matter unrelated to the coronavirus. “He’s on top of everything, and hopefully he’ll be out here shortly,” Weltman said.
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic retested negative for the coronavirus in Serbia, but travel issues and the timing of the requisite testing made it difficult for the All-Star to join the team for its flight to Orlando, Florida, a source confirmed to ESPN. The Nuggets departed Denver for Orlando on Tuesday, but the team would not confirm who was on the team flight.
A source said Jokic is healthy. However, the center had to produce two negative coronavirus tests in Serbia before traveling to the United States. And then he was required to produce two more negative tests before flying to Orlando with the team. A source said the timing of everything made it difficult and too tight of a fit for Jokic before the team departed on Tuesday.
Five Reasons Sports Network: Derrick Jones Jr — confirmed and named by several outlets 2 weeks ago as testing positive for Covid-19 — has been cleared and is expected to join the Miami Heat to enter the bubble tomorrow, according to multiple Five Reasons Sports sources
Clarke wasn’t cleared to resume play when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the Grizzlies’ season on March 11. But while he spent his time sheltering in place with video games and friends, he also got to heal and regain his form once the team began voluntary workouts. “Over these past five to six weeks, I’ve gotten back to the player that I was. I feel like I’m pretty much the same health that I was pre-injury,” Clarke said Monday. “I got the same balance and running habits, so it’ll all just be about my habits on the court.”
Mark Berman: The #Rockets small-ball style of play is nothing new to Luc Mbah a Moute (@Luc Richard Mbah a Moute): “We kind of already played like that when I was here. Clint (Capela) was the only big guy. We had Nene at times, but a lot of times we ended up playing with PJ (Tucker) at the five when I…” pic.twitter.com/k7MLgzCHVw
Mark Berman: Luc Mbah a Moute (@mbahamoute) back w/ #Rockets: “I feel great. I think it’s been in the making for a while, going back to even last summer. I always felt like this was a good place for me. It was great mutual interest & when the opportunity came I was excited about coming back here”
Over four months elapsing between the postponement and resumption of the 2019-20 season has certainly felt like a long wait, but it’s felt even longer for Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony. The way he sees it, the restart in Orlando, which is basically an eight-game playoff for a team in Portland’s position in the standings, is a chance to fulfill the potential that prompted the Trail Blazers’ unsuccessful attempt to acquire the 6-9 forward back in 2018. “I’m more excited about actually being in the position that I was supposed to be in a couple years ago with this team,” said Anthony during a Zoom interview Tuesday afternoon. “And having those guys around me and being able to bring something to this team that has kind of just been lingering around for so long. Giving them another option on the perimeter, another scoring threat out there, another guy who can make plays for everybody else.”
Nets Daily: Nets are ramping up their Chinese language social media offerings, recently hiring Mengyang Liu, a former NBA reporter for TenCent, the big Chinese Internet company. Liu has a degree in sports management from Michigan.
July 7, 2020 | 9:37 pm EDT Update
Mike Finger: This is not exactly breaking news, but because the question has been asked of some of the league’s other, ahem, venerable coaches: Can confirm Gregg Popovich is officially scheduled to travel with the rest of the Spurs to Florida on Thursday.
Kellan Olson: With the Suns in Orlando, everyone who arrived is required to stay isolated in their rooms until they have two negative PCR tests that are separated by at least 24 hours. Group workouts/practice and such begin on Monday.
Ira Winderman: Per tonight’s TNT show, Heat center Meyers Leonard to go with “equality” on the back of his jersey for the start of the NBA resumption at Disney:
Quicken Loans would become part of Rocket Companies under an initial public stock offering that would keep founder Dan Gilbert in firm control. A filing Tuesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission said Gilbert would have control with 79% voting power in a multi-tiered stock structure.
July 7, 2020 | 8:13 pm EDT Update
The Los Angeles Lakers plan to reward guard Avery Bradley, who opted out of the NBA’s restart, with a championship ring this season if the franchise is able to capture its 17th NBA title. “Yes, [Lakers general manager] Rob Pelinka made me aware of the Lakers offering me a ring if they win the championship,” Bradley told Yahoo Sports via phone Tuesday afternoon. “It’s a very kind gesture on their part.”
“Will I accept the ring? I’m neither here nor there about it,” Bradley told Yahoo Sports. “I am 10 years in this league. The physical possession of a ring doesn’t make me feel like more or less of a person. I play basketball strictly for enjoyment and to add to the support of my family. Supporting them is exactly what I’m doing right now.”
Bobby Marks: Nets roster heading to Orlando Chris Chiozza Tyler Johnson Caris LeVert Garrett Temple Jeremiah Martin Justin Anderson Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot Joe Harris Dzanan Musa Rodions Kurucs Jarrett Allen Substitute 1 Substitute 2 Substitute 3
Alex English is certainly not one to tip-toe around tough topics. Since retiring from the NBA as an 8-time All Star in 1991, he has stood up for his legacy with the Denver Nuggets and for players as a crucial member of the NBA Players Association. He has now turned his attention to fighting for WNBA equality as a member of the WNBA PA Board of Advocates. “I want to see them get the respect they deserve,” explained English, the NBA’s leading scorer for the 1980s. “I know that there’s always gonna be those naysayers that say ‘well you know, they don’t make the kind of money in advertising and TV rights as the NBA Guys do.’ Yeah, but that took decades of the NBA to get to that level and the WNBA has done a great job with the PA of building that same type of support.”
English has gravitated towards the women’s game more in recent years because of how pure the basketball is. “The purity of the game and the quality of the game is what drew me to [the WNBA]. In some instances, their game is even more pure to me than what you see from the men,” said the 8-time NBA All-Star. “[WNBA players] have picked up on the technical part of the game that the NBA used to have. And, now as the game has progressed, you see a lot of guys that aren’t as true to form or true to techniques as the women are.”
The WNBA’s plan is largely unknown, but we do know that it will be very different from the NBA’s. Players will earn their full salaries and some will be able to bring family or caretakers with them. But, they will also have to share rooms, travel off-site for games, and have only some meals provided. English believes the inequality in player experience is simply illogical. “You’re asking the same thing from [WNBA players as you are from NBA players]: to risk their lives to give you a product that’s going to be that you sell on TV and radio and merchandise,” said English. “You are asking the same thing from the two then why not treat them the same?”
July 7, 2020 | 7:28 pm EDT Update
Roy Parry: Magic forward Jonathan Isaac, who is recovering from a knee injury sustained Jan. 1 in Washington, entered the NBA bubble with the team but is not expected to play. He will continue his rehab work while supporting his teammates when the season resumes.
“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we’re planning on life without Jonathan,’’ Jeff Weltman said. “Jonathan is with the team because it benefits him to be with the team and he wants to be with the team. The same could be said with (Aminu), but Jonathan is at a different stage of his rehab and most of the work that he needs to get done it would benefit him to be around our performance staff. Obviously, he’s at the stage where he can do a little light court stuff. Beyond that, we want to keep him attached to the team and he wants to support his teammates, but I wouldn’t read anything into that.’’
Weltman believes that the strong collective character of the Magic’s roster will help the squad battle through any potential adversity that could come in the days, weeks and months ahead. “We’re always talking about it a lot and I always say it – we’re not just betting on the player; we’re betting on the person and I believe in our guys,’’ Weltman said via a Zoom call from the Disney campus on Tuesday afternoon. “I believe that we have high-character group of players and that spreads down to all of our coaches, our performance staff and all of our support staff. (The players) have worked hard, they’ve stayed together, they’ve communicated, and they’ve remained optimistic at points where there was more uncertainty. As the plans have come into clearer focus, they’ve united, and there’s a feeling of togetherness and comradery.’’
Weltman said he has no concerns about the status of Fultz, who has evolved into one of the true feel-good stories of the season with his triumphant return from Thoracic Outlet Syndrome this season. In 64 games with the Magic (59 starts), Fultz has averaged 12.1 points, 5.2 assists, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 steals while shooting 47.3 percent from the floor. Said Weltman: “I don’t have a timeline (on Fultz’s return), but as I said Markelle just has some personal matters that he is handling. He’s on top of everything and hopefully he’ll be out here (at Disney) shortly. He’s looking very much forward to joining up with his team once he handles his business.’’
Prince’s ability to recover and reach optimum playing shape became a more difficult proposition given the time he would be losing with protocols needed to return to the floor in Orlando. The ramp-up in practice time needed once he had satisfied testing protocols on negative tests, traveled separately to Florida, quarantined for several days and only then resumed workouts made his participation even prohibitive for a July 30 tip-off on a roster already decimated with injuries.
Former NBA small forward and co-host of SHOWTIME Sports’ “All The Smoke” podcast Stephen Jackson has sat back and watched what happened after DeSean Jackson caused a ton of controversy after posting on social media an anti-Semitic message that he attributed to Adolf Hitler and admiration for Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.
The Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver has since apologized and stated he has no hatred toward the Jewish community. Stephen Jackson doesn’t think his apology should’ve happened, because he was right in what he posted about. Check out the below video:
July 7, 2020 | 6:52 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince has tested positive for the coronavirus and will sit out the NBA’s restart in Orlando, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Prince is the fourth Nets player – including DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Wilson Chandler – to opt-out of the league’s restart. Nets are eligible to sign four substitute players. Team departed this evening for Orlando.
Nurse knows family time is precious. “It’s really another part of the puzzle, and it’s a big one,” the Raptors coach said on a Zoom call Tuesday from Naples, Fla. “It starts with conversation, when you’re bumping into Fred [VanVleet] or Kyle [Lowry], and you’re asking them how are the wife and kids, and what are they doing, and when was the last time you talked to them. There’s a lot more of that going on than I would say normally would happen… a lot more now because we’re all showing pictures and whatever. It’s another one of those things you’d be more lenient on. We’re getting ready to start a meeting and somebody says ‘Oh, man, my kid’s FaceTiming me,’ and you say ‘Take it, go out in the hall and take it, and we’ll wait for you.”‘
When Nurse left his Toronto house for Florida, his three-year-old son Leo said he’d wait for him by the door. “He didn’t quite understand how long I’m going to be gone,” said Nurse, who has another son Rocky born during last year’s thrilling post-season run. “I told him I’m going to coach some games, and he said ‘Well, I’m going to wait right here for ya.’ I hope he’s moved from that spot because it’s going to be a while.”
Nurse said he feels safe with the NBA’s coronavirus protocols. “We are going a long ways out of our way to make it extra safe as we should. We really are in the hotel. We are confined. We are away from everything. There is cleaning all over the place. Everyone is wearing masks. We go to the gym and there’s cleaning and we come back. It feels really safe,” Nurse said. “I think the early stages or days of the Disney thing are critical. Getting a whole bunch of testing done and getting kind of to a point there. I think it will all be done at a really high level and remain fairly safe. I hope I’m right.”
With the NBA season set to resume at the end of July, the Mavericks have a plan. Rather than let their return to play be a distraction from the movement encompassing the nation, they’re working on a unified message. Rather than stay silent on the injustice in the country, they’re using their platform when play resumes at the Walt Disney World Resort to amplify their voices. “I think, first and foremost, as a team, we just have to make sure we’re on the same page to see what we’re going to do when we get to Orlando,” Mavericks guard Tim Hardaway Jr. said in a Zoom call with reporters Monday. “I’m happy that the season is starting and I’m happy that it’s happening at this time so we can use our platform to express ourselves.”
“That’s what being an athlete and being on one of the biggest stages is all about: expressing yourself,” Hardaway said. “I’m happy that we’re going to be able to so that as a team. I’m pretty sure we’ll talk about that as the days go on, but for now, I’m happy that we’re going to start the season around this time. We want to make sure we use that platform to get our voices heard.”
July 7, 2020 | 6:29 pm EDT Update
Francisco Jose Delgado: Operation comeback Pau Gasol-Barça Info: Two-year of contract. An offer to become universal ambassador for Futbol Club Barcelona. Negotiation in first person by Josep Maria Bertomeu and Albert Soler. Green light by Sarunas Jasikevicius. From @carrusel y @ellarguero
The Thunder, with CAA Sports, has created the Thunder Fellows Program, a nonprofit organization designed to unlock opportunities in sports, technology and entertainment for Black students in the Tulsa area, the team announced Tuesday. The program, guided by the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, will be comprised of two groups of students: Fellows, Black students from regional colleges and universities, and Young Leaders, Black students in the Tulsa area from grades 8 to 12.
The Thunder Fellows Program will be located in Tulsa’s Greenwood District, the site of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 when white mobs killed hundreds of Black people and destroyed homes and businesses in what was known as Black Wall Street. “Our organization is deeply committed to social justice and the actions that are necessary to create better opportunities for the Black community, now and in the future,” Thunder chairman Clay Bennett said in release. “We will work tirelessly to make this a program that will create change for generations to come.”
Shaquille O’Neal isn’t just one of the best centers to ever play basketball, he’s also a successful businessman, actor and platinum selling DJ. In fact, music was his life before it got hijacked by basketball. “I have been DJing since the eighties,” Shaq tells Maxim. “Music has always been in my blood. I was that guy spinning at frat parties after my basketball games, in the locker room, and making mixtapes.”
Draymond Green said his championship Warriors would beat your Lakers. Any thoughts on that? Shaquille O’Neal: I have a hard time believing that the greatest coach of all time, plus me and Kobe, wouldn’t match up quite nicely against Steve Kerr and his gang. Kobe takes Steph and dominates him. Fisher takes Klay and manhandles him. Fox takes Draymond and makes him foul out in the first half. Horace would do his thing with K.D. But let’s be real, K.D., is a beast, and you can only do so much with him. And then I’d remind Pachulia why I am in the Hall of Fame and he is not.
What is your fondest memory of Kobe Bryant? Shaquille O’Neal: I really cherish the time I had with Kobe. We helped each other win the championship for the first time. That says it all. Without Kobe I would have never maximized my true potential. I like to think the same for him. But if I had to choose one moment it would be Kobe’s final game at the Staples Center. He looked so at peace while on the court. He was a free man with no pressure at all to score or deliver. He dropped 60 that game and I was there courtside to cheer him on.