Minutes before tip-off, the Jazz announced that Rudy Gobert had tested positive for COVID-19 and the game was canceled as Utah’s players were placed in isolation in their locker room. Soon enough, the entire season was put on hold, and Oladipo’s source of income was suddenly in question. “I was switching back and forth between games when the alert came on,” Oladipo told Insider. “I was like ‘Whoa, are you serious?’ And they had to stop games and they came out with the announcement that the rest of the season was canceled.” “It was a different type of ‘Whoa, what do we do now?’ type of feeling,” he added.
Tsai said NBA commissioner Adam Silver is primarily focused on safety. “I think Adam has said, ‘We are not looking at a date.’ Setting a target date doesn’t make any sense,” Tsai said. “Let’s look at the data. I think one of the most important things is, to Dr. [Anthony] Fauci’s point, you have to have enough tests. One of the most pernicious things about COVID-19 is you can be asymptomatic and be infectious, so you can infect other people while you look perfectly healthy. That’s a big problem. Without tests to identify those that are contagious, and then we try to isolate them, it’s really very difficult to restart and keep everybody safe and healthy.”
Can the league find a way back to safely playing games in the near future? The answer is far from simple, said Dr. Rand McClain, Chief Medical Officer for Los Angeles-based LCR Health. But after qualifying with the fact that he's an "eternal optimist," he broke down the reason he sees the NBA's return as anything but a pipe dream. "The linchpin in this has always been the testing," McClain said in an interview on NOLA.com's Bird Watch podcast. "And that is available, so anyone who says it isn’t feasible logistically or otherwise – it is feasible."
"I believe it’s going to happen because medically it’s feasible to reduce the amount of risk to something I think most would be willing to assume … we may find out in a week, if not months, that rules that we’re enforcing in the NBA, in these bubbles, is much stricter than the public at large," McClain said. "So, is that being reckless or are we being even more protective than everybody else?"
One of the sports stars helping to give back during the COVID-19 pandemic is Louisiana Tech legend and NBA Hall of Famer Karl Malone. The Malone family, including Karl’s son K.J. who played football at LSU, as well as dozens of helpers from the community handed out over 80,000 pounds of food to those in need in Union Parish.
While the NBA is still hoping to return to action this season, the French Pro A league has shuttered its season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Tony Parker, the president and majority owner of the French Pro A men’s and women’s basketball club ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne, said it was an easy decision. “We were the first French team that let our players go home,” Parker told The Undefeated. “It was bigger than sports. Health is bigger than everything. … It was an easy decision to let everyone go home because it was important that they were with their families. “I knew really quickly that we were going to be confined a long time. … When I talked to [French] government people, I knew it was going to be four or five months or a year before we got back to normal.”
Sacramento Kings guard Cory Joseph and his family are funding thousands of food donations to help feed school children in need as a result of the COVID-19 crisis across his home country of Canada. Joseph is facilitating the donations through Isthmus, one of the only programs in Canada to provide students with reliable access to food that bridges the food security gap they experience over the weekends. “With the platform I have, I feel it is my responsibility to help those in need, especially the children back home that are most vulnerable to the conditions of poverty,” said Joseph. “Growing up in the Toronto area I saw those realities, so I hold a special place in my heart for this next generation. I am very humbled to support these kids with greater food security through Isthmus during this pandemic so they can live healthy lives and go on to achieve their dreams.”
The league has forbidden players from playing basketball anywhere but at their homes since March 19. That directive was reiterated to teams in a confidential April 27 memorandum obtained by The Times, which said that players were to avoid public health clubs, fitness centers, gyms, college facilities or “the like.” Yet one Western Conference player, who requested anonymity, said he was aware of some fellow players who had ignored league and government directives, arranging secret shooting sessions in unauthorized gyms.
Then the coronavirus outbreak created a sudden need for at-home hoops because of the widespread closure of health clubs, community gyms and public parks on top of the N.B.A.’s mandate that all teams close their facilities. Numerous N.B.A. stars — including Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Oklahoma City’s Chris Paul, Portland’s C.J. McCollum and, until recently, Boston’s Jayson Tatum — have said that they have gone weeks without shooting during what would normally be playoff time. “Whoever thought times would get like this where you can’t even have access to a basket or a gym?” Butler said. “Nobody thought it would come to this. But it has.”
Vucevic said he went about three weeks without being able to shoot until a neighbor installed an outdoor hoop and let him use it. “It was so much fun because I haven’t done it in a while,” Vucevic said. “You obviously miss it, but until you actually do it again, you don’t realize how much. It’s kind of like when I was little and I would just go in front of my house and just play — for hours. It reminds me of that.”
League rules also prohibit teams from purchasing home baskets for their players, which moved Butler to alleviate that issue for the Heat. Home kits, though, come with their own complications: Gabe Vincent and Kyle Alexander, Miami’s two players on two-way contracts, both live in a hotel and had nowhere to unbox Butler’s present. Then there’s an assembly issue. Leonard, who described himself as adept with tools, said it took six hours without the proper wrenches and with the limited equipment at his disposal. “Ever try putting together an Ikea dresser?” Leonard said. “This hoop was like putting together three of them.”
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Danilo Gallinari is far from optimistic that the season in the NBA will reboot amid the coronavirus crisis. “I have a negative feeling [on the season resumption],” Gallinari said while being interviewed by Italian Rai Sport. “Just thinking about the logistics that would be needed to create such a “bubble” in a place like Disneyworld.”
The Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando was reported by Shams Charania to be among the options considered by the NBA to hold the rest of the regular season plus the playoffs. The city of Las Vegas has also been included in some scenarios. “The only solution is to find ourselves in such a city and play without fans,” Gallinari mentioned.” At the same time, I’d like to do it with safety, with health. So, thinking about the logistics, the rules according to which this could happen… it’s really difficult to find a solution.”
Shams Charania: Beginning Monday, NBA teams are advising fans of their ticket refund and credit policies due to the suspended regular season, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
In an interview for Le Parissien, Fournier repeated his belief that finds it difficult to see how the season will restart due to the many and different complexities involved in the matter. “I have periods where I believe in it and others where I believe less,” Fournier said. “At the moment, I’m in a mode where I don’t believe too much. It seems complicated to set it up. How many games could we play? Are we going straight into the playoffs? We mustn’t forget that some states are still in lockdown and the teams located there won’t be able to begin practices again as we could in a week. There would be a real lack of equity. I think it’d be better to put a stop to the season.
Stacey King: :I lost my older brother Lamoyne King yesterday morning to this deadly coronavirus so please take the necessary precautions to protect you & your loved ones. Stay inside, continue to practice social distancing & wear a mask. This disease is REAL people. #staysafe
NBA star and Bedford-native Myles Turner has made a $50,000 donation to Texas Health Resources. The donation comes after the Indiana Pacer’s father was successfully treated for COVID-19 at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford.
Perhaps a key factor in such decisions, beyond titles or responsibilities, is the health and age of those staffers, NBA general managers told ESPN. One NBA general manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity, pointed to the age of the team's head coach and others on the staff and said he would feel uneasy about those coaches being present for games, given the factors that place some people at a higher risk for serious issues because of the virus.
“I’ve been dying to answer this question” Carter said before answering Napear’s query about competing in empty gyms. Carter opined that basketball players are frequently required to adapt to circumstance, such as defensive schemes and rule changes, and can approach fan-less games similarly. He said, “When you toss that ball up and competition starts, and you’re in battle, how often do you worry about the fans? Yes, you hear them cheering, and booing you, I get that. But you’re in competition, you’re in battle. You should be focused on the guy in front of you, or the task at hand … With that being said, yes I could.”
Access to essential resources, none more essential than food, has become a magnified issue for underserved communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Harrison Barnes and his wife, Brittany, have donated $40,000 to help fund weekly groceries for vulnerable families and seniors in the Sacramento community.
As the NBA seeks solutions to return to action during the coronavirus pandemic, teams are weighing scenarios for potential games with only essential personnel present. Perhaps a key factor in such decisions, beyond titles or responsibilities, is the health and age of those staffers themselves, NBA general managers told ESPN.
One NBA general manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity, pointed to the age of the team's head coach and others on the coaching staff and said that, given the known factors that place some at a higher risk for serious issues because of the virus, they would feel uneasy about said coaches being present for games. "I don't want to put them in harm's way," the general manager said.
Another general manager echoed the same point regarding team staffers who might be at a high risk because of underlying health conditions or their age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that adults over 65 are at a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19.
"Based on all the information that we have today, probably people over 60 with preexisting conditions can't go, for sure, no matter what their titles are," the second general manager said. "Whether it's a father of the star player or whether it's the general manager of the team, they can't go there." The first general manager said these issues apply to staff beyond coaches. "I worry about those guys," the general manager said. "That's an exposure that I don't think we can afford."
The Ringer: Everyone @Kevin O'Connor has talked to, from players to agents to executives to coaches, want to finish the season. He and @Bill Simmons discuss the possibility of the NBA’s return. #BSPodcast pic.twitter.com/4dDGRHWtio
Sports leagues are desperate for a safe way to start playing games again. Las Vegas has tens of thousands of empty hotel rooms and a tourism-based economy that has been wracked by the coronavirus pandemic. Could they help solve each other’s problems? MGM Resorts International, the company that has ownership stakes in more than a dozen hotel-casinos in Las Vegas, has pitched several sports leagues, including the N.B.A., W.N.B.A., N.H.L. and M.L.S., on an audacious proposal to house their athletes and necessary support staff to hold their seasons on a quarantined block on the Las Vegas Strip, according to multiple people familiar with the discussions who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to comment publicly.
According to a proposal deck sent to the N.B.A. and the W.N.B.A., which The New York Times reviewed, MGM envisions a fully quarantined campus, essentially one full block of the Las Vegas Strip, where players would live and play out whatever schedule the leagues want. The athletes would be joined by their families, league and broadcast media employees, as well as the staff and vendors needed to serve them, with access to lounges, spas, restaurants and all the other perks the resorts offer (yes, even gambling). Sports leagues have explored any number of options for restarting their seasons, and various news media reports have floated cities like Las Vegas, Orlando, Fla., and Atlantic City, N.J., and even the states of Hawaii and Arizona as possible locations for games in a semi- or fully-quarantined environment. But most league executives have been publicly noncommittal about their plans.
But for the sports world, Gobert’s positive test was a dose of reality for many inside the game. Wizards point guard John Wall sat down with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on Showtime’s All the Smoke podcast Thursday and talked about what it was like when he first heard the league was shutting down. “When you get that [news] and start realizing how serious the virus was, you kinda thought, ‘Everybody has to get tested,’” Wall said. “Even me, I wasn’t playing I was on the bench but you interact with players, dapping them up throughout the game same with after the game…me having a young son, I’m like, ‘Well, you definitely have to get tested and make sure you don’t have it and make sure you’re not passing it along.’”
Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard and New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart are taking their rivalry from the court to the battlefield, facing off in Activision Blizzard’s “Call of Duty Modern Warfare: Warzone” for the final match of a gaming tournament raising money for pandemic relief.
Steve Pagliuca, who is generally part of as many causes and projects as he is involved with basketball players, signed on for a group initiative five weeks ago that has been a little breathtaking. The Celtics co-owner, through his larger job as the co-chairman of Bain Capital, had joined with a group of 12 renowned scientists and several giants in the business community to not only streamline a plan for combating COVID-19 and re-opening the economy, but to get it into the right hands at the White House.
The group, called Scientists to Stop COVID, first came to light in a Wall Street Journal story on April 27, and includes a broad range of biologists, immunologists and a Nobel laureate. They have compared themselves to The Manhattan Project – the scientists who developed and produced the atomic bomb in 1945.
This wealth of information in hand, Pagliuca then urged NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to consult with the group while determining a way to bring back the league. Silver’s cautious approach considered – with the exception of some impending practice facility openings – Pagliuca has no interest in discussing anything in terms of an NBA timetable. “I can’t comment on that. Adam Silver is studying this, and they have an incredible staff, and they’ll base it on the data and safety of fans,” he said.
Continuing to do what he can to help out those in need in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, Orlando Magic forward Aaron Gordon has accepted the All In challenge to provide food for the less fortunate. Gordon, who has already made financial donations to help out school-aged children in Orlando and his hometown of San Jose, Calif., announced on Thursday that he has joined other sports, music and acting celebrities who are attempting to raise funds for food by offering exclusive packages that fans can bid on.
Gordon, a two-time Dunk Contest runner-up and a six-year NBA pro, is offering an all-expenses paid trip to Orlando for two fans with domestic flights and hotel charges covered. While in Orlando, fans will receive courtside tickets to a Magic game and tickets to Disney World. Gordon, 24, is also offering one of his game-worn Magic jerseys and an autographed basketball from the 2020 NBA Slam Dunk contest, one in which he lost in controversial fashion to Miami forward Derrick Jones Jr. Winners must be at least 18 years of age.
Brad Turner: NBA just announced it has postponed 2020 NBA draft lottery and NBA combined due to coronavirus. Both were scheduled to be held in Chicago later this month.
Marc Berman: The NBA announces no combine, which we knew, and postponement of Draft Lottery. Both in Chicago. Draft still on June 25th for now. NBA "continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic and consult with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government"
Adrian Wojnarowski: Among the discussion topics today on the call: The merits of moving back the start of the 2020-2021 until December, sources said. Part of that ongoing converation surrounds the opportunity a delay could give NBA teams to get more fans in arenas for more games next season.
Shams Charania: The NBA has indefinitely postponed its NBA Draft Lottery and Draft Combine in May in Chicago due to coronavirus pandemic, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Mark Berman: #Rockets CEO @tadbbrown: “We’re aligned to try work w/ the league..to work w/ other teams to figure out a solution to make sure we get this season up&running again..We feel confident as long as we’re able to create the safest environment possible..We’re all hopeful to get moving” pic.twitter.com/rPyTIdFq8P
When it comes to restarting play, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said he'll follow the guidance of the Center for Disease Control and independent health advisers. And the one thing these health experts agree on is that testing is the key to everything. There needs to be a fast, simple and reliable test. There also must be enough available public testing to avoid backlash toward the NBA for acquiring and using kits. The league expects it will need approximately 15,000 tests, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Teams were sent a memo Thursday night advising not to arrange coronavirus tests for asymptomatic players and staff.
Some of the work to determine essential personnel started weeks ago, as organizations braced for the likelihood of holding games without fans. In a memo to teams on March 7, the NBA said to "minimize the number of staff traveling with the team to essential individuals only." This scenario would go even further. Consultation with head coaches and executives led to the reduction to 28 people per team: 15 active roster spots (excluding two-way players), the head coach, three assistant coaches, three trainers/physical therapists, a strength coach, an equipment manager, a team logistics coordinator, a front-office representative, a public-relations official and a security official. The typical team travel size ranges from 40 to 50 people, growing to 75 or more in the postseason.
To be clear: This would require unprecedented work in a tight and uncertain time frame to construct the NBA's path back to live games. But this is an unprecedented situation. And if the NBA wants to come back this season, this might be its best bet. For now, the NBA does not have a return-to-play plan and remains vague by design, sources said. There are too many questions that remain without answers.
“The thing I keep hearing is the whole competitive advantage idea,” said one player on a team that could resume individual workouts next week. “If we open up half the teams’ facilities when it’s safe, what’s a team like Brooklyn going to do? That’s a question because I certainly have no idea what that looks like.” According to the league’s tracking of state-by-state government orders related to the virus, the Suns, Nuggets, Magic, Hawks, Pacers, Timberwolves, Hornets, Cavaliers, Thunder, 76ers, Grizzlies, Rockets, Mavericks, Spurs, and Jazz all live in states where stay-at-home orders will expire on or before May 8.
That leaves the four California teams (Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Warriors), the Wizards, Bulls, Pelicans, Celtics, Pistons, Knicks and Nets of New York, Raptors, Blazers, Bucks, and Heat as the teams located in cities or states where lockdowns will still be in effect. On Wednesday, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said most of the state could start to re-open on May 4, excluding Miami-Dade County, where the virus is still spreading.
Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and the team’s legal counsel lobbied Los Angeles health officials for help in getting the practice facility open in El Segundo, Calif., a source confirmed to The Athletic (first reported by ESPN). And the Lakers are hardly alone when it comes to lobbying efforts. Sources say all four of the league’s California teams (Lakers, Clippers, Warriors, Kings) are hoping to convince Governor Gavin Newsom to include them in “Stage 2” of his reopening plan, perhaps with the help of the mayors in their respective cities. As Newsom detailed via Twitter on Tuesday, that stage would include “gradually reopening some lower-risk workplaces with adaptations.”
As of now, no player is allowed into his team’s facility or some other gym to work out. Development staffers are not supposed to be working with the players. If a player has a private gym at home, great. Many have said they do not. Others, according to multiple sources, are practicing secretly on their own at gyms that are supposed to be closed. “It’s just safer to have them in our gym, instead of random gyms all over the place,” said one assistant coach from a contending team.
Amid the pandemic, sources say, fan-less games could rely on robotic cameras with closer, innovative angles of the action. Television play-by-play and game analysts could call the games from remote locations. Discussions have included teams keeping essential personnel in the range of 30 to 35 -- including players -- on site.
Silver has publicly and privately insisted he couldn't abide his league gobbling up tests to resume a basketball season if the general public and medical professionals are without mass access to tests. Once the NBA shared its guidelines with teams on protocols for bringing players into the facility for workouts, it prohibited the use of tests on players unless they were showing Covid-19 symptoms, sources said.
Tim Bontemps: Story filed to @espn: The NBA sent a memo Thursday night advising teams not to arrange COVID-19 tests for asymptomatic players and staff, league sources told ESPN.
Sam Presti, Thunder Executive Vice President & General Manager, spoke with media members via video conference call on a range of subjects including the NBA’s suspended season, the team’s performance in 2019-20, and business for the organization to complete if and when this season (or next) resumes. He answered several questions but (unsurprisingly) could not provide much in the way of concrete plans or expectations from his vantage.
On the Thunder’s plans for resuming activities as permitted by state and local governments: “The league has said May 8th is the target date. But as we’ve seen, things are changing day by day. I don’t think we’re committed to that date. The league has given teams flexibility for what’s best for them. We’re gonna be thorough in how we look at it... The players have been great. They have zoom calls. I’ve been inspired by how our organization has inspired each other and leaned on each other… We don’t know when we’re coming back or if we’re coming back.“
On the Thunder working together with the rest of the NBA toward an eventual, if “imperfect”, return to play: “As one of 30 (NBA teams), even though we’re competing against other organizations, this is not the time for that. When we return, even if it’s next season, we are experiencing it together. There are bigger things at play here. My hope here is that we figure out how to get through this virus and keep people safe. Then we can think about basketball... Basketball is so small relative to everything we’re facing right now... (You can’t) pretend you have the facts that you don’t have… We’re so far into hypotheticals and theories at this point, I’m not sure the work is productive.”
Adam Himmelsbach: Bucks owner Marc Lasry was just on @CNBC and he sounded confident that the NBA playoffs will be held in July or August.
Mike Finger: RC Buford says he just got off call with NBA team presidents. "Every intention is to return to play."
Tim Reynolds: RC Buford says the Spurs "want to do what's right for the league and for the fans" when it comes to resuming the season. Further, Buford says team presidents met today and that the consensus remains that teams want to play.
Paul Garcia: RC Buford says the front office continues to prepare for the draft and offseason, but with no target dates. He says any plans or dates regarding the future for the team will be set by the league.
RJ Marquez: #Spurs RC Buford on conference call asked about employee's pay or possible furloughs during #COVID19 pandemic: "We took care of staff through the end of the season. We have not made any staffing changes at this time." #KSATsports #KSATnews #NBA
Tom Orsborn: In a video conference with local reporters, #Spurs CEO R.C. Buford said the club hasn't had to make any staff changes, furloughs, layoffs, pay reductions, etc., during the layoff. But he added, "We will review the reality of the situation as we go on."
LeBron James: Saw some reports about execs and agents wanting to cancel season??? That’s absolutely not true. Nobody I know saying anything like that. As soon as it’s safe we would like to finish our season. I’m ready and our team is ready. Nobody should be canceling anything. 👑
NBA team executives and players’ agents spoke to CNBC in recent weeks about the challenges in resuming play. They said team owners are concerned with liability issues and are conflicted about whether or not to give up on the current season. The individuals spoke on condition of anonymity as they aren’t authorized to discuss league matters publicly. Billions of dollars are on the line if the NBA can’t rescue its season. NBA teams split the roughly $2 billion per year in national TV money the NBA receives from ESPN and Turner Sports. But clubs also gain revenue from local media deals with Regional Sports Networks.
“What [owners] are saying is, ’If we return, where is the revenue that is going to justify the additional cost of returning?” one team executive said. “They are looking at the cost side versus the revenue side. What revenue comes in now?” Also, NBA clubs have many limited partners who are taking losses. “These owners aren’t just sitting there with an ATM that’s printing more than ever before,” said Andy Dolich, the Memphis Grizzlies former president of business operations. “Some of them are looking at vast losses outside of just their basketball team.”
Despite all the signals that it will be nearly impossible to rescue the rest of the NBA season, a league spokesperson told CNBC the league is still working on plans to resume. “It is the responsibility of the league office to explore all options for a return to play this season,” the spokesperson told CNBC in a statement. “We owe that to our fans, teams, players, partners and all who love the game. While our top priority remains everyone’s health and well-being, we continue to evaluate all options to finish this season. At the same time, we are intensely focused on addressing the potential impact of Covid-19 on the 2020-21 season.”
With so much uncertainty still surrounding coronavirus, agents are also privately calling on NBA Commissioner Adam Silver to cancel the remainder of the season. “I’m surprised because [Silver] always errs on the side of caution and doing what’s right,” said one agent, who added he felt Silver would have decided to cancel by now.
Miami Heat veteran Udonis Haslem delivered food Wednesday to two area hospitals and a fire station that hold a personal connection to him, including one that helped save his life. Haslem said he wanted to give back to the first responders in the coronavirus pandemic at the hospital in which the Miami native was born, the hospital that helped save his life when he had blood clots in 2010, and the fire station next to the community college where his father played semi pro basketball.
"Everybody knows that I had a run in with blood clots years ago, could have lost my life," the power forward said, according to the South Florida Sun Sentinel, during a visit to Memorial Hospital West. "Blood clot was on the way to my heart, and once it gets to your heart, if anybody knows about the medical side of things, that's it. So I was close to losing my life, came here, they got me back. And they pretty much saved my life. "Without you guys, a lot of people say they wouldn't be here. But without you guys, I literally wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have the opportunity to do what I'm doing right now."
JD Shaw: The Pistons have partnered with Nets owner Joe Tsai to deliver 350,000 KN95 masks and 100,000 medical goggles to the city of Detroit. The masks and goggles will be distributed to testing centers, homeless shelters and workers in the transportation and police departments.
Arash Markazi: Mark Cuban: "I'm cautiously optimistic we'll be able to finish the (NBA) season for television, I don't expect that we'll have fans." pic.twitter.com/FoZU0Mn4EA
But the B.League got in exactly one weekend of games — games are played back to back on Saturdays and Sundays — on March 14 and 15, before the season was canceled for good on March 27, amid several players and at least one referee testing positive for COVID-19, and some players, many American, refusing to play any more games. “It almost seemed like they wanted to wait,” Hinkle said. “There was so much pressure at the time to make sure the Olympics went on (the 2020 Summer Olympics, scheduled for this summer in Tokyo, were postponed late last month until 2021). SoftBank (a telecommunications company which has invested heavily in the league since its inception in 2016) was their biggest sponsor and they had already paid for all the games. It was a combination of bad things going in the same direction.”
“The translations can be tough,” Kelly, who was in second season in Japan, said via phone last week. “But the people are incredibly kind and welcoming. The food is great. My dad came out there the first year and he didn’t realize that right near my apartment, not that I was eating there, but there’s a Krispy Kreme there. Tokyo’s an incredible city. It’s a beautiful place with a lot of history.” Testing for COVID-19 was not mandatory in Japan. The country had taken the position of other nations that it would save its tests for those who showed the most acute symptoms of the illness, and try to keep those people in clusters so that they would not spread the virus. The country had quarantined a cruise ship in Yokohama in which more than 700 persons who’d been aboard ultimately tested positive for COVID-19, but that one hotspot accounted for a huge portion of the country’s total positives.
“I understand the risk,” Summers said. “I don’t think it’s worth it. I don’t think it’s worth it right now. Of course, we all want see if LeBron and A.D. and those guys are gonna win a Finals. Or if (Giannis) Antetokounmpo is finally going to get to the Finals in the east without LeBron or Kawhi (Leonard) over there stopping him. There’s so many basketball lovers that’s hurting right now. But more importantly, there’s so many people dying.” Said Kelly: “I can’t speak for the NBA or any other league, but it’s a tough thing to make happen, unless you can put things in a bubble. Even if you go out and play, if players are constantly concerned about their health and safety, are you putting out a great product? That was very important to them – not just ‘is it safe?,’ but do players think and feel that it isn’t safe? And if they don’t, it isn’t safe.”
Pacers center Myles Turner knows firsthand the impact of COVID-19. Not long after the NBA suspended its season on March 11, Turner's father David tested positive for the virus. The elder Turner was eventually admitted to a hospital in the Dallas area for a number of days, isolated from the rest of his family. Thankfully, David Turner's condition eventually improved, allowing him to be discharged and return home.
"His recovery process took a while," Myles Turner told reporters on a conference call on Tuesday. "He was on oxygen for a little bit. He's better now, but it was definitely scary at the time." Turner's father is well known to many Pacers fans. He travels from Dallas to Indianapolis to attend almost every home game, sitting in the lower bowl of Bankers Life Fieldhouse across the court from the Pacers' bench. His animated reactions to big plays have earned him some TV time over the years.
Turner is hopeful that the NBA can resume at some point this season. The Pacers were well on their way to their fifth straight playoff appearance, a streak that started Turner's rookie season. Indiana has not advanced past the first round over that span, but Turner said he was "optimistic" that this team was equipped to make a deep run. "I most definitely want to play," Turner said. "That's just the competitor in me and I think we started to get some good leverage towards the end of the season."
Eric Woodyard: Heat rookie Tyler Herro to ESPN on facilities possibly reopening: “I just hope that they open as soon as possible. Obviously, hoping everybody stays safe and stuff like that but we would all love to get back into the facilities and start working out and stuff like that again."
Turns out Sleep Train Arena, the team’s home in Natomas until 2016, is coming at a cost to taxpayers. The state is paying the Kings $500,000 a month for use of the facility for three months, though the team has donated the use of adjacent practice facility.
The expenses are detailed in a state contract The Bee obtained after filing a request under the California Public Records Act with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s Office of Emergency Services. The contract — signed quietly and without public announcement — now raises questions about the expenditure of taxpayer money to enrich an NBA franchise that paid its top player Harrison Barnes $24.1 million in 2019. The Kings are owned by a wealthy group of investors that includes Ranadivé, a software multi-millionaire.
Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for Cal OES, said Friday there was no intent to deceive the public about the contract between the Kings and the state. The arrangement with the Kings “is consistent with what’s being done at the other sites,” Ferguson said. “We are paying a consistent rate at all the alternative (hospital) sites.” He added that the Kings have made available the team’s old practice facility, a separate building next to Sleep Train, at no charge.
Jovan Buha: The Clippers announced today that they teamed with @MisterCtoons, the artist behind their City Edition jerseys, to release a limited edition L.A. Relief merchandise collection, with 100% of proceeds going to the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles. Here are the available pieces. pic.twitter.com/kDo91jfl06
Myles Turner’s father, David, contracted COVID-19 soon after the league suspended operations after the Pacers’ March 10 home game. David Turner fell ill about a week before his son’s 24th birthday — March 24 — but was fortunate to avoid the fate of so many others who weren’t treated or tested immediately. In fact, his first visit to the hospital led to an incorrect H1N1 diagnosis, a flu strain.
“It was a rough patch for a couple weeks,” Turner said. “They said they think he actually contracted it in Indiana. He caught it early before all the frenzy started to happen. Once he got it, he had a whole bunch of symptoms, fever, chills, pneumonia. Had to get him to the hospital. They said he had the H1N1, sent him back home, then he started feeling worse, they sent him to a different hospital, they tested him right away. They said he had corona.”
Governor Andrew Cuomo has begun laying the groundwork to re-open New York as studies suggest the coronavirus outbreak is beginning to take a downward turn in the area. Amongst the group of 100 advisors are prominent New York sports owners in Knicks and Rangers CEO James Dolan, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon, Islanders co-owner Jon Ledecky, Yankees president Randy Levine, and Sabres and Bills owner Kim Pegula.
The medical community in Japan is moving toward a consensus that holding next year’s Tokyo Olympics may hinge on finding a coronavirus vaccine. Japan Medical Association president Yoshitake Yokokura said in a video media conference on Tuesday that the Olympics were possible only if the infections were under control, not only in Japan, but globally.
“In my view, it would be difficult to hold the Olympics unless effective vaccines are developed,” Yokokura said. He did not say whether he opposes the Olympics without vaccines.
Yoshiro Mori, a former prime minister and now president of the organizing committee, told the newspaper Nikkan Sports there would be no more delays if the games can’t be held in 2021. “No, in that situation, it will be canceled,” he said. “In the past, when there were such problems, like wartime, it has been canceled. This time, we are fighting an invisible enemy.” Mori added: “This is a gamble for mankind. If the world triumphs over the virus and we can hold the Olympics, then our games will be so many times more valuable than any past Olympics.”
December 3, 2021 | 5:35 pm EST Update
Shams Charania: Free agent Wesley Matthews plans to sign a deal with the Bucks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. The 12-year veteran, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, is set to return to Milwaukee.
Tony East: TJ McConnell’s wrist is in a cast, Rick Carlisle says. It will be a weeks long absence. Says replacing him will be “by committee” and mentioned LeVert and Wanamaker’s names specifically.
Beth Mowins is breaking another barrier. The veteran play-by-play announcer will call Friday’s game between the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers on ESPN alongside color commentator Jeff Van Gundy and sideline reporter Cassidy Hubbarth. In the process, she’ll become the first woman to call play-by-play for a regular-season NBA game on ESPN.
One of the most recognizable Eastern Michigan athletes will be back in Ypsilanti next weekend. Former EMU basketball legend and NBA Hall of Famer George “The Iceman” Gervin will be honored at halftime of the Eagles’ men’s basketball game against Florida International on Saturday, Nov. 11.