Mark Berman: From the #Rockets: The Houston Rockets hos…

Mark Berman: From the #Rockets: The Houston Rockets hosted a blood drive at Toyota Center for Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.  Donors included Rockets employees and members of the general public who registered online. Donors were treated to a meal from Rockets owner @TilmanJFertitta…”

More on Coronavirus

Nearly two months into the suspension of the NBA season, there remains hope, and perhaps even confidence, that there will be basketball again this year. “People are very optimistic that we’ll start the season again,” Nuggets center Mason Plumlee told The Denver Post by phone on Tuesday when asked about conversations with fellow players. “There have been a lot of proposals thrown around. … From the union meetings, I’ve learned that there are developing plans and strategies to bring the season back.”
Asked specifically about a “bubble” city or quarantine scenario, Plumlee said it was plausible. Proposals have included playing out the season in either Las Vegas or, potentially, Walt Disney World in Orlando, with no fans. “I do (think it’s possible) if they have enough rapid testing kits,” Plumlee said. “People know that we’re playing for the TV at this point. It’s unrealistic to expect any kind of attendance. I know that they’ve talked about cutting down the travel party. I’ve heard proposals of one city, two cities, three cities with 10 teams, an expedited finish to the season or a differentiated version of the playoffs.
“I feel like Michele Roberts (executive director of the NBPA) and (Commissioner) Adam Silver are having ongoing discussions and they’re going to do everything they can to get the season back, but not at the expense of anybody’s health or put anybody in a risky situation.”
The NBA is targeting Friday as a potential date to reopen team practice facilities in cities and states where local governments have loosened stay-at-home orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the Miami Heat does not plan to allow players to start working out at AmericanAirlines Arena until Monday at the earliest, a league source confirmed to the Miami Herald.
The Heat is still finalizing details for its plan to reopen the arena to players with hopes of starting to allow use of the practice facility on Monday, as the NBA has strict guidelines teams must follow. Among the restrictions the league has put instituted ... No more than four players would be permitted at a facility at any one time. No head coach or assistant coaches could participate. Group activity remains prohibited, including practices or scrimmages.
The Big 3 will delay a quarantined, reality show 3-on-3 pre-season basketball tournament from this month to either August or September because of ongoing concerns about the novel coronavirus, a person familiar with the developments told USA TODAY Sports. The Big 3, which originally planned to begin its fourth season on June 20 in Memphis, is aiming to start the season in either the fall or the winter, the person added. “It’s a fluid situation,” a person familiar with the situation told USA TODAY Sports. “It’s hard to provide a fixed date, but it’s happening.”
Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz previously told USA TODAY Sports that he and Ice Cube, the other Big3 co-founder and hip hop mogul, remained flexible on when to launch operations both because of their extensive planning and to account for public safety. "Ice Cube and I are in the business of entertaining people," Kwatinetz said in late March. "In times like this, they need entertainment. We have to make sure it’s safe and that the basketball is credible and really competitive. We feel like we’re able to do that."
Martins said the league now is looking at a possible return later in the summer and is considering pushing back the start of the 2020-21 season if that’s what it takes to complete the current season. He said the NBA is willing to extend the season into September if necessary. “Our league has decided that we’re going to try to get in as much of our season and playoffs as the data will allow us to,” Martins told the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force’s Guidelines for Business Reopening Working Group Tuesday morning. “We’ll play as late as Labor Day if we have to and even delay, as was reported this past week, we’ve been having initial discussions about even delaying the start of next season based on trying to get as much as this season in as possible.”
“People are very optimistic that we’ll start the season again,” Nuggets center Mason Plumlee told The Denver Post by phone on Tuesday when asked about conversations with fellow players. “There have been a lot of proposals thrown around. … From the union meetings, I’ve learned that there are developing plans and strategies to bring the season back.” Asked specifically about a “bubble” city or quarantine scenario, Plumlee said it was plausible. Proposals have included playing out the season in either Las Vegas or, potentially, Walt Disney World in Orlando, with no fans.
“I do (think it’s possible) if they have enough rapid testing kits,” Plumlee said. “People know that we’re playing for the TV at this point. It’s unrealistic to expect any kind of attendance. I know that they’ve talked about cutting down the travel party. I’ve heard proposals of one city, two cities, three cities with 10 teams, an expedited finish to the season or a differentiated version of the playoffs. “I feel like Michele Roberts (executive director of the NBPA) and (Commissioner) Adam Silver are having ongoing discussions and they’re going to do everything they can to get the season back, but not at the expense of anybody’s health or put anybody in a risky situation.”
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'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?"
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.”
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.
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.’”
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.
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.
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"
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
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January 20, 2022 | 7:53 pm EST Update