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Giant cinnamon rolls are sweeping the state of Oregon and beyond for a great cause. Portland's Whitney Rutz is using her baking skills to boost the happiness of healthcare workers in the area as well as fundraise for the Oregon Food Bank. After Whitney had two friends diagnosed with COVID-19, she wanted to do her part to help out during the pandemic. Whitney’s husband, Paul, and their daughter have been a big part in designing the boxes that house what Rutz calls, “Whitney’s Giant Ass Cinnamon Rolls.” It started with baking huge, delicious looking, cinnamon rolls as a way for Rutz to cope with the pandemic, and then quickly turned into the realization she could auction off the tasty treats. Once the enormous cinnamon rolls went viral on social media, Rutz partnered with the Oregon Food Bank.
Now, enter Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stotts. Coach Stotts is featured on this week's special cinnamon roll box design and even posed for a picture with the box. Whitney’s husband, Paul, a Portland-based portrait painter, designed the Coach Stotts inspired box. Whitney told NBCSNW, Coach Stotts "has been so incredibly generous with his time in working with us to put his image on the boxes and autograph them."
The Hawks will not open their practice facility Friday, according to general manager Travis Schlenk, but are looking at next week as a potential timetable.
Sarah Todd: The Utah Jazz are offering refunds and credits to season ticket holders for the 2019-20 season. As for the 2020-21 season, for those who are on a payment plan, a deferment of March's payment was offered but not April and no word on May. For those who have paid in full, no word
The Cleveland Cavaliers are reopening their practice facility for limited individual workouts starting on Friday, league sources tell cleveland.com. General manager Koby Altman and the medical staff informed players during Zoom calls on Wednesday afternoon, sources say.
Celtics co-owner Wyc Grousbeck has donated $1 million toward local efforts to develop a vaccine for COVID-19, according to The Boston Globe. The report detailed the efforts being made by scientists at Mass General Hospital and Mass. Eye and Ear to try to protect people from the disease. Grousbeck is no stranger to the local medical industry, as he is the chairman of the board for Mass. Eye and Ear, where the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center is named after him.
“My wife and I wanted to do something to fight COVID-19, and we have total faith in [director of the Grousbeck Gene Therapy Center Luk Vandenberghe] and the quality of his team,” Grousbeck told the Globe. “We will need several vaccines to succeed to cure the world, and we’re trying to cure the world here.” “This is a major priority of the institution,” Vandenberghe told the Globe. “We’re trying to move as fast as possible.”
Marc Stein: NBA teams will receive a further update Wednesday on the various specifics involved, league sources say, with any strength and conditioning activities (such as weightlifting with a spotter) prohibited if it requires players and staff members to be closer than 12 feet apart
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Monday that California is moving into Stage 2 of the state’s four-phase plan to ease restrictions, allowing retail, manufacturing and other low-risk businesses to reopen beginning Friday. Stage 3 will involve reopening places like hair salons, gyms, theaters and churches, and allowing for sports without live audiences. Live-audience sporting events won’t be permitted until Stage 4.
NBA teams might not be able to return to their practice facilities until the third stage in the governor’s plan, but the Golden State Warriors are preparing for that possibility now. Raymond Ridder, the team’s senior vice president of communications, said the Warriors are developing plans in consultation with city leaders in San Francisco.
The Kings have said their facilities will remain closed until further notice. They are working with the NBA to “review all options for return to play in consultation with public health officials and in line with governmental directives and guidance,” but they haven’t addressed Newsom’s plan or the possibility of reopening their practice facility.
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...” pic.twitter.com/c2NRM1ke3p

http://twitter.com/MarkBermanFox26/status/1257773707445092352
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 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?"
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"
Storyline: Coronavirus
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November 27, 2021 | 10:22 am EST Update

Paolo Banchero a lock for No. 1 pick?

Two weeks after announcing his presence to the college basketball world with an impressive performance against Kentucky at Madison Square Garden, Duke freshman Paolo Banchero helped solidify his status as the presumed No. 1 pick in the NBA Draft with another breakout performance against No. 1-ranked Gonzaga in Las Vegas. “He will be No. 1 [because of] his size, strength and ability to score at all 3 levels,” one of the 60 NBA GMs and scouts said after Banchero’s performance Friday night in No. 5 Duke’s 84-81 win over the Bulldogs.
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Hartenstein is currently earning the minimum but he is playing with a real-time contract of $7.5 million, which is equivalent to what teammate Ivica Zubac is making. His emergence can open up trade opportunities for the Clippers if they were to consider consolidating one of their other centers for an upgrade. If Hartenstein keeps this up, it will be hard for the Clippers to retain him without utilizing their taxpayer mid-level exception. Otherwise, due to his Non-Bird rights, the most they’d be able to pay him is 120 percent of his minimum salary, which is projected at $2.27 million.
Payton II has a real-time contract of $3.7 million, but he has room to earn more in free agency this offseason. With defensive specialist guards like Marcus Smart and Alex Caruso being rewarded with lucrative contracts last summer, Payton II could be looking at a long-term deal if he’s a major contributor to a deep Warriors playoff run. They hold his Early Bird rights this offseason, allowing them to re-sign him to up to a four-year deal that would be slightly higher than the non-taxpayer mid-level exception amount.
Storyline: Gary Payton II Free Agency
November 27, 2021 | 3:43 am EST Update

Iman Shumpert not done playing?

Iman Shumpert might’ve been focusing on mirror balls more than basketballs recently, but the NBA champ says he’s NOT done hooping … telling TMZ Sports he’s got a lot left in his tank. We caught up with the 31-year-old fresh off winning the 30th season of “Dancing With the Stars” this week … and we asked with all the moves he displayed on the dancefloor, is he going to take his talents back to the basketball court?? “Tryna see what we can get done,” Shumpert said, “I love basketball. I never stopped playing.”
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