As for the NBA, if it ends up holding games in a single…

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ESPN, Fox, NBC, CBS and Turner Sports, according to sources, have experimented with the idea of using virtual reality to enhance the at-home viewing experience, by superimposing realistic-looking fans onto screens. The idea is in its infancy and there is a mixture of opinions toward it, but it is something the networks are playing with as fan-less games appear to be the immediate reality.
Sportscasters increasingly not being on site, at least for the time being, is the new normal though. The lack of fans in attendance will allow for the increased use of drones and different, potentially closer camera angles. It also will lead to new challenges. “Audio becomes a big issue,” ESPN’s executive vice president of production Stephanie Druley said. “Now, you can pick up everything that is being said. We have had discussions about really leaning into the audio as part of the broadcast.”
Florida's Ron DeSantis became the second governor to announce that his state is open to professional sports teams that want to resume activity amid the coronavirus pandemic. "All professional sports are welcome here for practicing and for playing," DeSantis said at a news conference Wednesday in Tallahassee. "What I would tell commissioners of leagues is, if you have a team in an area where they just won't let them operate, we'll find a place for you here in the state of Florida."
NBA opinion-leaders Charles Barkley and Shaquille O'Neal are on-record saying that COVID-19 is enough now to give up the season. NBA opinion-leader Mark Cuban - as cautious as he continues to be about needing a return from hiatus to "be perfect'' - says Barkley and Shaq are off-base. "I love those guys but they're wrong," Cuban said. "Guys want to play, there's still a season to be finished out, I still think we can play a few games and then go into the playoffs and crown a champion... let's go, let's play."
Sports Illustrated and the New York Times report the MGM Grand in Las Vegas has offered its facilities to house players and host games in a "fully quarantined campus." “It would be like a bubble, it would be very strict. It would be testing before you got there. There would be testing for the two weeks while you were there for the 'incubation period.' And then there would be nobody coming or going for the entire time. So it would be a sacrifice, guys wouldn’t be able to see their families, their kids, things like that. But it’s what would have to be done because health and safety is the number one priority, so that’s what they’re trying to figure out now and I think that’s the most difficult part," Connaughton said.
How much risk is worth playing for the NBA and its players? Commissioner Adam Silver repeated the phrase from his call with all NBA players on Friday to the Board of Governors on Tuesday, and that message will ring throughout the league over the next several weeks. Here is what you should know following Tuesday’s call with the Board of Governors, which The Athletic has learned via multiple sources.
Ultimately, everyone involved has understood the significant financial ramifications if the season is not able to finish. Silver told players on a call Friday and reiterated on Tuesday to the owners: Perhaps public perception will have changed, but the situation we are dealing with may be the same, if not worse, in the fall or winter.
How would a potential return look? One or two locations — such as Disney World in Orlando or Las Vegas — and this playing grounds environment that Silver described Tuesday: Players/personnel able to move around, but undergo testing upon re-entry. This would mean that people involved in the isolated city environment would be re-examined before any return to the remainder of the pack. It would not be a strict “medical bubble,” Silver said to the players and again on Tuesday.
NBA players want to resume the 2019-20 season with the regular season and a full playoff schedule, “if it is safe to do so,” the National Basketball Players Association told agents in a memo sent on Tuesday. The memo came as ESPN reported NBPA regional representatives reached out to players for an informal survey asking if they want to return this season. While informal, responses were overwhelmingly in favor of resuming the season, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports. The person requested anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive nature of the topic.
In the memo, “if it is safe to do” was underscored, emphasizing the challenge facing sports as they attempt to come back. The memo briefly recapped Friday’s NBPA players meeting that included a session with commissioner Adam Silver. The memo confirmed that “any such resumption would not include fans in arenas, and would likely take place at a single site, but again, it is far too early to speculate on whether any such plan will be implemented.” The union said it formed a joint committee of NBPA staffers, outside experts and players Chris Paul, Dwight Powell, Kyle Lowry, Jayson Tatum and Russell Westbrook.
Silver told those on the call that if a positive test would "shut us down, we probably shouldn't go down this path." The question remains: How many positive tests would be too many, and those are among the questions that the NBA, NBPA and medical experts have to come to terms with in the coming weeks before the league and union can greenlight a resumption of play.
In a conference with players on Friday, NBA commissioner Adam Silver stated that he couldn’t guarantee the safety of the players if play resumed in a city where they would be quarantined, but assured them the league would do everything in its power to make the safest conditions possible, sources said. That didn’t sit well with some players, sources said, with a vaccine not expected to be available for a year or two.
The majority of players who are essentially eliminated from postseason contention would rather the league start back up with the top eight teams in each conference competing in some sort of playoff, sources said. For some players out of the playoff picture, there’s concern a canceled season could negatively affect the next CBA, sources said. Silver said he doesn’t have to make a decision on the season until some point in June.
Jared Dudley: Safety obviously 1st! No where will be as safe as the NBA compound site they determine but, I Don’t think players know the effects of NOT playing does too next year. This is bigger then My team isnt in the playoffs so who cares! No playoffs, no tv money, NEW CBA next year!
Mark Cuban: I don’t know. But there’s a bigger collective goal here as well. People need sports, and could you imagine a different league that has an opportunity to come back and if your team, even if you’re in last place, didn’t want to play? That’s not going to be a good situation to be in, whether you’re a fan of that team or anybody in that organization. I think people will play. Guys realize there’s something bigger at stake. And that’s the best way to put it. NBA players are smart. They recognize there’s something bigger at stake than, you know, the aggravation of playing five, six, seven, whatever-it-may-be more regular-season games even if they’re completely out of the playoffs.
Following up on your comments to Mark Followill and Brian Dameris on our podcast, where you said the Mavericks facility won’t open until testing is widely available: What specifically does widely available mean to you and what’s the importance of it? Mark Cuban: I’ll use the White House protocol. The way the White House protects the president and vice president is the way that I want to protect our players and employees, you know? We’ll just try to just copy what they do as a means of knowing when the time is right. As of now, for all we know, for all we’ve been informed, anyways, they’re testing everybody. And they test their top people on a daily basis. And so they have access to the best science, the best information, and so it just makes sense to me that we just copy them.
The Orlando Magic will not reopen team facilities Tuesday for voluntary individual player workouts amid the coronavirus pandemic as they had tentatively planned last week. The team now plans to reopen Wednesday, but even that is subject to change, according to the spokesman. The Magic continue to await COVID-19 test results for players and staff who will be on hand for workouts, according to the spokesman.
TJ McBride: Two sources have confirmed that the Denver Nuggets practice facility has been opened today in accordance with Colorado Department of Health and NBA guidelines. Nuggets’ players are now able to set time with trainers to get shots up or lift at the practie facility.
The Warriors laid off 1,720 part-time event staff in mid-March — the largest cuts at a single Bay Area location to date during coronavirus — according to a recent state filing with the California Employment Development Department. Though the report doesn’t specify the duration of the layoffs, team spokesman Raymond Ridder told The Chronicle that the employees will return to work as soon as Chase Center is allowed to begin hosting events again.
Ira Winderman: The Miami Heat have been cleared to and will move ahead as planned for individual player workouts at AmericanAirlines Arena starting Wednesday. Still out of town are Jimmy Butler, Andre Iguodala, Solomon Hill, who all are in California. No COVID testing, but temperature checks.
Among Utah Jazz players, Ingles' situation is far more common than Conley’s—just one reason Jazz officials were thrilled to allow players to enter the team’s practice facility Monday for the first time since the Coronavirus outbreak shut down the NBA on March 11. Jazz officials confirmed “a handful of Utah Jazz players participated in voluntary, individual workouts” at the facility on Monday.
Chris Mannix: Several Jazz players participated in voluntary, individual workouts today at the teams practice facility, per team. Workouts were in accordance with Utah Department of Health and NBA regulations.
When the season was suspended on March 11 because of the first confirmed cases of COVID-19, the Pistons had 16 regular-season games remaining, with eight at Little Caesars Arena. That included marquee games against the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets. Whether those games will be played in front of fans is unlikely, but the Pistons are offering a credit to be used when that game is rescheduled, to a game next season or get a refund.
Mark Cuban believes the NBA can still salvage its 2019-20 season, despite it being suspended for two months and counting amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Dallas Mavericks owner pointed to Dec. 25 as the start date for next season and then said you just have to work backward for a potential timeline to resume this season. Most teams, Cuban said, would not be playing an extended schedule as there’s a limited number of teams that would advance through the playoffs.
Simply put, Cuban just wants the sport to return in some fashion. He believes the level of play will be just as good, if not better, than what NBA fans saw coming out of the 2011 lockout. “Anything we show is going to be better than what we have right now,” Cuban said. “It’ll be good enough, right? We just want our sports. We just want to root for the Mavs, the Cowboys, the Stars, the Rangers, etc. If it’s not perfect, I don’t think anybody is going to mind.”
The Mavericks could request fans sign up for an arrival time at a specific parking spot, Cuban said, where they’ll then receive a predetermined path to walk to their gate. Upon passing through AAC security, a guide could lead fans to their seats, separated from other guests. “We may do that almost like Disneyland, do it like there’s a procession and you have people guiding you to your seat,” Cuban said. “Or the example I use is more like a haunted house where you wait in line and you go through the haunted house, but you’re not allowed to touch anything, and everybody just is guided to their seats at the right time. It may take a little bit longer for everybody to get into their seats to start the game, but we’ll accommodate that and go from there.”
To prevent the spread of the coronavirus via contaminated surfaces, Cuban highlighted potential artificial intelligence, such as a service tool similar to Amazon’s Alexa, to allow fans a way to verbally request needs, rather than moving around and touching items. “There’s just so many things that we’re trying to deal with. There’s a lot of natural [decontamination] and sterilization tools that we can use to keep the arena clean,” Cuban said. “There’s all these things that have to be considered, and we’re trying to put together a list now.”
The NBA had the ability to terminate the CBA under the force majeure event provision for the two months starting on the March 11, when the season was suspended. There's optimism that the NBA and union can work through these issues and agree on how the league's financial landscape will be recalibrated on a number of issues, including the 2020-21 salary cap and luxury tax thresholds, sources said.
This extension allows the league and union to continue trying to resume the 2019-20 season this summer, salvaging some regular-season games, carrying out the playoffs and recouping some lose revenue. Commissioner Adam Silver told the players on Friday that expenditures by fans -- through gate receipts, concessions and other game-night receipts -- constitute approximately 40 percent of the league's revenue, according to audio of tape obtained by ESPN.
The Post obtained a copy of the letter, stating if fans rolled it over, they’d receive a bonus of either a food and beverage credit, MSG Store credit or an RJ Barrett authentic jersey. “As a season-ticket member, we would like to offer you the option to receive a refund on the 2019-20 postponed game if you so choose,” the letter stated.
The NBA still hopes to play out as much of its remaining schedule as possible, but Commissioner Adam Silver is now signaling those games will be played in a centralized location without spectators, if they are played at all. The league could incur major financial losses as teams receive an increasing volume of calls from restless ticket holders who want their money back. A league source told The Sacramento Bee the coronavirus shutdown has already taken a huge financial toll on the Kings, who are bracing for what might be tens of millions of dollars in uninsured losses. The source said the stoppage in NBA play and live events at Golden 1 Center is having a “tremendous impact to the bottom line,” saying “over half of the team’s revenue is generated from hosting ticketed events in the arena.”
Team and league officials explain it is difficult to calculate the average price of an NBA ticket due to multiple factors, but some have attempted to do the math. Barry’s Ticket Service, Inc., an online ticket broker, estimated the average cost of a ticket on the secondary market was $89 during the 2018-19 NBA season. Using those figures, the NBA could lose more than $400 million in regular-season ticket sales. In March, a high-ranking team official told Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports the NBA could lose nearly $500 million if the remaining regular-season and playoff schedule is canceled. Just last week, Statista.com, an online portal for statistics, estimated the NBA could lose up to $450 million in gate revenue and $200 million in non-ticket revenue.
The New Orleans Pelicans are planning to reopen their practice facility in Metairie on May 18, a source confirmed. Earlier this week, the NBA began allowing teams to open their doors in municipalities where stay-at-home orders have been lifted. Louisiana’s stay-at-home order runs through Friday. The Pelicans plan to start allowing players in for individual workouts three days after it is lifted.
The Pelicans plan to rehearse the safety protocols they and the league have put in place Friday to curb the spread of coronavirus. They are paying strict attention to details as minute as how basketballs are wiped down and how doors are opened. The NBA has asked each team to appoint a facility hygiene officer. Aaron Nelson, the Pelicans' vice president of player care and performance, will fill that role in Metairie.
The Pelicans have told players who are living out of market they should feel no pressure to return to New Orleans when the practice facility reopens. They don't want players to risk contracting the virus traveling back to Louisiana for the sole purpose of participating in individual workouts.
The annual NBA draft combine, which was supposed to be held this month in Chicago, has been postponed. For the Spurs, it has created a dearth of data heading into what could be the team’s most consequential draft in 23 years. “There’s quite a bit that is (normally) going on at this time of the year,” Buford said. “We’re working through places where we need to fill gaps.”
The Lakers Review: “I don’t think there is a drop dead date. I think the folks I’ve talked to have said ‘we can go as long as we need.’ I mean, they can be playing until Labor Day.” - Ramona Shelburne on the latest with the NBA during her appearance on The Mason and Ireland Show on @ESPNLosAngeles Jared Dudley: I heard even Oct from Adam Silver today...
Specifically, Woj was talking about the fear of injuries in a shortened, fan-less season. “What about in a shortened season, and I know they’re thinking about this, You really want to hurt ratings next year? Let’s rush everybody back this season and let’s get key players injured and now have to hold them off, have their starts pushed back.”
When Ontario premier Doug Ford was asked Friday about how the testing of NHL players and related staff would be handled if Toronto became a hub for the six other Canadian teams should play resume, he had an answer ready: “From what I understand all tests would be supplied by MLSE, the costs will be absorbed by (Leafs and Raptors owners) MLSE or the NHL, whoever it might be,” said Ford. “And through that, whenever they set it up then they’ll actually donate some of the time at the testing area as well, so they are giving back to the public on top of testing their own players, which I thought was very thoughtful of them, for doing that.”
In Germany where the Bundesliga is poised to become one of the first major sports leagues to return to play, the league has promised to cover the cost of the additional testing they’ll need – an estimated 20,000 tests spread among 36 teams – as well as provide any surplus tests to front line health-care workers. “Along with the NBA, we are all following that and I think if they are a couple of weeks in front of us, it will be hopefully useful and directional for us to look at,” Raptors general manager Bobby Webster told reporters on a conference call when asked if the NBA is studying the German model. “Everyone is looking at that.
Flying back to the team's home city presents an extra challenge. Foreign-born players such as the Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic, who flew home on a private jet to Slovenia after the NBA shutdown, according to sources, will have to fly back to the United States and then quarantine. Even players who flew out of state during the shutdown will have to make their way back and then quarantine.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver, in a conference call with players Friday night, said he is willing to wait until June before deciding on a firm plan to resume the season while raising the likelihood of two fan-less sites for the playoffs. According to a source on the call, Silver was “forthcoming and genuine in expressing the difficultly to plan in light of the uncertainty.’’ However, the source added Silver “informed the league’s desire to resume the season, but only if absolutely safe for all.’’
Adrian Wojnarowski: Broader Adam Silver message on call to players: This is going to be hard -- and hard for a long time. We need to work together. Hard choices are coming. No one will agree on everything. There are some difficult days of collective bargaining coming with grim financial realities.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Among players on the call, there seemed to be an appreciation that Silver was trying to answer questions as candidly as he could -- especially given the uncertanties facing league and country with virus.
Adrian Wojnarowski: If the season were to resume and players wanted a safer way to get back into market, Silver did leave open the possibility that idea would be addressed again, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: With fans in buildings constituting 40 percent of league revenue, the NBA is working on creative ways on TV to deliver the games to audiences, Silver told players. Silver started to prepare players for possibility of no fans in arenas next year without a vaccine, sources said.
Storyline: Season Suspension
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July 26, 2021 | 7:35 pm EDT Update

Thunder offered Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, No. 6 pick to Pistons for No. 1 pick?

Cade Cunningham has been the public favorite to go No. 1 to the Detroit Pistons since the lottery. While Detroit is surely doing its due diligence, is there any reason to doubt that Cunningham will be the first name we hear on Thursday night? Matt Babcock: I expect Cade Cunningham to be the top overall pick in this draft, selected by the Detroit Pistons. However, I’ve been told that the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder have been knocking the Pistons’ door down. Rumor has it that the Thunder offered the No. 6 pick and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander in exchange for No. 1 — the Pistons declined. If the Pistons receive an offer better than that one, they may need to seriously consider it.
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However, two other names also are swirling around. Moses Moody has been someone league sources have said the Grizzlies are very interested in. He’s one of the most intriguing 3-and-D guys in the draft. In his one year at Arkansas, he made 35.8 percent of his 3-pointers, and nearly 50 percent of his shots came from beyond the arc. Nobody is blown away by 35.8 percent, but scouts/executives believe in his shot and are encouraged by the 81.2 percent he shot from the free throw line. Free-throw percentage is often an indicator of someone discovering long-distance accuracy.