Cleveland Cavaliers forward Larry Nance Jr. is one of the NBA players with a pre-existing condition that could make him more vulnerable to COVID-19. He’s hoping people like him will be considered if the league attempts a re-start in the near future. Nance has Crohn’s Disease and uses a therapy that has enabled him to have a successful basketball career but also suppresses his immune system.
"We're young and you know the kind of shape players are in, you'd like to think (the virus) wouldn't be what it could be for others. But you don't know," Nance said. "I'm still scared and don't want to get it." Nance's fears have been calmed in recent weeks as he's learned more about the virus and he's consulted various gastrointestinal specialists. The drug he's been on for the last 10 years via periodic IV infusions has shown to be helpful in fighting off the infection for some with his condition.
He's been one of about seven Cavs players who have returned to the team's facility to do individual workouts over the last two weeks. He is hoping the conditions will allow him to return to play if the NBA is able to re-start and finish the season. "I'm paying super close attention to everything that is going on. I was watching the German soccer league over the weekend and seeing how the players were interacting with each other and still seeing them make a lot of contact," Nance said. "I can't even imagine being on one of those calls trying to hash this out. There's so many ways to spread this."
Utah Jazz forward Georges Niang told reporters a few days ago that every NBA player he has spoken to since the season went on hiatus is eager for games to start up again, for the schedule to be completed and a champion to be crowned. In the same conversation, Niang gave some intriguing insight into how he is preparing to return to action should the season indeed be restarted.
On May 8, the league granted teams the ability to reopen their practice facilities to players for individual, voluntary workouts, provided that the locale in which those facilities are situated have correspondingly eased stay-at-home restrictions amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“The guy that is on our training staff has to be in full [personal protective equipment] — whether that's a mask, gloves; I know he's carrying around a spray bottle and a towel,” Niang said. “So, basically every step that I take or wherever I go, that place is getting sprayed down.”
Even if we’re still weeks away from an official comeback plan for resuming the season being officially announced, the simple process of hearing that practice facilities would be reopening meant a lot to Jazz players craving some semblance of routine. “Once you started hearing, ‘May 1st, the facility is going to open,’ and then it moved to May 8th, then it was May 11th and … the timeline has been the best thing. Guys just have been prepared to have a timeline for their life,” Niang said. “The season, it’s from one month to another month, the offseason is another month to another month, and I think guys are just excited that we’re kind of get some dates and some months nailed down to where we can finally feel like we can get back to somewhat of a normal [existence].”
Jon Krawzynski: The Timberwolves will be one of the first teams to participate in the antibody study, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA. Wolves and Mayo Clinic have a long-standing relationship so it makes sense for them to be involved.
Still living in L.A., Norm Nixon is no stranger to returning to Macon and giving back. He's helped former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis with basketball camps and travel teams in the past. When COVID-19 hit the United States, he knew it was time to give back again. He called up Ellis to help those most vulnerable. "We discussed it and he said, 'I tell you what, I'm from Bird City. I'm gonna feed, how many senior citizens in Bird City?' We had a count, got to be 88, and he said, 'I want to feed everyone of them," Ellis said.
The pair partnered up with non-profit Adopt-A-Role Model, the Macon Housing Authority and small business Anderson's Diner. A $5,000 donation from Nixon enabled the organizations to feed every senior citizen in Bird City one meal a day for five days.
With the union in good hands, Roberts, who has two years remaining on her contract, will continue to lead the NBPA through the coronavirus crisis, which caused the NBA to suspend the season on March 11. Critical decisions and negotiations lie ahead that could drastically affect the players’ earnings in the next CBA in the wake of the pandemic. Roberts has the players’ unwavering support, sources said.
The union had spent the last few weeks interviewing candidates, with Detroit Pistons assistant GM Pat Garrity among those who were interviewed for the position, sources said. The executive committee had hired an executive search firm and began accepting nominations and applications, casting a wide net from candidates with diverse backgrounds and experiences who led other organizations.
In March, it was announced that a search for a successor would be initiated. Roberts made it clear this would be her final four-year term, allowing for ample time for the executive committee and Roberts to orchestrate a smooth transition. There is no timeline to hire a successor, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Houston Rockets are re-opening facility for voluntary workouts on Monday, @dmorey says.
On Thursday, during his weekly appearance on 1280 The Zone, Ingles talked about the news and how it was a contributing factor in his decision to not take part in individual workouts at Zions Bank Basketball Campus. “Obviously the secret of Renae being pregnant was a big part of it,” Ingles said. “It’s not worth it. I’ve got a gym, I’ve got everything I can do. Basketball-wise it’s a bit more difficult but I think as we go along and find out more information about this whole thing it’ll make a decision easier. But there’s no way I’m willing to risk my children and Renae and all that to go and shoot a basketball.”
Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey said that the Jazz are going above and beyond the requirements of the NBA in opening up ZBBC but even with all the extra precautions, Ingles said he isn’t ready to make that leap just yet. “They’ve made measures to go in there pretty dramatic,” Ingles said. “I went through the process to see what it was like and it’s pretty in-depth. Come the right time I’ll go in there and start getting ready but we need a bit more information on whether we’re going to play or not and I think my decision will be made after that.”
Just over two months ago, there were owners unclear that they would need to shut down arenas to fans -- never mind stop games. But the world changed fast. Today, owners are championing testing and research studies. Sacramento's Vivek Ranadive has discussed the Israeli breathalyzer test for the virus with his peers, sources said. Boston co-owner Steve Pagliuca is monitoring a Harvard study on possible saliva testing.
Most teams are modeling ways to get fans into premium seating arrangements if social-distancing protocol limits -- or prohibits -- fans in arenas. And one team is already investing in research showing how requiring fans to wear masks and limiting attendance of those in vulnerable age groups and with preexisting conditions could lower game-night risks to something closer to the flu than COVID-19, sources said.
Tim Reynolds: The NBA is up to 992,000 views for today’s Jr. NBA Leadership Conference in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Virtual was a hit.
Today, owners are championing testing and research studies. Sacramento's Vivek Ranadive has discussed the Israeli breathalyzer test for the virus with his peers, sources said. Boston co-owner Steve Pagliuca is monitoring a Harvard test study on possible saliva testing. And the owners understand something else too. Silver is the best messenger to reach players on the financial strain approaching the NBA. That's why a week ago, Silver was on the phone with players describing scenarios where revenue could plummet, where fans could slowly, if it all, return to NBA arenas as ticket buyers.
Most teams are modeling ways to get fans into premium seating arrangements if social-distancing protocol limits -- or prohibits -- fans in arenas. And one team's already investing in research showing how fans wearing masks and limiting attendance of those in vulnerable age groups and with pre-existing conditions could lower game-night risks to something closer to the flu than COVID-19, sources said.
In basketball, those who play the position of power forward aren't known for their assists. But Philadelphia 76ers standout Mike Scott is out to change that - at least when it comes to lending a hand during the COVID-19 pandemic. Scott, the Chesapeake native who is in his eighth NBA season, donated meals to hospital workers and first responders working in his hometown.
The injury sidelined him for the entirety of this season, and he was one of four Brooklyn Nets players to contract the novel coronavirus back in March. The 10-time all-star is not expected to play for the Nets if the NBA resumes this summer. “I’m alive,” said Durant, who was asymptomatic when he tested positive. “That’s it. That’s all I can tell you. I’m good. The unknown is always scary, but I had a lot of support. I knew if I needed anything, I could call someone. [As a society], we still haven’t figured this whole thing out, but having more information by the day helps.”
What do you think is the best way for the NBA to resume during the pandemic? Victor Oladipo: I’m not really sure. Thank God we have other people to make those decisions. It is a very tough one to make, if I was in the trenches. I would try to do it the safest way to get it done without anyone being in danger. We will see. I’m not sure how it will end up or happen, but I will be ready for whatever happens.
Scott Souza: #Boston Mayor Marty Walsh: “I don’t see a time anytime soon where we’ll be going back to sports in stadiums as far as fans. But I would like to see, if they could do it, some of our sports teams potentially coming back playing without fans.” #Celtics #Bruins #RedSox
Ky Carlin: Brown brushes off the idea of playing with no fans. He says: “I think everybody’s starved to play.” He did add that it isn’t ideal, but they’d rather play than not. #Sixers
Week by week, through all the White House coronavirus briefings and the Dr. Fauci updates and the NBA’s monitoring of the all-powerful curve, Commissioner Adam Silver and his most trusted associates have been trying to find a way to save this ill-fated season that was suspended on March 11. They have listened to the medical experts, fielded calls from city officials who so badly want the league’s basketball business to come their way, and consulted with the players, general managers and agents whose voices will always play a pivotal part. The confidence in the league’s ability to find a workable solution has been there all the way through.
It’s a delicate balancing act for Silver, this unenviable task of planning for a possible end to the season while showing the proper sensitivity for this situation that is so much bigger than basketball. Sources say this difficult dynamic has been top of mind for all of the league’s top officials throughout the process.
The lost national television revenue from these playoffs alone would be approximately $900 million, according to a source who gleaned the figure from one of the many conference calls with Silver recently. If the NBA can’t find a way to play regular-season games, sources say teams will also lose out on regional sports network revenues that require them to air at least 70 games to achieve the financial threshold that is so routinely discussed in league circles.
In terms of the training component, one source with knowledge of the league’s latest talking points said the time estimates for a training camp have been shortened in recent weeks. Whereas the early discussions involved the possible prospect of needing four or five weeks for camps, the goal now appears to be closer to two or three. The sense, at least as of now, is that the family members of players would likely be allowed to join them in whichever city they wind up so long as they agree to certain regulations.
It remains unclear whether all 30 teams would be involved in the resumption of play, but Silver’s call with general managers on Wednesday might have provided a clue. Per sources, he implored teams that are out of playoff contention to take a holistic view on the matter and remain willing to assist for the greater good, so to speak. While Silver didn’t reference Steve Kerr specifically, participants on the call believed it was a reference to the Golden State coach’s recent comments about the Warriors’ season being unofficially over.
Meanwhile, sources say Silver’s focus remains fixated on the medical component of this quandary. “It’s all based on medical,” one source with knowledge of Silver’s thinking said. From the logistics surrounding testing to possible treatment if and when there is a positive test to the local landscape in terms of hospitals, every aspect is being explored. A player testing positive is not expected to bring the playoffs to a halt, but that player would be quarantined and — barring an outbreak — the games would resume. Thus far, sources say every NBA player who has tested positive and experienced symptoms has recovered in short order while avoiding hospitalization.
Stadium: The Lakers will reopen their practice facility on Saturday, reports our NBA Insider @ShamsCharania.
D.J. Mbenga has long felt a sense of obligation to help his home country. During a recent conversation, the former Laker began talking about his Mbenga Foundation. It helps educate children in the Democratic Republic of Congo, builds clean water wells and advocates for sexual assault victims. He shared the concerns, from orphanages he tries to help, about how the COVID-19 pandemic will affect the region. He has always felt passionate about these causes, but a recent personal tragedy has made his need to help more acute. Last month, his sister, Yvonne Mbenga, contracted COVID-19. A diabetic in her 50s, she was having trouble breathing. By the time doctors examined her, the virus had done enough damage that they weren’t able to save her. He couldn’t fly to Belgium for her funeral and had to watch online, as did several other members of his family.
NBA star Rajon Rondo, The Rajon Rondo Foundation and Lineage Logistics have partnered in an effort to bring meals to the City of Louisville in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. In support of Lineage’s international “Share a Meal” campaign, Lineage Logistics and The Rajon Rondo Foundation announced a donation through Feeding America, to support the local efforts of Louisville's Dare to Care food bank. The donation will help provide 255,000 meals to families in need.
"For the past eight weeks, my Foundation has been supplying and delivering prepared meals, groceries and gift cards to senior citizens and the families of the youth we serve on a weekly basis," said Rondo. "The need in our community is significant and this partnership with Lineage allows me the comfort in knowing that Feeding America and Dare to Care are able to help provide food to people who need it most right now."
Today, the Sacramento Kings announced the first group of organization recipients of the $250,000 committed to help provide essential services and supplies to those in need during the COVID-19 crisis. Funding will go to regional nonprofit organizations that are serving diverse and vulnerable populations and working to address three priority areas of need including shelter and housing services for families and youth, food security, and educational and career development services.
What about moving [the Nets] to a neutral site [in order to practice]? Too complicated, said the league source, and it hasn’t been discussed. How soon will the situation be resolved and if it isn’t, could the Nets work out elsewhere? At this point, no one is saying. Stay tuned.
Duane Rankin: “The opportunity to support small, independent restaurants in our community, while also providing meals to those in need, is a huge win for everybody" Devin Booker, #Suns Charities and Local First donate $100K towards downtown restaurants and food vendors to help feed the hungry pic.twitter.com/k0Om0ctd9U
Whether the National Basketball Association will resume its suspended season is still uncertain. But the consequence of not continuing is unmistakable. “We would lose money, period,” Indiana Pacers star Victor Oladipo told CNBC in an interview. “It’s as simple as that.”
And it’s a fear of massive revenue losses, which can cost the NBA an estimated $1 billion, that keeps league and players hopeful about a possible return, which Oladipo, 28, is staying prepared for during the hiatus. “At the end of the day, I’ll be ready. whatever happens,” he said.
Tim Reynolds: Orlando's Nikola Vucevic, post-workout today: "It felt good to be back here and get some work in. But I still want you guys to stay safe, be smart, listen to the experts. It's still a dangerous time for everybody. But be safe, listen to the experts and I'll see you soon."
As the NBA moves closer to a decision on what do with its suspended season amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Orlando Magic continue to play the waiting game. The Magic did not reopen their facilities Wednesday for voluntary individual player workouts as they had hoped. The team initially had planned to reopen Tuesday, then delayed opening a day as it waited for COVID-19 test results on asymptomatic players and staff who would be present for workouts.
Those pending results kept the holding pattern in place Wednesday, a team spokesman said. While the timetable for reopening remains fluid, the Magic anticipate having results in time for workouts to take place this week, possibly as early as Thursday, according to the spokesman.
During a candid half-hour live chat, Howard said that the mother of one of his sons died during the pandemic. “So much things,” Howard said, “just happening so fast.”
The senator also predicted that Americans are going to see “a lot more monitoring of people who come into public facilities for elevated temperatures, indicating that they have a fever,” along with “more widespread testing to give people the confidence they need.” “You can just imagine with the universities and the professional sporting events, that they need some confidence that what they’re doing won’t get them in trouble, either legally or from a public health standpoint,” Cornyn said. Cuban, while generally agreeing with the senator, disagreed on the point about temperature testing, explaining that “anyone can crush and eat a few Tylenol to beat any system.”
For Jeremy Lin, the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic began to hit him after he was forced to quarantine at his home in California for nearly 21 days. He started noticing how he would get dirty looks while in the grocery store, and heard stories from other Asian American friends about the discrimination they were also dealing with since the pandemic began. Many refused to go to the store, or to even wear face masks, out of fear of getting assaulted or attacked for their race.
“It it hits home seeing just how many Asian Americans are effected by it,” Lin said in the roundtable. “For me, I felt like I had to come out and say something. To not feel welcome, or feel safe physically, is just a different level. That’s something that I really want to make sure I took a stance on.”
He also encouraged younger people to refrain from hate speech online. After President Donald Trump referred to COVID-19 as the “Chinese virus”, Lin called him out on Twitter for “encouraging racism.” “I say this to young people and recently, don’t post a hateful comment or don’t be a troll,” he said. “Take a second to really think about what you’re saying or doing, or even if you know somebody who is acting ignorant, it’s okay for you to call them out. All these things are small steps in the right direction and we’re not asking someone to do something amazing or to start a campaign or donate a million dollars, you can just start with something small, reading an article or something and getting a little more educated.”
The Heat and Ultimate Software are donating $10,000 in an effort to provide relief for Miami-Dade County’s pet owners during the COVID-19 crisis. The pet food distribution event is drive-thru ONLY and exclusively for Miami-Dade County pet owners. Walk-ups will not be accepted.
For a guy like Turner, he’s not counting days either way. His father, David, contracted the coronavirus and was hospitalized for nearly a week at Texas Health HEB before returning home safely. “I’m indifferent about [the league returning]. After seeing how this all affected my family, and my dad, if the season is canceled I understand,” Turner said. “As a competitor, I want to play. My life also means more than a couple of basketball games. Of course I’d love to see it resume, but not to the extent for a life being at risk. There are a few scenarios they are trying to produce that can be viewed as an outcome of a season, and if they do that that’s fine. I just want it to be safe.”
NBA great Shaquille O'Neal, a New Jersey native and a mountain of a man whose accomplishments on and off the basketball court are legendary, took the time Tuesday night to call the Critical Care unit at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital/Somerset to extend thanks and encouragement to the staff for their never-ending efforts to treat patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The short 40-second video shows O'neal being driven in he back seat of a car, looking out the side window while he speaks into his phone. There's a lot of chatter, laughter and squeals in the background from the crowd gathered to see O'Neal. Here's what he had to say: "I know you guys are working hard . . I know you guys are tired . . . I just want to say thank you. "I appreciate all you guys . . . keep up the good work and please be safe . . . "I know you guys don't get a lot of appreciation but I appreciate everything you guys do , , , "You guys are great at saving lives."
Chris Grenham: Jaylen Brown on @CNN: "A lot of the guys want to play. The most influential players that were on that call that we speak of, a lot of those guys want to continue the season and that's very important to us." pic.twitter.com/lShZj8x4UW
With Los Angeles County expected to extend stay-at-home orders for up to three more months due to the coronavirus pandemic, a staple of the L.A. summer basketball calendar is shutting down for 2020. The Drew League announced Wednesday that it is canceling its season.
Diamond Leung: What could an NBA game with no fans be like? Bucks CMO Dustin Godsey on today's SportsPro webinar: "I think you're going to see some opportunities w/ virtual fans & whether there's screens in the stands that are piping in fans, everything feels like it's on the table right now."
David Aldridge: The Wizards, Capitals and Mystics announce new t-shirts at $25 apiece to benefit the @MSE “Feeding the Frontlines” fund, which has underwritten more than 7,500 meals to first responders, health care and essential workers, per @MSE. Available at monumentalfoundation.org/tees pic.twitter.com/eBIUisdiDd
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.
For owners and executives, the belief is that a decision on whether or not to play out the season can’t be delayed into July. Silver and the NBA want to make the most educated decision, and this timetable allows the league to push off a decision into mid-June, which would make it roughly three months from the league’s suspension.
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.
The Sacramento Kings opened their practice facility on Monday for the first time since the league-wide shutdown began on March 11. There are strict rules in place, including two-hour time slots for no more than four players at one time and 30-minute sanitizing breaks between each session. While the workouts are voluntary, a league source confirmed to NBC Sports California that a handful of players made their way to the gym under the new protocol and procedures and that everything went on without a hitch.
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.
Shams Charania: NBA commissioner Adam Silver told Board of Governors today that he is aiming for a 2-to-4 week timetable on the decision about whether to resume season, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
Discussions centered on health and safety concerns, including the goal of getting team officials and players comfortable with the idea that a positive test for the coronavirus upon a return would not shutter play.
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.
Once the NBA formalizes a return to play, the league indicated to teams that the plan would be to standardize coronavirus testing among the 30 teams, sources said. For now, the NBA is allowing teams to use a variety of tests.
Alykhan Bijani: Coach D’Antoni on face masks: “It’s not for you, I get it, but it’s for everybody else. You can’t do that? Are you serious? It just drives me crazy! That’s the stuff of being selfish...It just takes a loved one to die...Put a mask on when you’re in public” pic.twitter.com/k5YT1VXCTl
Some of the NBA’s biggest superstars formed a united front to resume the 2019-20 season during a private conference call Monday, league sources told Yahoo Sports.
Toward the end of the call discussing the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, all parties were in agreement to take the court with proper safety measures once the league is given the green light to commence, sources said.
The group’s decision is expected to hold significant weight in the decision-making process for the rest of the league’s players when it’s time to deliberate on whether to restart the season. ESPN reported that players association reps began informally polling players about resuming the season.
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.
June 30, 2022 | 12:02 pm EDT Update
Jake Fischer: Not sure if this has been reported yet, but I’m told Danilo Gallinari’s guarantee date has only been officially moved back to July 8, which would suggest Atlanta is still looking to expand the Dejounte Murray trade as Hawks look for further John Collins, Kevin Huerter deals.
The Nets are among teams to have interest in acquiring Royce O’Neale via trade with the Utah Jazz, per SNY sources. The Jazz’s appetite for trading O’Neale is unknown, but SNY’s Ian Begley assumes it’s low.
Tyus Jones — Sources say the Cavs continue to have interest in Jones, who served as both Ja Morant’s backup and fill-in starter. The belief is Jones wants a starting gig — and pay day. The Cavs can’t offer either one, making Jones an unrealistic target — unless there isn’t a destination with both.
T.J. Warren — Warren has played just four games in the last two years because of a stress fracture in his left foot. But he’s supposedly healthy now. The Cavs have been in touch with Warren’s camp, sources say. Many other teams have as well. Prior to his injury, Warren likely was headed for a bigger payday. Now? It’s anyone’s guess. Perhaps the Cavs could split the midlevel down the middle, giving half to Rubio and the other half to Warren?
Chase Hughes: NBA free agency begins today at 6 p.m. While all eyes are on Bradley Beal’s decision, I’m told Thomas Bryant is likely to sign with another team and is expected to have multiple suitors. That would leave the Wizards in the market for a third center.