Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter expressed his excite…

Boston Celtics big man Enes Kanter expressed his excitement to return to the hardcourt as the National Basketball Association eased their COVID-19-related restrictions recently. In an interview with CNN Philippines’ Rico Hizon, the 6’11” Turkish center revealed they are currently waiting the final orders from the Massachusetts government in allowing the reopening of training facilities for sports teams. “In two hours, the Massachusetts governor will tell everybody if our practice facility will open or not. We’ve been waiting for this to happen for the last two months and I think it’s finally going to happen,” said Kanter.

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Kanter added that for the past two months, he has been trying to maintain his game shape by doing home workouts. But he emphasized his real game shape can be achieved if the players will be allowed to hold practice again in their team facility. “All NBA players are working out in our house and we try to do best that we can to stay at game shape. I think we just need to go out there and have that three to four week-period to get back in real game shape,” he added.
"New York state will help those major sport franchises to do just that," Cuomo said. "Hockey, basketball, baseball, football, whoever can reopen we're a ready, willing and able partner."
Monumental Sports & Entertainment CEO Ted Leonsis is optimistic that the NBA, NHL and WNBA seasons, which have been paused indefinitely because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, will resume this year, albeit without fans. As owner of the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and Washington Mystics, Leonsis has a stake in all three leagues.
Leonsis said the leagues “need to be very, very cognizant” of helping their broadcast partners, such as Turner, Disney and ESPN, which rely heavily on sports programming, and did not offer a timetable for a potential return. “We have a lot of time to do it,” he said. “There really isn’t the stress of when would a next season start, and so we get a chance to do our planning and create the protocols that really will maximize the safety for our players.”
Will Guillory: Griffin said the league has been allowing players with rehab needs to use facilities while they've been shut down. He says Zion Williamson and Kenrich Williams have been getting regular treatment thru the past few weeks.
Jim Eichenhofer: David Griffin noted that seven #Pelicans players have stayed in New Orleans and will take advantage of opportunity to use practice facility, which reopened today. Zion, Kenrich Williams are among the group and have been getting regular treatment recently via clearance from #NBA
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.
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].”
Add Anthony Tolliver to the list of players who believe there’s strong support throughout the league for finishing the season. Tolliver, a member of the NBPA executive committee, offered some insight into the players’ position during an interview with Darren Wolfson of KSTP .
“I don’t think there’s any doubt that guys want to play, and I think guys want to do it in a safe way,” Tolliver said. “We need to figure out a way where we’re not putting the assistant coaches, especially the older people who would be in that environment, as long as we’re not putting them in serious health risk — I think that’s going to be the biggest key. Guys want to play ball. Guys don’t want to lose money. I think that as long as we have the protocols in place that everybody’s confident in, that’s whenever things will start to pick up some momentum.”
Heat forward Andre Iguodala told CNET’s Lindsey Turrentine on the “Now What” video series that the most important thing that needs to be considered in any potential return is player health. “It’s very interesting. There are a lot of things at stake, with health being the number one thing we have to keep in mind and player safety. Peace of mind as well, knowing that we could possibly be in an environment and what that environment may look like.” said Iguodala. “I think that is most important. But as we’ve seen throughout these times, not just in sports but in politics and with our unemployment numbers being the way that they are, what’s the right time to move forward and at what cost.”
"It sucks, but it just may be our reality for a while," Silver told players on the call, according to audio obtained by ESPN. "It may be that ... there'll be a point we can bring a portion of our fans back where they sit every other seat or every third seat. "...Assuming a vaccine isn't coming any time soon, are there things we can do in our arenas where maybe we can't have 19,000 people, but maybe we can have 5,000 people? Maybe we can have 8,000 people? Maybe there are protocols allowing for it?"
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.
WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert is focusing on about a half dozen scenarios for the league to begin play this summer. Engelbert did not go into detail about each scenario, but told The Associated Press Friday that the league is looking at playing at one site, a few possibly at most instead of at every home arena.
Engelbert said while the WNBA is in constant contact with the NBA and shares many resources including medical experts, it was unlikely that the two leagues would play in the same city and venues. “I think it might behoove us to have our own sites certainly,” she said. “From the NBA or other professional sports. Many of the leagues are looking at the same cities.”
Jalen Rose said that it won’t matter if something wonky happens or if an unforeseen champion emerges in a playoff setting. That champion should be recognized regardless of the circumstances. “People are living during a pandemic and being quarantined in situations where they know everything is going to be unique,” Rose said in a phone interview. “When I’m doing television, I’m not worried about if I have an internet issue or if it doesn’t look as clear as it normally would if we were in studio because people understand that it’s just going to be different right now.”
“Same thing with an NBA champion,” he said. “There are all types of asterisks you can use in NBA history if you want. Times when people were injured, strike-shortened seasons, times where the rules were changed, the 3-point line moved in, times when the ball was different. Like, there are all types of scenarios if you get deeper into the weeds about it, but ultimately to get to a champion, I think it would make the fans really enthusiastic because sports would be a welcome distraction for a lot of the things that we’re dealing with as a society right now.”
“Basically, when it comes down to us, we’re a little different than baseball,” Dudley said. “We already had two-thirds of the season done, so we can finish this season relatively quickly, X days of regular season, go straight to the playoffs, get this done in two months . . . We’re already going to push next season back, the following season, to December, if not January at the latest. Because obviously Adam Silver came out in our [conference call with players] and said he doesn’t mind if this season goes into October and the reason why he doesn’t mind is that hopefully by this time next year, maybe we have a cure, maybe we have a vaccine where we can have fans.”
“For us, it’s safety obviously first,” the former Net said. “There’s no vaccine coming this year. So what’s the difference of next year? We’re going to be in Orlando at Disney playing games or in Vegas playing games. You’re going to be in the bubble, play your games, go back to the hotel, give the fans something to watch. But us, it’s if we don’t play, then they’re going to [enact] Force Majeure. They’re going to cancel the [collective bargaining agreement]. That guaranteed contract that everybody raves about for NBA players, that’s gone for next season, I don’t care if you have $40 million, $30 million, the cap is going to be different because the [basketball-related income] is going to be [lowered] because of the TV revenue.”
The Oklahoma City Thunder guard, in an interview with Rachel Nichols that aired Friday on ESPN's The Jump, said the issues inherent are complex but worth navigating. "A lot of hard conversations that have to be made, a lot of hard decisions," Paul said. "But with the team around us, I think ultimately we'll get to where we want to. Obviously we want to play. Oh man, we want to play. We want to play bad. And I think that's a consensus for the guys around the league. We want it to be, obviously, as safe as possible. But biggest thing is we miss the game."
"I don't have the answers," Paul said. "I don't have all the answers. But I know that people are working tirelessly trying to figure it out." Asked whether he was concerned about the fairness of a potential playoff structure upon returning, Paul said it went beyond that. "I think it's a combination of a lot of things," he said. "But at the end of the day, right now, no one expected this and knew that this was coming.”
If the NBA resumes its 2019-2020 season without spectators in attendance, TV viewers could be in for a very different kind of experience and broadcasters might have their work cut out monitoring players' trash-talking. Appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! on Thursday night, Golden State Warriors superstar guard Steph Curry told the host what spectators may hear while watching the game. "It would be raw," the three-time champion said. "This would take it to a whole another level to just pure insanity of what we say on the court, what, you know, that trash talk that happens, even myself taking part in it.”
The two-time league MVP believes the league will get back going this summer. "Everybody's trying to get the game back as soon as possible," said Curry. "But you obviously have to be safe. You have to protect the players, the fans, our families, coaching staffs, the entire organization. So a lot of things at play. We're learning by the week as things change and develop, but I would assume basketball will be back in some way, shape or form this summer."
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.
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.
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.
While Florida and Nevada were the main states being discussed, Haynes said in an interview with Tim and Sid on Sportsnet that NBA Commissioner Adam Silver mentioned Toronto as a possibility during a recent conference call with players. “[Silver] mentioned Toronto in that conference call too,” said Haynes. “He said Toronto is an option. He said he would like to keep the season in the States, but he said he’s not ruling out Toronto.” “Toronto was a place he said that can hold it.”
“I’m running out of things to watch on Netflix and HGTV. You know it’s bad when you want to watch Chopped Jr., the same episode, three times,” Thompson said on a Zoom videoconference with reporters on Thursday. “I would love for basketball to come back but at the end of the day, it’s not my decision. It’s about what’s best for the league and for our business and people’s safety. That’s the most important thing.”
“Guys want to play,” he said. “Everybody wants to see basketball. ... But I think the main concern is how can we do it in a way where everyone is at peace when they go to work. I think that’s the most important thing. As long as guys aren’t second guessing or hesitating, then we can start moving forward. None of that can be done until there’s a direction in our country health wise. Basketball, it’s opened a lot of doors for myself and my family and created great opportunities, but at the end of the day, you can’t put a price tag on health.”
Amid increasing hope of a resumption of the NBA season, Miami Heat forward Jae Crowder warned Thursday that a return amid the coronavirus pandemic cannot become rushed simply to sate fans’ hunger for live sports. "I don't want to feel like we have to rush because people are at home, not doing nothing, they just want to watch us play basketball and watch us work," Crowder said to former NBA forward Richard Jefferson on a SportsCenter Instagram Live session. "But I do want to get back out there."
"I just want to be safe," he said. "Obviously, I miss the game. We all miss the game. We love the work. But I want to be safe, I don't want to feel like it's rushed. "Even though we're missing out on a lot of money, from the league standpoint, from everybody taking pay cuts and things like that, I want everybody to be safe."
The most likely outcome with the resumption of play would be games held in the absence of fans. "We have families we have to come back to, you have to realize that," Crowder said. "A lot of guys have kids. You have to worry about that. You have to put that into perspective. I'm in for coming back with the season, as long as we have a few bulletin points from our players' standpoint to get down with the league."
Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant’s agent Rich Kleiman expects it to take at least a year before fans are back at games, a bearish timeline that may prove realistic depending on how comfortable sports fans feel being close to strangers before a coronavirus vaccine is widely available. "I think we're probably at minimum a year from people even talking about having fans in an arena,” Kleiman told Yahoo Finance on Thursday. “And then once you've gotten clearance... it's going to be about a confidence that people have, and society has, to be in close proximity to other people, and that’s going to be a while.”
“In terms of the way players feel, they want to play,” Kleiman says. “They want to do their part to help the economy, to entertain, and to finish the season. Having some closure and having a champion is important.” The “hesitation” for people around the NBA right now, Kleiman says, is “just the unknown. Not knowing and not understanding even the steps to returning. I’m not privy to the commissioner’s calls with the owners, obviously, but I’ve spoken to enough people to understand that it’s really just not even having the roadmap to return, that’s the most uneasy feeling that everyone has.”
Paul is hoping for a return to the current season, though admits it will be weird if the NBA has to play without fans to promote safety amid the pandemic. "I think what I've started to realize, especially in this quarantine, is that we may have a new normal," he says. "And what I'm learning is to not be so mad about certain things. ... Okay, if this is the new normal for a while, what does it look like? So I think us playing, at least giving fans something to watch, is better than nothing."
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.
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.
. @ChrisBHaynes talks about NBA players' desire to resume this season "Even if you don’t agree, it’s gonna be hard to go against LeBron. It’s gonna be hard to go against Giannis, Kawhi. I heard Kawhi Leonard was one of the most vocal guys on that call."
I didn’t want to read to much into that. Haynes never claimed to name everyone on the call. Perhaps, Haynes couldn’t confirm every participant. But… Kendrick Perkins on ESPN: I called Chris Haynes, and he clarified to me – from his knowledge – that James Harden was not on that call.
Indeed, state and city guidelines could keep the Nets at the end of the NBA line when it comes to opening up their practice facility. Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that the NBA hopes that 22 of the 30 franchises will have facilities open for workouts by Monday, But, the Nets won’t be one of them, according to a league source. There is even fear that the Nets and Knicks will not be open anytime soon.
. @ChrisBHaynes talks about NBA players' desire to resume this season "Even if you don’t agree, it’s gonna be hard to go against LeBron. It’s gonna be hard to go against Giannis, Kawhi. I heard Kawhi Leonard was one of the most vocal guys on that call."
I didn’t want to read to much into that. Haynes never claimed to name everyone on the call. Perhaps, Haynes couldn’t confirm every participant. But… Kendrick Perkins on ESPN: I called Chris Haynes, and he clarified to me – from his knowledge – that James Harden was not on that call.
Indeed, state and city guidelines could keep the Nets at the end of the NBA line when it comes to opening up their practice facility. Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday that the NBA hopes that 22 of the 30 franchises will have facilities open for workouts by Monday, But, the Nets won’t be one of them, according to a league source. There is even fear that the Nets and Knicks will not be open anytime soon.
While Orlando and Vegas still seem like frontrunners as the destination for an NBA return this year, NBA commissioner Adam Silver reportedly mentioned Toronto as a potential bubble city, Yahoo's Chris Haynes told Sportsnet's Tim & Sid. "(Silver) mentioned Toronto in that conference call... He said Toronto is an option, but he said he would like to keep the season in the States, but he’s not ruling out Toronto," Haynes told Sportsnet.
Tilman Fertitta said the decision to play this year is up to his players. "It's really up to the players, and if they want to play, gosh, I want to watch them play," said Fertitta. "But if they don't want to play because they're worried about their safety, I'm fine with it. It's totally up to my players." "The distraction of sports: that's that part of our psyche, and sports is religion. And, you know, we feel like we have a really good team this year and we're excited to play," Fertitta added.
Texas’ professional sports teams want to resume playing games, Texas Sen. John Cornyn said Wednesday after participating in a video meeting with officials from many of the state’s major league franchises. But the likes of the Dallas Cowboys, the Dallas Mavericks, the Texas Rangers and others “don’t want to be sued into oblivion” or be “responsible for a public health outbreak” when they return to the field or court amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the senator said.
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.”
“Extra’s” Billy Bush caught up with entrepreneur, Dallas Maverick owner, and “Shark Tank” star Mark Cuban. Mark told Billy how his business is doing during the pandemic, saying, “We kept everybody on the payroll, so they're happy.” When it comes to the next NBA season, he said, "In terms of getting back on the court and playing again? I don't know, Billy… I don't see us playing with fans. I'm confident — hopeful is the better word — the NBA will play again.”
Miami Heat forward Udonis Haslem spoke to reporters Wednesday about the potential return of the NBA season without fans and squashed any concern over whether the intensity of games would be different. “If we have to play without fans then so be it,” said Haslem. “You put an alpha male in a competitive setting you know they start to compete.”
The 39-year-old Haslem also weighed in on the possibility of the season resuming in a “bubble” scenario in which players are away from their families and isolated in an attempt to avoid a flare up of the disease. “Being away from our families and all of those different things like that, those are things we have to work through,” said Haslem. “There is a mental health part of things. You can’t just stick guys in a cage, let them out to play and then lock them back up again. It don’t work like that either.”
With the NBA increasingly optimistic about a return to play this summer, the NBA Draft Combine could potentially take place in Las Vegas or Orlando, sources said. Chicago is also an option, sources said. The NBA on May 1 announced the postponement of NBA Draft Lottery 2020 and NBA Draft Combine 2020, both of which were scheduled to take place in Chicago. “If there is a combine it will probably be in Chicago or Las Vegas or Orlando if that is where they are going to have the teams play if there is a season,” one NBA executive said.
In a recent conversation with former Euless Trinity, University of Texas and current Indiana Pacers forward Myles Turner, he offered nothing but pragmatism about the return, and the priority, of the game. “You need at least a month,” he said. “The NBA is such a rhythm-based game. I mean, we played damn near the whole season out.”
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.”
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."
Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, thinks the NBA, because of its relatively small rosters, might be better able to return than some sports. Beyond that, he reiterated the idea that the American public is in need of entertainment. "We need something to get excited about," Cuban said on ESPN's Now or Never. "I mean, watching cornhole on ESPN ain't it."
Prior to the NBA stoppage, Spurs' Jakob Poeltl suffered a right MCL sprain which kept him out for five games. But should the NBA resume play, Poeltl expressed come conflict on a return to the court with his injured knee during an interview with German outlet DiePresse. "On the one hand, I would be happy to be able to play basketball again after the knee injury, if only for a few games. On the other hand, I also wonder how useful it would be to train up just for a few games after the injury," Poeltl said. Said Poeltl: "Not everyone has the best tools to keep themselves fit apart from team training."
Poeltl did address the situation NBA players will face should they make their way to practice facilities. Players will be allowed inside for individual workouts, with limited team staff, and constant individual health checks. "You will arrive with a mask and you will be checked for fever and symptoms. You would come with a ball and go again, there would be no showering, only a trainer would be present, and everything should be disinfected between the units," said Poeltl. "Of course this is not optimal but I'm somewhat used to being alone and can handle it quite well."
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.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
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July 5, 2020 | 6:47 pm EDT Update
The Rockets plan to travel to Orlando later this week and will play their first of eight “seeding” games on July 31 against the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets are assured of one of eight playoff spots in the Western Conference and are tied for fifth place with the Oklahoma City Thunder, with the Mavericks 1½ games behind. “The team that catches a rhythm first, kind of has an advantage overall,” Covington said of his expectations for the abbreviated sprint to the NBA’s finish line this season.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
He recalled that he and his cousin and two other youths were playing football in the street and occasionally running into a neighbor’s yard. The neighbor told the children to stay out of his yard, and Covington said he and his cousin obliged. The other two kids did not, and the man called the police. The officers began to detain all four of the youths, even though the neighbor told police Covington and his cousin had done nothing wrong. “The cop didn’t care; he arrested all of us,” Covington said. “He put is in the back of the car and took us down to the station. I got stuck in the car – I was too tall and my foot was wedged in between (the front seats). I told the officer I couldn’t get out. He said if you don’t get out of this car, I’m going to break your leg to get you out.”
July 5, 2020 | 2:38 pm EDT Update
July 5, 2020 | 1:47 pm EDT Update
As for next month’s challenge, Marlowe is confident that he and his color analyst, Scott Hastings, can interpret and call the games from afar. “It’s certainly a technique on how to do it,” he said. “You can’t always see clearly or hear clearly an official’s decision. You can’t interpret it because you’re not right there, so it takes a little bit of imagination.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:10 pm EDT Update
For the most part, the players are feeling pretty comfortable with the health and safety precautions that the NBA has put in place, and believe that the league is doing every thing within their power to mitigate risk related to the coronavirus. It all looks good in theory and on paper, but how it will all work once the players are actually there is another thing entirely. “I’m sure there will be some changes once we get down there, and they see that some things worked and some things didn’t,” Georges Niang said on Thursday.
As far as the actual games go, the players aren’t worried about playing without fans or how the schedule was decided on. They’re just excited to get to play again. “We miss playing the game of basketball,” Niang said. “We miss our day jobs so I think for the most part we’re excited to get down there and use our platform for social issues and be safe while doing that. The NBA has set up an environment that’s given us the right safety protocols to move in the right direction to be able to play.”
The insinuation was that players would not be able to be away from their sexual partners for such a long time. “Forget three months, they’re gonna struggle with three weeks,” Smith yelled. Do the Jazz think that players will break the rules of the bubble? “If they do, that’s them,” O’Neale said, dismissing the notion. “I’m single, I’m by myself, I ain’t got nothing to worry about. Quarantine life was kind of easy for me. I just played video games and hung out with my dog, so I think it’ll kind of be the same thing. Just without my dog. I’ll be alright.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Rick Carlisle: “On the heels of George Floyd’s death on May 25, the head coaches got together on a Zoom call which was put together very quickly. We talked about the things that are going on in the world. Lloyd Pierce, who is the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, made a very passionate speech to the entire group about his feelings about everything. He was immediately appointed the chair of the NBA coaches committee on racial injustice and reform. That committee met on Zoom calls probably five times and filtered through a lot of different things to the point where now on a national level we’re under the Obama Foundation …”
Rick Carlisle: “In Dallas, I’m partnering with Mothers Against Police Brutality. We’ve met many times on Zoom. We had an in-person meeting with the mayor. We had a virtual meeting with T.C. Broadnax, the city manager. We had another meeting with [Dallas police chief] Renee Hall. So we’ve gotten into good conversations there. Our initiative, the final title of it, is NBA Coaches for Racial Justice. We will have a pin that we wear. A big part of what we’re doing, because we’re coaches, we’re teachers and we’re educators.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:00 pm EDT Update
Perhaps the most difficult injury to return and recover from is a ruptured achilles, but not only has Rodney Hood put in the work off the court, he is also putting a tremendous amount of work on the court. The Portland Trail Blazers tweeted a video of the former Duke basketball player rising up to the rim, albeit in a controlled and cautious way as he works his way back to the court.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was the one to throw the San Antonio Spurs head coach’s name in the mix, but there’s been no word about the idea since. Not until Nets general manager Sean Marks was asked about the possibility on WFAN’s Joe & Evan on Friday: Pop has a job. So I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach — and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs. He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there.
When he gets back to the head coaching search, Marks intends to talk to Brooklyn’s “key players” about who will run the show next. And he specifically mentioned Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when addressing the matter on WFAN: It would be probably, you know, not incredibly smart of us if we did not involve some of these key players in this decision. That only goes to Kevin, I think it’s — you know, Kevin and Kyrie, we’re gonna pick their brains on what they are looking for in a leader, what they want in a coach, what they need. I think these guys have been brutally honest so far.
Storyline: Nets Coaching Job
Jamaal Wilkes said he’s proud to be an American and wants law and order while at the same time seeing the need for change in the wake of demonstrations after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. “I’m not an activist. I’m not in the guts of the stuff, but we need some kind of reform with the police department (while) recognizing that the majority are good police,” Wilkes said in a recent conversation with the Bay Area News Group’s Wes Goldberg. “And they are probably as sick and embarrassed and disgusted with the Floyd incident as most of the country is.”
The Floyd murder during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaal Wilkes: “On one hand, it was very shocking and disturbing. On the other hand, it’s nothing new . . . it was unbelievable. It was horrible and no one could deny it because there was footage. That, along there being no sports, brought it to a head. I think that all lives matter, of course, but it’s only black lives that are being murdered. We can no longer tip-toe or ignore the elephant in the room, which is systemic racism, white privilege.”
July 5, 2020 | 12:42 pm EDT Update

Jared Sullinger wants back in the NBA

On Saturday, The Basketball Tournament kicked off and Jared Sullinger was on the sideline for Carmen’s Crew. He was the coach of the team filled mostly with Ohio State alumni. It’s a role he relishes. Yet it’s not a role he wants to assume permanently. Sullinger, the Celtics’ first-round pick in 2012 who enjoyed four solid seasons with the club, still has aspirations of returning to the NBA. He’s only 28 but hasn’t played in the league in three years. His post-Celtic career lasted just 11 games with the Raptors, and then Sullinger learned about the harsh reality of being injured and considered damaged goods.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 75 more rumors
He has recovered fully. Sullinger is married and the father of twins. He reflects on his Celtics years fondly but hopes he’s not done gobbling up rebounds with his burly frame. “I want to play and, of course, the NBA is the ultimate goal,” he said. “The last two years I just felt like I had to find myself. I had to find something that drives me and makes me want to play. In the NBA, you kind of get lost in the shuffle because you have so many games, and when I got out there in [the Chinese Basketball Association] it was kind of a retreat for Jared Sullinger to learn himself and fall in love with the game again.”
Smith aspires to be a general manager, but the NBA has had issues in recent years with diversity in front offices. He hopes that recent events will cause the NBA power structure to closely examine hiring. “To think people don’t gravitate toward people who are like them, look like them, or are like-minded, then you don’t understand the basis of stereotypes and racism, which is two different things,” he said. “If I make my decisions based on race and not having the ability to have the opportunity, then I’m a racist. It’s a simple process. White America is like how do I figure it out? You’re making the decision and you’re taking into account that it will hinder someone based on their race. That’s a racist act, period.”
What bothers Smith and many other former players is that front office candidates who did not play the game but are astute analytically are somehow seen as more qualified than former players. “You mean to tell me LeBron James couldn’t put a team together? He puts it together now. You’re telling me his production and consumption of information is not more valuable than someone who’s never played the game? It’s impossible. It’s an awareness.”
Though Marlowe said he would’ve preferred the NBA scrap the regular-season games and jump straight to the playoffs, he did find an advantage for the Nuggets. Their grueling schedule, featuring games against both Los Angeles teams, the Raptors and the Thunder, is a perfect primer for the postseason, he said. The Nuggets were 15-11 against teams that were .500 or better throughout the season, which was a better record than all but three teams in the NBA. In addition, as Marlowe pointed out, seeding doesn’t really matter since there’s no homecourt advantage. “I think the eight play-in games are interesting because I believe six of the last eight for the Nuggets were going to be played away from Pepsi Center, so the Nuggets don’t have to do that,” he said. “That being said, I don’t think winning is the preeminent goal in these (seeding) games. I don’t think it really matters to the Nuggets to finish third, fourth, fifth or sixth. I think the key is, can coach Malone and the rest of the coaches get this team playing at its zenith in these eight games and going into the playoffs?”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Meanwhile, high atop the Chicago skyline, Bosh was in a conference room receiving a pitch from the Heat — a meeting punctuated by Pat Riley unfurling a small velvet carpet onto the table, followed by the presentation of a small velvet bag. “Oh, yeah, Pat brought his rings out. It looked just like a Crown Royal bag,” Bosh said. “He puts it down, like boom. Big boy talk. When he ended the meeting, Pat gave me a 2006 Heat championship ring.” “Take it. Keep it. Give it back to me when you win one,” Riley said to Bosh. “I still haven’t given it back,” Bosh said. “I wonder if he even remembers that? I think I mentioned it once, like, ‘Yo, do you want that ring back?’ And he said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I kept it moving.”
A generation ago, it was tough to find any Warriors fans outside of the Bay Area, let alone at some desolate outpost in Southeast Europe. But by now, such encounters no longer count as shocking. After five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, with a roster that features some of the game’s most marketable players, and after a concerted effort to raise their profile abroad, the Warriors emerged as a certifiable global brand. According to the team’s internal tracking, the majority of the Warriors’ social media followers reside outside the United States — that’s 80 percent of their followers on Facebook, 70 percent on Instagram, 52 percent on Twitter.
He recalled over the phone last week that in the late ’80s, growing the NBA meant Stern handing a baffled TV executive from Italy a stack of videocassette recordings in hopes the exec would air them when he got back home. “The victories were getting a game that was played 10 days ago aired at a terrible time on Italian television,’’ Welts said. “That’s the kind of thing we considered a victory back then.” Around that time, league officials also attended an international market show in Cannes. “With pretty much a cardboard table and a bunch of business cards,’’ Welts said. “We just tried to grab any television programmer who was there to try to explain to them what the NBA was and why it would be such a great property for their company to air on television.”
July 5, 2020 | 4:34 am EDT Update

Nets to make 'godfather offer' to Gregg Popovich?

In an appearance this week on the “Let’s Get Technical” podcast with retired NBA stars Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, Gerald Brown of SiriusXM NBA Radio noted the presence of rumors linking Popovich to the Brooklyn Nets. The rumors state that Nets owner Joe Tsai is looking to make a “godfather offer” to Popovich for him to come coach the team.

Stone Cold Shea Jackson: It’s mostly trolls I guess. But even homie callin him entitled. Earlier in June and people siding with him. Now they talkin bout him demanding a trade and shit but it ain’t never from him. And that got niggas callin him a bum. And he the realest dude you could find in the league. Damian Lillard: My stance ain’t changed. This is a result of a pandemic and lack of content lol.
Storyline: Damian Lillard Trade?
Add in Nic Claxton’s season-ending injury, and that leaves Jarrett Allen as the only healthy Net taller than 6-foot-9. Expect GM Sean Marks to sign a big man as a substitute player for Jordan. “We have to definitely think about that,” Vaughn said. “Sean and I talked this morning on a call and we talked about addressing our size and not putting extra demand on Jarrett. So that could definitely be a route we take for sure.
From the moment he and his teammates reconvened in Florida last week, Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka said everyone was “locked in” and ready to get to work. “I saw just how everyone is in great shape,” Ibaka said on a conference call with reporters Saturday. “They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work. “I’ve been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people’s locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not. “So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Josh Lewenberg: Serge on COVID-19 numbers in Florida: “Honestly, it’s a little concerning. Hopefully everybody follows the rules when we get into the bubble in Orlando… I have my daughter, who lives here. It’s kinda scary a little bit.” Ibaka on Raptors: “Man, listen, we believe in us. We have the experience, we have the championship mentality already, we’ve got confidence. It’s time to go to work. We’re ready.”
“I’m happy now. I’m in a good place, you know,” Gobert told reporters Friday. “And I’m happy that I get the joy back from playing basketball with my team and the competitiveness is back. I’m ready to try to go out there and try to win the championship. That’s the goal. And to be honest, after everything we’ve been through as a team and as human beings, it would be a great comeback.” Gobert answered questions for about 11 minutes. He talked about the relationship with Mitchell. (“It’s never going to be perfect,” he said, acknowledging strains that have been no secret.) He talked about the potential of signing a lucrative extension — he’s supermax-eligible — with the Jazz, which could happen before next season. (“I don’t plan on leaving right now,” he said.) He talked about his recovery from the virus, which is ongoing, at least in how his sense of smell hasn’t totally recovered. (“Smelling, I took that for granted too. It’s back now, it’s back at 80%, I’m not worried,” he said.)