Kellan Olson: I asked Kaminsky his thoughts on a potent…

More on Coronavirus

When a masked Rajon Rondo dropped off groceries to those in need back home in Louisville, Kentucky, the socially distanced recipients always said thank you. And those who recognized him often asked the same thing. “The first question was always, ‘When is the NBA season going to come back?’ ” Rondo told The Undefeated. “I got a lot of those. I told them, ‘I will know the same time you find out.’ ”
There has been some optimism over the possible return of the NBA after many teams recently reopened their practice facilities. The Los Angeles Lakers reopened theirs May 16, and while Rondo said he has yet to return, he hopes the league will return to action in a safe and healthy fashion soon. “I want to play. As a competitor, you want to play,” Rondo said. But he also wants to protect his family and the people around him. “Safety first, understanding that life. We can’t take it for granted, even though we are athletes who are some of the best people in shape as far as body and heart condition. But all it takes is one case where a body can’t fight off the virus.”
Rondo and numerous other NBA players have been helping the less fortunate during the pandemic, with Louisville being his main focus. The Rajon Rondo Foundation joined with Lineage Logistics, a provider of temperature-controlled food logistics, and Louisville food bank Dare to Care to deliver more than 250,000 meals. Rondo spent three weeks in Louisville in April packing and delivering meals, as well as distributing gift cards and exercise kits to senior citizens and families with kids involved in his youth foundation.

http://twitter.com/Stadium/status/1263507168298438656
Renata Burigatto received a text message from her husband, NBA referee Mark Lindsay, 30 minutes after the scheduled tip-off of the game he was assigned to officiate between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder on March 11. “I texted him, ‘Oh no, you OK? Did you get hurt?” Burigatto told USA TODAY Sports. “He replied, ‘No, they stopped the game and are going to test us for the coronavirus.’ ”
That began a stressful 12 hours for the couple, who were already operating under great stress because Burigatto is a frontline COVID-19 doctor specializing in acute in-patient care at Penn Medicine’s Chester County (Pennsylvania) Hospital. “It was a very powerful night for us both on a personal and professional level,” Burigatto said. “I very busy in the hospital, working seven days in a row, 13 hours a day. Trying [to] balance that with trying to convey safety was challenging. We also have three young children at home. We were trying to keep them safe and consider whether we were going to keep them in school at that time. There was a little of uncertainty and there was a lot of anxiety about what choices we were going to make to keep all of safe.”
In their own way, Lindsay and Burigatto are at the heart of COVID-19 – Lindsay being on the court when the Thunder team doctor ran on the court to inform referees of the unfolding situation of a player testing positive and the idea that other players could be infected and Burigatto caring for patients on the East Coast. “The anxiety of her or one of us becoming infected is very real,” Lindsay said. “That thought is never too far from my mind especially when she’s at the hospital. We experience that anxiety, isolation and uncertainty.”
It sounds like the NBA has made some progress towards a return to play and maybe salvaging the season. What are you hearing from the players association and does it seem like it’s realistic? Fred VanVleet: “The crazy part is that everything we hear is out, you know what I mean? Like, there are no secrets really. There’s not much that you guys don’t know that we know. Obviously, we probably have a little bit more candid conversations in private. But, yeah, as of now what’s out there is about Orlando and Vegas and trying to get back and see what that would look like, try to get teams a couple weeks to get ready to play and then see what happens."
Fred VanVleet: "So, I think the optimism, there’s some credence to it, but obviously we all know the challenges that we’re facing. I just think that the combination of there being so much money involved and 450 guys who live and die basketball, I think there are a lot of reasons to get back to playing. So, I think the motive is there, the want to play is there, the resources are there. It’s just a matter of figuring out how we can put it together in the right way where it’s safe and efficient. There’s gonna be risk regardless. There’s risk if you cancel the season and there’s risk if we get back together. But I think the league is just trying to assess those risks and make sure we’ve got all of our bases covered.”
What would you need to see implemented or changed for you to feel comfortable going back? Fred VanVleet: “If I’m there by myself I think I’m okay with it. Now, if my kids were there, or things like that, I would be a little bit more on guard. That’s just me speaking personally. I’m pretty at ease with it. I’m not letting it freak me out but I also, to my knowledge, don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions or anything like that. So, there are guys in the league that are probably going to have real concerns about the virus itself and I understand that, but I think for me personally I’m not in that boat, so to speak.:
Fred VanVleet: "I think as long as they’re doing their due diligence and it’s not just a money play, where it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s get back to play because we have all this money we need to make up.’ I know that’s probably one of the factors but as long as there are real guidelines in terms of what we’re doing from a health standpoint, which I feel there is, I think that I’ll be okay with it. And if not, I’ve accepted it. I think we’ve been on break long enough to where I’m pretty open-minded to any idea that gets us back playing, you know what I’m saying? I wouldn’t be heartbroken if they cancelled the season because I understand all of the things that go into it, but I definitely wanna get back out there.”
While NBA sources insist there are still many logistical issues to be worked out before the league can resume its games, there are team executives frustrated that the process has been slowed by the lack of widespread COVID-19 testing.
But there is another hurdle for the league to clear, and it’s one that became quite clear when some players were tested in the immediate aftermath of the suspension of play on March 11. According to sources, just three teams were tested for the coronavirus by public entities — the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder, because they were the teams on the floor as Rudy Gobert’s positive test was returned, and the Toronto Raptors, because … Canada and its universal health care system (Toronto had played at Utah on March 9).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WXb4bC2l7_g
I had heard that they were they were looking at a five-game series for the first round. And then they would eventually get to seven games but you're you're refuting that with your information. Adrian Wojnarowski: All of it was based on how many days do we have to play with here? How many days do we have? But the goal is to do it in seven-game series. But that doesn't mean they haven't discussed it, they discussed everything. And I do think that was one of the conversations, what would that look like? I know their preference is to try to keep those playoffs best of seven all the way through.
Eric Walden: Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley, to the media on a Zoom call, on why he made his $200K donation now: "Immediately, my knee-jerk reaction was to do something right away," but he wanted to research where his money could ultimately provide the most help.
NBA agent Erik Kabe on how COVID-19 may affect the 2020 NBA draft: "I think it will have a major effect on it. Every year, there are a couple guys who work their way up draft boards - either they have an impressive Combine showing, or they crush a workout with a certain team and get called back for a second workout and they crush that too and then they get drafted in the first round. That happens every year. On the flip side, there are always guys who don't perform well during pre-draft and then they fall in the draft. It's hard to see that happening if there's no Combine and no in-person workouts."
NBA agent Erik Kabe on how COVID-19 may affect the 2020 NBA draft: "How are teams currently making their draft boards? All of these teams send scouts to different college games and tournaments to watch these players, so I guess [their draft board] is based on scouting reports and film and then the interviews. It's going to be the most important interview of each guys' life because it could have a huge impact on their draft status. I think the NBA is still trying to figure everything out, but it's definitely going to be a very unique process (and hopefully something we never have to deal with again). It's up in the air how teams are going to deal with it, how they're going to evaluate guys, how agents are going to market guys. It's definitely going to be interesting."
Barring an unforeseen turn of events, many NBA owners, executives and National Basketball Players Association elders believe commissioner Adam Silver will greenlight the return to play in June -- with games expected to resume sometime before the end of July, sources said.
The NBA is in serious discussions with Disney about the property, which has gained clear momentum over cities such as Las Vegas, sources said. It remains unclear when the games would begin, but multiple sources say the prospect of players fully training in mid-June and playing by mid-July has been the most popular and possible scenario discussed. NBA commissioner Adam Silver told the Board of Governors on May 12 that he aims to decide on the season in two-to-four weeks, and that he wants to wait as long as he can to make final decisions.
While the league has explored the possibility of holding games in multiple cities, it appears likely that Orlando would be a sole host. Sources confirmed that Houston has also received serious consideration as a host city, but Orlando is on track to win its bid so long as final details regarding testing and hotel use are resolved. For the NBA, Orlando/Disney World’s controllability as a playing site — with a private property having the necessary complexes, hotels and amenities — has been the most appealing of all the possibilities all along.
As I reported two weeks ago, the NBA prefers to have teams play at one or multiple neutral sites; Disney World in Orlando and MGM Grand in Las Vegas are the most likely possibilities. Other locations are also under consideration, including Houston, multiple sources say. In downtown Houston, Toyota Center, the Rockets’ home arena, neighbors the George R. Brown Convention Center; combined, they have the facilities necessary to serve as a neutral site to host games. It remains possible that teams could play games in their own arenas. On Monday, governors in three of the country’s most populous states—California, New York, and Texas—signaled they are open to having sports games without fans. MLB and the NFL plan to do just that. But playing games at a neutral site makes it easier to control variables—the more people involved, the greater the risk. With travel comes the inclusion of pilots, drivers, and hotel workers.
Players and staffers would be living with family members or roommates, all of whom can’t be tracked by the league. Hosting the rest of the season at a neutral site would create less risk, though it remains to be seen what the league and players union will agree on. No matter where games are played, thousands of swabs and tests for players, coaches, and other personnel will be needed. Sources around the league and medical professionals agree that a quarantine with each person staying by themselves for multiple days or longer would be the most effective way to reduce the chances of an outbreak.
The league has researched various ways to bring basketball back safely, sources say, including the use of a sampling procedure called “group testing,” which aims to examine a large number of people with just a few tests. The league is also contributing to a nationwide antibody study at Mayo Clinic that involves an innovative new fingerstick test kit. Based on my conversations with sources at the league office, team executives, and medical professionals, here’s what the NBA is working on now, and what the testing process might look like if games were to resume.
The NBA has been looking for ways to support research of the pandemic since March—including recommending players who have successfully recovered from coronavirus to donate blood to the National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which is also run by Mayo Clinic. So far, close to 400 people from about half of the league’s teams have voluntarily participated in Mayo Clinic’s antibodies study. Portland, Minnesota, Cleveland, and Boston are among those teams, and more teams may join when their facilities open, league sources say. According to Sampathkumar, over 1,000 total people have contributed to the Mayo Clinic’s study. Participants from the NBA receive both a vein puncture and a fingerstick blood draw at their respective team practice facilities using supplies that the Mayo Clinic shipped to team doctors. In addition to helping the research of antibodies, the tests help the league get a read on COVID-19’s spread amongst the NBA population.
NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told The Ringer that players were fully on board with providing samples. “Our players have embraced the opportunity to contribute to this important public health study that will help researchers better understand the prevalence of COVID-19, potentially improve care for patients, and promote long-term efforts to develop a vaccine and treatment for the virus,” Roberts said.
The NBA still doesn't know whether it will resume the halted 2019-20 season in some form, but Mike Bibby already knows his first shot at coaching at the professional level will have to wait. Bibby's employer BIG3 officially canceled its 2020 season on Monday, nixing his pro head coaching debut. "It's upsetting that it's not gonna happen," the 14-year NBA veteran said. The BIG3 basketball league was shut down to ensure the safety of fans during the COVID-19 pandemic. It will return for its 2021 season.
The initiative, which is supported by the league office and the players' association, is expected to have the participation of all 30 teams. "We are learning about this disease," Sikka said. "We have learned a lot in two months. So if we can take the next two months, learn on the fly, mitigate risk, then we can move pretty quickly to do the right things to have safe play." As practice facilities begin to open around the league, NBA officials are continuing to seek information about best practices to mitigate risk of infection for players and staff. Sikka, one of 10 people on the NBA's sports science committee, has become one of the league's resources.
In just one season with the Wolves, Sikka and Rosas became close to Towns' parents, who attended almost all of their son's games. "It very much hit home for us," Sikka said. "I am never going to forget that experience with Karl. It changed my life, it changed his life, it changed our organization's history. It was extremely challenging for everybody." Prior to his mother's death, Towns donated $100,000 to assist Sikka and the Mayo Clinic's coronavirus research. "We took a cue from KAT and his family," Rosas said. "We took that cue and looked for ways to be good teammates to the NBA and the 29 other teams by connecting with Mayo Clinic to try to find strategies to fight the virus."
Gasol mentioned that he understands the concerns of his colleagues regarding the resumption of the season but once play begins there’s no use holding back anything. “There is no need to be afraid to play again. Yes, I respect it, because it is a virus that has proven to have a very negative impact, but once we start playing we have to do it 100%,” he said.
Of course who knows how COVID-19 will change that timeline. Calabro called coronavirus the “huge x-factor” in this equation. And he’s right. We don’t know what the financial landscape in professional sports will be like one year from now, let alone five. The collective hope is that this will end up being a minor bump in the road. That’s exactly what Calabro envisions. “Having calculated the x-factor, I still think within five years, yes, we’ll see NBA basketball in Seattle,” Calabro said.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CAYV28aF33l/

http://twitter.com/IbakaFoundation/status/1262813319905361922
In CloseUp360's “Hoopers Meet Heroes” series, which connects NBA and WNBA players with healthcare professionals on the frontline of the fight against the coronavirus in their respective cities, Magic guard D.J. Augustin chatted with Dr. Sarah Barbour, an infectious disease physician in Orlando. After treating gunshot victims from the Pulse nightclub shooting in 2016—the deadliest terrorist attack in the U.S. since 9/11—she's now helping COVID-19 patients.
What is also uncertain is how many games they will play before launching into the postseason. In fact, there is the question of whether teams outside of the playoff picture should return at all. Fizdale thinks it might be beneficial to limit the remainder of the season to the teams that still have a shot at the postseason. “Is it worth risking the employees that you need to show up to the games to make a game function? Is it worth the players health? The coaches’ health? The trainers’ health?”
Vasquez believes the NBA should be the first major American sports league to return from the coronavirus-prompted shutdown. "We're missing the game of basketball. I want to see LeBron. I want to see the best players out there. Even if I'm able to watch it on TV. It's not gonna be the same. You're gonna have to figure out ways to motivate yourself and perform [without fans]. But imagine winning a championship. I heard Shaq was saying, 'Everyone pack it up and go home, we'll see you guys next year,'" he said. "Whatever it is, it's gonna be a tough decision for the NBA. But at the end of the day, I'm telling you, whatever league comes out and starts playing right now, everyone at home is gonna watch because there's nothing else to do. So we're missing basketball. Let's be the first league to get back to work.”
They not only focused on building strength back up in Williamson’s right knee. They also worked with him to become more flexible so his body could better withstand the incredible force his 6-foot-6, 285-pound frame generates every time he jumps. Even the way Williamson lands was a point of emphasis. Williamson ended up missing the first three months of the season, a total of 45 games. The Pelicans took steps to reduce the risk that he will ever again have to miss such an extended stretch of time. And the rehabilitation never stopped — even during the coronavirus pandemic.
Griffin said the Pelicans received special clearance from the NBA so Williamson could continue receiving treatment at the team’s practice facility in Metairie while it was closed down. Reserve forward Kenrich Williams, who missed more than two months with a back injury, also rehabbed at the Oschner Sports Performance Center when its doors were otherwise shuttered.
Brett Brown is curious. The 76ers coach ponders an ideal way for the NBA to resume the season. He believes anything that equals a realistic timeline where players aren’t put in harm’s way would be best. “Forget the virus standpoint, just the injury standpoint,” Brown said. “There are stats ... Look at the stats after lockouts, the propensity of injuries is significantly increased if you just try to cram stuff in.”
That’s why he’s curious to see what the league’s return-to-play process will look like if the 2019-20 NBA season resumes. Wednesday marks the 70th day since the league suspended the season amid the coronavirus pandemic. It will take the players a minimum of three-to-four weeks to get back into playing shape. “I’d be curious to see if that includes some way to have a preseason game. I don’t know,” Brown said.
Marc Stein: Among NBA return-to-play scenarios being discussed, league sources say, is a template calling for teams to conduct Training Camp 2.0 in their own practice facilities before heading to one or two centralized sites to resume play, with Orlando and Las Vegas still vying for games
The preference to play basketball while trying to safeguard against COVID-19 infection was repeated. “They all want to play,” Stevens said of NBA players. “I’ve heard nobody say they didn’t want to play. But safety is a priority.” A moment later, Stevens acknowledged the risk in playing. “I think safety has been the priority and will continue to be the priority,” he said. “But that doesn’t make anybody less antsy to play.”
Kings President of Business Operations John Rinehart informed employees Monday that more than one-third of the team’s full-time workers will be furloughed for four months beginning June 1 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Rinehart made the announcement in an email to employees, a copy of which was obtained by The Sacramento Bee.
A league source told The Bee the furloughs will impact about 100 employees representing approximately 34 percent of the team’s full-time workforce. Essential basketball operations functions, including front office, health and performance, and scouting/analytics positions, will not be impacted, the source said.
Sneakers worn by Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Scottie Pippen while they played for the Dream Team are being auctioned. The sneakers, each signed by the Hall of Fame wearer, are part of the Lelands 2020 Spring Classic Auction that runs through June 19. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of the sneakers will benefit COVID-19 relief efforts.
The BIG3 has officially announced that it will cancel its 2020 campaign, a traveling summer tour that would have tipped off in just over one month. The league will resume in 2021 for its fourth season. A press release from the league itself cites concerns over delivering an ideal fan experience amid current world events.
Extending a partnership to protect public health and safety in the Sacramento region, the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services and the Sacramento Kings today announced the lease for the Sleep Train Arena and practice facility which housed Alternate Care Facilities have been amended by reducing the rental rate from $500,000 per month to no cost. The arena, which the state opened in April for medical surge capacity in the region, will remain under state control through October 31.
With this agreement now in place and local hospitals no longer facing an immediate threat of being overwhelmed by COVID-19, the arena will be placed in a warm shutdown status effective the end of May. The arena site will then remain available through the Fall to support hospital surge capacity should there be a need. The practice facility will continue to remain operational to support COVID-19 patients through at least June 30.
Justin Sink: trump now asks what he’s doing with his nba players making millions (and conceded harden and westbrook are good players) trump asks about if and when the nba is coming back, says he supports them playing some games before heading straight into the playoffs
The Sacramento Kings said Monday they’ll stop charging the state of California rent for using their former arena as a COVID-19 field hospital, but will pocket the $1 million they’ve been paid so far, representatives of the team and the state told The Sacramento Bee. The new arrangement comes three weeks after The Bee revealed the Kings were charging the state $500,000 a month for a three-month rental of the Natomas facility, despite statements by Gov. Gavin Newsom and Kings chairman Vivek Ranadive in early April that implied the old arena had been lent for free.
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.
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.
Storyline: Coronavirus
More HoopsHype Rumors
August 7, 2020 | 2:01 pm EDT Update
It started out as most of these things do: With an ill-advised tweet. On July 13 when the NBA announced the schedule for its restart games, the eyes of Toronto Raptors fans narrowed on an Aug. 9 date with the Memphis Grizzlies. In recent years following the franchise’s move from Vancouver to Memphis, Canada’s former second team has morphed into, well, Canada’s second team. Armed with former Raptor Jonas Valanciunas and exciting Canadians in Dillon Brooks and Brandon Clarke – with recent cameos from Delon Wright, C.J. Miles and Bruno Caboclo – the Grizzlies were a natural Western Conference rooting interest for Raptors fans.
When the Raptors and Grizzlies were awarded expansion franchises for the 1995-96 season, a healthy rivalry was anticipated. While some rivalries are built on playoff series and animosity, others are based on proximity. A pair of new Canadian teams expected to struggle out of the gate were natural to pit against each other, and putting something on the line was a clever way to make sure both sides had a chance at bragging rights during some lean years. The decision was made that the Raptors and Grizzlies would square off in each preseason, with the winner being awarded The Naismith Cup, in honour of the Canadian inventor of the sport, James Naismith.
If the choice to award the Cup in exhibition games strikes you as strange, consider that the teams, in conjunction with NBA Canada, used it as an opportunity to host the events around the country. The five Naismith Cup matches held between 1995 and 2000 (the 1998 game was cancelled due to the lockout) were played in Winnipeg, Calgary, Halifax, Edmonton, and Ottawa. That’s a tradition the Raptors do their best to continue to this day, holding recent training camps in Victoria or Quebec City, and exhibition games in Montreal, Vancouver, and London. (They still owe St. John’s a game, as former Raptors general manager and current CEO of Canada Basketball Glen Grunwald is quick to remind us.) The touring Naismith Cup games were well-attended, ranging from 8,190 to 15,104 fans in attendance.
August 7, 2020 | 1:25 pm EDT Update
August 7, 2020 | 12:17 pm EDT Update
On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down the latest scuttlebut: Well, the latest is, you really got only one shared goal between these eight teams and that is to get some kind of formal group activities authorized by the league and the players association. How that plays out and the form that takes, there are different goals. There are some teams that wouldn’t mind doing a bubble. There are other teams that would rather stay in their own practice facilities and not travel. There are other teams that want to do regional scrimmages against another team. And complicating this is that Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players association, is on record as saying: Unless there are the exact same safety protocols going on in Orlando for the second bubble, it’s a non-starter for her.
The league’s attention mostly has been in Orlando, obviously, and that was a signficant financial undertaking. So you’d also have to factor in that, what kind of financial undertaking would they commit to these eight teams. It did look like there was some positive momentum for, not a bubble, but for each team to be able to hold some sort of offseason training sessions, group sessions in their own facilities, like OTAs in the NFL. And I don’t think that’s dead, but there’s certainly not as much optimism as there was maybe a week, ten days ago for that. I mean, it’s fluid, and there’s nothing definitive yet, but you may be staring at that dreaded eight month window between formal group activities for these eight teams.
I’ve heard from players that the lack of a crowd feels awkward. The normal energy isn’t there. That stinks. But the quiet has benefits for TV viewers: We hear every “Hell no!” from bench players mocking opponent shooters. Those shooters hear it, too; the bubble is producing record levels of mean-mugging and bad words directed at bench jokesters. A reminder for refs: Shooters who return taunts at yappy benches should be immune from technical fouls.
August 7, 2020 | 9:23 am EDT Update
Durant believes Crawford can add a lot to a team even in a limited role. “You need people like that on your roster, even if they’re the 15th, 14th man,” he said. “I think Jamal can provide a lot for you in that role, you know what I’m saying? If you can throw somebody like him out there, end of a playoff game or end of a game, he can definitely win you a game, hit some shots. “And you minimize his role? Give him a few minutes with the third unit or the second unit? He’ll get buckets. He can swing a game, be an x-factor still.”
LeBron gave a weird answer about this. He agreed that he and the Lakers were looking for a rhythm on offense. And then he said: “It’s just some things that you can’t control that’s here, that I really don’t want to talk about, that’s off the floor.” What did he mean? The food? The fishing? Tee times not abundant enough? I wrote down on a piece of paper what I thought he meant and showed it to him, and his answer was “Hell, nah.” So, whatever. It was an interesting thing to hear and there is obviously something on LeBron’s mind beyond Davis and his other teammates bending the rim with the bricks they’re throwing up there.
In 20 minutes against the Mavericks, Zubac put up a perfect: 21 points and 15 rebounds on 10/10 FGs. His play earned massive praise from his teammates. “Zu is like a little brother,” Paul George said. “He’s got a ton of upside. He really has tons of potential. He can do a lot of things. I’ve seen it. I’ve been on the other end when he was with the Lakers and he dominated.”
How did how does the knee feel right now? And as you project forward to the playoffs? Do you see it being any kind of, you know, inhibition to your ability? Kemba Walker: Well, it feels good man. That’s me being completely honest. You know, the whole reason I’m only stretching is to see how it reacts after every game. And it’s been it’s been doing well and it’s me feeling better and better after every game, so I’m definitely trending upwards. I think I’m gonna be fine. I think I’ll be fine.
Storyline: Kemba Walker Injury
Obviously the physical aspect of recovering from an Achilles tear and then an ACL tear is intense. When I saw you around the Lakers this year you looked like you were in great shape. How hard is the mental aspect of the recovery? DeMarcus Cousins: It’s tough, no lie. I’d be lying to say it’s been an easy journey or it hasn’t been tough. It’s definitely been a rough journey. But that’s the nature of this business. That’s what separates the guys that last 15 years in the league to the guys that have a short stint. The thing that I preach to a lot of young players and the younger generation in general, when it comes to being successful or being the best you can be in the business, whatever the field may be, it’s going to take a commitment. There’s going to be ups and downs but as long as you’re committed to whatever you’re doing in life, that’s what it’s going to take. I accept this is part of the business. All I can do is work my tail off to get back to where I want to be.
Do you feel like you’re missing out on a once-in-a-lifetime experience by deciding not to play? DeMarcus Cousins: I miss basketball in general. I’ve been playing this game since I was a kid, and I’ve never been away from it for this long, so I’m missing it more than ever. But due to the circumstances, it’s a different game right now. Nothing but respect to the guys who went out there to the bubble and are doing what they’re doing. For me, it just wasn’t the right situation or the right time to be trying to force myself. It’s already me battling to get healthy and the obstacles in front of me. On top of that to add the different elements that are amongst us, it wasn’t the right time for me. I look forward to next season.
August 7, 2020 | 1:39 am EDT Update

Kemba Walker seriously considered the Knicks

Kemba Walker, the four-time All-Star point guard who joined the Boston Celtics in 2019 after eight years with the Charlotte Hornets, said the Knicks were “very serious” contenders for his services: “To be honest, yes. Yes, very serious. Very,” Walker said on The Ringer’s R2C2 podcast with Ryan Ruocco and CC Sabathia. “… Before Boston actually came along, the Knicks was one of my top priorities, actually, because I was thinking they were gonna get another player, but it didn’t work out.”
Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the supposed hierarchy system has somewhat been ignored, as concerned parties deemed that their pleas will be addressed quickly if they cut off the middleman. Instead of using the so-called “snitch hotline”, players are reaching out directly to Commissioner Adam Silver. “Much has been said about the anonymous tip hotline intended for players and staff to report violations inside the bubble. But what I found out was that players have been circumventing that process. Multiple players are personally calling Commissioner Adam Silver to issue their complaints about things they’re seeing in the bubble,” Haynes revealed during the third quarter of the Clippers-Mavericks game on Thursday.

Mo Bamba had coronavirus in June

In the last several months, Mo Bamba has employed his platform as a professional athlete to encourage children to stay in school, urge adults to vote in the upcoming election and ask people to donate money to provide food for children, the elderly and frontline workers in need. And now, he’s imploring you to do something else. Something he has learned from painful experience. He wants you to take precautions against the coronavirus. On Thursday, Bamba revealed to The Athletic that he suffered from COVID-19 in June.
The illness temporarily robbed him of his senses of smell and taste, made him unusually fatigued and caused muscle soreness. “I think the lesson is to take it seriously, to take it as seriously as possible,” said Bamba, who added he doesn’t know how he contracted the coronavirus. “I think we all play a part in making sure that we all stay safe. It’s going to take everyone.”
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
After pausing, and then listing the five teams behind Milwaukee in the standings — Toronto, Boston, Miami, Indiana and Philadelphia — the NBA’s reigning and presumptive Most Valuable Player made his choice for who has the best chance of stopping the Bucks: Themselves. “I think the biggest challenge for us is ourselves,” Antetokounmpo said. “How are we going to play? How hard are we going to play? Are we going to play for one another? Are we going to defend hard? Are we going to be able to rebound the ball? Are we going to be able to make the extra effort? Are we going to dive on the floor? “It’s all about us. It’s all about us.”
“When it comes to the whole ‘all eyes are on me,’ I feel like a lot of eyes have been on me since high school, so that feeling was nothing new. I don’t consider it being thrown in the fire because I’ve been playing basketball my whole life. But it was definitely a dream come true to finally get thrown out there and enjoy the moment,” recalls Williamson. “If I’m being honest with you, it was very frustrating at first. I’m in the game and I feel like I could maybe change the outcome and you hear the horn go off. You know it ain’t for nobody but you because your time is up. It’s one of those sickening feelings, because I’m one of those players that if I could do anything to help my team win, I want to do it. So it was very frustrating at first from that perspective. But outside of that, it was a blast.”
13 hours ago via SLAM
“I have social media but I don’t let social media dictate my life. I will never let that happen,” he says. “But as far as winning Rookie of the Year and competing in that race, I’m a competitor. If there’s a chance that I could win it, I’m going to go after it. I’m not going to doubt that. Ja [Morant] has had an incredible season and he is the current front-runner, but it’s not over until they announce who it is, so, I’m going to keep battling for it. [A few weeks after our shoot, the NBA announced that performance in Orlando would not be taken into consideration for the player awards.—Ed.] But my top priority is getting into the playoffs first.”
13 hours ago via SLAM
Warren didn’t work on his three-point shot during the pandemic. Like many, he couldn’t find a gym. At the parks he went to, the rims weren’t ten feet high. The work, Warren says, came mentally. He watched a lot of film. He “locked in” on his weaknesses. Pacers coach Nate McMillan has encouraged Warren to be aggressive, and Warren has embraced it. “I’ve always been the underdog,” Warren said. “I’m comfortable with that. I just have to keep getting better day by day.”
On a day that felt a lot like the first Thursday of the NCAA tournament, with 12 teams playing in games that spanned almost 12 hours, Booker felt like the biggest star, the leader of the bubble’s Cinderella team running through upset after upset, beating the Indiana Pacers, previously unbeaten in the restart, 114-99. “I mean it’s fun, it’s everything I could ask for. … It’s the winning part that most excited me,” Booker said on a videoconference while wearing a Kobe Bryant shirt. “I’ve been in the NBA five years now and haven’t had that much success. But I’m working hard every day to turn that narrative, to change that narrative. We have a good bunch in here to do it.”

Brown said the Sixers should know within the next 24 hours what the next steps for Simmons will be. The team said in its statement Thursday that treatment options were being considered. Simmons has already been ruled out for Friday’s game against the Orlando Magic. “Yeah, it’s a little frustrating sometimes,” guard Josh Richardson said of losing Simmons. “But that’s the way the game goes. So we’re going to just have to have a next-man-up mentality like we’ve had all year. Guys will pick up the slack, and when we get him back, he’ll fit back in seamlessly.
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