According to Connelly, Jokic hasn’t taken the time of…

According to Connelly, Jokic hasn’t taken the time off for granted. “Nikola looks unbelievable,” Connelly said. “He’s in fantastic shape. Not just Nikola, a lot of our guys have taken this whole process very seriously. And I give them and our performance and strength-and-conditioning staff a ton of credit for keeping these guys locked in, but I’ve never seen him in better shape.”

More on Season Resuming?

Gersson Rosas: “While we are disappointed for our team and our fans that our season is coming to an end, we understand and accept the league’s plan to move forward with 22 teams. It is important that we be a good teammate not only to the NBA, but to the other 29 teams to support the efforts to complete this season and prepare for next season in a healthy and safe manner.”
The Nuggets are thankful that the wait is over. “We’re excited that there’s a real plan for resumption of play,” Nuggets president of basketball operations Tim Connelly told The Denver Post by phone. “We’re fully supportive of (Commissioner) Adam (Silver) and the league office. I think our guys are chomping at the bit to get back out there.”
Connelly had voiced cautious optimism about what his team might be able to do in Orlando. “We want to be certainly respectful of the process, the competition,” he said. “We haven’t achieved tons, but we also have to be our own biggest fans. We have to believe that we’re going down there to be down there for the long haul and hopefully come back with a championship.”
There will be up to seven games per day played over roughly three weeks during the August regular season, which the NBA has branded "seeding games," and it is likely there will be weekday afternoon playoff games during the the first round. Sources say the league will use three different facilities at first to stage games -- The Arena, HP Field House and Visa Athletic Center, all at the Wide World of Sports Complex. As things progress, it will be reduced to two sites and then one.
JB Bickerstaff: "While we are disappointed that the announced return to play proposal excludes the Cleveland Cavaliers, we understand all of the unprecedented factors that contributed to this outcome and we accept the hard decisions Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA’s Board of Governors had to make. We also respect the exhaustive and life-altering measures that were considered as a result of COVID-19, but as a team, we greatly desired to be a part of the season’s resumption.”
Harrison Wind: So if the season does resume on July 31, there will have been 142 days in between games. There were 112 days in between Game 6 of the 2020 Finals and the first preseason game of the 2019-20 season.

https://twitter.com/SeanCunningham/status/1268630632860532737
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Blazers are eager to resume season, but chose to vote “No” because franchise believed there were more competitive and innovative formats on table -- including those that addressed 2020 NBA Draft lottery odds based on regular-season game results in Orlando.

https://twitter.com/memgrizz/status/1268625537032912896
Shams Charania: Sources: Additional dates NBA informed on Board of Governors call: - June 15, players located internationally return to market - June 21, all players report - June 22, coronavirus testing begins
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA informed the Board of Governors of scheduled dates: - Training camp: June 30, July 7 travel to Orlando - 2019-20 season: July 31 - Free agency: Oct. 18 - 2020-21 targets: Nov. 10 training camp, Dec. 1 opening night (can remain fluid)
As you point out, there are a great many challenges in putting a game together in an outside environment, let alone hundreds of them. This is probably akin to what the league faces in putting together the Summer League, except on a larger scale. Just think of the challenges in assembling the support staff to make this thing happen: Things like stat crews, timekeepers, referees, ambulances and medical arrangements. All of these people need to be found, lodged, and kept disease-free while the league is going on.
Then there’s the next level, where you find a lot of things in the Ops Manual that aren’t anywhere else. The league needs to invent a lot of rules in a very short time to deal with things like potentially expanded rosters, two-way rules, and waiver restrictions (can one of the “uninvited” teams still sign players or claim them on waivers?), and the fact that a complete calendar change has invalidated many of the dates in contracts and the league calendar.
Finally, the league needs to deal with the much larger issue of KEEPING EVERYONE ALIVE, which absolutely should be the thing that takes up the bulk of the league’s attention and resources. How does the league minimize or eliminate the worst-case scenario of a season-ending outbreak? For me, that priority is the one that should trump everything else, and it doesn’t feel like that’s happening. Where do you stand on this?
Even from the standpoint of just looking at the money, abrupt cancellation of the remainder of the 2019-20 season isn’t the worst-case scenario. Severe impingement on 2020-21 and beyond is of a larger magnitude. Which only reinforces your point that safety has to be at minimum an equal pillar in the priorities for a restart. It seems to me we’re seeing a lot of mission creep here. When what should be a simple-in-prospect, but difficult-in-execution attempt to maximize for the combination of viewership/revenue and safety is giving way to a Christmas Tree situation where everyone is trying to hang their favorite ornamental solutioneering on the restart, no matter how inapposite the current, narrow demands of the moment.
Adrian Wojnarowski: There are several teams that are very disappointed that they can't play not only because they want it to be a part of the NBA is restart... they want to feel like they're still part of the league with everybody going to Orlando, but especially teams who are rebuilding and have younger rosters Atlanta, Charlotte, Detroit, they wanted to have their players in the gym, they want training camps.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UI0cgW57Js
The NBA considered restarting the season using a 20-team, group-play format, which could’ve given sub-.500 teams the same chance to advance to the second round as the Nuggets. Denver was strongly opposed to such a format, according to multiple league sources, believing that it undermined their success throughout the regular season. All 30 teams were polled in an anonymous GM survey about a potential return-to-play, and the Nuggets voted to go directly to the playoffs, according to two league sources.
Silver and league officials have been adamant that the health and safety of players are paramount when it comes to a return. While some details are being finalized, it is expected there will be regular, if not daily, testing for COVID
Vincent Goodwill: The plan is for teams to continue their schedule as planned, with the next 8 games. If team is scheduled to play Hawks/Bulls/Pistons, it moves onto the next game on schedule, league sources tell Yahoo Sports
Jeff Zillgitt: A couple of details on play-in game proposal for NBA playoffs, I'm hearing: Will involve eighth and ninth seeds, as long as ninth seed is within four games of eighth seed. It will be single elimination for ninth seed and double elimination for eighth seed.
The NBA considered restarting the season using a 20-team, group-play format, which could’ve given sub-.500 teams the same chance to advance to the second round as the Nuggets. The team was strongly opposed to such a format, according to multiple league sources, believing that it undermined their success throughout the regular season. All 30 teams were polled in an anonymous GM survey about a potential return-to-play, and the Nuggets voted to go directly to the playoffs, according to two league sources.
Tim Reynolds: NBA player on what he's been told to expect when his team gets to the Disney/ESPN complex: "Lots of testing and lots of rules."
The NBA's Board of Governors has a 12:30 p.m. ET call on Thursday with the intention of approving the league's plan for a 22-team return in Orlando, sources told ESPN on Wednesday. Each of the 22 teams will play eight regular-season games in Orlando for seeding purposes for the playoffs, sources told ESPN.
Jeff Zillgitt: I'm also hearing about a 2 1/2 week training camp for the 22 NBA teams leading up to the completion of the regular season and play-in games. For regular season and beginning of playoffs, think NCAA Tournament-style action -- multiple games a day at one site.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Joining the 16 current playoff teams in Orlando: New Orleans, Portland, Phoenix, Sacramento and San Antonio in the West and Washington in the East. If the 9th seed is more than 4 games behind the 8th, No. 8 makes playoffs; Fewer than 4 games, a play-in tournament.
The NBA is planning to propose a 22-team return to the 2019-20 season in a Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, sources told The Athletic, with the draft lottery and combine expected to be in August. The NBA’s proposal will be based on feedback, collaborative discussions and input from constituents around the league. The NBA’s 22-team format at Orlando’s Disney World would bring the 16 teams currently in a playoff spot, six additional teams, and include a play-in tournament for the eighth seed, sources said. The play-in tournament would work as follows, according to sources: If the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed earns the playoff spot; if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind, then the eighth and ninth seed will enter a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth. ESPN first reported the league was working on 22-team models.
Adam Silver informed the Board of Governors on Friday that the league is targeting a July 31 resumption of the season, sources said. The NBA discussed four different competition scenarios with owners: 16 teams advancing directly to the playoffs; 20 teams with stage, Olympic-group style play; 22 teams with games for seeding and a play-in tournament; or 30 teams with 72 regular-season games and a play-in tourney.
Hornets owner Michael Jordan was outspoken on Friday’s call, advocating for player safety and not having players have to return for meaningless games following a four-plus month hiatus, sources said. The Hawks and Bulls ownership groups said on the call that they wanted to return, sources said, but several players and staffers throughout both organizations prefer not to.
Just days away from Thursday's vote of the NBA board of governors to approve a plan to restart the season with 22 teams in Orlando, Florida, several of the franchises considered to be title favorites are internally discussing how to retain some semblance of the home-court advantage they fought to earn through 60-plus games in the regular season. No plan has been formally proposed, and one would be unlikely to pass because it would require a two-thirds board of governors vote in addition to an agreement from the players' union. Nevertheless, teams that would have traditionally had home court have tried to figure out incentives to reproduce the leg-up that hosting four games in a seven-game series would have offered, sources told ESPN.
Some of the scenarios discussed, sources told ESPN, include: The higher-seeded team being awarded the first possession of the second, third and fourth quarters, following the traditional jump ball to begin the game The higher-seeded team being allowed to designate one player to be able to be whistled for seven fouls instead of six before fouling out The higher-seeded team receiving an extra coach's challenge
One executive suggested to ESPN that the NBA should present the higher-seeded team a menu of league-approved options before each game -- or possibly each series -- and have them pick one. On the one hand, it could be an added wrinkle to the home viewing experience for fans to look for when they tune in. On the other, it could come off akin to a contestant on the game show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?" choosing between lifelines to help with a final answer.
Bringing all 30 teams to Orlando is the only truly fair option, but the N.B.A. wants to keep the circle as small as possible for safety reasons. The league, though, is resistant to bringing only 16 teams, despite the obvious safety upside, because that would make it harder to stage a handful of games before moving into the playoffs. The league and the players, for financial and quality-of-play reasons, both see that as a necessity.
Atlanta's Lloyd Pierce, a coach for one of eight teams outside the 22-team plan that reportedly has growing support for the NBA's restart in Orlando, Florida, says the exclusion would be damaging for his Hawks. Pierce, in an interview on ESPN's The Jump that aired Tuesday, insisted game competition continues to be crucial for the Hawks' development and wants them to play upon the NBA's return. "I coach the youngest team in the NBA," Pierce said. "And the biggest thing we can benefit from is playing basketball, and the game has been taken away from all of us at this point."
As the NBA models a 22-team format for the season's proposed resumption beginning July 31 in Orlando, Florida, a timeline shared with teams as a last possible date for a Finals Game 7 lands on Oct. 12, sources told ESPN. Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to have a proposal to take to a vote of the NBA's Board of Governors on Thursday, sources said. The expectation is that the NBA draft and the opening of free agency would follow in sequential order in October, sources said.
As the NBA models a 22-team format for the season's proposed resumption beginning July 31 in Orlando, a timeline shared with teams as a last possible date for a Finals Game 7 lands on Oct. 12, sources told ESPN. Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to have a proposal to take to a vote of the NBA's Board of Governors on Thursday, sources said. The expectation is that the NBA draft and the opening of free agency would follow in sequential order in October, sources said.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are still discussing details on a format, and there is still room for the league to maneuver on the structure of a return-to-play ideas. The Board of Governors requires a three-fourths passage of the 30 teams on a plan, but there's an expectation among owners that they'll fall into line and overwhelmingly approve the commissioner's recommendation on a plan, sources said.
The NBA has been advancing on a plan that would include regular-season, play-in and playoff games for the 16 teams currently holding playoff position -- and six more teams within six games of the eighth seed in each conference, sources said. Those teams include New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento and Phoenix in the Western Conference -- and Washington in the East, sources said.
The NBA is expected to announce later this week its plans for resuming the season this summer in Orlando, Fla., at Disney World. A part of that announcement should be a glimpse of what that plan will look like and who will play. According to league sources, a format involving 22 teams has the most support. But the exact look of this has apparently still not been decided.
Anthony Slater: Expectation remains that Warriors won't be part of any NBA restart, but there's an obvious need to sharpen skills, get on training programs for the summer and eventually be able to do group workouts/scrimmages and perhaps mini training camp
The Celtics opened up the Auerbach Center for individual player workouts on Monday, and we know of one player who took advantage of the now-open gym: fan favorite Tacko Fall. The Celtics big man has been having a hard time finding a place to work out during the NBA’s coronavirus hiatus. His 7-foot-5 build probably did him no favors while trying to get in a good workout from home, either. But Fall was seen arriving at the Auerbach Center in Brighton on Monday morning, giving Kevin Walsh of NBC a thumbs up as he parked at the facility.
While the NBA season has been on pause for the last two-plus months, Fall has been working out with teammates Grant Williams, Carson Edwards, Semi Ojeleye and Brad Wanamaker via FaceTime and Zoom. He likely got a much better workout in on Monday, given all the features at Boston’s state-of-the-art practice facility.
Even as the NBA appears to be closer to a return, Embiid is still emphasizing safety — though he misses playing in front of the Wells Fargo Center crowd. “First of all, I want everybody to remain safe. I want to be safe,” Embiid said. “This is nothing to play with. You don’t know what can happen. But when the time is right and everything is safe and I can be on the court, I feel like what I’m going to be missing the most is just being out there, winning for the city of Philadelphia, representing the city of Philadelphia, and just going out there and dominating.”
Near the end of the NBA's Board of Governors call on Friday, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett delivered an impassioned soliloquy on why the league and owners needed to consider the competitive and financial plights of smaller market teams that could be left out of the season's summer resumption in Orlando -- and the potential symbolic power of all 30 teams gathering there to play as one united association. As the NBA moves toward a plan of inviting 22 teams re-start a truncated season in late July, sources told ESPN, Bennett spoke of exhausting ways to accommodate non-playoff teams still wanting to play. He wondered: was there a way to safely bring all 30 teams?
For those teams left out of the playoffs, there has already been dialogue on the possibility of mandatory summer training camps and regional fall leagues of four-to-five teams that could bridge the lengthy gap between seasons, sources told ESPN. Those are ideas many teams consider vital, and there's an expectation that the NBA will raise possible scenarios such as these with the Players Association, sources said. "The message was something bigger, reminding people that some teams can't just re-open the doors in nine of 10 months and so easily sell tickets or a sponsorship without having played basketball for that long," one high-level Eastern Conference official on the call told ESPN.
If the NBA ends up settling on the 22-team format, at least some of the remaining eight teams will push for some form of training camp over the summer, sources said. Franchises fear being apart from their players for as long as eight or nine months. Like so much of what comes next, the concept of a formal summer camp places the NBA in uncharted territory. Intruding into what are typically offseason months for players would require some bargaining with the players association, sources said. And what about players entering free agency when the offseason begins - which could extend as far as mid-October?
Tim Reynolds: Nothing official yet, but some NBA players expect a scenario where their families won’t be able to be with them at the Disney complex until sometime in September, AP is told. Many details - including this - remain uncertain but this is the belief some players have at this point.
Jerry West: "I think in Los Angeles, they have so many Laker fans. My goodness. The enormous success that the Lakers have had over the years, they are a really good team now, two of the best players we’ve seen in a long time on one team. I think it would be incredible for the people in the west. I’m not sure how that would go over for the teams back east who want to see their respective teams get an opportunity to play."
A decision on the re-launched NBA's format could be reached next week, with one prospect being only the top-16 sides will feature as they fast-track straight to play-offs. "We're not in the play-off picture so even if the NBA does announce it's coming back we still don't know if we're going to be included, which is tough," Dellavedova said in an Instagram interview on Saturday.
Boston Celtics center Enes Kanter was “shocked” to hear that there are some NBA stars who don’t want to play at all before there is a vaccine for the coronavirus. Something that basically means that they don’t plan to return to court anytime soon since there’s nothing concrete regarding when a coronavirus cure will be available. In a video interview with NBC’s Chris Fosberg, Kanter revealed a discussion he had with some of his friends from other teams. The Turkish big man mentioned that his friends told him that certain superstars won’t play when the NBA resumes.
“This is my ninth year in the league, I have so many friends on different teams, right? I was actually talking to one of my friends and he said—I’m not going to tell who or which team—but he said, ‘”here’s so many guys on our team that they’re not going to play.’ They’re actually in the Eastern Conference, they’re in a playoff spot. And they’re like superstars. Like, if I told you who it is, you’d go crazy,” Kanter said. “They said ‘hey, we are not going to play,’ They said that until they find a vaccine, until they find a cure, they are not going to play,” Kanter later added before saying that: “I was shocked by those players that don’t want to play. If they don’t play… Those people are All-Star players.”
One thing that achieved widespread consensus was the need for teams to have more flexibility with their rosters no matter how the league chooses to resume play. When asked if the playoffs should have expanded rosters or teams should have more of an ability to replace players sidelined by injury or illness, only two teams voted for neither option. Twelve voted for expanded rosters, and 16 voted for an increased ability to replace players who are injured or sick.
One source said the idea of bringing back 20 teams — possibly a few more, but not all 30 — continues to resonate as the most likely scenario. Another plan discussed Friday, the source said, would bring any team within six games of a playoff spot back for the resumption of the season, a scenario where bassed on the current standings 13 teams from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference would return.
According to league sources and those involved in discussions, teams will travel to Orlando and stay in the various hotels around campus and will conduct practices at the site’s athletic facilities. A limited number of staff and coaches will attend and extensive safety measures will be taken for players and their families.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
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August 10, 2020 | 1:59 am EDT Update
In five games (he was held out against the Wizards for rest), Williamson averaged just 20.7 minutes a contest and averaged 18.4 points and 4.2 rebounds while shooting 55.9 percent from the field. He also was unable to come up with a steal or a block in any game. On Sunday against the Spurs, the Pelicans turned the ball over 20 times, which turned into 30 points for San Antonio. That was a common theme throughout New Orleans’ games – they allowed 23.2 points per game off turnovers, second-worst of any team through Sunday’s games.
21 mins ago via ESPN
As far as Austin Rivers is concerned, he proved himself right with his career-high 41-point performance in the Houston Rockets’ 129-112 win Sunday over the Sacramento Kings. “You continue to tell yourself, ‘You can do this, you can do this, you can do this, you can do this,’ for nights like this,” said Rivers, who had the most points by a Rockets reserve since Sleepy Floyd in 1991. “I believe I’m a premier scorer.
Ben Golliver: Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic on Damian Lillard, w/ a callback to Paul George & the 2019 playoffs: “He’s just taking bad shots, right? Simple as that. Luckily for us he makes most of them.”

Storyline: Lillard-George Beef
“Motherfuckers talkin’ shit. They’re still hurtin’, that’s why,” Lillard said as he exited the interview room. He said it more diplomatically during his Zoom press conference, referring to George and the Thunder, and also a game-winner Lillard hit in 2014 against the Rockets, when Beverley played for Houston, which sent Portland to the second round and Beverley’s team home for the summer.
Storyline: Lillard-George Beef
New Orleans, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio and Washington have felt it, too, because they all share such a narrow path to the playoffs. Once games began, on July 30, the competition injected a reality-show, “Survivor”-style desperation that has intruded upon strolls through the Yacht Club lobby, hallway encounters and community pool time among this sub-.500 sextet. “You’re rooting against everybody you see,” Frank Kaminsky of the Suns said. “At the end of the day, this is big for us. We need people to lose, and we want them to lose so we can get into position.” “Every day you see guys battling for the same spot as you,” Kent Bazemore of the Sacramento Kings said. “It’s cool, but when you play that same night, it’s kind of an awkward interaction.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Nothing in terms of amenities offered at the more remote, five-story Yacht Club quite compares to the Gran Destino’s 123-foot water slide recently tested by the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee or the Grand Floridian’s lakefront dining and clear view of the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle. JJ Redick of the New Orleans Pelicans called the Yacht Club a “wonderful resort,” but he also acknowledged, “We’re missing out on a few things.”
Divac and Walton are both in the first year of four-year contracts. Firing them now would mean paying them for three more years — and paying their replacements — something the organization would have been reluctant to do even before the coronavirus pandemic caused tens of millions of dollars in revenue losses. The Kings have underachieved this season, but ownership will want to see what Walton, their 10th coach in the past 14 seasons, can do with a healthy roster before changing course yet again. Divac will get at least one more season as well, although his ultimate fate might have been sealed when he passed on Doncic in the 2018 NBA Draft.
Storyline: Kings Front Office
August 9, 2020 | 10:44 pm EDT Update
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