Adrian Wojnarowski: One respected NBA player tells me: …

More on Season Resuming?


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Evan Fournier: Wait what?

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Sopan Deb: NBA players beginning to go public! pic.twitter.com/wV95jyUkDy

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There is a significant number of NBA players who are disappointed that everyone wasn’t given the opportunity to vote on whether to restart the 2019-20 season, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Last week, the National Basketball Players Association executive committee and its board of representatives approved the league’s 22-team, return-to-play format to be held at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, in late July.
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA's expected restart dates: - July 30-Aug. 14: Seeding games - Aug.15-16: Play-in tournaments - Aug. 17: Playoffs begin - Aug. 30: Family/guests of teams arrive - Aug. 31-Sept. 13: Conf. Semifinals - Sept. 15-Sept. 28: Conf. Finals - Sept. 30-Oct. 13: NBA Finals
Adrian Wojnarowski: Players traveling outside of the U.S. need to report by June 15 to team markets -- rest of players need to arrive by June 22, per sources.
Shams Charania: Health and safety: The NBA's required coronavirus testing window for teams: June 23-30, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Now that the NBA has planned to resume at Disney, there are now more specific questions about fully sequestering the location. Will the food servers be tested every day? The housekeepers? The custodians? More broadly: What’s the point of quarantining for several weeks and doing daily tests for 22 NBA teams if Disney staff won’t be doing the same? “This isn’t a bubble. This is a mesh hat,” says one high-level NBA executive who has been briefed on the NBA’s plans but isn’t authorized to speak publicly. Disney workers have not been told to quarantine on campus, according to Eric Clinton, president of Disney’s labor union, United Here Local 362, which represents custodians and ride operators. Clinton told NBC Sports that it was “unlikely” that staffers would be subject to daily testing and quarantine measures like NBA players and team staffers.
Some executives and players have expressed concern about the double-standard of being held to such strict standards while Disney staffers are free to go home to their families and live at their residences. Some team officials have even suggested allowing teams to fly in and out on charter. If Disney staffers are free to come and go as they please, why can’t NBA players?
It’s not just those head coaches that fall in that age range. New Orleans assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik (67), Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins (66) and Houston assistant coach John Lucas (66) will be facing those CDC-issued concerns along with referees Ken Mauer (65) and Michael Smith (65). A source close to the situation told NBC Sports that older NBA referees have not yet been given word about whether they will be going to Orlando.
“What everyone wants to know is how likely is it that an athlete would suffer long-term lung or other organ damage that jeopardizes their career,” Binney says. “My response to that is nobody on planet Earth, that we know of, has had this disease for more than seven months. It’s literally impossible for me to tell you that. I literally can’t tell you anything about what this disease does in a human body after seven months. That knowledge doesn’t exist in the universe.”
As the NBA firms up its 22-team Orlando restart schedule, 14 of the teams will be eliminated within 53 days of arriving -- and only four teams will remain after 67 days, sources said. The NBA has been working to make clear to players that the actual commitment of time for most teams in Orlando, Florida, may be less daunting than originally perceived, especially once seen in the context of the timetables constructed into the league's revised schedule.
The NBA is preparing to resume its season next month at Disney World in Orlando, Florida, after a more than three month break due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, however, believes there are several players who are legitimately considering sitting out when the play resumes. “I’ve talked to a few guys that are super interested in sitting out possibly,” Brogdon said Thursday on The JJ Redick podcast. “At the end of the day, I was actually talking to Chris Paul the other day and he said, ‘Man, this is an individual decision that every man has to make for himself.’ I think that’s exactly what it is. I think it depends on your perspective.”
According to Brogdon, it also has a lot to do with George Floyd’s death in police custody last month in Minneapolis and the massive protests and movements that have come from it. “Some guys are going to say, ‘For health reasons, and COVID, and the long-term effects that we don’t understand about COVID, I want to sit out,’” Brogdon said on the podcast. “Other guys are going to say, ‘The black community and my people are going through too much for me to basically be distracted with basketball. I’m not going to prioritize this over the black community, I’m going to sit out.’ And then there’s another group of guys … who are going to say, ‘No, this is the most amount of money I’m going to make in my lifetime. It doesn’t make sense to hand this money back. I can do so much good in my community if I have this money.’ “I think it’s a matter of perspective. I think guys are gathering to really talk about and dive deep into the idea of not playing.“
As protests and social justice movements have taken place across the country in the wake of George Floyd's death, NBA players have discussed what role returning to play has in furthering or distracting from the cause. The Nets' Garrett Temple, a vice president for the National Basketball Players Association, told ESPN that he believes playing games and earning a paycheck is actually one of the best ways players can combat the systemic oppression of black people.
The 34-year-old says he believes that players have the opportunity to reinvest some of the money they earn into black communities, citing LeBron James and his I Promise School as an example. "So, when people bring up not playing -- we are a few black men that can make a little bit of money," Temple said. "It is not a lot of money when [you] think about it in the grand scheme of America. But we can start having a little bit of money, create a little bit of generational wealth. "But the fact that us not playing will hurt our pockets, I don't think that is the right way to go about it."
Free-agent players such as DeMarcus Cousins and Isaiah Thomas -- who played in the NBA this season -- and those who weren't on NBA rosters this season -- JR Smith and Jamal Crawford, for example -- are eligible to sign into open roster spots. Teams won't be allowed to sign international players, such as Nikola Mirotic, who weren't on NBA rosters this season.
Adrian Wojnarowski: More timetables in Orlando: After second-round of playoffs -- a maximum of 67 days -- four teams will be left on the Disney campus. After conference finals -- a max of 82 days -- there will be two finalists.
The Trail Blazers are one of the 22 teams participating in the restart of the NBA season in Orlando, July 31. Do you feel secure about your safety in regard to the coronavirus, and do you think the plan for the top 16 teams plus six more is fair? Damian Lillard: As a competitor I’m happy we will get an opportunity to continue and try to make a run in the playoffs. I am a little concerned about the risk we’re taking dealing with the virus, but the NBA will take all precautions into consideration to keep us safe. I think the plan going forward is fair.
Keith Smith: Talked to a player this morning that was the first to tell me directly that he's not concerned about COVID-19, but that "three months is a long time to be in one place. I learned that over the last three months. Doing it all over again doesn't sound great. But I'll still do it."
Here, via MacMullan, Drew Shiller of NBC Bay Area, and the Pomp Podcast, are a few of Morey’s more interesting comments on those subjects: On D’Antoni participating in the resumed season: “Mike will be coaching our team. It would be such a huge disadvantage to lose him. We would never stand for that. In fairness to the league, they set up a process whereby everyone will have to submit a medical record. I’m sure the doctors told them that some people over a certain age shouldn’t go. But Mike is in great health. He’s in better shape than some 40-year-old coaches we have. Besides, I think his dad lived to be 108 or something.”
When the NBA resumes its 2019-20 season this summer, it won’t just be the players, team employees, and league officials who’ll be sequestered at Walt Disney World for several months. According to a Professional Basketball Writers Association memo, a select group of reporters could be locked inside the Disney bubble for at least three-and-a-half months—with no option to re-enter if they exit quarantine.
As The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported, the tentative postseason dates include Sept. 15 as the start of the conference finals and Sept. 30 for Game 1 of the NBA Finals. “I haven’t been told anything definitive,” Breen said. “We could possibly be doing games from a remote location, from a studio, or we could possibly be down in Orlando and doing the games there in a booth that socially distanced away from the players. Everything is going to be determined over the next couple of weeks. But I would like to be in the arena to call the games. These are going to be very important games both from the standpoint of the importance of the NBA playoffs and run for a championship, but also for the unprecedented circumstances that are going to happen this year. This is something we’ve never seen and I think it’s important to convey that to the viewer. The best way to do it would be to be there. I would feel differently if I had a 4-year-old, a 6-year-old and an 8-year-old. But I’ve got three adult children (he and his wife are currently living with their two youngest, a son and daughter) who are pretty sick of me right now. In all seriousness I never would have had this much time with them at this time of year and from that standpoint as a dad it’s been wonderful. But I am ready to work.”
Breen said he has been thinking a lot about where the ESPN broadcast booth might be located inside an empty arena. “It will probably not be on the floor — and likely up 15 or 20 rows,” Breen said. “Quite frankly any play-by-play guy will tell you that if you’re up like 10 to 15 rows up you can see the entire court better. So many times when you’re on the court and you have fans who sit courtside so close to you, you’re blocked out quite a bit and you have to rely on the monitor even during some critical moments because of the sight lines. So from that standpoint, it actually could be a positive and a benefit. It’s not like you will be missing out on hearing things because there’s no roar of the crowd to drown out what some of the players are saying.”
Trae Young had hoped the Atlanta Hawks would be included in the restart of the NBA season. Instead, 22 teams were invited to resume playing at a bubble site in Orlando -- and the Hawks were not one of them. "I was mad," Young said on a video call Wednesday afternoon. "I was frustrated. Obviously I wanted to play. I understand what the NBA did and respect their decision. But I am kind of upset because I want to play."
"I was just itching to play," Young said. "I have been wanting to play. That was actually one of the first times I touched a ball in a long time. I wanted to make sure it was safe for me to even go and play. It has been a long time for me -- like, I don't know when the last time I've spent three months without playing a game."
Trae Young had hoped the Atlanta Hawks would be included in the restart of the NBA season. Instead, 22 teams were invited to resume playing at a bubble site in Orlando -- and the Hawks were not one of them. "I was mad," Young said on a video call Wednesday afternoon. "I was frustrated. Obviously I wanted to play. I understand what the NBA did and respect their decision. But I am kind of upset because I want to play."
"I was just itching to play," Young said. "I have been wanting to play. That was actually one of the first times I touched a ball in a long time. I wanted to make sure it was safe for me to even go and play. It has been a long time for me -- like, I don't know when the last time I've spent three months without playing a game."
As players have started to come to terms with the restrictive and isolated nature of the Orlando bubble --- including no visitors until after the first round of the playoffs nearly seven weeks after the opening of mid-July training camp -- there's been increased dialogue about the prudence of restarting the season for a number of players, especially those on non-championship contenders, sources said.
Executives and coaches around the NBA have had significant concern about how players will adapt to an environment unlike any they've ever experienced -- and how those hurdles could impact the sustained competitive drive for teams. And many have worried, too, especially on those teams that aren't title contenders, if some players will start seeking avenues to bypass the resumption all together.
Players are citing a number of concerns, including family situations, the inability to leave the Disney World Resort campus, COVID-19 and the implications surrounding the emergence of social justice causes in the country, sources said. Participants in Orlando -- including players -- will not be allowed to leave the bubble environment without a 10-day quarantine upon returning to the Disney grounds, sources said.
The NBA is roughly 50 days away from its proposed restart and legitimate reasons exist why the wait is that long. It’s not all about training camps and getting players fit, although that’s certainly critical. Mostly, as Mavericks’ vice president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said, it’s because sports has never had to deal with life-and-death realities like this. Basketball is back, but a lot of hurdles are in front of the return and some could be very challenging to clear.
“We’re trying to get it right, as a country, as an organization and individually,” Nelson said. “Listen, it’s just baby steps. Every step, you’re measuring the risk to your players, your family. We’re all measuring risk. “Death has never been on the table before. In sports, think about this, show up and if you’re unlucky, you might not make it. I mean, there’s always a heart attack or lightning that can strike. But think about that. As an organization, for our fans and our family, death has never been on the table.”
One of the significant factors in establishing risk for health complications due to the coronavirus is advanced age, which leaves three head coaches among those in the league's 22-team July restart -- New Orleans' Alvin Gentry (65), Houston's Mike D'Antoni (69) and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich (71) -- perhaps vulnerable to recommendations of those evaluations, sources said.
The NBA is nearing completion on a voluminous health and safety guide detailing the protocols for the 22 teams involved in the league's resumption at The Walt Disney World Resort, sources said. Personnel are expected to begin an evaluation process by submitting medical information to their individual team doctors, who will then share that with at least one more non-team affiliated physician before a recommendation would be rendered, sources said.
Limitations to D'Antoni, Gentry and Popovich could leave their three teams at a significant competitive disadvantage in Orlando. Executives with the three franchises -- and elders of the National Basketball Coaches Association -- have been in consistent contact with the league office on the matter, sources said. D'Antoni and Gentry have been publicly and privately frustrated with the possibility that they could be left off the team's bench -- or even left out of the bubble -- and fear a decision to limit or omit them could become death knells to their careers.
Legal experts consulted by ESPN, including a top attorney in the Miami office of the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, agreed unanimously the NBA could not exclude any personnel from participating in Orlando solely on the basis of age. That would not change even if all personnel over a certain age agreed to a medical review before heading to Orlando, and the review highlighted risk factors linked to more severe outcomes from any coronavirus infection, experts said.
But in a legal memo released last month, the EEOC made it clear that under the Americans with Disabilities Act employers may not exclude employees "solely because" of any risk factor "that places him at higher risk for severe illness if he gets COVID-19." The ADA allows exceptions in cases in which the risk factor "poses a direct threat to [the employee's] health that cannot be eliminated or reduced by reasonable accommodation," the memo states. The "direct threat" standard is hard for employers to meet, legal experts said. Everything the NBA has planned Orlando -- strict quarantines, social distancing, frequent testing and temperature checks - in effect mimics a "reasonable accommodation" designed to reduce risk.
When the NBA restarts games in Orlando, broadcast crews for TNT will call games from an Atlanta studio, at least until the conference finals, according to Kevin Harlan. The veteran NBA broadcaster talked about TNT’s plan and how that will sound and feel on SiriusXM NBA Radio, which Richard Deitsch of The Athletic covered in his Media Circus column (hat tip Awful Announcing). “What I’ve heard from the folks at TNT is we will be in the studios in Atlanta and they will set up as close to possible a broadcast table like we would have courtside,” Harlan said. “The one thing I have heard is that not until the conference finals would there be any consideration for broadcasters being in this setting. That might be the first time that an actual broadcaster might be on-site, doing a conference final, and of course, the NBA Finals.”
In an effort to make what could be an epic battle with boredom and isolation more palatable, teams are exploring ways to make life “as much like home as possible” for their players, according to executives. That could mean options such as upgraded technology in hotel rooms, and the installation of better televisions and video game systems. One player agent questioned how tightly such creature comforts would be regulated by the league and, if not, how far teams with the deepest pockets or longest expected stays would go.
Shared services are going to be a reality — an equipment manager could work with more than one team — but there’s uneasiness around the NBA when it comes to sharing medical services. “If one of my guys gets hurt, there’s no ... way I want another team looking at him,” one NBA executive said, using an expletive.
One executive suggested that consultations via telehealth software could be a work-around. The NBA also must decide protocols for how to handle more significant injuries that would require a player to see a specialist off campus. If they return to Disney able to play, how long would they be required to quarantine before rejoining their team? Such delays could alter playoff series.
Joe Vardon on Cavs not making it to Orlando: They're pissed, to be honest with you, the coaches, the players, the front office, the entire organization is pissed that they're not included. They're looking at a team like the Washington Wizards. They're looking at team like the Phoenix Suns. Those teams are going to get five to seven weeks of time together on the court development evaluation that the Cavs simply aren't going to get.
Portland Trail Blazers star Carmelo Anthony has “mixed feelings” about resuming the 2019-20 season at the Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. “As far as basketball goes, I’m ready for it and excited to get back to work,” Anthony said during a discussion with Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma. “But to be honest with you, I’m still battling on traveling to Orlando amid everything going on. Just being isolated away from the rest of the world is why I have mixed feelings about the NBA returning.”
Now that the NBA has a plan for a return to play, teams are beginning to prepare for the league to reopen. Only 22 teams are invited back to play games in Orlando, but all teams must still prepare for the draft and free agency. On Monday, the league held a call with player agents to discuss plans over the coming months. All plans are subject to change due to the uncertain future of the coronavirus pandemic. But here’s what was shared on that call, all according to league sources.
Players currently living outside the country are advised to return to their team’s city on June 15. Players currently in the United States should return on June 22. The date for international players is one week earlier because some states have required quarantine periods for people arriving from overseas. However, Raptors and Nets players could have the option to go elsewhere ahead of time; Toronto has complications due to international travel, and Brooklyn has one of the highest coronavirus rates in the country. The NBA is still working with those teams on a place for them to go. Under this timeline, teams would begin testing players for the coronavirus on June 23, likely every other day. Teams would then undergo a two-week training camp.
Not all teams will arrive in Orlando at the same time. Arrival times will be staggered to reduce the risk of infection. The exact dates and times are still to be determined, but all teams are tentatively scheduled to arrive between July 7 and 9. Upon arrival, all team members will be tested and then could be quarantined in their rooms for 36 hours. Daily testing will follow the quarantine period. The league is exploring the use of a saliva mouth swab to replace the uncomfortable deep-nasal swab often used for the coronavirus.
If a player tests positive, they will need to quarantine for at least 10 days and have two negative tests before rejoining their team. The same is true if a player leaves the league’s Disney World campus, which will be closed off to the public. If a player leaves and returns, they will need to quarantine for at least 10 days and test negative twice before rejoining.
Looking ahead to next season: Certain players have guaranteed contract dates or player option dates that must be sorted out. The solution being negotiated is straightforward: The date would change in proportion to the original calendar. Gordon Hayward and Andre Drummond, for example, had until June 29, two days before the old first day of free agency on July 1, to pick up their options for next season. Under this proposal, that date would move to October 16, two days before the new free agency opening on October 18.
Marc Berman: Knicks brass still finishing up their exit interviews on video conference today, per source. Their season didn't officially end until last Thursday afternoon.
There’s this financial bonus now, too: Sources say the eight regular season games being played will all count toward each team’s regional sports network television deals as well. For teams that have the most lucrative arrangements, such as the Lakers, this is a very big deal. To wit: Sources say the Lakers pull in approximately $1.5 million per game from their RSN deal with Spectrum SportsNet, meaning they’ll recoup $12 million from those games in all while losing an estimated $8 million because the schedule won’t be completed. As I wrote in March of 2019, the first round is a bigger money-maker for teams than the last three rounds because teams still hold local television and radio rights before yielding in the second round. For league-wide perspective, one of the lower-end RSN deals that I’ve heard of pays approximately $200,000 per game.
Brad Townsend: I’m told Mavs are not planning on him being available for training camp 2.0 or the season resumption. Of course that’s still weeks away and we’ll get updates then. But as of late last week, no, they weren’t planning on having him.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
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June 15, 2021 | 9:59 am EDT Update
On Monday, Durant said he doesn’t see his role changing with Harden and Irving out. Even on nights when his co-stars are healthy, he expects to carry a heavy load, and Tuesday is no different to him. “I (personally) do everything out there, just like I do every night,” Durant said. “Some more than others. I might have to handle the ball more, I might have to post up more, I might have to come off pin-downs more. I’ve just got to be prepared to do everything out there just like any night.” Nash, however, was quick to take the burden off Durant and said Brooklyn’s ability to offset the loss of both Harden and Irving is on everyone. “This does not fall on Kevin,” Nash said. “It falls on the Nets.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo is by all objective measures a bad three point shooter. Only he doesn’t seem to know it or he just doesn’t care. In these playoffs, Antetokounmpo is shooting 13.5 percent on 3s overall. But it’s the fact that he’s taken a higher share of self-created 3s than anyone else that’s concerning. He’s shooting just 11.8 percent on self-created shots from beyond the arc and it’s exactly what the defense wants him to do. With the help of tracking.pbpstats.com, we can actually break down Antetokounmpo’s self-created three point attempts into those that have been contested or uncontested2. Normally, players resort to self-created shots because they’re being closely guarded. But Antetokounmpo stands out for the fact that that many of his self-created 3s are taken when the defense isn’t anywhere near him. During the regular season, 81 percent of his self-created 3s were uncontested, by far the highest rate in the league among high volume shot creators.
The company intends to amplify fan engagement using games, betting, athlete integration and immersive social experiences while educating and empowering bettors. “The difficulty of it and how high the entry point is—it just has to be simplified,” said Garnett, who was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2020 with Tim Duncan and the late Kobe Bryant. “One of the reasons we want to bring Gaming Society to fruition is to create smarter bettors. We hope to provide the information and tools to understand and make you a better bettor. We’ll teach fundamental education and provide education enhancement.”
The Betting Academy: Hoops Edition podcast launched in January featuring NBA champion Kendrick Perkins and longtime sports-producer Gina Paradiso as they weave the culture of basketball into sports betting. “The first goal is to have each athlete not just be seen for their talent and skill, but seen for their expertise,” said Garnett, a 15-time NBA All-Star, 2004 NBA MVP and 2008 NBA Champion. “We’re going to highlight players who are great and provide them a platform in this new industry. Their insights and voice will give bettors the tools to make more informed bets. We’re very focused on information and education.”