Marc Stein: Kristaps Porzingis and Luka Doncic will be back in Dallas “in the next few days,” Mavs owner Mark Cuban tells @NYTSports. Porzingis posted an IG story yesterday indicating he is already en route … with teams leaguewide scheduled to begin coronavirus testing of players Tuesday
Mike Vorkunov: Florida reported 3,207 new coronavirus cases today (a 15% jump from the previous high Tue). The positive rate was 12.5%. There were 316 new cases in Orange County (where Orlando is). Previous high had been 182 Tue. Stark increase in health metrics in Orange Co. last two weeks👇
One of the tools the NBA will use with players is a “smart ring” that players will wear during their time at Disney World. The ring can measure body temperature, respiratory functions and heart rate, which are all things that can signal whether or not someone is sick. All players and essential staff members will be given the option to participate in health monitoring using the ring. The titanium rings, reportedly made by Oura, are capable of predicting COVID-19 symptoms up to three days in advance with 90% accuracy, according to the company.
Players will also be given access to a MagicBand that they will be required to wear at all times, except during workouts and games. The Disney MagicBand will act as a hotel room key and let players check in at security checkpoints and coronavirus screenings. It’s similar to the device of the same name that Disney World guests can use for access to hotels and payments for food and gifts inside the park. The MagicBands can also help the league with contact tracing. The league is investigating a way to use the bands to know if a player diagnosed with Covid-19 has come into contact with another player.
According to league sources, the issue is based on insurance policies taken out by the players that would run out at the traditional end of the NBA year, June 30. Word is there are ongoing talks between representatives of the players and the league, but it’s expected that Tatum, Donovan Mitchell and others will eventually be on the courts at the Disney complex.
Gov. Ron DeSantis said 260 workers at the Orlando International Airport have tested positive for the coronavirus after nearly 500 employees were tested but according to the airport management that’s not the case. “[An]airport in Central Florida had a couple of cases, they did the contact tracing,” DeSantis said Tuesday during a news conference. “They looked [at] almost 500 workers [and] 260 people working close together were positive, 52 percent positivity rate on that one.”
Squawk Box: "I wasn't happy with the fact that there wasn't a lot of management of people's expectations," says @mcuban on how Texas is handling re-opening. "If we're going to stay open, we're really going to have to take steps to make sure businesses enforce the requirements for masks." Brad Townsend: “We had a scare here in our house.” Cuban says his daughter attended a grad party at which “a bunch of kids” got COVID-19. Cuban’s daughter tested negative.
Take-Two didn’t respond to a request for comment, but company chairman and CEO Strauss Zelnick in an earnings call included some insight into how the pandemic has affected sales and game play. “Consumer engagement with NBA 2K remained at record levels throughout fiscal 2020, with daily active users growing 13 percent and MyTeam users increasing nearly 50 percent. During the fourth quarter over 9 million hours of NBA 2K game-play were watched on Twitch across more than 1,100 channels, representing a 40 percent increase over the third quarter,” Zelnick said.
Mark Medina: Per NBA's 113-page health & safety protocol: On June 23 each player & essential staff member will take a PCR & antibody test. PCR testing will be repeated every other day & antibody testing will be repeated if there is a positive test.
“Regular” testing will continue in Orlando during Phase 3 (July 1 to July 9-11), increased in Phase 4 (July 9-11 to July 21) and be in place through the Restart Phase (July 30 to the last possible end date of Oct. 13). The NBA will create the “League Health Platform” to register test results and monitor symptoms, temperatures and other screenings for everyone in the campus. Each campus member will be provided a “Smart Thermometer,” which will record the individual’s temperature into the League Health Platform. The NBA will also supply each campus member with a pulse oximeter to take blood oxygen saturation levels on a daily basis and record in the League Health Platform.
Once someone tests positive for the virus, the protocol lays out a several-step process that person will have to go through: They will be placed in "Isolation Housing," which will be a house, hotel or other facility that is different from the individual's previous hotel room, at a location in which no individuals who have not tested positive are residing.
Zach Lowe: The NBA health protocols concede maintaining 6 feet of distance during card games "may not be practicable," and require anyone playing cards indoors wear masks. Players/staff must dispose of the deck at the end of each game/session. "Sufficient packs of cards will be available."
Dave McMenamin: Starting June 23, players who have been working out at private gyms will be prohibited without prior NBA approval. Several Lakers, LeBron included, spent the majority of their hiatus playing on private courts rather than at the facility, where there are restrictions in place.
Teams are encouraged to bring a mental health professional (it can be the team clinician) with their travel party. If they choose not to, teams must make telehealth appointments available, particularly if "any player experiences increased feelings of anxiety and stress upon transitioning to the campus and being away from household family members." As teams advance in the playoffs, they will be allowed to add and swap out members of the travel party. Teams can add two staffers after advancing past the first round of the playoffs and two more after the conference semifinals. That is something multiple coaches pushed the league to adopt, sources told ESPN.
Malika Andrews: In a hygiene section, the league asks that players avoid the following (general ickiness) in games and practice: +spitting or clearing their nose on the court +wiping the ball with their jersey +licking their hands +playing with or unnecessarily touching their mouth guard.
Malika Andrews: The league is exploring the possibility of assigning each player a designated spot on the bench and providing each player with an “individual caddy” to bring them water, towels, etc.
Andrew Greif: Per NBA's health protocols: Though team members must remain at home, self-quarantining from June 23-30, there are exceptions -- visiting team facility, groceries, etc. Another, timely, exception? The rules do not prohibit players and essential staff from engaging in protests. The NBA's protocols state that teams are to invite the individuals who want to take part in protests to consult with a team physician about best practices at avoid COVID-19 while doing so. And to be clear, June 23-30 is phase 2 of the NBA plan. They are also permitted to attend protests right now, during phase 1, as well.
Ramona Shelburne: To minimize interactions within the NBA bubble, housekeeping staff at Disney will service rooms ONCE A WEEK wearing PPE. Disney will assign staff not only to a specific property, but to a specific floor or set of floors! We gonna find out who the messy/neat people are quick.
Malika Andrews: Huh. Per the safety guidelines, players and staff (staying in the same hotels) may play cards, but should discard the pack at the end of the game “to eliminate communal or shared objects.” Don’t worry — “sufficient packs of cards will be available on campus.” Spades, anyone?
Zach Lowe: Anyone who tests positive for coronavirus must immediately enter "Isolation Housing," which will be a "house, hotel, or other facility" separate from the rest of the NBA campus. They will remain in said Isolation Housing until they are asymptomatic/cleared.
Malika Andrews: In regards to testing frequency for players and team staff: the health and safety memo says the league “may modify the frequency of coronavirus testing over the course of the restart based on antibody results, pooled testing approaches, or other considerations.”
Zach Lowe: Players and team staff will be given the option to use a wearable ring that tracks heart rate, respiration rate, and other variables. The device features an "illness probability score" that indicates a player might be at greater risk of contracting coronavirus -- or may have it.
Chris Mannix: Notable in the union memo: Certain Disney staff will not live on the campus and not be subject to testing. They will undergo temperature/symptom checks and wear masks.
Vincent Goodwill: Yahoo Sources: COVID testing will “likely” occur daily for NBA players, although the method will not be the deep nasal swab
Marc Stein: As @NYTSports previously reported, all team staff/players must complete an in-room quarantine of at least 36 hours to register two negative COVID-19 tests Players get three freshly prepared meals a day and four on game days "in individual servings rather than buffet style"
Zach Lowe: Also, the handbook specifies: "We are not currently contemplating allowing pets on campus." So, no pets.
At 63, Casey is just below that threshold but said that if the Pistons were included, he wouldn’t have a problem with returning, despite the implicit health risk, pointing to the league's protocols and the steps they've taken to be sure the bubble is safe. “I wouldn’t have any trouble whatsoever to go back coaching if we were going (to Florida),” Casey told The Detroit News. “The league is going to be extra-vigilant to keep everyone safe, whether it’s washing hands or wearing gloves and masks.”
“If you’re coaching in the NBA or NFL, most coaches are in pretty good shape physically and well-conditioned, unless there are some underlying conditions,” Casey said. “If they’re in the 60-65 (age range), it’s almost like a regular (person’s) 40-45 (age range). We’re in pretty good shape. All the research is showing that everybody is at risk if you’re not careful and to go by the guidelines.”
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA players have been notified: "Any player who exercises this right will not be disciplined."
John Wall has had many battles with Kyrie Irving on the court, but he stands with him in what has become the league's biggest off-court storyline. Irving has sounded some alarms about the NBA's restart at Disney World, saying players should consider not going in light of recent protests around the country seeking social justice reform. Wall explained on 'The Tuff Juice Podcast' with Caron Butler why he feels the same.
"For me, if I was playing, I wouldn't want to go to it, to be honest. I just don't feel like it's safe. I just don't feel like it is. I understand why they want to do it and what they're trying to get to, but I wouldn't want to," Wall said.
Wall further clarified to say that even if he was fully healthy, he wouldn't go. Wall, of course, is continuing through a lengthy recovery from a ruptured Achilles tendon. He is not going to play anyways for that reason. But if he were in the same boat as the rest of the players, he wouldn't go. "If I was healthy enough to play, I wouldn't want to go play," he said. "What am I going, just to play eight games? I'm not going for just eight games and then coming back home."
Wall has often been pitted against Irving on the court as two longtime Eastern Conference point guards who were the No. 1 draft pick in back-to-back years. He has a lot of respect for Irving as a player and, as he explains, as an advocate as well. "Kyrie has his things where he be in his own world... 'The Earth is flat,'" he said. "But to be honest, I think he has a point. A lot of people feel that way. I think that's why they tried to get on that call to see how many people really want to go play and how many people don't want to play. Because with all this 'Black Lives Matter' going on and protesting and trying to get justice and all that; a lot of people feel like it's not safe to go there. That's what he stands on."
Denver Nuggets star Nikola Jokic may have come in contact with a Serbian player who tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Jokic had gone viral last week, showing a slimmed-down frame while taking part in a bench huddle in his native land. Pictures show the Nuggets center in close proximity to Nikola Jankovic, a center for KK Partizan, during an exhibition game that honored longtime coach Dejan Milojevic in Belgrade. The game took place on Thursday, June 11 and only four days later, KK Partizan announced Jankovic had tested positive for the virus.
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said his organization is experimenting with a breathalyzer device to detect Covid-19. “You’ll be able to blow into a tube and test whether somebody has the virus by looking through a spectroscope,” Ranadive told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Monday.
Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone told CBS4’s Xfinity Monday Live he tested positive for COVID-19. Malone told CBS4’s Michael Spencer he didn’t realize he had the coronavirus until well after the fact.
So Malone wasn’t the only Nugget to test positive. “It’s interesting on some people on our team, traveling party and staff got it,” said the 48-year old head coach. “I hope going to Orlando (for the resumption of the NBA season) will be a safe environment and we can limit the amount of people who get it. I like to say that I got coronavirus and I kicked its butt.”
Despite the current friction, Ranadive, who said he was a part of the league’s subcommittee for reopening, said he’s “very confident” games will restart in July as scheduled. “Nothing is going to be ever a 100% foolproof,” Ranadive said. “When you walk into a grocery store, you’re taking chances. We have a close relationship with Disney. [Disney Executive Chairman] Bob Iger and I have a high level of confidence that we’re going to be safer in Orlando than most people would be at home.”
Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive said his organization is experimenting with a breathalyzer device to detect Covid-19. “You’ll be able to blow into a tube and test whether somebody has the virus by looking through a spectroscope,” Ranadive told CNBC’s “Power Lunch” on Monday. Ranadive said the Kings are exploring numerous “elimination of friction efforts” to avoid spreading the virus throughout the more than $500 million Golden 1 Center, including access to temperate gauges.
The Golden State Warriors, in partnership with The PG&E Corporation Foundation (PG&E), have announced a $100,000 early launch of the Warriors Community Foundation’s annual grants program. The joint effort will help Bay Area youth overcome challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, focused on addressing urgent and long-term support of youth development and education programs. The Warriors Community Foundation and PG&E have identified five local non-profits focused on youth development and education in-need of support immediately to continue to serve their constituents with summer learning experiences. These groups will each receive $10,000 immediately, and will be granted a minimum of an additional $10,000 in the Fall of 2020, when the Warriors Community Foundation announces its full slate of 2020-21 grantee recipients.
Spurs Give, in partnership with Whataburger, today announced the release of a free digital children’s book, “The Coyote Family Stays Home!”. The new illustrated book, created to help children understand and come to terms with changes resulting from COVID-19, is available now at spursgive.org/reading in both English and Spanish. The book will serve as a resource for all family members as they continue to cope with difficult emotions like anxiety. With the help of The Coyote and his family, “The Coyote Family Stays Home!” highlights the power of togetherness during emotional times while teaching young children preventive measures to help them stay safe and informed.
While there was a reported players’ call Friday to discuss concerns of being in the Orlando bubble for as many as 10 weeks, Roberts said the players’ concern has dissipated as education on the virus and safety measures have increased. “At the very beginning when we were being told that this was a disease that people like me [middle-aged] had to worry about, it was more of an annoyance for the players, except for those who had family members my age,” Roberts said. “But it was not something they thought was going to have this kind of an impact on their lives or their livelihood. As time went on and the seriousness was revealed there were times when players were very concerned about it, especially when it became clear it was not confined to folks over 60. “I got really serious questions. ‘Is this something I need to be worried about? Can it kill me? Can it impact my ability to continue to play basketball?’
“I don’t believe any player would say this was forced upon them, it’s not,” she said. “Not a single player has to play. This is not involuntary servitude. I don’t have to work. They don’t have to work. But it’s of course a mitigation of risk with the players. On this health and safety protocol, I’m satisfied that it can’t be any better than this. But I’m candid that it’s not bulletproof.”
Michele Roberts told the Globe the NBPA is prepared for several players to test positive just because of the contagiousness of the virus, regardless of the league’s safety measures and social distancing. “Of course [the players] understand it could be a positive test and they want to know what the protocol is,” Roberts said this past week. “No one is saying, ‘Suppose a player tests positive?’ We’re beyond that. The question now is, ‘When a player tests positive, what are we going to do?’ ”
“That’s the only realistic mind-set you can have going into this. A player is going to test positive,” Roberts said. “It’s not any more of this ‘if’, it’s ‘when’ and what can I do to mitigate against the ‘when.’ When it happens, if I’m not successful, what treatment is available to me, what are my chances of being really, really sick, and how are you detecting the presence of an infection? Honestly, I don’t think this is any different than what any American has to come to grips with.”
Roberts said no player is being mandated to play and there will be no repercussions — besides financially — if a player decides to sit out the season. “I don’t believe any player would say this was forced upon them, it’s not,” she said. “Not a single player has to play. This is not involuntary servitude. I don’t have to work. They don’t have to work. But it’s of course a mitigation of risk with the players. On this health and safety protocol, I’m satisfied that it can’t be any better than this. But I’m candid that it’s not bulletproof.”
Shams Charania: The NBA has informed teams that they are now able to conduct coronavirus testing of asymptomatic players/staff given increase in testing and revised CDC guidelines, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Zach Lowe: In memo just sent to NBA teams, the league (among many other things) outlined a schedule for coronavirus testing for teams heading to Orlando (if the league resumes): starting 6/23, all members of a teams traveling party to ORL will be tested every other day in lead up to trip.
The memo, which was obtained by ESPN, says players and "essential team staff" -- any coaches, trainers or medical personnel who will be working with players directly, or will be part of the travel party to Orlando, Florida -- will be administered both a COVID-19 test and an antibody test on June 23.
The memo doesn't say what type of testing the league will use, but sources told ESPN's Zach Lowe that it is a less invasive nasal swab, and possibly much less invasive than the one that has been common so far.
“This is a rare opportunity that, I believe, we as a community should be taking full advantage of. When have we ever had this amount of time to sit and be with our families? This is where our Unity starts. At home! With Family!! European Colonization stripped us of our rich history, and we have yet to sit down and figure us out. The less distractions, the more we can put into action into rediscovering ourselves. Nations come out of families. Black/African American is not a Nation or Nationality. It’s time Our Families became their own Nations. No Basketball till we get things resolved.”
Irving, along Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard and Donovan Mitchell, expressed their desire not to play at this juncture, sources said. Portland Trail Blazers star C.J. McCollum shared that he voted “no” on resuming the season in a group chat, but he stressed the importance of finishing the season out of fear the next CBA negotiations wouldn't be so kind to the players, sources said. Howard said the time is now to take a stand and to use their collective power to implement change in the justice system and how police treat people of color instead of playing, sources said.
Where do things stand right now with talks the NBA and NBPA are having? Danny Green: "It’s very up in the air right now. There are still a lot of moving parts. We’re trying to figure that out. We have 80 percent knowledge of how Orlando is going to be. There are still moving parts to figure out, which teams are going to stay where, how they’re going to do it and how they’re operating in the bubble. Right now, the bubble doesn’t seem as effective as they would like or as lenient as we would like. We’ll have to figure it out."
"I think they might very well be quite successful with it," Fauci told Stadium. "They really wanted to make sure that the safety of the players was paramount. "I actually have looked at that plan. ... What they are really trying to do is to create a situation where it is as safe as it possibly could be for the players by creating this bubble. Essentially testing everybody, make sure that you start with a baseline of everybody being negative and trying to make sure that there is no influx into that cohort of individuals and do a tournament-type play."
“It’s not the classic basketball season, but certainly for the people who are thirsting for basketball (and) who love basketball the way I do, it’s something that I think is a sound plan," Fauci said. "I was very pleased to see that the intent was not reckless at all. They really wanted to make sure that the safety of the players and the people associated with the players was paramount. So I think that you might be able to do something like that with basketball. Could you extrapolate that to some of the other sports possibly? I think they should look at that model, see how it works, and then take it from there. Maybe modifications of that for some of the other sports.”
Shams Charania: Dr. Anthony Fauci told @Stadium he is supportive of the NBA’s restart plan: “It’s quite creative.. I think they might very well be quite successful with it... They really wanted to make sure that the safety of the players was paramount.”
The cancellation of games due to coronavirus pandemic will have significant financial implications on the NBA and its teams. According to ticketiQ, the league is estimated to lose close to $1.7 billion in ticket market value. The Los Angeles Lakers will be the most affect among the teams.
"I was very pleased to see that the intent was not reckless at all" Dr. Fauci spoke with @michaelkimHD on his thoughts with the NBA's return to play plan. ( @WatchMarquee )
As the NBA nears the resumption of the 2019-20 season on July 31, a new reality is beginning to emerge. The NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team return format for the season last week, followed by the National Basketball Players Association ratifying it the next day, beginning seemingly inevitable momentum toward a return to play out the conclusion of the season that was halted in March. However, there is now a group of players looking to take a stand by not playing in the league’s intended resumption and their primary reason for doing so would be in support of the nationwide movement fighting for social justice reform.
Sources tell The Athletic that a group consisting of 80-plus players — including NBPA Vice President Kyrie Irving, NBPA president Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Donovan Mitchell and Avery Bradley — discussed finding unity and a way to attack a cause amid the nationwide unrest stemming from racial injustice, systematic racism and police brutality as well as what the world continues to face during the coronavirus pandemic.
Irving and several players on the call, including Dwight Howard, Carmelo Anthony and Donovan Mitchell, spoke out about not supporting the restarted season because of ongoing social injustice, racism and coronavirus concerns, according to sources. Bradley, the Lakers guard, was the second person to speak on the call behind Irving and was vocal throughout, urging players to take a stand and utilize this moment to “play chess, not checkers,” those sources said.
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” Irving told the players. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the b-------. … Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up.”
ESPN reported on Wednesday that players had been on conference calls, discussing a variety of concerns that included conditions inside the Disney World bubble. The Athletic can confirm that was part of the conversation and the growing concern among players, but sources say the chief concern and impetus behind this growing movement surrounds social justice reform. Several notable players started discussions on the movement within the past two weeks, starting with rank-and-file players and supported by the star power of Irving and Durant. It has led to several virtual meetings with many players.
Among the players on the call Friday: Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon, Portland’s CJ McCollum, Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid, Indiana’s Justin Holiday, San Antonio’s Rudy, Brooklyn’s Spencer Dinwiddie, Sacramento’s Harrison Barnes, Orlando’s Al-Farouq Aminu, Philadelphia’s Tobias Harris, Toronto’s Kyle Lowry, Utah’s Mike Conley Jr., Portland’s Zach Collins and Indiana’s Myles Turner. Former NBA player and NBPA executive Roger Mason Jr. was also on the call, sources said.
Over the past several months, the United States has dealt with the coronavirus pandemic, which suspended the NBA season on March 11, followed by protests throughout the country after the May 25 killing of George Floyd at the hands of police in Minneapolis. Several NBA players have led protests throughout the nation, such as Boston’s Jaylen Brown, Indiana’s Malcolm Brogdon, Golden State’s Curry, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Houston’s Russell Westbrook, San Antonio’s DeMar DeRozan and Harris among others.
Paul and Nets guard Garrett Temple, who are with Irving on the NBPA leadership board, provided insights on Friday’s call. Several points were made on the call, according to sources: — Anthony stressed unity, having a sole message and allowing the young players in the NBA a voice. At one point, Anthony suggested having all 80 players on the call donating $25,000 to a cause that they wanted.
— McCollum stated that players must be prepared for the financial dip if they choose not to play, and owners completely ripping apart the collective bargaining agreement. — The NBPA’s leadership stated it is believed no fans will be permitted into games for the entire 2020-21 season. — Howard stressed to players that playing in Orlando will become a distraction from the issues the country is facing, and that they need to unify and use this moment to create a change.
Irving and Bradley have led the communication efforts of this group. Sources said Irving has been extremely vocal on NBPA calls during the suspension of the season, challenging executive director Michele Roberts and president Chris Paul last Friday about what efforts are being made to align the players and league for sponsorship and endorsement money — or whether it should be solely the players’ responsibility. This was Irving’s way of questioning the norms set forth by the NBPA, sources said.
According to sources, the players’ union said on a call Monday that “any player who doesn’t want to play, doesn’t have to” with no financial loss, as long as said player has an agreement with his franchise and/or a medical excuse. Sources said commissioner Adam Silver reiterated that sentiment on Thursday’s call with 30 general managers, making it clear that those who do not want to come to the Orlando bubble, do not have to.
Jeff Goodman: Sources: It was a wide-ranging call with 80 or so NBA players, and multiple voices. Kyrie, CP3, Melo all vocal. One quote from Kyrie: “There’s only 20 guys actually getting paid, and I’m part of that. Let’s not pretend there’s not a tiered system purposely to divide all of us.”
When the National Basketball Players Association conducted a conference call and vote on restarting the season a week ago, Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving was an active participant -- although his questions were of a mundane nature. Sources say Irving asked, as an injured player, if he would count among the Nets' allotted 35 people should he want to join the Orlando bubble. Could he sit in the stands to cheer on his teammates? Use a sauna for his rehab?
He had a question about NBA sponsors on campus, and whether they would be supplying players with products. A union official asked him for an example, and Irving mentioned a popular adult beverage -- before insisting that he had indeed simply shared an example; and wondered what food might be provided to players under league partnerships. All in all, his inquiries weren't of weighty consequence.
There were two dozen-plus team representatives and several more executive committee members on the call, and Irving's stature as one of the NBPA's six elected vice presidents, in addition to his credentials as an NBA champion and All-Star Game MVP, elevated him among those peers voting on the call. The final tally: 28-0.
Looking back, the call itself was much less a discussion on the merits of restarting the season, and much more a Q and A with NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and president Chris Paul on the mechanics and rules expected to govern teams, players and the bubble environment, sources said. So, yes, it surprised several of his NBPA colleagues that Irving -- lost to the season with shoulder surgery in March -- was simultaneously lending his voice to a different discussion with rank-and-file union members on upending the league's plans for a 22-team restart at Disney World in Orlando, sources said.
Irving is expected to be a significant voice on a call Friday night that's predicted to include a large percentage of the league's players, sources said. Irving has been a leader in sharing his thoughts on race and wealth in America, asking how precisely a predominately black group of NBA players should proceed in this climate of racial transformation in the country.
Irving has forged a reputation as a disruptor within his career, and that's emerging again at this crucial moment for the NBA. Irving's stance has pitted him against the league's establishment, including his former Cavaliers teammate LeBron James, once again. There's significant support to resume the season among the league's superstars -- most of whom are on playoff contenders -- and Irving seems to be relishing the clash.
"I'm not as interested in him as the messenger than I am in the message," one Western Conference player told ESPN on Friday. In some instances in the past several days, Irving has assured some in the NBPA that he's aligned with the broader plan surrounding the league's return in Orlando -- and then directed a far more skeptical tone to players he has engaged with within the Nets and across the league, sources said.
In recent days, Irving has been one of the prominent player voices tapping into the hearts, minds and ambitions of his peers in the wake of George Floyd's death in police custody. Players are discussing everything now -- from the limitations of freedom in the proposed bubble, the value of the remaining season for many teams and players, the risk of sickness and injury, and yes, the pain, anguish and determination of communities throughout the country on the issues of police brutality and racial inequality.
While many players are arguing that these discussions benefit from the global stage a resumption of play would offer, with the eyes of the world turning to Orlando, the argument hasn't been so simple for some players. "Once we start playing basketball again, the news will turn from systemic racism to who did what in the game last night. It's a crucial time for us to be able to play and blend that and impact what's happening in our communities," one widely respected NBA player told ESPN. "We are asking ourselves, 'Where and how can we make the biggest impact?' Mental health is part of the discussion too, and how we handle all of that in a bubble."
The limitations of the NBA bubble form a significant part of players' uncertainty too. There appear to be players who will choose to stay home, but how many? And for what ultimate reasons? Several players who have participated in these recent calls and conversations tell ESPN that they're still leaning toward playing in Orlando but want to keep listening and talking about a number of the factors that concern them.
As they're talking to each other, many players are hearing stern warnings from their agents -- especially on the financial implications of a lost season. Agents have spent the latter stages of this week delivering foreboding warnings on the short- and long-term financial impact if the season gets blown up.
Players are already losing an estimated $300 million in salary, and terminating the rest of the season would cost another 25% of salary with owners exercising the force majeure provision. That's on top of losing an additional 10% held in escrow that would be lost to the league too. NBA players would stand to lose $1.2 billion in salary this season. There exist larger fears for next season. The NBA has the ability to terminate the collective bargaining agreement that already includes a mutual opt-out in 2022-2023. Already, the NBA and NBPA have to negotiate a long list of financial and competitive items to account for the loss of revenue, but agents expect that the league would react to the cancellation of this season by blowing up the CBA, locking out the players and moving to implement a more unfavorable financial share of basketball-related income, which is now essentially a 50-50 split.
The NBA has its superstars on board for a resumption, but it needs a broader base of its players to be fully committed to Orlando. For now, there's restlessness and uncertainty and a Friday night call with Irving on the line. The NBPA's vice president has become far less communicative with the executive committee and leadership and far more engaged with the rank-and-file membership. For a superstar who counted himself out of the season, suddenly, the clock's ticking down and the ball's in Irving's hands again.
October 2, 2022 | 6:38 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro – the NBA’s reigning Sixth Man of the Year – has agreed on a four-year, $130 million contract extension, his agents Jeff Schwartz and Mike Lindeman of @Excelbasketball tell ESPN. pic.twitter.com/n1Z1IW73PX
Mark Berman: More from agent Mark Bartelstein who confirms @Adrian Wojnarowski report that the Rockets agreed to a 4-year/$10.9 million deal with center Bruno Fernando.Bartelstein tells FOX 26 the 1st year is guaranteed for $2.9 million, adding there are options for the Rockets:”It’s the ultimate win..” pic.twitter.com/yRULznrP5F
Keith Smith: Fun cap process for Bruno Fernando and Houston. Was on a camp deal. That can’t be reworked without waiving. So, Rockets convert to a Two-Way, then sign the new deal from the Two-Way. This keeps Fernando from being exposed to waivers, where he could have been claimed. Good work.
Andrew Lopez: Re: Pels injuries Willie Green said Brandon Ingram had some soreness in a toe. Not sure if he’ll miss preseason games or not. CJ McCollum had ankle soreness but practiced fully today. Said it’s day to day with both.
October 2, 2022 | 5:47 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: Houston Rockets center Bruno Fernando has agreed on a four-year, $10.9 million deal, his agents Andy Shiffman and Mark Bartelstein of @Priority Sports tell ESPN. Fernando will have his two-way contract coverted to this new long-term deal.