While a handful of players seem to be mulling over the …

While a handful of players seem to be mulling over the decision to play or not, Philadelphia 76ers veteran forward Tobias Harris isn’t one of them. According to Harris himself — he’s playing next month. “I’ve heard everybody’s opinions and viewpoints, and none of them are wrong,” Harris told Ernie Johnson in a live conversation on Twitter. “If somebody feels this way, that’s how they feel, and nobody should be able to take that from because in this period of time, with everything that’s going on from the deaths, the police brutality, from the quality. It’s all affecting people and especially African Americans mentally in a way that you can’t understand unless you’re that person.”

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While Harris understands the circumstances as to why some players might feel like playing at this time is wrong -- the 76ers' forward makes it clear he's ready to go. "I believe that if we are suited up to play, I'll be ready to play, my guys and my team is ready to play, and I truly believe we have a chance to win a championship," Harris said. "I'm ready. I've always kept myself and my mental in that state of being ready to play. I do believe that this is important just to be able to push the message, even more so for me, I'm ready to play. If the group as a collective to size is the best decision."
The most important part of the new procedures is testing for the novel coronavirus, which the NBA plans for the evenings in order to reduce how much people will move between the time their test is taken and when it is returned. The tests are expected to include nasal swabs and saliva collection. Anyone who refuses to be tested, or undergo the daily health monitoring that includes temperature and symptoms, will be prohibited from team and group activities until they are tested. Those who test positive and do not require hospitalization will be isolated immediately until they can be retested.
Now it’s 9:40 p.m., the game is over, and reminders of the new realities of campus life are everywhere. Few players change out of uniform because showers are not permitted inside the sports complex. Then it’s time to speak with reporters. A few attend the postgame availability in person, at an appropriate distance of at least six feet. The NBA has allowed a handful of journalists to reside on the Disney campus. Others journalists, even those who reside off campus and can watch games from the stands, ask questions on a virtual news conference. At least one other teammate must also take part in postgame interviews.
Bam Adebayo says he is in no position to dictate priorities to his fellow NBA players when it comes to either reporting to Disney World for the league's restart or remaining in their communities to push for social justice. "I'm the dude that's on the fence," the Miami Heat center said. "I understand that we want to be in the middle of protests with our bodies and we want people to know that we're there supporting Black Lives Matter, which I'm 100 percent about. And I'm 100 percent about going to the bubble and doing it on national television where everybody sees it."
"So it's really a touchy situation. It's pick or choose," Adebayo, 22, said, with NBA players given until Wednesday by the league to decide if they will participate in the resumption of play at the Wide World of Sports complex just outside of Orlando. "My personal opinion? I feel like whatever is calling upon you to do, I feel like you should do that. That's just my opinion. I feel like if a dude wants to get his point across and wants to protest, I feel like he has the right to do that. And I feel like it's the other dudes' rights where they can go into the bubble and speak how they feel on national television after a big game or a big win."
Once teams report to Disney, not only will there be strict enforcement of social distancing, in some cases up to 12 feet, but no fans in attendance. "The biggest thing we're going to have to get over is playing with no fans," Adebayo said. "I think that's the biggest thing. But I feel like once we actually did the playing [of] games, I think we'll all start to forget about we don't have fans. So it'll feel like an AAU tournament." But, all while making sure a main thing remains a main thing, Adebayo closed his comments with, “Everybody remember, Black Lives Matter.”

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The NBA’s Disney plan includes 22 teams traveling to Orlando to play games in what is being described as “a bubble,” at Disney’s Wide World of Sports complex. Players that decide to participate will be subject to extensive testing, quarantines from their families and strict rules pertaining to social behavior. The league memo, which is more than 100 pages long, outlines its plan to keep players safe and the tools it will be utilizing in order to do so. “I think we are going to be able to pull this off,” Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Wednesday. “We are doing everything possible to keep people safe and I think it will work.”
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.
A week ago, there was some concern that All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell might be considering not joining his Utah Jazz teammates in Orlando for the resumption of the NBA season. A few Instagram posts later, however, and there no longer seems to be any question that Mitchell is going to Disney World.
The third-year guard’s Instagram account featured a picture of him and teammate Royce O’Neale sitting down in a room playing video games — while properly social distancing, of course. The caption to the pic reads, “What we finna look like in Orlando.” Meanwhile, a photo on the IG page of Jazz sixth man Jordan Clarkson showed him on a basketball court with Mitchell, with the accompanying message, “it will be only one reasons [sic] we going to disney for…one goal, one reason……” followed by a championship trophy emoji.

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Basketball is fun, so this will be fun, too. “If we do play — which if you ask me, I think we probably will continue to push on — I think guys are going to enjoy it. I really do,” he said. “I think it’ll be like a little AAU tournament, a little AAU feel. I don’t think guys will forget about what’s going on. We still gotta do so much work. And we still got a virus that’s going on.”
Smith understands all of it. “I understand guys wanting to continue leading that pack. I’m not knocking them for that,” he said. “I’m not knocking them for the health reasons (or) for being away from your family. But I think for myself, I like to hoop. And for me, I know we communicate, and we talk, but for the most part, my mother and father have taught me, ‘Now son, I need you to do it now.’ Like, if I really want some change, I need you to get in the face of some of those people. And I need to be on the ground. I need to communicate. I need to stay in my communities and keep feeding back to my communities. Those are things that I have to do.”
With the NBA returning soon, you and the team have been communicating constantly. Obviously, they span various topics, but what’s been the most important aspect for you as Orlando edges closer? Austin Rivers: When can we see our family, when can we hang out with them? That’s my biggest concern. That’s everything for me. So you know, it’s tough but it is what it is. They’re saying we’ll be in Orlando for at least a period of time, anywhere between 30 to 40 days without seeing our family, that’s like a month and some change. Which is no fun, you know what I mean? And I don’t want to do it. Nobody wants to do it, but we all have to sacrifice if you want to have the season, resume and that’s what we have to do.
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.
Justin Holiday is currently the only potential holdout for the Indiana Pacers when play resumes next month in Orlando, according to a league source. Holiday, 31, is 50/50 on whether to play or sit, the source said. The Pacers aren’t trying to push him into joining them but if he’s not there they’d lose a 40% 3-point shooter who also has been their most consistent wing defender.
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.”
Serena Winters: Tobias Harris just said on #NBATogether, he saw that #Sixers are supposed to stay in the same hotel as the Mavericks in Orlando... which means.... Bobi + Tobi reunion! "I know that @Boban Marjanovic will be communicating with me so might have to have some security!" 🤣
The NBA Coaches Association fears new league standards and guidelines that could bar team staffers in high-risk categories for the coronavirus from attending the season's restart in Orlando could "severely jeopardize" their future employment opportunities.
NBCA executive director Dave Fogel and president Rick Carlisle have concerns that several assistants and three head coaches -- Houston's Mike D'Antoni (69 years old), New Orleans' Alvin Gentry (65) and San Antonio's Gregg Popovich (71) -- could be restricted from leading their teams and some could face considerable challenges in resuming their careers.
"We feel the medical review process is designed to flag only those individuals who pose significant threats of substantial harm to themselves that cannot be reduced or eliminated by the NBA's considerable steps to create a healthy and safe atmosphere in Orlando. "Adam (Silver) and the NBA have created a situation in Orlando that is likely far safer than in our coaches' home markets. Absent a significant threat, we believe a coach should be able to understand and assume their individual risks, waive liability, and coach in Orlando."
Warren LeGarie, the agent for D'Antoni and Gentry, told ESPN on Wednesday: "I hope there is a basketball solution to this issue rather than a legal one." The 113-page health and safety protocols sent to teams late Tuesday outlined a multi-layered process for the identification and potential "protection" of team employees designated as higher-risk. All team staffers will fill out a questionnaire probing for individual risk factors, including: asthma; heart problems; ongoing cancer treatments; smoking habits; a body mass index above 40 as a measure of obesity; kidney or liver diseases; and other indications of a compromised immune system.
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.
Shams Charania: Per me and @sam_amick: The NBA will create an anonymous hotline to report potential violations of protocols in Orlando. Kyle Kuzma: Snitch hotline lol.
Legion Hoops: The NBA will operate an “anonymous hotline” where people can reveal if they’ve seen anyone break the rules of the “bubble”. (via @ShamsCharania & @sam_amick) Donovan Mitchell: Oh they snitchin snitchin.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
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July 10, 2020 | 9:00 pm EDT Update
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July 10, 2020 | 7:38 pm EDT Update
As NBA teams get situated in the Orlando bubble, one question that has persisted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is not only what happens if a player tests positive for the virus but also what lingering effects might follow. “There are unknown effects it has on lung capacity, unknown effects it has on cardiac health,” said one NBA general manager of a team entering the bubble, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “What if a 24-year-old catches it in Orlando and, in 14 days, he quarantines and is fine, but then he has these everlasting heart problems? [Or he] gets winded so easily, or he becomes a little bit too susceptible to fatigue. …These are all the unknowns.”
Each case will be handled based on its own needs, but John DiFiori, the NBA’s Director of Sports Medicine, told ESPN that the timeline for any player to return from a confirmed positive case is at least two weeks. “Everyone needs to understand that if someone were to test positive, it’s quite likely that they won’t return to the court for a minimum of two weeks — minimum,” said DiFiori, who is also the Chief of Primary Sports Medicine and attending physician at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery. “It may be even a little longer than that, depending on the individual circumstances, and then you need some time to get reconditioned.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman, was shot and killed by Louisville police executing a search warrant on March 13. Nearly four months later, the three police officers involved in Taylor’s death haven’t been arrested. Athletes across the country have been calling for justice for Taylor, including Warriors superstar Steph Curry. On Friday, while playing in the American Century Championship golf tournament in Lake Tahoe, Curry wore special shoes that honored the memory of Taylor.
Curry was asked about his tribute to Taylor during NBCSN’s broadcast. “Obviously not to forget to Breonna Taylor in terms of finding justice for her,” Curry said. “As life goes on, we’re all using our platform to shed light on the injustices going on and I wanted to use this opportunity to celebrate her life and try to continue the impact everyone is trying to have in terms of continuing this meaningful conversation of how we make change for ourselves, the next generation and our kids.”

July 10, 2020 | 7:26 pm EDT Update
July 10, 2020 | 6:10 pm EDT Update
July 10, 2020 | 5:18 pm EDT Update
Woodson, 62, the former Knicks head coach, is among several candidates who’ve met with team brass via video conference. Woodson, like frontrunner Tom Thibodeau, has a connection to team president Leon Rose and top Knicks executive William Wesley because they represented him at CAA as agents. It’s possible that Woodson, who owns the highest winning percentage of a Knicks coach since Jeff Van Gundy, is hired as an assistant if he’s bypassed for the top job.
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Job
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