Many agents of rising 2021 free agents are telling thei…

Many agents of rising 2021 free agents are telling their clients: choose security. They know that the superstars, as ever, will get paid next summer, but any player looking at the Mid-Level Exception of lower in ’21 may have problems, because they think a) teams will be cutting budgets in response to COVID (i.e., less willing to pay the luxury tax in 2021, with some teams slashing below that number), and b) most teams will only carry 14 players, one short of the maximum 15 allowed, and worry more about re-signing their own players instead of forging out to aggressively sign others.

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“Before this year, you knew what that crop of ’21 is going to be,” one prominent agent, speaking on background, said. “It’s going to be even more crowded, because you’re going to have a significantly higher number of players (this summer) doing 1+1s (two-year deals with a player option for the second season). … I’m very lucky that I’m not going nuts going into this free agency. It’s going to be a bloodbath. We don’t know what the cap is going to be, but if it stays the same, how many owners are going to go with more than 13 guys?”
Further clouding 2021 is that COVID-19, far from being off in the wings just because some states decided to reopen, is back center stage, destroying lives with a vengeance in multiple states, which have seen spikes in cases in the last fortnight. So while the plan is to finish this season in Orlando, we can’t say with certainty – yet – that that’s going to come to fruition. And what happens for 2021 in a worst-case scenario, if the virus forces the NBA and union to cancel the rest of this season?
“We don’t know whether they’re going to play or not,” another top agent said. “I know everyone’s assuming they’re going to play, but you see all these things going on, people coming back (testing positive) from football, people protesting, I don’t know the effects of all this. … you can’t tell me that if I’m a 65-year-old executive, with a family, that I’m comfortable being in this bubble? Me, it’s just too much unknown. … it probably makes sense for everybody to sign a one-year deal. Even the big free agents like Davis – sign a one-year deal (this summer) and see what the numbers are for ’21, and sign a contract based off the projections for that.”
NBA Central: Brian Windhorst says an overwhelming majority of players are excited and ready for Orlando "From what I understand, it is going to happen . . . They're on the verge of coming to an agreement that could be announced in the next 48 hours.” (🎥 ESPN)
MSNBC: President Trump on coronavirus testing: “I said to my people, slow the testing down, please." Jordan Clarkson: idk what smoke they got in the white house? but this the dumbest s--- i heard.
We asked Covid-expert Dr. Glenn Copeland about the risks that come with such a scenario. Dr. Copeland serves as the medical director for the Toronto Blue Jays and Ottawa Red Blacks while also serving in an advisory role to 20 teams throughout the four major American leagues and at QuestCap. Dr. Copeland was quick to commend the work of NBA commissioner Adam Silver and his staff in preparing for the season’s upcoming resumption.
While the NBA has been adamant they will not stop players from properly leaving the bubble, they must be vigilant in policing those who do so. “I commend the NBA for not letting up on this. They can’t let up. What happens if a food handler and unfortunately their wife comes home the night before after working in a facility that had an outbreak? You can’t live in a complete bubble.”
While the NBA plan includes a cardiac screening before allowing infected players to resume action, there is still so much to learn from this disease. It’s worth considering if playing games without full and extensive knowledge of both the immediate and long term risks is wise. “Life is going to move forward. It’s a return to safe life that the NBA is going to show us can be done. We know there will be drawbacks,” Copeland continued.
Green is now helping in the fight against coronavirus. He sits on the advisory board of Brio Clinical Laboratory, an Ontario-based company that performs coronavirus testing throughout Southern California, and believes regular testing is the way "you treat your employees" and "care about your community." Green, who has Native American heritage through the Choctaw tribe in Oklahoma, for years as served as a health advisor for tribes in Southern California. As he does that now amid the pandemic, he said he wants casinos to set the standard for how to keep the virus' spread under control.
What are your main safety concerns about the Orlando bubble, and are positive tests inevitable? Mark Cuban: I don’t have specific concerns. I think the NBA and Disney are working with our doctors and scientists to do everything possible to keep (participants) safe. In fact, given the rise in cases in states, I have every reason to believe the setup we have in Orlando will be safer for our players and travel parties than staying in their respective cities.
It’s just not increased testing leading to increased positive tests. The percentage of tests coming back positive has increased, too. The percent of new positive tests in Florida was 10% on Thursday, up from 3.17% on June 5, according to the Florida Department of Health. The Philadelphia Phillies closed their Florida facility on Friday after five players and three staff members who gathered for workouts at their Clearwater training facility tested positive for COVID-19, the team confirmed Friday. The Toronto Blue Jays also closed their facilities, according to the ESPN.
Justise Winslow spoke to former NBA forward Caron Butler on the league's Twitter feed on Friday afternoon and expressed concern about the continuation of the season, the same way he did on his Instagram page on Thursday evening. "The bubble is tricky man," Winslow told Butler. "From the COVID standpoint, I don't think it's a great idea just to have all these people in a bubble and tight spaces. It's almost the opposite of social distancing. We're going to have workers who are working for Disney; they're going to be going home and seeing their family and doing whatever they want to do but then they are going to come back.”
Winslow did touch on the money issue in his interview with Butler. "But at the same time, I'm a competitor. I want to play," Winslow said. "I want my money even though it's not all about the money. It's still a business. So if these owners are going to get paid, I want my fair share as well. It keeps going back to jus the dynamic of players want more money and owners want more money so how can we do this without killing each other or knocking each other down or being disrespectful."
Winslow said he felt like the players agreed to return to play, but not necessarily to everything laid out in the health and safety protocol measures released on June 16. "I think when we agreed to this as players, we agreed to come back. We didn't necessarily agree to be in a bubble, be on lockdown, to not have our families, to be exposed to the virus, to have all these workers around," Winslow said. "We didn't agree to all that. We agreed to come back and play. It's up to the league and [National Basketball Players Association] to figure out the best way. It's still a little iffy. I don't know if it's the smartest thing for us to come back and play right now. I love to continue to fight this fight for social injustice and these other things, but to be completely honest, I'm a little iffy about Orlando.”
As the NBA attempts to restart its season despite rising cases of COVID-19 and rising numbers of hospitalizations because of the disease, it has placed an emphasis on being able to quickly discover and track the illness in players. One device the league is planning to make available for players in Orlando, Fla., is a ring that has sensors that measure different bodily functions. The ring, produced by the company Oura, isn’t foreign to NBA circles. At least not in Los Angeles.
Judy Seto, the Lakers’ director of sports performance, wears one. In an interview that took place in February, Seto removed the titanium ring to show the glowing inside where sensors could detect different happenings in her body. “The electronics of this one is similar to a Fitbit but it’s a little bit more accurate,” Seto said. “… I can get it wet. I can have impact on it and it doesn’t catch on anything. This tells me how long did it take for me to fall asleep. It tells me sleep cycles. Light sleep, deep sleep, REM sleep. How much did I get. Did I stay asleep or did I toss and turn at night? Gives me feedback of, ‘Hmm saw that you went to bed a little late or you kept on waking up at night. Is something bothering you?’ Your body temperature’s elevated, are you feeling well? Maybe you’re getting a little under the weather.”
The Lakers do not collect data acquired in these rings. They simply offer them as an option for players. And before the pandemic, the main goal was to use it to identify sleep patterns. “Some do,” Seto said, when asked in February whether players have chosen to wear the ring. “There’s an app on the phone that you can do. There’s also different devices. Some just wear it in the evening. But it’s really individual and it’s education. Instead of trying to be intrusive or controlling, it’s working with them and educating them on it. With our travel schedule, it’s difficult sometimes to get enough sleep, but by educating people and the importance of sleep, hopefully making sleep more of a priority instead of it plays no factor in what we do.”
Silver and the league put together thorough return-to-play health and safety guidelines for the remainder of the season at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. Ominous data and modeling for Florida could derail even the most comprehensive of plans – not just for the NBA, but for Major League Baseball, the WNBA and Major League Soccer. COVID-19 cases in Florida are rising – 3,822 new cases on Thursday, setting a daily record, surpassing the previous record (3,207) from the day before.
According to a disease model by scientists at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania, Florida has “all the markings of the next large epicenter ... the risk there is the worst it has ever been in our projections. Miami and Florida’s southeastern counties now join the Tampa/Fort Myers area and Orlando for a fairly widespread transmission event that we forecast will continue throughout the state."
One Inter-Miami CF player tested positive for coronavirus. The team has chosen not to identify the player but says he did not experience any symptoms before being tested. The virus also hit the NHL on Friday. The Tampa Bay Lightning is shutting down its facility after several players and staff members tested positive for the virus. In the MLB, the Philadelphia Phillies shut down it's training complex in Clearwater, Florida today after players tested positive. The news, according to a local disease specialist, shouldn't deter the NBA or MLS from re-starting the season in a controlled setting in Orlando next month.
"As long as they are testing players, as long as they are quarantining the players who have been identified as being positive for the virus, and as long as we don't have the audience and don't have folks come to the games. I think the games look bizarre by not having an audience, but [the hub] provides a nice source of recreation for everybody else," said Kleper De Almeida, a Infectious Disease Specialist in South Florida.
The Warriors star and his wife Ayesha agreed to match up to $50,000 in donations made through June 30 to the USF institute through their own “Eat, Learn, Play” foundation. “This has been the culimination of 400 years of injustices in a system that is not working for all people in this country,” Curry said. “It took a perfect storm of two pandemics at one time to grab everybody’s attention. We’re obviously dealing with COVID and its threat to our society, and that has opened up a conversation and an awareness level for all people. I hope the conversaton continues, and that this isn’t just a moment, but a movement and we find changeable actions where everyone can play their role and play their part.”
The National Basketball Players Association called them Oura rings in its health summary, but the NBA did not name Oura as the brand in its document. Some players on Twitter and agents expressed concerns about tracking and personal data.
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma tweeted, “Looks like a tracking device.” "Does Adam Silver wear one with us while we’re all in there,” Brooklyn Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie asked on Twitter. To be clear though, these devices are optional – an issue that has been collectively bargained between the league and the NBPA.
This is what Parham does for a living. His job is to reach people, often professional athletes. Parham is a licensed psychologist and the counseling professor in the School of Education at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles. Before he took the position with the NBPA, he was a consulting psychologist for the Los Angeles Lakers and worked with the NBA, NFL and several U.S. Olympic teams for years. Parham is also Black. This detail provides important context in an NBA community filled with white leaders and the surrounding racial crisis in America. The NBPA represents a player pool that is approximately 81 percent Black, but that ratio dips precipitously the higher you climb on the NBA’s ladder of power.
As players waited for and eventually news on the NBA’s return to play, Parham and Dooling have been receiving texts from players directly on a regular basis. Parham hears from agents looking for resources to help mentally manage the crises at hand and sends out written newsletters to players with words of advice and links to explore.
In the aftermath of Wednesday’s release of the 113-page manual detailing the guidelines for the bubble, franchises are scrambling to make decisions. If you’re at an NBA practice facility these days, you’re likely taking in the strange sight of masked coaches, rebounding for players while wearing gloves. A couple coaches I know are wearing batting gloves during these drills, because, why not?
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.
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
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.
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.
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"
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.”
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."
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 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.”
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.”
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.
Storyline: Coronavirus
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September 26, 2022 | 8:22 am EDT Update

Russell Westbrook: 'I'm not even close to being done'

The Los Angeles Lakers star guard Russell Westbrook is confident that he’s nowhere close to running out of steam. “I’m not even close to being done,” Westbrook said. “I’m super grateful and blessed to be able to go compete year after year, and that’s all I can do is prepare myself, my mind, my body for as long as I play.”
He is set to enter this final year of his current five-year contract that he signed with the Timberwolves back in 2018. During a media day press conference Wiggins was asked about his contract situation going into the 2022-2023 season. “It doesn’t really weigh in a lot. I play basketball and I just let my agents whatever all that. My plan is just to hoop and then whatever happens, happens,” the former number one draft pick said. “I know my agents and the team probably have a plan or something. Right now I’m just focused on the season of what’s coming ahead.”
If Scariolo could bring somebody from his EuroBasket 2022 winning roster, considering how Virtus Bologna looks like this year, he wouldn’t have doubts. “Taking into account the needs and characteristics of our club, perhaps Juancho Hernangomez would be the icing on the cake, the perfect fit”, he said. “Emotionally and technically, any of those players, knowing their ability to make something positive, even if not necessarily all with a lot of talent, I know that they could enter with productivity in a team like ours. But speaking of any need to the role, surely it would be Juancho”, he added about the rest of the current Spanish roster.
In a recent press conference, the 21-year-old got brutally honest about how therapy helped him get through some of his darkest days. He was continuously rehabbing his knee, but at the same time, he also had to take care of his mental health (h/t ClutchPoints on Twitter): “Just to be vulnerable for a second… I did go to therapy a lot just to express my thoughts and my feelings and how I felt, because it was a hard time for me, especially going through that injury,” Wiseman said. “I love basketball so much, I just want to be out there with my team. When I wasn’t out there, it was very hard for me.”
Fournier was invited to the show En Aparte on Canal +, where he didn’t mince words on how he felt about the EuroBasket’s outcome for France. “When you work so hard for that gold medal and you get the silver, or the bronze, I take it as an insult,” the captain of the French team said. “When I receive this medal, when I put it around my neck, it sends me straight back to failure. It’s hard and I want to get rid of it,” he added, before clarifying that his gesture “isn’t a sign of disrespect at all.”