Yesterday, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, NBA Deputy Com…

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The NBA and NBPA are both committed to fostering an environment that encourages candid conversations between players and league and team leadership and finding tangible and sustainable ways to address racial inequality across the country. The group that met yesterday agreed in principle that the goal of the season restart in Orlando will be to take collective action to combat systemic racism and promote social justice. Conversations also covered strategies to increase Black representation across the NBA and its teams, ensure greater inclusion of Black-owned and operated businesses across NBA business activities, and form an NBA foundation to expand educational and economic development opportunities across the Black community.
“The issues of systemic racism and police brutality in our country need to end,” said Paul. “As a union of NBA players and as a league, it is our job to use our collective platform to both put a spotlight on those issues and work to effect change. As players, we have taken a leadership role when it comes to using our voices and implementing practical solutions, but there is much work ahead both in Orlando and long-term to continue the momentum and bring about real, long-lasting change to our society.” “The league and the players are uniquely positioned to have a direct impact on combating systemic racism in our country, and we are committed to collective action to build a more equal and just society,” said Silver. “A shared goal of our season restart will be to use our platform in Orlando to bring attention to these important issues of social justice. We look forward to engaging in ongoing conversations with the players and their Association about our joint leaguewide initiative and thank Michele, Chris and the other players for their leadership toward creating meaningful, long-term change.”
In addition to Silver, Tatum, Stuart, Roberts, Paul and Iguodala, attendees for yesterday’s meeting included NBA President of Social Responsibility & Player Programs Kathy Behrens, NBA Senior Vice President of Player Development Greg Taylor, NBA Senior Vice President of Content Business Operations Kori Davis Porter, NBPA Foundation Executive Director Sherrie Deans, Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers, CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks. In addition to Silver, Tatum, Stuart, Roberts, Paul and Iguodala, attendees for yesterday’s meeting included NBA President of Social Responsibility & Player Programs Kathy Behrens, NBA Senior Vice President of Player Development Greg Taylor, NBA Senior Vice President of Content Business Operations Kori Davis Porter, NBPA Foundation Executive Director Sherrie Deans, Malcolm Brogdon of the Indiana Pacers, CJ McCollum of the Portland Trail Blazers, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks.

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Adrian Wojnarowski: Remember too: Even among the six teams trying to reach the playoffs via a play-in, none believe this restart is worth risking injuries on players that could carry into next season. For some, Orlando will be an extended summer league to develop young players and protect veterans.
Cousins could have an opportunity to officially be part of an NBA team again this week. He has not ruled out signing with a team to finish out the season in the NBA bubble in Orlando, Fla., according to his agent, Jeff Schwartz. But it would have to be a situation in which he feels comfortable to play rather than continue his rehab.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As coronavirus testing for players heading to Orlando starts today, teams are bracing for significant numbers of positive tests. One Western Conference playoff team had four positives in past few weeks, per sources. Full training camps start on July 11 at Disney. It's a bigger concern for non-guaranteed playoff teams to lose players to extended quarantine before Orlando. Playoff teams worried less about needing key players for seeding games in August have more time to get players back to shape. All are worried about soft-tissue injuries.
Adrian Wojnarowski: All of this, of course, is hoping that those players testing positive experience little, if no, symptoms. While statistics are on the side of healthy, young NBA players not becoming seriously ill because of the coronavirus, there are no guarantees.
Adrian Wojnarowski: One change for use to replacement players in Orlando, per league memo to teams: Replacing a player with Covid-19 must occur no later than 7 days following confirmed positive player resumes training.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As expected, NBA and NBPA have finalized terms of the revised CBA for the Orlando restart, sources tell ESPN. All items in Saturday’s league memo to teams are agreed upon. Transaction window starts at noon.
Mark Berman: Free agent G/F @Corey Brewer on joining @Sacramento Kings which means he’ll be away from his family incl his 3-month-old son Oliver: “Not being with my family, that’s the toughest thing, especially with a new baby. The situation is not comfortable, but something you have to do.”
ESPN, one of the NBA’s top partners, tweeted a 28-second video on June 4 to the 36.5 million followers of its “SportsCenter” account — “When You Wish Upon a Star” playing with fireworks popping around Disney’s iconic castle. The reason for the celebration? “The NBA is Back,” the ad ends. The video was the network’s response to a 29-1 vote of teams in favor of restarting the NBA season with 22 teams on the Disney World campus, reason for basketball fans and the network that airs a sizable chunk of the league’s games to celebrate. Privately, though, some NBA executives and team officials scoffed. The road to the NBA season was far from complete and bringing the NBA “back” was no guarantee.
Last Tuesday through Saturday, according to state data, 17 percent of coronavirus tests in the county returned positive results. That was a significant jump from the 10-day period before that, from June 6 to 15, when the positive rate was 5 percent. The spike is yet another source of apprehension to manage for league and union officials, who just emerged from weeks of complicated discussions to come to terms on all the health and safety restrictions for its restart beginning July 7.
The location of the contained campus for the restart is a fresh source of unease. The N.B.A. chose Disney World for its single-site resumption of play for many reasons — business reasons among them given Disney’s status as the league’s top media partner. But Orange County’s increase in positive tests over the past two weeks has made it an “infection hotbed,” as described by Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.
The main weakness in the N.B.A.’s approach, Halkitis said, is the prospect of players or team staff members leaving the campus without authorization and exposing themselves to the coronavirus — or “workers who are not staying on the grounds” bringing it in. “Do I 100 percent believe that people aren’t going to leave?” Halkitis said. “I mean, these are adults, right? Human behavior is really hard to control.”

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Michael Grange: All 17 Raptors rostered players are in Naples and scheduled to begin league-mandated COVID-19 testing on Tuesday. Raptors aren’t expected to make any roster moves before playe begins.
Bertans’ agent, Arturs Kalnitis, explained why his client chose not to play. “To be completely honest, Davis was prepared to play and then he made a last-minute decision to sit out,” Kalnitis told HoopsHype. “We’re playing the cards that we were dealt. When the NBA announced that players who sit out wouldn’t face consequences and would just lose 1 percent of their salary for each game missed, we sat down to discuss this. Davis is about to sign the biggest deal of his life, so he would be taking a big risk by playing. It wasn’t a tough decision, to be honest. If the Wizards were in the fifth or sixth seed (or maybe even the eighth seed), it would be completely different. Davis is a competitor. But in this situation, he decided to sit out.”
Kalnitis said that the Wizards were very understanding when Bertans informed them of his decision. “Davis and [GM] Tommy Sheppard have been talking on a daily basis,” Kalnitis said. “The Wizards have known about Davis’ decision for a few days, and Davis told his teammates before it was reported too. They have been so supportive. Tommy is the best. I really like his work, and he and Davis have a special connection. I wasn’t there when Davis informed Tommy and the Wizards of his decision, but Davis told me that they had a pleasant conversation and they were very supportive.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: Ariza has been involved in a custody case over his 12-year old son, and mother’s choice of granting a court-ordered one month visitation period during league’s quarantine of teams in Orlando left Ariza to choose those parenting responsibilities over competing in restart.
With Davis Bertans opting out of the NBA's restart, the Washington Wizards are allowed to sign a replacement player before they head to Orlando, and they plan to do just that, NBC Sports Washington has learned. That player would be "for the short-term," according to a person familiar with their plans. And, partly because of that, they can definitively rule out center DeMarcus Cousins.
The Wizards are thinking in the immediate future and who could help them go for the playoffs when they arrive at Disney World with eight regular season games offered in the NBA's return-to-play plan. But that does not mean they are trying to replace Bertans specifically. What he does is unique, especially given his size. They could sign a different type of player and search for three-point shooting in other areas of their roster.
Tim MacMahon: Source confirms @Marc Stein report that Mavs SG Courtney Lee suffered a significant calf injury in a “freak accident.” Lee, a valued veteran presence, averaged 6.6 points on 50% FG in 22.8 minutes per game during March.
Raptors players and staff will move to the "NBA campus" at the Disney complex in the Orlando area in early July to further prepare for the stretch run. "In keeping with NBA and team safety protocols, there will be no group workouts during this phase of return to play, and strict protocols have been designed to ensure this initial level of access will take place in a safe, controlled, and healthy way," the Raptors said in a brief statement announcing their departure. "Group workouts will only begin once teams have reported to the NBA campus at Disney."
The Heat’s voluntary individual workouts continue at its AmericanAirlines Arena practice facility, with teams not able to host group sessions like team practices, scrimmages and pickup games until arriving at Disney for the start of training camp during the second week of July. Miami began allowing players to participate in individual workouts at the team facility on May 13, and attendance from players has been very strong, according to a league source.
Head coaches can begin working with players in voluntary workouts on Tuesday, a league source confirmed, with workouts limited to assistant coaches and/or player development personnel until this week. Starting July 1, individual workouts can be made mandatory by teams and up to eight players will be allowed in the facility at any one time.
There has not been significant pushback from the 17 players on the Heat’s roster on returning to complete the season, according to league sources, with most players already indicating they want to play when games resume at Disney.
For an NBA attempting to finish its season at Disney in Orlando, is problematic, experts say. “Extremely concerning,” says Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist at Emory University. “Absolutely,” says Bill Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University. “Of course, they should be concerned about case numbers around where they’re trying to build their bubble,” says Jared Baeten, an epidemiology professor at the University of Washington. “Yes,” says Kathleen Bachynski, a public health professor at Muhlenberg College. “And that’s because a true bubble is just really, really hard to create.”
“That is a very serious outbreak, and it’s going to get worse,” Binney says. “This is very quickly approaching scram reactor territory for me. Even with a bubble plan. I’m deeply, deeply worried. “I still like the NBA’s plan,” he clarifies. “This is not the NBA’s fault. This is the state of Florida’s fault. The NBA has done nothing wrong, other than putting their eggs in the Orlando basket.”
The NBA will administer tens of thousands of tests while at Disney. It will spend large sums on advanced technology. “If the numbers are spiking in the local community, it would also be important to think about, well, where are we pouring all these resources?” Bachynski asks. “And is that really the right thing to do?” Says Binney: “If there’s that much disease, and there’s that much of a severe outbreak, and if hospitals start to get overwhelmed, and you don’t have enough testing there, which they don’t ... if the situation still looks like this next month, I’m not sure how you could start.”
The test is not mandatory and will be used on players, coaches and staff from NBA teams who voluntarily opt in to the study. There is buy-in from the NBPA. “Our players are excited to be a part of this study," NBPA chief medical officer Joe Rogowski. “Not only does it offer the potential for players to have an alternative method of testing within the NBA Campus in Orlando, but more importantly it allows them to leverage their regular testing to make a larger contribution to public health in the fight against this virus."
Tim Reynolds: The Raptors' plane has left the gate in Toronto. It is en route to Fort Myers. For the first time in 3-1/2 months, an NBA team is headed ... somewhere.
As a Wednesday deadline approaches for players to notify their teams whether they wish to withdraw from participation, for whatever reason, there are three main sources of anxiety among the players and executives in the league: The location of the contained campus for the restart is a fresh source of unease. The N.B.A. chose Disney World for its single-site resumption of play for many reasons — business reasons among them, given Disney’s status as the league’s top media partner. But Orange County’s increase in positive tests over the past two weeks has made it an “infection hotbed,” as described by Perry Halkitis, dean of the Rutgers School of Public Health.
As Lou Williams of the Los Angeles Clippers said last week in a video chat with fans, some players are wrestling with fears that returning to full-time basketball may divert momentum from the Black Lives Matter movement, which has surged worldwide since the May 25 death of George Floyd while in police custody in Minneapolis.
A third prime worry that has been routinely overlooked with so much else happening is the injury risk players will face after what has been, for many, the longest layoff of their career from full-speed, five-on-five play.
“If the numbers were staying stable or they were going down, I’d have lots of confidence in the plan,” Halkitis said of the N.B.A.’s restart. “The numbers going up mean you have a difference circumstance now, which increases the probability of transmission and makes the plan — which is excellent but not foolproof — more susceptible to infiltration by the virus. “I keep using the flood and the dam example: A dam holds water, but if there’s a lot of pressure on the dam, like lots of infections, it’s more likely to crack. And that’s the problem here. They have to keep an eye on what’s going on.”
Teams are set to ramp up training this week. A transaction window will soon open. Seeding games and the playoffs are scheduled for Disney World. When will the union actually approve this plan? Brian Windhorst of ESPN on Sunday: "This, from what everybody that I talked to, right now is too big to fail. The overwhelming majority of players are excited. They want to be there. From what I understand, Hannah, it is going to happen. They’re on the verge of coming to an agreement. That could be announced in the next 48 hours, certainly before training camps re-open the middle of this week. We are headed towards at least a restart of training camp with agreement from the union very soon."
Fred Katz: The Wizards can sign a replacement player for Bertans, but remember: The player is only for Orlando. And they get no rights on that player this offseason. It’s not a way to build for next year. Can’t just sign some guy to a long-term deal.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Reporting with @Tim Bontemps: Washington Wizards F Davis Bertans has decided to sit out the Orlando restart, sources tell ESPN. Bertans is entering free agency off of his most productive NBA season – with two ACL injuries in his past.
Tim Reynolds: The Raptors are tentatively scheduled to arrive in southwest Florida this afternoon. I say tentative because at this point, I think everything needs to be called tentative until at least an hour after it happens.
Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday the NBA restart committee feels confident in the league’s safety plans. “We had a number of guiding principles as we had discussions about the restart and how we would restart, and the No. 1 guiding principle for us, for the league overall, is the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff that will be on the campus at Disney,” Martins said. “We have consulted with some of the top medical experts in the country, epidemiologists from Columbia University and Johns Hopkins, and others, [including] a former surgeon general [Vivek Murthy].
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) pic.twitter.com/2ezKKxrItg

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The surging number of coronavirus cases in Florida, which posted a record high Saturday for the third consecutive day, has raised concerns in many corners of the NBA, from players to team executives to the league office itself, as it prepares to resume play in Orlando next month. Florida added 4,049 new cases Saturday, which broke the previous single-day record of 3,822 set Friday. In all, the state has set records for single-day cases in seven of the past 10 days and is approaching 94,000 infections -- becoming a national hot spot along with Texas and Arizona, states that are also seeing surging case numbers.
In at least one recent call with high-level team executives, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged the spiking numbers in Florida. Multiple team sources described the general tone of that call, including the questions asked of Silver on it, as tense. Another called Silver's tone "resolute but somber." He expressed a resolve to go on -- a confidence in the NBA's bubble concept -- while recognizing the seriousness of the coronavirus spike, sources said.
The National Basketball Players Association held a virtual town hall with players this week and addressed concerns about the Florida cases, multiple sources familiar with the matter told ESPN. Players brought up the fact that Walt Disney World staffers who will not reside in the NBA campus -- including hotel housekeepers -- will not be subject to any coronavirus testing, sources said. One mitigating factor that was cited, a source added: Many of the new cases are in areas other than Orlando.
Of the rising figures, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN: "Can't say I am surprised, given the state's approach to reopening. We are obviously clearly monitoring the situation. While we take some solace in knowing our players will not travel commercially to get to Orlando, that access to the campus is severely limited and, of course, all of the other health and safety protocols in place, the numbers will keep our attention. If necessary to add further restrictions respecting those third parties having access to the campus, we will seek to implement them." Roberts added that by "third parties," she meant Disney staffers who will be servicing the hotels where teams are staying or providing other services on the campus.
Several leading epidemiologists praised the NBA's general plan in interviews with ESPN over the past two weeks, even while acknowledging there was no way for the NBA to maintain a true "bubble." They said that absent authority to govern the work conditions and medical monitoring of Disney staffers, the NBA had taken appropriate steps to reduce the threat of any of them transmitting the coronavirus to league personnel. Entirely eliminating the threat is not possible, those experts told ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Teams can have four players June 23-30 at facility; 8 players in facility July 1-9. From there, teams will leave for Orlando and full training camps
All-Star guard Victor Oladipo plans to ramp up activity with the Indiana Pacers starting next week and evaluate his repaired torn quad tendon prior to making a final commitment to playing in the season's restart in Orlando, he told ESPN on Saturday. Oladipo, 28, is hopeful to return to play with the Pacers, but wants to limit the risk of significant injury after returning in January from a full year of rehabilitating the torn right quad tendon.
"I feel a whole lot better," Oladipo told ESPN. "I know there's risk going into it with the unique situation that I'm in -- being off so long and trying to ramp it up that fast. I've just got to be smart, that's all." The Pacers have been cautious and working cooperatively with Oladipo throughout his rehab and return, and plan to continue closely monitoring and managing his recovery with the looming restart.
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.
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.
What will it be like with no fans in the arena? Mark Cuban: It will be different for certain. But there will be a lot of technology we will be experimenting with to try to introduce noise and make the event more entertaining for players and TV viewers. We have been having a lot of fun with apps that allow fans to push noise they make at home into the arena. So not only will there be competition on the court, there will be competition from fans to contribute energy as well!
Temple said he sees that side of sitting out to focus on social justice, but believes being in Orlando is “an amazing opportunity.” Players are asking what can be done at the Disney World site, ranging from putting Black Lives Matter on the courts to reading PSAs on the broadcast during timeouts. “Just to make sure that narrative continues to get pushed but also to do our jobs playing as black men,” said Temple, who is studying for the LSAT to potentially be a prosecutor or governor. “We have an obligation to be the voice for the voiceless.”
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.
Keith Smith: Per a league source: All players who were on 10 Day contracts will be free agents when the season resumes. This adds another 8 free agents to the available pool. Only Anthony Tolliver (MEM) & Joakim Noah (LAC) were with teams that are part of the re-start at Walt Disney World.
NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh recently spoke with Parham, who said he and Dooling "have been receiving texts from players directly on a regular basis" expressing concerns about their mental health entering the NBA bubble. "There's certainly a fair amount of anxiety, depression, uncertainty, confusion, chaos, disbelief at the extremes, resentment and anger," Parham told Haberstroh. "The pandemic, particularly the global nature of it, is unprecedented. There's no playbook for this."
Keith Smith: Per a league source: All players who were on 10 Day contracts will be free agents when the season resumes. This adds another 8 free agents to the available pool. Only Anthony Tolliver (MEM) & Joakim Noah (LAC) were with teams that are part of the re-start at Walt Disney World.
NBC Sports NBA Insider Tom Haberstroh recently spoke with Parham, who said he and Dooling "have been receiving texts from players directly on a regular basis" expressing concerns about their mental health entering the NBA bubble. "There's certainly a fair amount of anxiety, depression, uncertainty, confusion, chaos, disbelief at the extremes, resentment and anger," Parham told Haberstroh. "The pandemic, particularly the global nature of it, is unprecedented. There's no playbook for this."
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.”
“I think for us, the only benefit of us not playing is to keep the focus on the fight,” Williams said when asked by a viewer what the next step could be for players who share such concerns. “And with that being said, this is in six weeks, so we don’t know what it looks like in six weeks. In six weeks the world may need some healing, they may need us to be on the floor. But if more Black kids or more Black adults or any adults that’s dealing with police brutality are getting killed and we’re still outraged, I don’t know if it’s in our best interests to suit up because it looks like we don’t care. You know what I mean? It’s just a fine balance we’re trying to create.”
“We’re trying to find that balance where if we do suit up we’re having conversations behind closed doors. If we do suit up, how much of this platform can we really use? Can we get a ‘Black Lives Matter’ patch on our jerseys? Can our jerseys say ‘Black Lives Matter’? Can the court say ‘Black Lives Matter,’ so we can use that platform to the best of our abilities? So it’s just hard to call, bro. it’s honestly, it’s hard to call. I’m 50-50 right now, to be honest with you.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
More HoopsHype Rumors
July 7, 2020 | 10:50 am EDT Update
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is joining rapper Common and others for a TV special calling for action following the death of Breonna Taylor. Irving is producing “#SAYHERNAME: BREONNA TAYLOR,” which will debut Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT on the PlayersTv digital and broadcast network. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, was shot eight times in Louisville, Kentucky, by plainclothes officers serving a narcotics search warrant without knocking at her apartment on March 13. No drugs were found. Louisville has seen weeks of protests over the shooting and demonstrators around the country have chanted her name.
Irving, who has been outspoken about social justice issues, says as society is calling attention to police brutality and systemic racism, it is “critical to magnify how these unjust behaviors and practices are directly impacting Black women.” Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Democratic U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and journalist Jemele Hill are among the others appearing in the program.
Adrian Wojnarowski: First team in The Bubble: The @Orlando Magic are departing for the bus ride to Disney. Aaron Gordon, DJ Augustin, Jonathan Isaac, Steve Clifford and Nik Vucevic. pic.twitter.com/f1kqiQUIHV

Storyline: Orlando Bubble
July 7, 2020 | 8:52 am EDT Update
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said that he’d “love” to see Pau Gasol wearing the team’s jersey once again. Gasol has mentioned that a return to Barcelona is an attractive option for him to spend what may be the last season of his career. “I would love for Pau Gasol to play for Barça. I never rule anything out, but European basketball doesn’t have the mechanisms or resources that the NBA has,” Bartomeu said to Catalan radio RAC 1, per Marc Mundet.
There had long been friction between the two, the kind typical with NBA duos, particularly if those star players are relatively early in their careers — and especially in a roller-coaster season such as this one for the Jazz, who have basically played .500 ball aside from a 19-2 run in December and January. One high-ranking Jazz source categorized the pre-pandemic issues between the 28-year-old Gobert and Mitchell, 23, as “a 2 out of 10 on the NBA drama scale.”
“You know, I tried to put myself in his shoes,” Gobert told ESPN. “There was a lot of fear, and I think more than anything, he reacted out of fear. That’s why I don’t really blame him. We all have different character; we all react differently. When it’s something like that, when he tested [positive] for a virus that we don’t know a lot about, it’s scary. It was scary for me, and I’m sure it was scary for him. “The most important thing is what you do from there.”
The Jazz wanted to start virtual team meetings and workouts, but Gobert told teammates in early April that he wouldn’t feel right participating until he had a discussion with Mitchell. A month into the NBA hiatus, Gobert and Mitchell talked. “We told each other what we had to say to each other,” Gobert said. “We are both on the same page. We both want to win. We both think that we have a great opportunity, and we know that we need each other. We talked about a lot of things, but the main thing was that we are on the same page and the fact that our team needs us. We can win together. That’s the most important thing.”
As a smiling Mitchell sneaked up from behind and made some silly sounds, Gobert looked over his left shoulder and delivered a one-liner into the microphone: “Hey, pass the ball, god damn it!” Mitchell, who had 28 points on 21 shots and two assists, laughed and turned toward the tunnel to the Jazz locker room, altering his path to give high-fives to a couple of kids in the courtside seats who were wearing his No. 45 jersey. It was a moment that made many within the Jazz organization uncomfortable. They knew Gobert’s quip contained a lot of truth about his feelings on Mitchell’s passing.
Storyline: Mitchell-Gobert Dynamic
Gobert rarely hesitates to let teammates know if they miss him when he is open around the rim. He’ll occasionally point up during play in animated fashion, sometimes as he is running back on defense, to note that a lob should have been thrown. He’ll often air his gripes verbally, during games and again in film sessions. Mitchell hears it the most, simply because as the Jazz’s go-to guy, he has the ball in his hands the most. That, according to several Jazz sources, has been the primary irritant in an overall successful partnership.
(The Bucks) had to shut down their facility over the weekend because of positive test. How much of a concern is that for the team that is right now the favor to win at all? Malika Andrews: I checked in with a source with the Bucks and they just told me that they are mostly bummed about the timing. They are not expected to open the facility again before they traveled to Orlando this week. And for a lot of guys, these last two weeks they’ve actually been able to be inside the practice facility is the first time they’ve been able to touch a basketball in a while.

July 7, 2020 | 2:23 am EDT Update
There are varying levels of trust in the NBA’s bubble, but most everyone agrees this is the best the league can do amid the conditions. NBA sources have insisted the plan, while exhaustive, isn’t cemented and that the league is ready to adjust if necessary. Between June 23 and 29, 25 players tested positive for the coronavirus. An additional 10 staff members also tested positive. Seven of the 22 teams heading to Orlando, including the Clippers, have closed their practice facilities after learning of positive tests.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Seton Hall junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili has had Zoom calls with close to 20 NBA teams, including the Knicks. The 6-foot-10 native of the Republic of Georgia is testing the NBA Draft waters ahead of the Oct. 16 NBA Draft, and said he’s still undecided about his future plans. The NBA withdrawal deadline is Aug. 3. “I’m taking my time and evaluating all of my options,” he said Friday. “I had a lot of interviews and I want to think about my plans.”
When Kidd got rebuffed, he jumped to the Bucks, run by opportunistic New York-based owners, Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. “I wouldn’t hire Jason Kidd if he was the last coach standing,’’ said an NBA source who has worked with Kidd. “It would be a terrible choice. There’s a reason Milwaukee is in the place where they are right now — coaching.’’
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Job
Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott said players being given a list of phrases they may put on the backs of their jerseys when the NBA season restarts in Orlando, Florida, later this month, rather than choosing what they want to say themselves, was a “bad miss.” “They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys. That was terrible. It was just a bad miss, a bad choice,” Scott said Monday during a conference call with reporters. “They didn’t give players a chance to voice our opinions on it; they just gave us a list to pick from. So that was bad, that was terrible. “I’m all about just doing, instead of saying and posting, or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything, you know?”
Speaking on a separate call Monday, Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had a few other suggestions that he wished the league would have allowed players to use. “There’s a lot of stuff. I know everybody has different reasons they’re playing for. … Four hundred and fifty guys, or however many will be there, are sending in whatever they feel like would add to that list and encompass the group that’s going down there,” Brown said. “What I’d like to personally see on there? Maybe ‘Break the Cycle,’ putting that on the back of your jersey. ‘Results,’ that’s what everybody is really playing for. ‘Inequality by Design,’ maybe. Things like that might have a deeper impact than some of the things that were given to us. I think it was a little bit limiting.”
The WNBA announced Monday that seven of 137 (5.1%) tested players were positive for COVID-19, and that 11 of the league’s 12 teams will report to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for its season start-up by the end of the day. The one exception in that travel schedule is the Indiana Fever. After sustaining two positive tests in their organization, the Fever’s travel will be delayed at least five days “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements,” according to a statement from the league.
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
Vinsanity cited that he was going to do a one-step, 180-degree dunk under the basket (which sounds hella impressive by the way) but decided to go on a different route to increase his chances of winning. “It was ‘ooh-ahh’ for a lot of people but it didn’t feel right. It didn’t have the ‘wowing’ factor. That’s not what I was looking for. I just didn’t have that feel so I just scrapped that dunk,” the NBA icon revealed. “The dunks that I originally had planned, I was like this was not going to win. So I scrapped it right there on the spot. I’m just trying to pull things that I’ve done from times past that I felt would win or present the wow factor.”
July 7, 2020 | 2:21 am EDT Update
There are varying levels of trust in the NBA’s bubble, but most everyone agrees this is the best the league can do amid the conditions. NBA sources have insisted the plan, while exhaustive, isn’t cemented and that the league is ready to adjust if necessary. Between June 23 and 29, 25 players tested positive for the coronavirus. An additional 10 staff members also tested positive. Seven of the 22 teams heading to Orlando, including the Clippers, have closed their practice facilities after learning of positive tests.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Spencer Dinwiddie: Protocol only calls for 7 days and negative tests not the 14 day standard. Yep, the plan would be to fly to Orlando after workout. For players that show up late, it might make it difficult to resume season at all due to more rigorous testing requirements.

Seton Hall junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili has had Zoom calls with close to 20 NBA teams, including the Knicks. The 6-foot-10 native of the Republic of Georgia is testing the NBA Draft waters ahead of the Oct. 16 NBA Draft, and said he’s still undecided about his future plans. The NBA withdrawal deadline is Aug. 3. “I’m taking my time and evaluating all of my options,” he said Friday. “I had a lot of interviews and I want to think about my plans.”
When Kidd got rebuffed, he jumped to the Bucks, run by opportunistic New York-based owners, Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. “I wouldn’t hire Jason Kidd if he was the last coach standing,’’ said an NBA source who has worked with Kidd. “It would be a terrible choice. There’s a reason Milwaukee is in the place where they are right now — coaching.’’
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Job
Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott said players being given a list of phrases they may put on the backs of their jerseys when the NBA season restarts in Orlando, Florida, later this month, rather than choosing what they want to say themselves, was a “bad miss.” “They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys. That was terrible. It was just a bad miss, a bad choice,” Scott said Monday during a conference call with reporters. “They didn’t give players a chance to voice our opinions on it; they just gave us a list to pick from. So that was bad, that was terrible. “I’m all about just doing, instead of saying and posting, or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything, you know?”
Speaking on a separate call Monday, Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had a few other suggestions that he wished the league would have allowed players to use. “There’s a lot of stuff. I know everybody has different reasons they’re playing for. … Four hundred and fifty guys, or however many will be there, are sending in whatever they feel like would add to that list and encompass the group that’s going down there,” Brown said. “What I’d like to personally see on there? Maybe ‘Break the Cycle,’ putting that on the back of your jersey. ‘Results,’ that’s what everybody is really playing for. ‘Inequality by Design,’ maybe. Things like that might have a deeper impact than some of the things that were given to us. I think it was a little bit limiting.”
The WNBA announced Monday that seven of 137 (5.1%) tested players were positive for COVID-19, and that 11 of the league’s 12 teams will report to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for its season start-up by the end of the day. The one exception in that travel schedule is the Indiana Fever. After sustaining two positive tests in their organization, the Fever’s travel will be delayed at least five days “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements,” according to a statement from the league.
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
Vinsanity cited that he was going to do a one-step, 180-degree dunk under the basket (which sounds hella impressive by the way) but decided to go on a different route to increase his chances of winning. “It was ‘ooh-ahh’ for a lot of people but it didn’t feel right. It didn’t have the ‘wowing’ factor. That’s not what I was looking for. I just didn’t have that feel so I just scrapped that dunk,” the NBA icon revealed. “The dunks that I originally had planned, I was like this was not going to win. So I scrapped it right there on the spot. I’m just trying to pull things that I’ve done from times past that I felt would win or present the wow factor.”
July 6, 2020 | 11:14 pm EDT Update
Antetokounmpo will be a free agent in 2021. When Kidd joined the Lakers as assistant, the scuttlebutt was he would succeed Frank Vogel when “The Greek Freak’’ became free. Antetokounmpo was said to be “devastated’’ when the Bucks fired Kidd. “LeBron loves Kidd,’’ one team executive told The Post. “But Giannis swears by him.’’
Nick DePaula: In a video to fans in China, Klay Thompson says, “My mind and body are 100% ready to get back on the court.” His new Anta KT5 sneaker launch is inspired by his trip last summer to a 400 year-old Chinese medical center in Shanghai and the treatment he received there.

July 6, 2020 | 7:59 pm EDT Update
“We are extremely encouraged with the progress Darius has made in his recovery process,” Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin said. “The work he has put in both prior to and during these limited mandatory workouts has been remarkable. We look forward to seeing him back at full strength heading into the 2020-21 campaign.” The Pelicans will not be granted an additional roster spot pursuant to the rules the NBA has set forth for signing replacement players for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
Former No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet has re-entered unrestricted free agency after a teammate in The Basketball Tournament tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of the month. Thabeet, 33, was set to compete with the “Playing for Jimmy V” team during the annual tournament, but event rules mandate that any team who receives a positive test be disqualified from competing in the bracket any further. Thabeet tested negative for the coronavirus, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
Storyline: Coronavirus
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