Shams Charania: Sources: Travel dates for 22 NBA teams …

Shams Charania: Sources: Travel dates for 22 NBA teams to Orlando: – July 7: Nets, Nuggets, Magic, Suns, Jazz, Wizards – July 8: Celtics, Mavericks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Pelicans, Thunder, Kings – July 9: Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Bucks, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Raptors

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Is there anything you would have changed about the playoff format or the starting date for the 2021-22 NBA season? Mark Cuban: There is no perfect format. We could tweak it here or there, but I think we ended up with a solution that will definitely work. In terms of the starting day for next season, my preference is Christmas Day, but am OK with any time after Thanksgiving. With companies and schools changing their holiday schedule to effectively combine Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks as a means of reducing risk, I’m hopeful the NBA can use that time to not only start the season, but also to start to introduce fans to a home schedule. Again, it’s purely a hope.
Vincent Goodwill: Yahoo sources: NBA playoffs scheduled to begin on Aug.17. Friends and family can arrive on Aug 30. Conference Finals begin Sept 15. NBA Finals will begin Sept 30.
Ira Winderman: Adam Silver, on NBA schedule, says of next season, "Very tentatively we'd be looking to start next season in early December." Compares quick turnaround to those returning from Olympics and international competitions in previous years
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA's expected restart dates: - July 30-Aug. 14: Seeding games - Aug.15-16: Play-in tournaments - Aug. 17: Playoffs begin - Aug. 30: Family/guests of teams arrive - Aug. 31-Sept. 13: Conf. Semifinals - Sept. 15-Sept. 28: Conf. Finals - Sept. 30-Oct. 13: NBA Finals
Adrian Wojnarowski: Players traveling outside of the U.S. need to report by June 15 to team markets -- rest of players need to arrive by June 22, per sources.
Shams Charania: Health and safety: The NBA's required coronavirus testing window for teams: June 23-30, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
– The NBPA told players 2020-21 season starting on Dec. 1 is “unlikely” and plans to negotiate the date. – The NBPA informed players today that NBA/NBPA will conduct coronavirus testing every night, likely mouth swabs/light nasal swabs and not the full invasive nasal swab. Minimum seven days quarantine for a player if positive. – There could be crowd noise via NBA 2K video game sounds, but the NBA and NBPA is still discussing creative opportunities – Players are expected to return to full paychecks this summer, after taking a 25 percent reduction in May – There is a proposed 35-person travel party limit – There is an expected three-hour practice window for teams, with two courts and weight rooms in the convention center
Adrian Wojnarowski: Many of dates the NBA shared with teams today -- including Draft Lottery, Draft -- are considered tentative. The NBA and NBPA have a long list of financial and compeititve items to negotiate for the 2020-21 season, included with a Nov. 10 camp opening off an October 12 Game 7.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Some preliminary expectations on Orlando format, per sources: 16-day regular season - 5-to-6 games per day. Each team expected to play one back-to-back among its eight regular-season games. NBA Finals format expected to include games every other day during best-of-seven series.
There will be up to seven games per day played over roughly three weeks during the August regular season, which the NBA has branded "seeding games," and it is likely there will be weekday afternoon playoff games during the the first round. Sources say the league will use three different facilities at first to stage games -- The Arena, HP Field House and Visa Athletic Center, all at the Wide World of Sports Complex. As things progress, it will be reduced to two sites and then one.
Harrison Wind: So if the season does resume on July 31, there will have been 142 days in between games. There were 112 days in between Game 6 of the 2020 Finals and the first preseason game of the 2019-20 season.
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA informed the Board of Governors of scheduled dates: - Training camp: June 30, July 7 travel to Orlando - 2019-20 season: July 31 - Free agency: Oct. 18 - 2020-21 targets: Nov. 10 training camp, Dec. 1 opening night (can remain fluid)
Mark Cuban offered his predictions on ESPN’s “The Jump”. First: Aug. 1 will likely be the latest date the NBA could restart its season without significantly hampering future seasons, Cuban said. To calculate his timeline, Cuban “works backward” from the 2020-21 season, which he is in favor of starting on Christmas, rather than in late October under the league’s traditional calendar.
“We can start playing in August, for that matter, because we don’t have all the travel restrictions,” Cuban said. “Everyone [will be] in probably one location. You don’t have to fly across the country, give everybody one day off. You can play multiple games in one day. You can compress it in ways we never were able to before, so I don’t think there’s a drop-dead date. … Starting by Aug. 1 in order to make it, so that gives us plenty of time.”
Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is the latest NBA figure to promote the idea of permanently moving the start of the season to Christmas Day. "I've been saying that for 15 years," Cuban said on the "Pardon My Take" podcast. "And the reason I've been getting shot down is, there's this thing called HUT (households using televisions). And during the summer, that drops. ... In the past, that was a big deal. So you wanted to end (the NBA season) by June so you could maximize the people watching TV. "But ... TV's changed."
Mark Cuban believes the NBA can still salvage its 2019-20 season, despite it being suspended for two months and counting amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Dallas Mavericks owner pointed to Dec. 25 as the start date for next season and then said you just have to work backward for a potential timeline to resume this season. Most teams, Cuban said, would not be playing an extended schedule as there’s a limited number of teams that would advance through the playoffs.
Simply put, Cuban just wants the sport to return in some fashion. He believes the level of play will be just as good, if not better, than what NBA fans saw coming out of the 2011 lockout. “Anything we show is going to be better than what we have right now,” Cuban said. “It’ll be good enough, right? We just want our sports. We just want to root for the Mavs, the Cowboys, the Stars, the Rangers, etc. If it’s not perfect, I don’t think anybody is going to mind.”
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: Adam Silver acknowledged there would be a “series of bad options” to decide on pertaining to teams on bubble of making playoffs. He couldn’t guarantee those teams would have a chance to earn a playoff berth if hiatus extends too far out.
Charania: The NBA regular season is approximately 80 percent complete, depending upon where each team is in its schedule. From what I’m told, the league was in line to generate nearly $9 billion in basketball-related income, and owners and team presidents estimate that canceling the rest of the season would result in $1-to-2 billion in losses. The NBA and its players agreed to reduce paychecks by 25 percent starting May 15, essentially serving as a reserve for if and when play resumes, and players can receive that amount back.
As ownership support grows for the idea, Commissioner Adam Silver and the NBA Board of Governors continued discussions Friday about delaying the start of the 2020-2021 season until December, sources told ESPN. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA's thinking and planning has progressed on the idea independent of whether the 2019-2020 season is resumed and completed, sources said.
As the uncertainty around the pandemic continues, the NBA is anticipating a number of potential obstacles in immediately returning fans to its arenas in the coming months and year. "If you start in December, that doesn't mean the people are coming back in December, but maybe they're back by March," one member of the board of governors told ESPN on Friday.
There's support for a 2020-2021 season that would start in December and extend through late July or August, sources said. Silver has been preparing teams for the possibility of a delayed start to next season, which would potentially address the league's longer-range concerns, whether this season is completed or not.
Silver has repeatedly told teams he remains determined for the season to culminate with a champion. Between now and then, if the league office had any doubts that decision-making would become painstaking and polarizing during these times, this past weekend reminded them of the scrutiny that awaits every decision. The process of simply reopening practice facilities for players to do brief, individual workouts turned into something of a back-and-forth between league and front-office executives.
For now, the NBA is still sorting out possible venues. The MGM Grand has been one of several suitors pitching a plan to host the league -- and perhaps the WNBA, too -- within three adjacent hotels, sources said. Some are proposing pod ideas spread across different regions. Team practice facilities have been discussed. The possibility of Disney World in Orlando, where there are basketball facilities and hotels, has gained momentum.
For a time, Las Vegas was the most popular idea for a proposed resumption of the NBA season: a bubble city of teams grinding out the playoffs within a quarantine of connected casino hotels and arenas. As time has passed, those talking with NBA commissioner Adam Silver find him still needing to be convinced Vegas is the best idea. For some of the league's most influential veteran star players, that's a reassuring notion because they're concerned about some younger teammates struggling with the patience required to properly fortify a bubble environment in Vegas.
According to people close to league discussions, the NBA’s planning committee, which features several team general managers, has been pitching the idea to start games around Christmas for quite some time. The idea stems from a variety of factors, including coaches and players complaining about too many games in a week, to lack of practice time, early ratings being impacted, and perhaps one of the most significant issues plaguing the NBA before the coronavirus pandemic: load management and rest.
The NBA has already discussed an in-season tournament if play can resume this summer, which Silver said requires more dialogue, but also added would be implemented at some point. One NBA executive said this is the opportunity to explore the concept for at least for one year, in what could be spectator-free arenas. The executive, who spoke to CNBC on condition of autonomy as the individual is not authorized to talk about the matter, suggested opening a new season via a tournament on Christmas.
According to one top-ranking league official, the NBA has explored concepts of concluding final games in Las Vegas, as the tournament would emulate famous overseas basketball cups like the Copa del Rey in Spain. In Las Vegas, the NBA already has built-in business relationships, and could recover some of the lost revenue via sponsorships and gambling dollars associated with a tournament, the executive said, adding a proposed sponsorship slogan for the one-and-done format. “The NBA Cup, where every game is a Game 7,” the individual said.
Barkley’s concerns are well founded, which is why, according to sources primed on the ongoing talks, the hope is that immediate family members would be able to accompany their NBA-playing relatives to Las Vegas.
It’s been over a month since the NBA suspended its season because of the coronavirus threat. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the hard part about the NBA returning will be trying to have fans in attendance. “It’s no question that’s the hard part. Because when are people going to feel confident enough to go to big gatherings? It’s going to be difficult to start off with 25 people let alone 15,000," Cuban said in an interview with TMZ. "We’re just going to have to defer to the scientists, the doctors who will tell us what we need to do to get the arenas in shape to be able to accept people and for those people to have confidence.
The N.B.A. has repeatedly made it clear that it needs the approval of government and public health officials to resume operations. If you wish to maintain an optimistic tone amid the mounting pessimism in league circles and imagine such approval could be granted as early as June 1, that would still mean nearly three full months of inactivity for N.B.A. players. David Griffin, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, neatly summed up the challenges posed by such a lengthy shutdown during a recent conference call with reporters. “I think there would be a pretty unanimous sentiment that the longer we’re out,” Griffin said, “the longer we’re going to need.”
The N.B.A. has repeatedly made it clear that it needs the approval of government and public health officials to resume operations. If you wish to maintain an optimistic tone amid the mounting pessimism in league circles and imagine such approval could be granted as early as June 1, that would still mean nearly three full months of inactivity for N.B.A. players. David Griffin, the executive vice president of basketball operations for the New Orleans Pelicans, neatly summed up the challenges posed by such a lengthy shutdown during a recent conference call with reporters. “I think there would be a pretty unanimous sentiment that the longer we’re out,” Griffin said, “the longer we’re going to need.”
Speaking Monday night on an Instagram Live session with Cayleigh Griffin and television partner AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Morey said: People aren’t going to be back in NBA shape. My guess — and this is up to the commissioner and the plans they’re putting together — is we’re going to have to shorten any plans to a tighter window than people are going to be comfortable with. The reality is, it’s not going to make that big of a difference. You want to get the quality [of play] high enough, but because everyone’s going to be dealing the same ramp up [in activity], there won’t be any relative advantage developed between the teams. Maybe even the first couple of games aren’t perfect, but both teams are going to be dealing with the same thing. … We’re all going to have to do our best in a probably shortened time period.
Speaking Monday night on an Instagram Live session with Cayleigh Griffin and television partner AT&T SportsNet Southwest, Morey said: People aren’t going to be back in NBA shape. My guess — and this is up to the commissioner and the plans they’re putting together — is we’re going to have to shorten any plans to a tighter window than people are going to be comfortable with. The reality is, it’s not going to make that big of a difference. You want to get the quality [of play] high enough, but because everyone’s going to be dealing the same ramp up [in activity], there won’t be any relative advantage developed between the teams. Maybe even the first couple of games aren’t perfect, but both teams are going to be dealing with the same thing. … We’re all going to have to do our best in a probably shortened time period.
Various ideas have been floated by players and executives. One is to consider using a sprawling casino property in Las Vegas, where everything could be held under one roof. Others have suggested playing in the Bahamas, where a ballroom could be converted into a playing court specifically for broadcast. There has even been talk of taking over a college campus in the Midwest, where reported cases of COVID-19 are lower for the moment.
As COVID-19, the coronavirus, spreads across the U.S., the NBA is preparing for the possibility of playing a summer schedule for the first time in league history. There is resounding ownership support for finding a way to finish the season, NBA officials told, even if that means re-starting the season in late June, even if that pushes the Finals into September. Some estimates have the NBA losing as much as $1 billion in a lost season, an eye popping number team owners desperately want to bring down.
The NBA could also test elements of its planned in-season tournament, which Silver said he “strongly” believes will be incorporated in the coming years. NBA sources told CNBC the league has already floated the idea of using Las Vegas as the final location for a possible in-season tournament.
“The only reason we haven’t played games after June 12 in the past is because our TV partners [see] HUT’s—homes using television—drop significantly,” Cuban said in a recent interview. “Well the TV landscape has changed dramatically over the last three-four years.” The conventional thinking: the weather gets warmer, fewer people watch television, ratings plummet. And they do. But some television executives see any ratings drop reflecting the lack of effort often put into summer programming as the timing of it. Broadcast networks pull top rated scripted shows off the air in the spring and bring them back in the fall.
Several players told that they would be open to a summer schedule, provided it resulted in a boost in revenue. “Money talks,” texted one veteran player. The current collective bargaining agreement expires in 2024. The NBA’s rights deals expire in 2025, creating, perhaps, a window for the league to explore a change.
The league is on hold with the rest of the world because of the coronavirus. There is nothing close to a set return date for the NBA -- and any time there is a suspension in play, an unplanned round of negotiations typically results. "The NBA and the union are going to have to negotiate when they come back," ESPN insider Brian Windhorst said on his podcast. "They're going to have to open the collective bargaining agreement for simple things like changing the league year."
As one league insider cautioned me, we shouldn’t assume next year’s schedule will necessarily change as a result of this year. While all of us in the peanut gallery are jonesing to push the schedule back, that requires a massive undertaking from the league side at a time when it is already in the midst of another massive undertaking. The NBA could also do everything I outlined in this story and still kick off 2020-21 more or less on time this fall. If that’s the case, however, then that Labor Day timeframe becomes even more of a hard deadline for this season to end.
Team executives seem to be warming to the idea of a December start, though their evolving opinions may be due to necessity, depending on how long the wait is until games are played. It could be a good time to experiment, though. As mentioned earlier, installing a postseason play-in tournament to determine the playoffs was discussed. The playoffs could change formats to reduce the number of games in a series, which Rockets general manager Daryl Morey proposed in the past. It would be a way for the league to test-drive nontraditional ideas without a long-term commitment.
Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin recently proposed starting and ending the NBA season two months than they currently do in order to avoid footballl. Due to the NBA suspending the 19-20 season because of COVID-19, the league may be forced to adopt "I even had one team president, who I respect, who I think has some level of influence in the league said to me the other day that he never really liked that Koonin idea, but the more he thinks about it now, the more it does intrigue him," said Adrian Wojnarowski.
Some key N.B.A. figures welcome an experiment with radical changes to the schedule, such as contesting the N.B.A. finals in August, pushing free agency into September and starting the 2020-21 season on Christmas Day. It is hardly unanimous, but there is a faction eager to turn the delay forced upon the league by the coronavirus outbreak into an unexpected testing ground.
Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin has a plan to increase the NBA's ratings: start and end the season two months later. Koonin spoke Friday afternoon at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in Boston on a panel about possible changes to the league's schedule.
Under Koonin's proposal, the start of the season would shift from mid-October to mid-December, after the college football season has completed its regular season and has begun its bowl season. More important, the shift would cause the NBA to avoid having to compete with two months of the NFL's regular season, as it currently does in the first two-and-a-half months before the "unofficial" start to the league's calendar on Christmas Day.
Meanwhile, the NBA Finals would take place sometime in August rather than June, with the draft and free agency to come after that. That would again allow the NBA to dominate more of the summer months, when it is only going up against Major League Baseball, instead of fighting with football for territory. "A big piece is you don't have to reinvent the wheel to enhance ratings," Koonin said. "Sometimes, moving away from competition is a great way to grow ratings.”
More important than Koonin proposing the change, though, is that Evan Wasch, the NBA's senior vice president of strategy and analytics, said the league was open to such an idea -- as well as others that could reshape how the NBA's regular season plays out, as well as when it does. "We certainly have no issue with reconsidering the calendar," Wasch said. "To Steve's point, you have to think about the other stakeholders. They need to get more comfortable with the Finals in August, rather than June, where traditionally the household viewership is a lot lower.”
Mark Cuban: Put aside the 78 games because that’s a different issue and it’s not a big deal one way or the other. You can make up four games in terms of a play-in or whatever. I’m not necessarily opposed to 78 games, I just have to see the specifics. But when you feel like you need to have an in-season tournament because you feel it’s needed to make the start of a season or the early-grind-it-out parts of a season interesting, you’re effectively saying that without this, the games aren’t interesting. To me, that’s never a good thing in business. You never, ever want to say, “Well, my product’s not as good this time of year as it is in that time of year, so we’re going to spice things up.” That’s not the case and that’s never good business in my mind.
Kyle Goon: From the NBA: Lakers-Clippers has been rescheduled, with four total games affected. - Bulls at Clippers, April 6 (was 8th) - Warriors at Lakers, April 7 (was 9th) - Bulls at Lakers, April 8 (was 7th) - Clippers at Lakers, April 9 (was Jan. 28) Three-in-three stretch for Lakers.
More than three weeks have passed with no announcement of a makeup date as the league deals with an uncooperative calendar. Neither the Lakers nor the Clippers have an obvious, mutual opening over the remaining regular season. To make matters worse, they must share Staples Center with the Kings and frequent special events such as concerts. A league spokesman said Thursday that no date has been finalized.
The most recent version of the in-season tournament included pool play, with designated tournament games built into each team's regular schedule. The top-eight teams based on the results of pool play would then meet in a single-elimination tournament. Under the most recent proposal, all games -- including pool play -- would fall between Christmas and the week of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Spruell said. The league has considered using a 40-minute format for games in the elimination portion of the tournament, Spruell said. Given the outcome of the All-Star Game on Sunday, the league will also discuss the possibility of using an Elam Ending-style target score in those elimination games, Spruell said.
Jared Dudley: Will be done next December! Best teams will play each other.. will help the ratings! Big money prize for the top 2 teams in the finals
NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Thursday shed light on his aspirations to create an NBA Cup to run through November and December. The idea was first floated in 2016 but has gained traction in recent months with a proposal to cut the regular season to 78 games to make room for an in-season tournament.
"It's a fairly dramatic change from the way U.S. schedules have worked historically," Silver said. "So it's not the change we want to make lightly. And so we're deep into discussions right now with our 30 teams about the right way to innovate and integrate those kinds of changes into our regular season. In fact, as we went down that road, the thinking initially was we would only do it for our 75th anniversary, which is the 2021-22 season."
"The conversations with our teams have not been adversarial," Silver said. "It's not so much a question of counting heads in order to win a vote. Again, it's more a function of ensuring that we're taking advantage of the best thinking from our teams as we move forward." Silver admitted he mines European sports for industry trends that might inform the future evolution of his organization.
As the NBA continues to consider dramatic changes to the league calendar, it no longer plans to stage an owner's vote in April on a formal plan, league sources told ESPN. The NBA informed its teams on Friday that it wants to continue studying and discussing the three significant items, including an in-season tournament, a play-in tournament and the reseeding of the conference finalists, sources said.
Among the concerns, there is still no consensus on the best time for the 30 team in-season tournament that would include pool play and a knock-out round. There had been momentum around a tournament starting near Thanksgiving and extending into mid-December, and there's been some recent momentum for a tournament starting around Christmas through mid-January, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Among concerns for key elements of calendar changes, league feedback on in-season tournament has been to protect existing events like Christmas Day games. Re-seeding of Final 4 continues to have travel concerns. More time to discuss and study it all now.
Jeff Zillgitt: Re: Changes to NBA schedule - I was told in November that a vote didn’t have to happen at April owners meeting. The league has received tons of feedback on these ideas and instead of making these one-year one-offs, they will take a look at long-term viability of some proposals.
Paul takes the temperature of different players every time he travels with the Oklahoma City Thunder, and Wednesday’s meeting at union headquarters in Manhattan should bring some clarity to the union’s position. For now, Paul is non-committal as to where he and the union stand. “Nothing is set in stone, and we’ll figure it out,” Paul said. “Personally, this isn’t my company. We’re a league and a union, and we’re going to figure it out.”
Storyline: NBA Schedule
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July 14, 2020 | 9:34 am EDT Update
Chris Grenham: The entire Celtics roster surprised Kara Lawson last night by wearing Duke t-shirts, which made her cry. “These men have changed my life. I have loved my time with the Boston Celtics. Our players are authentic, intelligent, creative and passionate men.”

July 14, 2020 | 8:40 am EDT Update
Zach Lowe: I was talking to someone around the league the other day, and we were just sort of spitballing about players. There’s a lot of people within the league that think Donovan Mitchell is still a bit overrated. And this guy was one of them. We were talking about who would you rather have Devin Booker or Donovan Mitchell. And I think the only skill in which Donovan Mitchell is ahead of Devin Booker is defense and I don’t think he’s ahead by as much as you think he’s ahead of Devin Booker.
July 14, 2020 | 3:03 am EDT Update
Even with his upcoming supermax decision full of uncertainty, with the new realities of the league in effect following the pandemic, Milwaukee’s front office isn’t worried about opposing players trying to potentially recruit him. “Zero. We can only control what we can control. If it’s considered tampering or recruiting or whatever it is, in our league people talk, people are connected, people have relationships,” said Bucks GM Jon Horst. “At the end of the day, I have full confidence in my personal relationship, our league’s relationship, our coach’s relationship, his teammate’s relationship with Giannis in what we’re doing and what we’re about.
Storyline: Giannis Antetokounmpo Free Agency
Exactly one month before announcing he’s tested positive for COVID-19, Russell Westbrook was hanging poolside at Encore Beach Club at Wynn Las Vegas. Westbrook was with a group of friends, including former NFL running back Reggie Bush, fashion jeweler Greg Yuna, bodybuilders and trainers Mike Rashid and Valeriu Guto and Wynn club host Jai Shaun White at the outdoor dayclub on June 13. The group posed for a photo at one of the party space’s VIP bungalows.
Responding to a question asking if Westbrook had contracted the virus at the hotel, Wynn Las Vegas referred to company policy that it does not disclose personal information about guests. Generally, the statement read: “Any guest diagnosed with COVID-19 while visiting the resort is reported to the Southern Nevada Health District, which conducts community contact tracing. Our internal contact tracing determines who in the resort the guest has had contact with and what areas they visited; relevant contacts are informed for testing and the areas visited are thoroughly sanitized.
Denver Nuggets guard Troy Daniels posted two images of his meal to his Instagram story when he first arrived inside the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World last Tuesday. The post immediately went viral as social media jokes were made comparing the entrees to the meals “Fyre Fest” distributed. “It’s actually not that bad man, to be honest with you,” Daniels tells ClutchPoints from inside the bubble. “I think my picture that went viral really took everything out of context.” He then went on to explain how he really feels about the bubble. “You can tell the NBA put a lot of thought and a lot of money into it,” Daniels said. “Once you get out of the quarantine process, it’s really dope.”

Ben Simmons to play power forward?

Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown said Monday he has been playing All-Star Ben Simmons “exclusively” at power forward in practices inside the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World Resort and has been thrilled by what he’s seen. “He’s so dynamic,” Brown said on a conference call with reporters. “Let’s just talk about running. There’s nobody faster in the NBA. So to always have the ball and dribble it up against five guys … to do that dilutes some of his potent weapons. “So, watching him fly up the floor, watching him and Joel [Embiid] play off each other, has been a really good look. I think they’ve been fantastic together.”
Gratitude to be working during a time when he said “there’s not a lot of hope.” Gratitude for the opportunity to again inspire, playing the game he loves. Gratitude for his basketball career breathing another life. Gratitude for the opportunity to compete for a championship with the team that, just under three weeks away from the restart, owns the third-best record (44-20) and title odds in the league. “I feel really blessed to be in this situation. In September, I had a freak accident and cut my achilles,” Noah said, referencing an incident in which he sliced his achilles — crucially, not rupturing it — while carrying a steel ice tub, which required six-plus months of rehab. “And you know I told myself that’s just not how I wanted to end my career. So the day after the surgery I was in the gym working out, with the hope of making this team.”
“He looks great,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “I don’t know if this stoppage has helped any single player more than him, because he was not healthy when we signed him, and now he is. And so, you know, I think he’s gonna help us on the floor, but even if he doesn’t, he’s just gonna help us with his presence, and his voice. I think he’ll be invaluable for Zu(bac).”
For Conley, this latest round of training camp represents a polar opposite from his initial foray in a Utah Jazz uniform. He’s comfortable now. He knows what to expect from his coach, from his teammates, from the front office. It’s no secret that the season hasn’t been easy for him, especially when it came to adapting to a new system for the first time since matriculating from high school to Ohio State. But what seems to have been a painfully long integration now appears to be a thing of the past. “It feels like I’ve played a full season already,” Conley said. “I’ve had a chance to build chemistry with my coaches and with my teammates. I haven’t had any questions about plays or my role. I have a clear picture on what to expect.”
For the second straight media availability, head coach Doc Rivers was non-committal when asked about Leonard’s health status and the team’s plan with his injury management. “I don’t know that yet,” Rivers said of Leonard’s limitations with minutes and back-to-backs. “But no limits. Kawhi is healthy, for the most part. That still doesn’t mean that we don’t want to maintain him and get him through the first eight games and get ready for the playoffs. We want to be smart about this. Not just for Kawhi. It’s with everybody. “But having everybody healthy was more about training camp. I mean, we really did not have a great training camp because we didn’t have enough bodies and enough of our key guys practicing. We have a virtually new team so we needed our new guys to be on the floor, and we didn’t have that ability to do that. This time, for the most part, we’ll have everybody in.”
Storyline: Kawhi Leonard Injury

Knicks coaching job: Tom Thibodeau still the frontrunner

Tom Thibodeau remains the front-runner for the position, league sources have told The Athletic. The Knicks have 11 candidates in all, embarking on an exhaustive and wide-ranging search that might just land on the same man who has been thought to be their first choice all along. Rose told MSG Network last month that he expects a mid- to late-July conclusion to the search.
The Bulls hired Eversley three weeks after vehement blowback from Black executives over not having any candidates for the open executive vice-president of basketball operations job. Former Nuggets GM Arturas Karnisovas got the top job, while Eversley was hired as the No. 2 man. Behind the scenes, there’s still skepticism about the Bulls. “I could just see people saying they hired him because they needed a Black face,” said one high-ranking African American team executive who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Storyline: Bulls Front Office
The NBA has given players the approval to express their frustrations with the inequalities Black people are enduring by allowing them to choose from 28 different social injustice statement options to wear on the back of their jerseys. Troy Daniels said he selected Black Lives Matter as his first choice and Say Her Name as his second. “It’s unprecedented times,” Daniels said. “It’s one of the biggest movements ever. So, I want to shed light on that. It’s very important to me.”
As NBA players arrive at games during resumed play in Orlando, they will have the freedom to wear clothing from their own wardrobes while walking from the team bus to the venue’s locker rooms, according to a league spokesperson. Initially, ESPN was misinformed by a league spokesperson that a “concrete” dress code protocol had been finalized last week, requiring players to fully dress for games in their hotel rooms and “be in uniform and warmups when they arrive” to the game venue.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., suggested Monday he would support a subpoena of NBA commissioner Adam Silver to investigate the league’s relationship with China. Hawley expressed concern that the NBA is allowing players to wear preapproved social justice cause messages on their jerseys for causes such as Black Lives Matter but does not allow for messages relating to China or supporting law enforcement. He called a Senate Judiciary committee subpoena of Silver “a great idea.”
U.S. Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, in a letter to NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Friday, wrote that the league’s policy on social injustice messages “appears to stop at the edge of your corporate sponsors’ sensibilities,” especially when it comes to matters involving China and support of the United States military and law enforcement personnel. In the letter, Hawley said Silver has been “deepening the NBA’s ties to the CCP [Chinese Communist Party]” since Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet in support of anti-government protesters in Hong Kong in October.
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Andrews is one of only 10 or so “Group 1” reporters who will be admitted to the NBA bubble, which started welcoming 22 teams last week to restart the suspended season by July 31. Andrews admits she thought twice about the assignment. Reporters must agree to stay inside the bubble for three months. They must undergo daily COVID-19 testing. They can only move between their hotel and the practice and competition venues. But Andrews seized on the chance to tell the story of the NBA comeback to millions of global basketball fans. “I’m not going to lie. I was nervous. I’m a bit of a hypochondriac. I have bouts with anxiety,” said Andrews. “But first and foremost, I cover sports. I love journalism first. And sports journalism is what I do. This is an incredible journalistic opportunity. There are only 10 reporters and a handful of other folks who are going to be able to experience this and document it first-hand. It’s documenting history.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Harris remains saddened by the loss of Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash in January. “We talked different times over the years, but he was focused mainly at first just on him and what he could do to be the best. And for a while, he wasn’t the best teammate because he was, you know, in it to be the best. And he didn’t have patience for other players who couldn’t do what he could do. But he developed maturity later in his career. And he became such a man and did things for others,” said Harris. “And the shame of it all is that, at age 41, he was going to make an impact for years. He had a program all set up. But it’s a shame that he wasn’t able to continue on for another 20, 30 years and show just what kind of a man he turned out to be.”

Storyline: Orlando Bubble
July 13, 2020 | 9:55 pm EDT Update