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Eric Nehm: Giannis Antetokounmpo says the re-start is sort of like a FIBA tournament. He said he had a lot of questions as the league started talking about the re-start. "The most important thing I asked is: Is it going to be safe?"
Tim MacMahon: What’s the latest that Mike D’Antoni has heard from the league regarding him being allowed to coach from the Rockets bench in Orlando? “Crickets, which is a good thing,” D’Antoni said, reiterating that he fully intends to coach as usual.
Scott Agness: Victor Oladipo says his biggest concern about returning is the potential for another injury. He believes he’s susceptible to injury more than anyone. "It’s not about now, it’s about longevity."
In a conference call on Tuesday, Lakers vice president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka said that Howard has not yet informed the team on if he will play or sit when the NBA resumes its season July 30 in Orlando. Melissa Rios, the mother of Howard’s 6-year-old son David, died on March 27 near her home in Calabasas, California, because of a seizure after fighting epilepsy. Amid protests the past month, begun after George Floyd died while in police custody in Minneapolis, Howard has said publicly he may sit out the season to help ongoing efforts to address racial inequality. “We are going to continue to work through those extenuating circumstances with Dwight, support him, support his 6-year-old son and hope for the best that he would be a part of our roster in Orlando,” Pelinka said. “But that will be a continued process.”
Taylor Rooks: I talked to Austin Rivers about whether or not this NBA Champion will have an asterisk next to their name. This was his response: "I think whoever wins should have a asterisk next it. But only for it being one of the toughest championships ever won. Your asking guys to take 3-4 months off, then come back and find chemistry etc. then play during a pandemic, while players are fighting for the BLM. There's a lot going on right now. Crazy times and a lot of worry. And during these times players are leaving there families to go live in a locked down bubble. So for all these reasons and more. I think it will be one of the more tougher championships ever won. Only season ever like this. EVER. "
Fultz, who is averaging 12.1 points and 5.2 assists this season, did not have access to the Magic’s practice facility, so he could not treat his various shoulder and knee ailments that had bothered him in recent seasons. Even though Fultz already plays in Orlando, where the NBA will host its resumed season, the Magic do not have any geographical advantage. “At first, I thought we were going to be able to stay at home so I was a little excited. But then I realized we were going to have stay in the bubble, too,” Fultz said. “I understand the reasons why. It’s something I’m consciously thinking about. But I think about other teams that have to fly in their state and where they are playing at to come to Orlando. It is something that none of us have been used to or ready for. I’ve been thinking about it like it’ll be an AAU tournament.”
Shams Charania: Blazers star @Dame_Lillard sits down on @Stadium: Risks/rewards of NBA restart, life inside the Orlando campus, and a July birthday challenge ("I’m not trying to go there and waste a month and a half and go home. I’m going to stay and extend my stay").
In a recent podcast, ESPN sportswriter and commentator Brian Windhorst spoke on the cost of building and maintaining a self-contained “bubble” within Walt Disney World for the resumed 2019-20 season: “This is something I don’t think everybody understands. The Orlando ‘bubble’ is costing the NBA more than $150 million. More than 1.5 million dollars a day to put on. Not to mention all the lost revenue they have from not being able to sell tickets…”
Harrison Wind: Source: The Nuggets' familiarity with Tyler Cook was a significant factor in Denver bringing him back on a 2-way contract, which just became official. The Nuggets want to take players they trust into the Disney bubble, and they know Cook well. He spent training camp with Denver.
"Working to achieve financial security is not something to be ashamed of," Holiday wrote. "And as we head back to the court to resume the season, many players will be out there for the same reason I am — for our futures. But I also realize that there’s something just as critical at stake. More than ever, there is a dire need now to elevate my Black brothers and sisters, to use my platform to empower and elevate our people."
Damian Lillard: “My motivation is to get in the playoffs. For one, we want to play for a chance at a championship. I think everybody's coming back with some rust on 'em. Some teams gonna have guys that choose not to play. Some guys gonna be disinterested, wanting to go about their summer. Some guys gonna be out of shape...It's gonna be a lot of factors that give a lot of teams a chance to actually come in here and win it. I think that's part of my motivation, is knowing there is a legit chance... We got our starting power forward and center back. We're a healthier team. That's motivation.”
Adam Silver explained in a TIME100 interview with Sean Gregory, bad language is a real concern as the NBA resumes its season at Disney. "I think often players, they understand when they're on the floor, they're saying certain things to each other because it's so loud in the arena, they know a lot of it is not being picked up. They may have to adapt their language a little bit knowing what they say will likely be picked up by microphones and in all seriousness, we may need to put a little bit of a delay."
When play resumes a month from now at Walt Disney World, NBA players will have the option of wearing an Oura Ring. The rings track heart and respiratory rate, as well as temperature and sleep patterns. The hope is that they can be an additional line of defense against the spread of COVID-19.
Axios spoke with Oura CEO Harpreet Singh Rai to learn more about the product and why the NBA sought them out as a partner. How does this technology work? "Put simply, we help people understand and improve their health by focusing on better sleep. Consumers are given three scores: sleep, activity and readiness. And it's that readiness score that's really meant to tell users how they're feeling. The most important data we collect is temperature, which we can capture on the finger, but you don't see it on the wrist. That's one of the key reasons why the NBA isn't partnering with, say, Apple or Whoop."
How will you handle privacy concerns? Harpreet Singh Rai: "We're working with the NBA, NBPA, Excel Sports and CAA to make sure everyone feels comfortable. Think about it — we're tracking sleep, so a coach could ostensibly see that a player only got two hours of sleep the night before a game and decide not to start him. To ensure that doesn't happen, most of the data isn't being shared. The league and union only see something called a Risk Score, which combines heart rate, heart rate variability, temperature and respiratory rate. If the Risk Score is high enough, a team doctor is alerted and can test the player.”
Fournier believes the NBA's safety protocols, which also include regular testing, should offer enough protection. "For the NBA to take such a risk by resuming the season, the measures will be maximum," Fournier said. "They will make our lives easier so that we do not have to ask questions and make us feel safe every day." Fournier is also reassured by NBA pledges to subject Disney World staff to additional testing. "That's good," he said. "Honestly at first, the measures planned for them were nonsense."
Fournier also has sympathy with players who have raised concerns that the league's restart could draw attention away from the nationwide protest movement against racism and police brutality following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd during his arrest by police in Minneapolis on May 25. "I understand those who don't feel like playing because it could divert attention from this issue," Fournier said. "But I believe we should use the restart of the season as an opportunity to be heard. "The whole world is going to watch us. I think the majority of players will come and we will all use this platform, the NBA, to get a big message out. It could be remarkable."
After Porter signed, ESPN reported that he was expected to be ready for training camp for the 2020-21 season, which ordinarily would open in late September or early October this year. It remains to be seen whether Porter will be healthy enough to play in Orlando.
Marv Albert, arguably the greatest NBA play-by-player of all-time, will not be part of TNT’s on-site coverage when the NBA resumes its season in July at Disney World in Orlando, Fla., The Post has learned. Albert, 79, has been the longtime lead voice for Turner, but will not be a part of the coverage with the NBA planning to have its national announcers on site in the league’s bubble.
Sources said there are a few concerns within the union about the plan, particularly respecting the family’s right to pick the player they would want honoring the name, and with there being so many victims of police violence, there was genuine concern about adding unnecessary pain to families if their loved ones were omitted.
Melissa Rohlin: Rob Pelinka said the goal of the restart is: "Can we create an environment there that is safer than an environment just in the real world." He added that the spikes in Florida are "daunting." "But the whole purpose of creating this environment is not have the virus be there."
Harrison Faigen: Rob Pelinka on the central question facing the restart. "Can we create an environment there that is safer than the real world?" He says that he has "a high level of confidence" in the plans from the NBA. He says they'll also continually gauge how comfortable their players are.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Nets practice facility re-opened today after being closed for several days, sources said. Nets had recent positive coronavirus tests with DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie.
Jim Eichenhofer: David Griffin said #Pelicans had three players test positive for COVID-19 on the first day of testing, but none since then. Players who tested positive are in self-isolation and test daily. Once they have two favorable tests, they can return to participation
Oleh Kosel: David Griffin on how Zion Williamson has looked asides his physical fitness: "He is handling the ball really well and the shooting looks great."
J. Michael Falgoust: Pritchard says #Pacers still have one player who is "on the fence" about going to Orlando. "This is a very personal decision. I don't want to be the kind of leader who says, 'You have to do it.'
Scott Agness: Pacers president Kevin Pritchard said one player remains on the fence about joining the team at Disney. He says they won't apply any pressure. “It’s a personal decision. … No judgement if he doesn’t want to do it.” Deadline to decide is Wednesday.
Mark Medina: David Griffin, a cancer survivor, will be in Orlando for the resume season. Griffin: "I’m not at all in a high risk area. I’m not going to ask my players do anything I wouldn’t do."
Adrian Wojnarowski: After positive tests for the coronavirus within the traveling party headed to Orlando, the Denver Nuggets have closed team's practice facility for several days, sources tell ESPN. Facility was locked to players and staff starting Saturday, and could open again later this week.
There were some concerns that coaches over the age of 65 (Gentry is 65) may be forced to sit away from their teams during games or not go to the bubble at all over concerns from the coronavirus. Do you plan on coaching the team in Orlando, and has the league told you if you’ll even be allowed to go? Alvin Gentry: No one has told me that I’m not (allowed to coach the team in Orlando). I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to getting back and watching the guys play and enjoying it. Hopefully, we can continue the run that we made before the shutdown. But I plan on coaching without any restrictions. We’ll see if the league comes up with a different plan.
Disney spokesperson Andrea Finger declined to comment, but she passed along a statement that Dr. Pamela Hymel, Disney Parks’ Chief Medical Officer posted June 18 on the company's website. Hymel outlined the various protocols Disney will take, including temperature checks for guests, increased cleaning and disinfecting, social distancing, required face coverings and options for contact-less payments. Hymel added, "as we prepare for the reopening of our destinations, this is a responsibility we take very seriously." "I support people’s rights to express that point of view. We have members that have the opposite point of view and everywhere in between,” said Jeremy Haicken, president of UNITE HERE Local 737, the union which represents workers in Walt Disney World Food & Beverage and Housekeeping. "The bigger question is Florida has a completely broken unemployment system where workers are faced with this choice to starve or go back to work in a dangerous environment. About 30% of our members have not received a penny in unemployment in ten weeks. It is absolutely criminal that workers are being forced to choose between starving and going back to work in this environment."
Health officials offered mostly rave reviews about the NBA’s 113-page health and safety protocols, both for its preparation and depth. Yet, some health officials and those in NBA circles wondered why Disney employees would not be subject to quarantine procedures as NBA players, coaches and staff members are required. "I don’t think any reasonable person would say that was a real possibility. You’re talking about hundreds, maybe thousands, of workers in these hotels that would never see their family for three months," Clinton said. "These are a mix of single parents, mixed families, joint families, all with kids. They’re all very diverse. They are immigrants and people of color. There is absolutely no way someone should expect a housekeeper who makes $15 an hour not to see her children for however long this is going to go on."
They will have other responsibilities, too. When teams begin their quarantine between July 7 and 11, Disney employees will arrange for meal delivery to be placed outside each person’s room. They will clean and disinfect training and practice equipment in between uses after a team leaves the area. While teams will be responsible for their own laundry, Disney employees will clean the hotel linens. Disney will also staff take-out restaurants with the same employees to eliminate staff turnover. They will all be required to wear masks and gloves, while staying at least six feet apart. Said Clinton: "They’re going to be scheduled and trained in a way not to interact with the players as much as possible."
Regardless, the NBA said in its health and safety protocols that the league, players union and Disney "will continue to monitor the ongoing coronavirus situation, including as local, state and national public health recommendations evolve, new or different technologies become available (e.g., related to diagnostic testing or contact tracing), and emerging evidence continues to inform best practices for prevention, control, and mitigation strategies." "We are continuing to work with Disney on the testing of at least a subset of their employees that could potentially be in the same room with our players and anyone else who’s tested daily on our campus," Silver said. "So we are satisfied that once we work through those additional measures with Disney, we will continue to have a safe setting for us to resume our season."
NBPA director Michele Roberts hinted at concerns over OTAs for the “Delete 8’’ during Friday’s conference call, but didn’t rule it out. “Candidly, while I appreciate that there will be a bit of a layoff, I think there are some things these teams can do to get the guys that are not playing some [benefit] by their not being involved in Orlando,’’ Roberts said. “But unless we could replicate in every way the protocol that’s been established for Orlando, I’d be — I’m being tame now — suspicious.”
Chandler explained why he won’t be playing next month when he appeared as a guest on The Court Vision podcast with Jameer Nelson and Ben Stinar. “For me, personally, I think like the unknown of this whole COVID thing and just having a grandmother who’s 87 – she just turned 87 – and battling all types of illnesses and having young kids, I think it’s more important for me to be at home with my family and taking care of my family,” Chandler said. “So, that’s my biggest [reason] to stay home. “And then if you throw in the whole social justice [aspect] and everything that’s going on over police brutality with the government and all that, I mean, it just makes it a bit more difficult.”
Even prior to these positive tests, some Nets players -- like others on several NBA teams -- discussed the possibility of sitting out the restart in Orlando, sources said. As the Nets lose more players, it perhaps becomes easier for other key players to decide that there isn't a compelling competitive reason to travel and play.
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The Blazers had arranged for Powell to rent the vacant house of former player Kent Bazemore, located on the banks of Lake Oswego. And inside the home, Powell found it was stocked with all his favorite necessities, from a California King size bed and big screen TV, right down to the lavender-scented laundry detergent and Welch’s Berries-N-Cherries fruit snacks. The organization even arranged for a service to drive his two Pomeranian Huskies — Apollo and Odin — from Tampa to Portland. Waiting for them were dog beds filled with toys. “It was amazing,” Powell said. “And I mean, AMAZING. They went all out. They did everything you can think of to make sure that I’m comfortable.”
Not a day went by, it seemed, that Raymond wasn’t molding Norman through his actions or his words. Norman remembers pouting one day: he felt his mother didn’t live up to an agreement to give him a reward for completing a task. As he complained, Norman kept repeating “she owes me.” Raymond set him straight. “He told me, ‘Your mother doesn’t owe you anything. She gave you life and makes sure you have food on the table and your needs are met. She doesn’t owe you; you owe her everything,’” Norman recalls. “He always found different moments in my life to instill what my mindset should be.”
As Raymond underwent radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Norman became one of his caregivers, walking to his home after school, or after basketball practice. He helped him into the shower. He coaxed him out of bed and encouraged him to move around. And as he watched Raymond’s body begin to wilt from the treatments, he looked for high protein meals. “He was like a nurse,” said Sharon, Norman’s mother and Raymond’s sister. “I was so proud of Norman stepping in and helping.”