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Tom Westerholm: Marcus Smart encourages anyone who has had COVID to donate plasma. “You don’t know whose life you might change with that."
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.
As he learned more about the NBA’s restart plan and safety protocols, McCollum said he began to feel better about playing, and his opinion started to shift. He asked his family if they wanted him to play. Had they said no, he wouldn’t have chosen to go. “From the standpoint of understanding what I can accomplish while playing in front of all those fans, especially to help the movement,” McCollum said. “I feel like it was in my better interest personally to play.”
It took a lot of time and information to persuade McCollum to play, and it still wasn’t an easy decision. Much more than getting into the playoffs, he’s worried about his health and that of his teammates. “I don’t know how much interactive fun I’ll have from a safety standpoint,” McCollum said. “I think it’s best to stick to yourself if I’m being honest. Stay in my room, FaceTime, talk to my family, read some books, play some video games, drink some McCollum Heritage 91 and keep it moving. I don’t really plan on mingling too much, especially to start, because one false negative could be the end.”
The Nets head to Orlando on Tuesday and enter quarantine in Disney. Dinwiddie would be required by the NBA to have two negative tests before he could even travel. His hope is to be able to fly with the team to Florida, because traveling separately will complicate matters. “Protocol only calls for 7 days and negative tests not the 14 day standard,” Dinwiddie tweeted of the shorter one-week quarantine. “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.”
Dinwiddie is averaging career-highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists, and would be a huge loss should he be unable to play. More playmaking burden would fall on two-way player Chris Chiozza. “With Spencer, I hope he can play. I hope he feels better,” Chiozza said. “But if not, I’ll be ready to take on those extra minutes.”
Eric Walden: Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay recalled some of the craziness the night of March 11/morning of March 12 in OKC. Mentioned how "uneducated" players were then vs. now. Recalled being shocked when Donovan Mitchell tested positive. Said he figured NBA would shut down for 2-3 weeks.
"The (NBA) GMs I've spoken to, we all believe the safest place to be is in the bubble," Jones said. "Here in Arizona, you sees the cases skyrocketing. Across the U.S., the cases are spiking, and our players are a younger generation. Social generation. The more constraints you can put in place, the better. The structure of Orlando will be beneficial for us."
Eric Walden: Tony Bradley said it will be hard in the bubble being so close to where his family lives and not being able to see them. He also noted that with the COVID numbers in Florida as they are, he's been trying to convince his father, who's a pastor, to stay at home more.
Ira Winderman: Meyers Leonard on teammates and players around the NBA testing positive for COVID, "Obviously this virus is hard to control." Says when players get in a true bubble, he expects positives tests to be reduced.
Anthony Chiang: Meyers Leonard has said numerous times over the past few months that Udonis Haslem's essay for the The Players' Tribune inspired him. Leonard said it's one of the reasons he was so proactive with raising money during the pandemic.
Sam Amick: Source tells @TheAthletic the Kings have shut down their practice facility after receiving a positive coronavirus test within the team’s traveling party on Sunday. The facility is not expected to reopen before the team departs for Orlando on Wednesday.
James Ham: Confirming that the Sacramento Kings have shut down their practice facility after a positive test within their traveling party. No word yet on whether it was player, staff or coach. @sam_amick first with the news
Marc Stein: Sacramento would be the seventh team of the 22 bound for Walt Disney World publicly known to take this measure at some point over the past two weeks since players were asked to be back in their home markets on June 22: Kings, Bucks, Heat, Clippers, Nuggets, Suns and Nets
David Morrow: It was just said on the broadcast that a player on @thetournament team Eberlein Drive tested positive for COVID-19, and the team is therefore dropping out of the tournament. Dusty Hannahs, JP Macura, Tim Quarterman, Kaiser Gates among notable names on the team.
After receiving the results of a Friday round of testing for the coronavirus, the Milwaukee Bucks shut down the team's practice facility for workouts until the team departs for Orlando, Florida, this week, sources told ESPN. It was not immediately clear if there was more than one positive test, but the team plans to keep the facility closed for workouts until the team's traveling party departs for the league's restart in Orlando on Thursday, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Milwaukee Bucks have shut down the team’s practice facility after receiving results of a Friday round of coronavirus testing, sources tell ESPN. The team isn’t expected to reopen facility for workouts prior to the organization's traveling party leaving for Orlando Thursday.
Matt Velazquez: League source confirms the @Adrian Wojnarowski report that the Bucks have closed their practice facility following Friday’s round of coronavirus testing. The Bucks are not expected to have any further sessions at their practice facility before Thursday when they leave for Orlando.
Maccabi Tel Aviv announced that Tyler Dorsey has been quarantined after a verified case of COVID-19 was discovered in his building. The Israeli League season resumed on June 21 and Maccabi has played four games so far in the Winner Stage Group, winning three of them and improving to a 22-3 overall record.
Turner's father, David, contracted the COVID-19 virus and was quarantined in a bedroom in the family home in Dallas for about 10 days. He's doing well now according to Myles, but the episode had an obvious impact on his feelings toward going back to basketball when the number of cases of infected people continues to rise. Turner moved back into his parents' house when he returned to Texas after the season was put on hold. His father hadn't been feeling well and was discovered to have the virus the second time he was tested. "I saw it firsthand and how it affected my family and I couldn't imagine how it's affected other families," Turner said Friday during a Zoom call with media members. "I definitely wasn't a big proponent of playing at first. I still have questions now, but most of the questions have been answered."

http://twitter.com/LegionHoops/status/1279513159036854272
The league has implemented exhaustive testing procedures for its Disney campus in Orlando, and yet NBA Commissioner Adam Silver concedes it’s “not impermeable.” He even allowed that his concern is increasing, owing to the 10,000 cases Florida just saw in one day. “We’re talking about degrees of risk in all these things, and I think sometimes that gets lost,” said Dr. Lisa Miller, a professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. “It’s not like there’s a black-and-white line between you’re either over 65 and you’re at risk or you’re under 65 and you’re not.”
“If you’re in the bubble and you know you have seven percent of people who are PCR positive, that seems concerning,” Miller said. “If it’s pre-bubble, and you’ve allowed the appropriate amount of time for isolation of those people then I think that’s different.” The NBA has, deliberately, not stated what it would take to call off the restart. “This level of testing and oversight is just so many levels more than any other community that I find it hard to imagine that there will be uncontrolled transmission because they’ll be able to identify it so early,” Miller said, while acknowledging some level of risk associated with just playing basketball. “The concerning thing would be if there was identified person-to-person transmission within the bubble, and they demonstrate that all these safeguards are really not preventing that then I think they’ll have to rethink it.”
WHEN FRANK VOGEL has chatted with the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of traveling to the NBA's campus at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, next week, the conversation has mostly been informational. Players want clarity about how restrictive the so-called bubble will be -- for instance, under what circumstances, if any, can they leave? The coach is asking his players to treat such matters as they would best practices for any other element of being a professional.
Returning players need to reestablish peak fitness as quickly as possible, but working into shape too quickly could risk injury. A playoff team must be able to leverage its talents in creative, unpredictable ways -- but being too creative before players have a chance to review the basics might generate more confusion than success. Coaches and players mostly want to return to normality as quickly as possible -- but what if trying to approximate normality only places more emphasis on the abnormal? "We are creatures of habit, and our environment has been shaken up," Vogel said. "It's really going to be a balancing act."
You’re still a free agent right now and you are eligible to be a replacement player when the NBA season resumes in Orlando. Have you had any conversations with teams about the possibility of getting signed as a replacement player? Raymond Felton: I think my agent has, man. But, to me, I’m up in the air about that whole situation because we don’t have this coronavirus thing under control. I have a family, I have kids, and I have other things to worry about. Do I want to play basketball? Yes, I love basketball. I’ve been out for a whole year, so I definitely want to play and I definitely want to be on somebody’s roster. I want to help out, being that leader in the locker room and on the court and playing my role. But it’s kind of hard when six more guys just had a positive test, so we’re talking about more and more guys every week who are coming up positive when tested. Now, you’re going to put everyone together all in one place and play these games? To me, man, it’s just not safe. I ain’t no expert on this. But, in my opinion, it’s not safe. I’m just not 100-percent comfortable with playing right now because it’s not okay. The cases are steady going up. And they’re going to Florida, which is one of the worst places to go at this moment! I don’t know, man. It’s kind of tough for me. I do want to play. I do love to play basketball, and I’m ready to play and want to play. But it’s a tough situation right now, man. It really is.
You’re still a free agent right now and you are eligible to be a replacement player when the NBA season resumes in Orlando. Have you had any conversations with teams about the possibility of getting signed as a replacement player? Raymond Felton: I think my agent has, man. But, to me, I’m up in the air about that whole situation because we don’t have this coronavirus thing under control. I have a family, I have kids, and I have other things to worry about. Do I want to play basketball? Yes, I love basketball. I’ve been out for a whole year, so I definitely want to play and I definitely want to be on somebody’s roster. I want to help out, being that leader in the locker room and on the court and playing my role. But it’s kind of hard when six more guys just had a positive test, so we’re talking about more and more guys every week who are coming up positive when tested. Now, you’re going to put everyone together all in one place and play these games? To me, man, it’s just not safe. I ain’t no expert on this. But, in my opinion, it’s not safe. I’m just not 100-percent comfortable with playing right now because it’s not okay. The cases are steady going up. And they’re going to Florida, which is one of the worst places to go at this moment! I don’t know, man. It’s kind of tough for me. I do want to play. I do love to play basketball, and I’m ready to play and want to play. But it’s a tough situation right now, man. It really is.
From my understanding, his two week quarantine is almost done. Before he leaves Serbia, he’ll need two negative tests. And once he returns, he’ll need to test negative again. If he gets to Orlando on time, he’d have about two weeks before inter-squad scrimmages begin. Those three scrimmages would precede the seeding games.
Brian Lewis: Joe Harris is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. But he said he never really considered sitting out the #NBA restart due to COVID-19, and any risk it presented to his health and next contract, which should be the biggest of his career. #Nets

https://twitter.com/SerenaWinters/status/1278729904494981123
As coronavirus cases rise in different regions across the United States, commissioner Adam Silver has made clear that the league is monitoring the numbers as it prepares to head for Orlando. Silver has described to league executives on conference calls recently that his goal is for the Disney World campus to be the safest place in the U.S. “We have confidence in the plan that we’ve built,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told players and teams on a call this week, according to sources. “It was designed for this.”
Melli was also concerned that if he left the United States, he may not be able to return to America for the NBA’s resumption, due to travel restrictions. Fortunately, he indicated that none of his family members or friends contracted the coronavirus. “Everybody was affected from this virus,” Melli said. “Luckily all of my family and friends were healthy and are still healthy. I feel very lucky about it. It was a tough period (this spring).”
Mike Vorkunov: Patrick Ewing told SiriusXM NBA Radio he's feeling good after recovering from COVID-19. Said he had a fever, weakness, and shortness of breath. "I was doing everything that was being said — wearing my mask, social distance, keep away from others — and I still caught it."
One day in mid-May, the NBA emailed. They wanted to talk. Robby Sikka, vice president of basketball performance and technology for the Minnesota Timberwolves and a physician, sent the note, sparking a month of Zoom meetings and collaborative calls that occasionally stretched into the early hours of morning. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association — busy plotting out the logistics of a potential return to competition — soon hatched a plan with Yale researchers to verify their saliva-based test, which is called SalivaDirect.
Frequent testing — and the infrastructure to support it — presents an enticing research opportunity for scientists. The partnership allows NBA players, coaches and staff who opt-in to supplement their required testing regimen with an extra step that will help bring SalivaDirect closer to public use. Grubaugh said that their team is preparing to apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration with the goal of making the test ready for public use by as early as mid-July. Comparing saliva test results to those that originate from the NBA’s regular testing will help validate the effectiveness of SalivaDirect.
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."
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August 4, 2020 | 3:02 am EDT Update
He did show off more of a willingness to shoot in the scrimmage games as he was able to knock one down in their scrimmage opener against the Memphis Grizzlies. In fact, he took two 3-pointers in that game. The thing is, he hasn’t taken any shots from deep since then. “I went back and studied the game (against the Indiana Pacers),” said coach Brett Brown. “There was one time where I thought ‘Yep, you could’ve fired a perimeter shot’ and it wasn’t even really a three as I remember it. It’s not on my mind like it is everybody else’s. I think he has chewed up space when people sag in. He’s chewed up space and driven in.”
“I do concede when it’s blatantly obvious and he’s spaced out, for instance, we’re posting Joel or Al Horford as an example, and Jo ends up down in that low zone, we can’t have four people on the perimeter,” said Brown. “So there are times where he could grab a corner, sometimes no, sometimes he can be behind a backboard and playing in that dunker spot as I call it, but it’s old news to me, to be truthful. I feel like his head is in a good place to shoot it and produce, but I don’t see it as trepidation or lack of confidence. I don’t see it like that.”
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, those close to the situation believe the Duke product is clearly not in the right state to play in the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season: “When you watch him play, he clearly is not in condition to compete at the highest level,” said Windhorst on The Hoop Collective podcast. “As I watched him play two games, I don’t actually think they should have played him at all the way he’s playing. In fact, I talked to a scout who said to me he shouldn’t be out there right in the condition he’s in. He said to me he’s moving worse than he did in Summer League last summer when he got hurt in his first or second game.
One said that the compact comeback could be a true equalizer. Example: Some league insiders see Portland as a threat to upset the Lakers in a first-round series after welcoming back its previously ailing frontcourt pair of Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins. The other executive, by contrast, described the eight seeding games all teams must play before the postseason as a lengthy runway that will afford the Lakers, the Bucks and the Clippers time to regain their March form.

Chris Smith returning to UCLA

The Pac-12 Conference’s most improved player could become its most valuable. Chris Smith is returning to UCLA for his senior season, putting off the NBA for one more chance to continue his dramatic upward college trajectory. Sean Smith, Chris’ father, made the announcement Monday. “Chris is returning to school due to too much uncertainty on both sides of the coin,” said Sean Smith, alluding to the COVID-19 pandemic that led to the cancellation of workouts for NBA prospects and a delayed draft. “He’ll finish his degree and work to improve in the areas he needs to improve on.”
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Gonzaga forward Corey Kispert is withdrawing his name from the NBA draft and will return to the Bulldogs for his senior season, putting them in contention to be the preseason No. 1 team in the country. Kispert was a potential second-round pick, ranking No. 47 overall and No. 6 among small forwards in ESPN’s NBA draft rankings. But he, like teammate Joel Ayayi last week, is heading back to Spokane, Washington, to compete for a national championship.
The NBA on Monday announced the launch of an alternate telecast centered on sports betting for select games, the latest broadcast enhancement for the NBA restart. NBABet Stream will feature overlays displaying point spreads and odds, as well as betting analysis, beginning with the Oklahoma City Thunder-Denver Nuggets game Monday. The NBABet Stream broadcast is available on NBA League Pass, NBA TV via the NBA App and NBA.com through the league’s direct-to-consumer subscription product.
As much as he wanted to be with his New Orleans Pelicans teammates, was going back to basketball worth it under those circumstances? Was it wise to spend months away from his family — Lauren pregnant with their second child — during a worsening pandemic? His actions in the past proved that basketball isn’t everything to him, his family is. One night the answer came to them. When it did, it felt so simple. He would play and donate the remainder of his salary this season, about $5 million, to businesses, nonprofits and higher learning institutions that serve the Black community and communities of color.
“There needed to be a reason why I felt it was worth leaving my family and my pregnant wife to go into this bubble,” Jrue said. “I think that gave me a great reason to go back and play, to feel like I’m doing something for my people and this culture. Donating the rest of my contract was kind of the ultimate decision for why I was going.” The newly created Jrue and Lauren Holiday Fund has committed to donate $1.5 million to organizations and businesses in New Orleans, $1 million in Indianapolis where Lauren is from, and $1.5 million in Los Angeles and Compton. An additional $1 million will be given to Black-owned small businesses in 10 U.S. cities and $500,000 will go to historically Black colleges and universities.
August 3, 2020 | 9:38 pm EDT Update
August 3, 2020 | 9:15 pm EDT Update
August 3, 2020 | 8:13 pm EDT Update
“So on that play, at replay, Olynyk, we judged that he took an aggressive swipe and he made some contact into the facial area of Kyle Lowry,” Guthrie said in the pool report. “At replay, in my judgement, I felt like that did meet the criteria for a flagrant foul. After reviewing that more postgame, and thinking about it a little bit more, to me, it now is more of a natural basketball play going for the ball and that the contact really did not rise to the criteria of a flagrant foul. In both of these instances and cases, though, as always, I know that the league office will review them as they always do all flagrant fouls and they’ll make their determinations at the end of the day on what they think they ended up, in their judgement, that it was. But we had our judgments in the live game.”
August 3, 2020 | 7:05 pm EDT Update
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