Mark Berman: Forward PJ Tucker flew with the #Rockets t…

Mark Berman: Forward PJ Tucker flew with the #Rockets to Florida. He never thought for one second about opting out: “I want to play basketball. I love playing basketball. I got an eight-year-old son that loves watching me play. He’s so excited right now. He’s super-hyped for me to go play…”

More on Orlando Bubble

The Denver Nuggets expect All-Star center Nikola Jokic to arrive in Orlando from his native Serbia to join the team for the NBA restart in the next couple of days, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Jokic tested positive for COVID-19 in June, but has since tested negative consecutively and is cleared to enter the campus at Walt Disney World.
This is a solid step for the organization after the initial shock of its franchise player contracting the virus outside of the United States. Jokic is in good health, sources said.
Ava Wallace: Garrison Mathews, Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton did not travel with the Wizards to Orlando, per sources. Mathews for personal reasons. Bryant and Payton have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Andy Larsen: Rudy Gobert, on why he chose "Equality" to go on his jersey: "I think Equality is a powerful word... It's something that we can strive to attain as a society... I think we'd be lying to ourselves if we thought that was the case today. We've got to keep pushing in that direction."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Scott Brooks says everyone looks forward to time away and relaxing at a nice hotel but this was more “forced relaxation” when Wiz quarantined for 2 days. He said outside of Zoom workout/yoga sessions, FaceTiming family and texting players, he went crazy trying to pass the time.
The program, known as KINEXON SafeZone, has already been used successfully in the German BBL in their recently-completed tournament. Where the focus for the BBL was on contact tracing data being stored in case of a positive COVID-19 test, however, the NBA is currently more interested in the proximity alarm features of the technology, sources say. Player and staff use of KINEXON technology is optional, per sources.
There remains a possibility that KINEXON SafeZone is utilized further by the NBA for contact tracing data collection in Orlando, per sources, though no agreement has been reached at this point. Such a program would also be fully anonymous, and would allow for detailed tracing of recent contacts for any player or staff member who tests positive for COVID-19 within the bubble - potentially allowing play to continue without significant risk of a major outbreak within the campus.
Jonathan Feigen: Can confirm that James Harden and Russell Westbrook were not on the flight to Orlando, per source. Luc Mbah a Moute and player development coach John Lucas also did not fly with the team.
Fred Katz: Scott Brooks says “a couple of guys didn’t make the trip” to Orlando. Said he can’t get into who it was because they can’t reveal certain medical information.
Jonathan Feigen: Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni will be part of the Rockets traveling party to Orlando this afternoon. He said he did not anticipate any issues having provided the information the NBA sought.
This week, Deshaun Watson and NBA All-Star Carmelo Anthony discussed via Zoom the possibility of what the 2020 NBA and NFL seasons might look like in the age of the coronavirus. "The pressure is on us at the end of the day to make this work, because in all honesty, if it doesn't work for us, it's not going to work for anybody else, right?" Anthony said. "So, you know, we're kind of the leaders in that space in being the pioneers on trying what this new game is about to be. We're not going to have fans but in sports, period. There may not be fans for the rest of the year, even in '21 there may not be fans, at the end of the day. The fans have to get used to not being (there). It's an adjustment for the fans too."
As of Wednesday afternoon, 285 of the expected 350 eligible NBA players have picked a social justice message to put on their jerseys while 17 have opted to continue to use their names instead, Roberts told The Undefeated. Although the soft deadline was Monday, she said the NBPA is waiting for more players to make a final decision. NBA jerseys are made by Nike.
Roberts said there also will be social justice messages on jerseys in languages other than English, including Slovenian, Italian, French Creole, Latvian, Maori, Hebrew, Bosnian and Portuguese. Oklahoma City Thunder guard and NBPA executive director Chris Paul plans to have "EQUALITY" on the back of his jersey. "I chose 'EQUALITY' because it reminds us that in order to have real impact and change, we need to make a conscious effort to level the playing field and create systems that are not bias based on race, education, economics or gender," Paul told The Undefeated.
Gordon Hayward's wife Robyn posted a heartfelt message to Instagram as the team was leaving noting how long she and their kids could be away from her husband. She is due with their fourth child in early September and Hayward has said he will leave the bubble in order to be with her when she goes into labor. Here's the post.
Do you think it’s the right thing for the NBA to resume the season? Kenny Smith: "I’m optimistic only because we were the first league to stop and the first major company to stop. So we’re the first to come back in a modified version. I’m hoping that because we stopped first, we have done the protocols and thought of some things in the bubble that most people hadn’t thought of already. So it could be something that this becomes useful for other places."
The NBA’s professional basketball teams have recently moved into a “isolation bubble” at Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports in Reunion, Fla., where they will live, practice and play without outside visitors or fans, in an attempt to avoid the coronavirus. As part of that isolation, the NBA has partnered with six restaurants to provide delivery meals to staff and players. All six of those restaurants, which include Morton’s Steakhouse, Oceanaire and Joe’s Crab Shack, are owned by billionaire restauranteur and Rockets owner Tillman Fertitta, according to NBA reporter Jeff Zillgitt.
Kendra Andrews: Nuggets pushed back their first practice in Orlando from today to tomorrow afternoon. With their quarantine period ending just this morning, coaches wanted the players to have a little more time to adjust before jumping back into things.
For three days, Jennifer Hale had to isolate inside her room on the 20th floor of the Hyatt Regency in Columbus, Ohio. She did her taxes. She got some work done, though the WiFi was spotty because so many players were using it to stream video games. Three times a day, someone knocked on her door to deliver a brown paper bag full of food. “All the little things, you miss,” Hale said. “For instance, choosing your own meals. You get what they put in that bag.”
No fans will be allowed in the stands, which has been the policy at basketball tournaments world-wide during the pandemic. Jordan Crawford, who was with the Pelicans from 2016-18, played for Brose Bamberg inside the German Basketball Bundesliga bubble. He said the most difficult part of the experience was playing six games in a 13-day span. Crawford only had two weeks of practice before games restarted. NBA players will have a little less than two weeks of practice before scrimmages begin. “When it got to game two, three, four, five and six, I couldn’t recover fast enough,” Crawford said. “I wasn’t feeling fresh. My legs were weak. I couldn’t move as quick. On the defensive end, I couldn’t react to people. I don’t like to be cocky or nothing like that, but that competition wasn’t that much. If I could’ve moved the way I wanted to move, we could’ve really won the thing.”
BLADE IN HAND, Mohashie "Mo" Rodriguez carefully guided a straight-edge razor across a customer's cheek, completing his first pass. It was midday on July 2 at The Cut Stop Barbershop in Miami's Palmetto Bay neighborhood, and people had been pouring into Rodriguez's barbershop since the city eased its lockdown rules. As Rodriguez prepared for his second pass, he heard his nearby cellphone ring and spotted the caller ID: Will Rondo, the 39-year-old brother of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo.
Normally, Rodriguez doesn't let calls interrupt his work, but he knew this one was different. So he reached for his phone, cradled it between his shoulder and ear and prepared to resume the shave. It only took a moment for Rodriguez to know it was the news he had been awaiting: He would be one of six barbers heading inside the NBA's bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. For a period that will last at least four weeks and stretch possibly as long as three and a half months, Rodriguez will be among a select few tasked with cutting the hair of the more than 300 players from 22 NBA teams.
“I thought about it,” Embiid said when asked whether he considered opting out. “The current trend (of) people getting sick and a lot of people dying, obviously you don’t know what’s gonna happen, (but) you don’t want to be in a situation where you put your life at risk and all that stuff just for, what, the money? “At the end of the day, basketball is not all that matters. I got family, I got myself to look out for,” Embiid continued. “All I want to be is stay healthy and stay safe. Keep the people around me safe. I want to make sure I’m able to live for a long time and not have any sort of consequences in the future.”
“There’s some guys that like to go out, there’s some guys that like to do stuff, there’s some guys that like adventure,” Embiid said, joking that all he wants to do when on the road is play videogames. “I know myself. I know I’m not gonna put everybody else at risk. But the question is, is everybody else gonna do the same? Just being around this business, I surely don’t think so.”
Malika Andrews: Jon Horst said that food was an important topic in preparation for the bubble. Here are some of the meals I was delivered while in quarantine in Orlando. As I mentioned on the Hoop Collective w/ @WindhorstESPN , we are provided with several options to limit touching of food items:
Before the beginning of scrimmages on July 22, the memo notes, only teams located at two of the three NBA-attended hotels, the Grand Floridian and the Yacht Club, can use the boats. That means teams staying at the Gran Destino — which includes the Bucks, Lakers, Clippers, Raptors, Nuggets, Celtics, Jazz and Heat — have to wait two weeks in Orlando before full marine privileges. Beginning in late July, Walt Disney World will open for after-hours experiences. Up to 40 guests at a time (so, mostly a full team — considering each organization is bringing about 40 people) will be allowed to go to Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom, Rock ’n’ Roller Coaster at Hollywood Studios, Test Track at Epcot and more.
Harrison Wind: Booth says the Nuggets aren't concerned about Jokic's availability for the restart: "No, I don't think we're concerned at all. I think he's excited about joining the bubble I think everybody realizes the opportunity that we have and they want to try and take advantage of it."
Harrison Wind: More Booth on Jokic: "We're trying to work out the logistics right now. He's not en route as far as I know. I think he's waiting just to get a proper flight and get out here. I think he's feeling good about his situation and ready to go."
J. Michael Falgoust: McMillan on Oladipo's decision: "His call. I guess he didn't feel he would be ready to go. He has always planned to go to Orlando and play 5 on 5. He still plans ... to be involved with all the practices. There are no restrictions." #Pacers
Scott Agness: Pacers are scheduled to land in Orlando around noon on Thursday — among the final teams to arrive for the NBA’s restart.
How quickly will players knock off rust? To what degree will players be more susceptible to injuries? And will the long hiatus even the playing field between playoff teams? “I don’t think anyone in the NBA has ever been through anything like this,” Weltman said. “These guys have never been through this long a period of not playing basketball. And so that’s where the attachment (between players and their teams), the communication, the organization … will matter. The conditioning and the work that players have put in individually will matter. But this is completely unpredictable.”
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic retested negative for the coronavirus in Serbia, but travel issues and the timing of the requisite testing made it difficult for the All-Star to join the team for its flight to Orlando, Florida, a source confirmed to ESPN. The Nuggets departed Denver for Orlando on Tuesday, but the team would not confirm who was on the team flight.
A source said Jokic is healthy. However, the center had to produce two negative coronavirus tests in Serbia before traveling to the United States. And then he was required to produce two more negative tests before flying to Orlando with the team. A source said the timing of everything made it difficult and too tight of a fit for Jokic before the team departed on Tuesday.
Clarke wasn't cleared to resume play when the COVID-19 pandemic stopped the Grizzlies' season on March 11. But while he spent his time sheltering in place with video games and friends, he also got to heal and regain his form once the team began voluntary workouts. "Over these past five to six weeks, I've gotten back to the player that I was. I feel like I'm pretty much the same health that I was pre-injury," Clarke said Monday. "I got the same balance and running habits, so it'll all just be about my habits on the court."
Over four months elapsing between the postponement and resumption of the 2019-20 season has certainly felt like a long wait, but it’s felt even longer for Trail Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony. The way he sees it, the restart in Orlando, which is basically an eight-game playoff for a team in Portland’s position in the standings, is a chance to fulfill the potential that prompted the Trail Blazers’ unsuccessful attempt to acquire the 6-9 forward back in 2018. “I'm more excited about actually being in the position that I was supposed to be in a couple years ago with this team,” said Anthony during a Zoom interview Tuesday afternoon. “And having those guys around me and being able to bring something to this team that has kind of just been lingering around for so long. Giving them another option on the perimeter, another scoring threat out there, another guy who can make plays for everybody else.”
Mike Finger: This is not exactly breaking news, but because the question has been asked of some of the league’s other, ahem, venerable coaches: Can confirm Gregg Popovich is officially scheduled to travel with the rest of the Spurs to Florida on Thursday.
Will Guillory: Pelicans assistant Jamelle McMillan will not be joining the team in Orlando, per a team source. He'll stay home to take care of his newborn son. The team fully supports his decision.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
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December 3, 2022 | 8:06 pm EST Update
But Jalen Brunson, probably the best player on the team this season, doesn’t believe disasters like Saturday’s 121-100 loss should fall on Tom Thibodeau. “Coach Thibs has done a great job,” Brunson said. “He’s been able to put us in positions where we need to succeed. I think he knows where to put those puzzle pieces. It’s just on us to actually execute and do things. So it’s just — I know he’s going to get a lot of the blame, guys are going to get some of the blame. It’s on us. We’re the players out there not battling. It’s his job to put us in positions which he’s done.”
Law Murray: Asked Tyronn Lue about managing the messaging surrounding Clippers injuries, specifically Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. “You’re not going to sit out 8-9 games in a row because you want to sit out… they’re hurt, and they’re doing everything they can to get back.”

December 3, 2022 | 7:01 pm EST Update