Jovan Buha: Doc Rivers says the Clippers are bringing 15 players — not 17. Their two two-way players, Amir Coffey and Johnathan Motley, aren’t coming to Orlando.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Montrezl Harrell might be the leader in the NBA clubhouse of what he brought with him to Orlando. Reggie Jackson says Montrezl somehow managed to bring a "portable sauna" with him while Lou Williams has a personal studio.
Christian Clark: Pelicans had their first practice in four months today. Alvin Gentry said he got the go-ahead from the NBA the day New Orleans left for Orlando. "I wish it would've been sooner. It wasn't. I'm here."
Ira Winderman: Goran Dragic just said Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn are not with the team. "Hopefully Bam can come and KNunn and we can be a whole team and make some damage.” Two Heat players remained behind due to COVID testing. Heat did not identify the players left back.
Harrison Wind: More from Paul Millsap: He says he brought his own food and is on his own diet at Disney World. "I'm on like a sardine diet with crackers. So I'm good. I don't really look at the food or whatever they have."
Chris Dempsey: Malone said that due to the team having to close their facilities last week, they lost some time to get players in better condition, so they’ll work on that a lot in Orlando.
Andrew Greif: The Clippers have cleared quarantine in Orlando, a source told @latimessports. They are scheduled to practice later this afternoon.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: What’s your biggest concern with the bubble and can the NBA actually pull off a restart successfully? Mark Cuban: Obviously, it’s dealing with all the little details that are required to make it work. There are a lot of moving pieces, but I know how many resources that the NBA has dedicated to making this work. I truly believe that the players and staff will be safer in the bubble than they would be anywhere but in their own homes.
Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson: Given that certain players are wearing social justice words on the back of their jerseys, how big of a distraction do you think that could be from the NBA’s restart? Mark Cuban: None. It will be something that people talk about, but once the games start fans are going to be fans and love watching the games and people who are not fans will want to commentate. Players are used to ignoring commentary on social legacy and social media, so I don’t think they are distracted by it at all. Plus, this is such a unique situation, my hope is that the players will become closer and stronger together.
The entire NBA operation sits on a foundation of daily testing and then processing results of those tests quickly. Early in the pandemic, the NBA was concerned about having enough tests to administer that daily regimen. While supply issues appear to have been resolved, processing those tests is not quite as simple.
Unlike Major League Baseball, so far teams have not seen significant delays or problems receiving test results, according to sources that spoke with NBC Sports. But there have been hiccups here and there. In the 24 hours before departure for Orlando, one NBA team had its tests accidentally sent to the wrong lab, according to league sources. The mistake forced the entire team to retake the coronavirus tests later in the day, delaying their trip to Orlando by several hours. “This is the new normal,” said one official of a team dealing with testing blips.
If the on-site clinic can’t handle an NBA-related emergency, does the NBA feel comfortable about taking a bed from someone in the general public? “It’s not so much that everybody who gets COVID is going to die from it,” Rasmussen says, “it’s that when the hospitals are overwhelmed and there’s no place for people to go, more people are going to die that wouldn't have necessarily died otherwise.
The weirdest moment, Monty Williams said, was getting on the airplane. Flights are typically commonplace for the Suns, who crisscrossed the United States — and hopped the border to Mexico City and Toronto — over the first 65 games of the 2019-20 season. But Williams had not been on one since mid-March, with the NBA halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was just quieter on the plane,” Williams said during a videoconference with reporters Thursday evening. “I think that’s just because everybody has masks on. You can’t hear each other talk. … Even when you have a big mouth like mine, it still is a bit muffled with the mask on.”
“We have a plan that we put in place that gives me a bit of structure to use as a template every day,” Williams said. “At the same time, I want to try to feel the gym and see if I can push a little bit more or pull back. … “I’m probably a bit more cautious than I’ve ever been, just because we’ve had so much time off. But the plan is in place. It may be modified a little bit, but I want to try to listen and learn as much as I can. Because, it’s basically a new season, a new universe for all of us who are trying to get our guys in shape.”
Jeff Goodman: No complaints from Miami Heat’s Duncan Robinson about the food in The Bubble. pic.twitter.com/VS8XlkjC53
Did you have any hesitation about going? What was the thought process behind deciding to go? Patrick Patterson: "For myself, yeah, a little bit of hesitation, just due to a lot of uncertainty, family situations, wanting to be at home with my wife, and then on top of that, just with everything that’s been going on in the world. So do I feel safer in the bubble in that environment, or do I feel safer at home in the environment I can control? Do I trust the NBA to truly put us in the best situation and look out for our best interests? There was a little back-and-forth in the beginning, but, ultimately, having a chance to win a championship and being around my teammates again outweighed the no and was more of a factor toward the yes."
So when you decide, “OK, I’m going,” how do you prepare for this unknown situation and to potentially be in there for three months? Patrick Patterson: "Just being able to adjust on the fly. The [NBA has] been pretty open with us about everything that’s going to be here, everything that’s going to be provided for us, the schedule, the layout, schematics. They’ve been asking us questions. They’ve been taking our feedback, as far as things that we need and things that we want. I feel like each team is different. Each team has players that like to do certain things whenever they’re not playing basketball in their free time, in their spare time. So [they’re] just making sure that they can accommodate each and every individual’s need as a mass, as a whole."
For you, and for the Clippers in general, what are those things that you guys like doing down there? Patrick Patterson: "For me, I’m a big movie buff. So I think once we’re out of this quarantine situation, being able to go to the movie theater, watch a movie that they provide for us, an early release of a film that comes out in the future. Video games. So having the player-only lounge, and having games, ping-pong tables, all types of stuff set up, foosball and whatever else it may be. Then just peacefulness, quiet. It’s a big resort. So there’s a lot of space. Just being able to go somewhere quiet and just relax, read, just get my mind off of things."
Patrick Patterson: "For us, we have guys that love to fish. I think it’s well known Paul George is a huge fisherman. Same thing with [Montrezl Harrell]. So they love to be out on the water, having access to boats. I think they have a couple of lakes here. Some guys enjoy playing spades, booray, card games, or whatever it may be. So being sure and having tables to provide for that. Some guys love old-school video games, arcade style, so they have an arcade here. Outdoor things, too—trails, bike trails, and courses to be able to go biking on."
Fred Katz: Troy Brown on heading to Florida amidst spiking COVID numbers: "At the end of the day, we have a job, and we have to do our jobs." Says he thinks the NBA has done a good job of putting players in a safe environment. “If people don’t wanna be here, you don’t have to."
The current food situation inside the Orlando bubble looks like airline travel grub based on tweets sent out by NBA players. As bland and dry as it appears to be, Monty Williams said he's seen worse. A lot worse.
"It's not that bad, man," Williams said during Thursday's media call. "My grandparents raised me in Spotsylvania, Virginia, man. I know what it's like to eat some different stuff. It's not that bad at all. I think so many of us are spoiled and we're used to eating certain foods a certain way, but to be honest, it's not bad at all."
Tell that to the players who receive hand-crafted meals to their specific liking. "The guys who have personal chefs at home, they may have a different sentiment than I do, but I'm actually OK with it," Williams concluded.
They had just arrived to Orlando, FL from Washington, D.C. for the NBA's restart. They had to wait those 36 hours and test negative for coronavirus twice before going free. "The forced relaxation drove me crazy. It was the weirdest thing," Brooks said.
Still, getting out in the open floor and scrimmaging was a major step for the Wizards as they look towards July 31, their first regular season game. "I thought the practice was outstanding. I was real concerned because we hadn't done anything live," Brooks said.
"I don't know how they did it, how the NBA was able to get it all done. Our facility here, our gym is pretty incredible. The weight room is amazing. The hotels are great. Everything is good. I have no complaints. It's just like a road trip for us." "It just felt good to be out there," Smith said. "It was very similar to a normal practice that we would have, just coaches have gloves and masks on."
Mark Berman: PJ Tucker never considered opting out & not playing.He hopes to win the NBA title:"I think anybody can win it so I say why not us" And he hopes to finish his career n Houston:"I want to retire as a Houston Rocket. I hope we can strike a deal & get it done" tinyurl.com/y6w3q4fa
Terrence Ross ( @TerrenceRoss ) gives us a sneak peak at the NBA players’ game room/lounge. It includes PlayStation 4’s, arcade games, ping pong tables, a pool table, and a seating area.
For Wizards point guard Ish Smith, though, it's no big deal at all. He was asked about the food and gave the type of humble, down-to-earth answer you would expect from him. "I'm okay. I'm low maintenance and I'm thankful for anything and everything. You're asking the wrong person. You might have to ask somebody else who lives a little bit more of a high maintenance life," he said. "For me, I'm thankful, I'm blessed. They bring us food, we eat it. I have no problems."
Ben Cafardo: BasketballESPN NBA reporter @Malika_Andrews displays the social distance monitor/buzzer folks in Orlando are receiving to remind each other to stay six feet apart.
Will the Chicago Bulls front office be able to travel to Orlando to scout players? — @chisportupdates, via Twitter The last time I checked on this with the league, I was told no. It’s why this is such an unprecedented and difficult time for these eight teams. It’s such a competitive disadvantage to essentially not be part of the league as it resumes play.
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...”
Andrew Greif: Clippers forward JaMychal Green is expected to join the team in Orlando on Sunday, sources told myself and @Brad Turner. He’s tending to a family matter but will join soon.
Kellan Olson: Monty Williams said he does think the bubble will work. Said he doesn't think players are getting enough credit for how much they want to play. He has expectations but understands players will have temptations and miss their families.
Gerald Bourguet: "It's not that bad, man." -- Monty Williams on the food situation in Orlando. "So many of us are spoiled and we're used to eating certain foods a certain way, but it's not bad at all." Also admits he didn't have high expectations
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.
Eric Walden: Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert noted that "Staying in a room for 36 hours is not the best thing to do," but said he's appreciated the NBA's level of caution. Said he passed that time by playing Call of Duty, reading a little bit, and sleeping.
Eric Walden: Rudy Gobert, on the wristbands everyone is required to wear, which function as a proximity alarm and provide data tracking: "It's better to be too cautious than not enough." Said his alarm hasn't gone off yet; doesn't know if it's not activated or if he's distancing well.
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."
Eric Walden: Asked how he spent his time in quarantine, Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder replied: "Having 36 hours-plus by yourself, you gotta be careful not to overthink things — which I may have a tendency to do."
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.
Fred Katz: Ish Smith says Disney World is “exactly how I remember it.” Says he’s been double-digit times. First time staying at the Yacht Club.
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.
Shams Charania: Houston stars James Harden and Russell Westbrook did not travel with Rockets today to Orlando and will join the team in near future, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
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.
Chase Hughes: Scott Brooks on living in the bubble: "It's actually pretty good. I don't know how they did it." Said gym and workout resources are great.
Sean Cunningham: 😂😂 “The bubble (in Orlando) is Netflix without the chill,” - Sacramento Kings assistant coach Bobby Jackson tells @Sports1140KHTK
As the players await their opportunity to return to the court, Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, and others turned their separate balconies in their neighboring hotel rooms into an impressive DJ set in front of ... the lake their balconies overlooked.
Mavericks players are currently awaiting results for their COVID-19 tests they took upon their arrival in Florida as a part of the NBA’s plan for a safe return to play. Players must test negative for COVID-19 twice, at least 24 hours apart, as part of the mandatory 48-hour quarantine.
Tim MacMahon: Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni, 69, is on the team flight en route to Orlando, a source told ESPN. He has said recently that his medical screenings didn't raise any red flags and that he planned to coach as usual, other than wearing a mask.
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."
LeBron James: Just left the crib to head to the bubble. Shit felt like I’m headed to do a bid man! Fr. Hated to leave the #JamesGang👑.
"Equality" is the most popular social justice message players have chosen to display on the backs of their NBA jerseys for the league's upcoming restart, National Basketball Players' Association executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN's The Undefeated on Wednesday. "Black Lives Matter" is second.
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.
Brian Lewis: Tyler Johnson has not accompanied #Nets for personal reasons. He’ll join them in a few days, according to GM Sean Marks. #NBA
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.
Josh Robbins: Aaron Gordon, when asked what it was like to practice today at Disney have a four-month layoff from team practices: "Honestly, it feels strange. It's a different setting, different circumstances."
NBC Sports Philadelphia: Joel Embiid has arrived for the flight to Orlando, in full mask, suit and glove gear.