Coach Doc Rivers confirmed Saturday that the Clippers’ All-Star forward did arrive at the Walt Disney World Resort as expected after Leonard was excused by the team to tend to a family matter when the Clippers flew to Orlando on Wednesday. “Kawhi, he is here, he is going through the protocol,” Rivers said. He will be quarantining for two days.
Tania Ganguli: To clarify on the Lakers' testing situation, Dwight Howard needs an extra test because he did not travel with the team so that's why he was not available today. Danny Green's test had an error and there should be more clarity on his situation later tonight.
Mark Berman: Houston graphic artist Terence Tang (@tinlunstudio)designed special shoes for #Rockets guard @Ben McLemore to wear in Orlando: “I’ve wanted to do sneaker art for NBA players for a really long time..To have it convey such a strong & meaningful message,that’s just icing on the cake” pic.twitter.com/aGR9tBRnun
Ohm Youngmisuk: Denver coach Michael Malone said Nikola Jokic "will be in the bubble very very soon and excited to see him." No new arrivals yet today for the Nuggets among those who have yet to make it to Orlando but Malone said he expects a big arrival from Europe shortly.
James Ham: Two of the Kings players who tested positive early on have had two consecutive clean tests and are heading to Orlando. Walton would not confirm who those players are.
Sean Cunningham: De'Aaron Fox, one of the NBA's biggest video gamers, applauded the WiFi efforts in the Orlando bubble environment that was boosted, despite experiencing several lags while playing and the amount of people using it.
“My wife changed my diet a few years ago, and that was huge,’’ Crawford said in explaining his longevity. “And I’m just staying in love with the game. I didn’t turn 40. I turned 20 twice.’’ COVID-19 research states Crawford could be at more risk than his younger mates. Following NBA rules, he is in the middle of a six-day quarantine in Orlando before he can be cleared for practice Wednesday.
Cayleigh Griffin: Tucker says his hotel room is his home for the next 3 months, so he wanted to make it feel as home, which is why he had the 85 inch TV delivered. He said it's "perfect."
Jonathan Feigen: MDA: "Every coach has to be excited now. It's like training camp again." Earlier said, "I'm excited because I know what we can do. And being around these guys is infectious -- no pun intended."
Jovan Buha: Doc Rivers says he doesn’t know the plan with Kawhi Leonard’s minutes and work load yet. He says everyone is fully healthy now. “I think it’ll be different now because of that,” Rivers said.
Mike Trudell: Frank Vogel said “The NBA has done a great job” in getting everything ready for him to be able to prepare his team to play basketball. All of the facilities are as expected for practice/film/hotel and so on.
Mike Trudell: Vogel on getting players ready: “We still have a lot of time. We have to be intelligent with that. Watching our guys work out last week, we put them through some pretty rigourous 1-on-1 work, and they seem to be in decent shape.” (They’re going to get full-court work in today)
Lakers Nation: JaVale McGee on Orlando experience so far: "I just think it's pretty cool this is our first day out of the rooms. Everybody is in good health, good spirits. We're just ready to get back to it."
Shams Charania: Live DJ sets poolside for players on NBA’s Disney campus for the first weekend, 9 p.m. to 12 a.m.: - DJ Nasty at Gran Destino/Corondao Springs - DJ Jay R at Grand Floridian - DJ ET at Yacht Club
Kellan Olson: Jevon Carter said the NBA is allowing them to use the court later on at night if they'd like. Players coordinate with staff and such to get that worked out. In no surprise, Carter said he's going back to his room for a quick nap after practice then he will be back tonight.
Tim Reynolds: LeBron James never considered not playing "this beautiful game" and sitting out the restart, even with all that's gone on the world, he just said.
Lakers Nation: LeBron: "Just getting acclimated. We got here Thursday night, went through all the COVID protocols, security protocols, and tonight is our first practice. Looking forward to getting on the floor with my teammates."
Brandon Rahbar: Steven Adams says he can play a few chords on his guitar to keep him entertained, but he can’t compose music. Also mystery solved on what was in the plastic bags: he brought a couple batches of lasagna.
Kelly Oubre: To all my @NBA Bro’s. Postmates delivers to the hotel !!! You just have to go out and meet the delivery person at the hotel entrance. Security will not hold the food for you or help you. Yeah the food wack but we here for a bigger purpose, hope that helps... #Shhh
Thybulle posted a vlog on Saturday of the Sixers’ trip, documenting their flight to Orlando and early hours in quarantine. The players have since cleared the initial mandated quarantine and returned to practice Saturday for the first time since March 10.
Josh Lewenberg: The Raptors just finished their first practice in more than 4 months. Fred VanVleet said they played a bit of 5-on-5. They were a bit rusty, as expected, and will take some time to get their conditioning back, "but other than that everybody looked good"
Ryan Wolstat: Raptors head coach Nick Nurse was thankful everyone passed their tests. Said team looked pretty good. Obviously some rust, but a "really good jumping off point" as a starting point for his team.
Chris Haynes: Los Angeles Clippers star Kawhi Leonard indeed arrived in Orlando last night for the restart, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
“What we are going to have is a lot of virtual fans, believe it or not,” Gentry said. “It will help the environment in the arena as far as the players and them playing without real fans in the stands. I think the communication part will be a lot of easier because we won’t have the 20,000 fans in the stands. It will be all new to everyone, so we’re just going to have to see.”
Once play resumes July 30, Lonzo Ball said he felt New Orleans will continue being vocal, in part because the conditions will demand it. “It’s going to force us to talk,” Ball said. “There’s no excuses if you don’t hear somebody when it’s just us out there. I do think it will be a little bit different playing with no fans.”
Chris Grenham: The Celtics will have their third practice at noon tomorrow at The Arena, the same venue as today's workout. The Orlando Magic will practice simultaneously at The Arena's other set of practice courts.
Royce Young: Gregg Popovich (71 years old) on if he had any reservations in making the trip to the Orlando bubble, said he felt very assured after speaking with Adam Silver on the precautions: "I don't know where else you would be as safe as we are right now."
Tania Ganguli: The Lakers are in the process of clearing quarantine and will have practice (!) later this afternoon. Their first real practice in four months.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Wizards' rookie Rui Hachimura said he will try to kill some of the free time on campus in Orlando by learning as much as he can about taxes, citing that he has to pay taxes both in Japan and the US. Smart rookie.
Ira Winderman: Erik Spoelstra says a key in Orlando is to plan for the unexpected, "You better be flexible. You can have a great plan." He does not address specific players missing, but said the pandemic makes it essential to have Plan Bs.
Ira Winderman: Andre Iguodala, on NBA restart plan, "You know the NBA is going to make a way, and if they're going to do it, they're going to do it the right way."
Walton said it is expected that all will pass the NBA protocol in place, which includes two negative COVID-19 test results before rejoining the team in Florida. “We’re still in the protocol,” Walton said during a Zoom media session on Friday afternoon. “I’m not going to get into names, I’ll make that a personal decision, but from the travel party, out of the 35 (member travel party for Orlando), we left four people back. From those four, nobody has passed NBA protocol yet to rejoin us, but we are hopeful that some of them are getting close.” It is known that three Kings players have tested positive for coronavirus over the past several weeks. Buddy Hield, Alex Len, Jabari Parker, as well as a fourth unidentified member of the team.
In the meantime, as the Jazz get acclimated to team basketball once again, both Ingles and Mitchell said they’re trying to find ways to settle into a unique situation. “I mean, honestly, for me, it’s like AAU, really. You know, except for the quarantine part. But it’s been like AAU — I’ve been just relaxing, studying film, and just trying to eat as good as I possibly can,” Mitchell said. “… I’m just staying mentally ready, mentally engaged because I can’t tell you the last time I’ve had practice at 6 o’clock every night. It gives you that feeling of an AAU summer camp or a summertime vibe.”
Upon seeing all this and the execution by the NBA in the first three days, Williams is a full-on believer now. “The NBA has gone above and beyond to give us every chance to be successful,” Williams said. “When you get here and see all the stuff, it’s actually pretty impressive.” The coach said Friday was the first day the Suns saw members of other teams around the complex. Some teams, such as the Los Angeles Lakers, just arrived and are still undergoing the quarantining the Suns have already wrapped up. “Today, you didn’t have to be in your hotel room all day,” Williams said. “I got out, walked around the lake.”
While it’s true that the NBA has a likely ally in Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, you never quite know where the political winds might shift. A couple of phone calls shuts the NBA’s business down, as so many businesses have been shut down around the country. I had Henry Abbott of TrueHoop on my podcast and he made a point that few others have made: Silver has been fairly politically neutral of late, despite his reputation as the progressive commissioner. The theory Abbott espoused was that this has something to do with the NBA needing allies in government to make this bubble a reality. Many NBA players (and fans) might hate President Donald Trump, but Silver can’t afford to be seen as a Trump enemy right now. As mentioned before, the federal government has the power to undermine the NBA’s operation.
Eric Woodyard: Jazz's Joe Ingles said the first "48 hours sucked" of being in the Orlando bubble. "When you're in the room for a couple months, it's going to get stanky at times." Says he was with his kids/family 48 hours before this, but the protocol leading up to clearance was "frustrating."
Eric Woodyard: Donovan Mitchell says he continues to rely on Dwyane Wade for advice, but this situation is obviously unique in being away in Orlando bubble. When playoffs begin, he doesn't think the runs will mean as much without fans so that'll be a big difference from his other playoff games.
Erik Horne: Chris Paul on the team being back together: “Zoom calls are nice, but it’s nothing like seeing each other. We’ve got a special team. We genuinely love to be around each other. To get out on the court and hoop with each other was a breath of fresh air.”
Royce Young: Chris Paul said he thought the Mavs' balcony dance party was the best social media post he's seen so far: "To see them outside doing that, having a good time, the more we have those type of interactions and experiences I think the better we'll make this."
Jason Anderson: Kings coach Luke Walton says four members of the team's 35-person travel party did not accompany team to Orlando and have not cleared NBA protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. He would not say who, but Buddy Hield, Alex Len and Jabari Parker all confirmed positive tests.
Brandon Rahbar: Danilo Gallinari says guys brought video games. But the coolest thing was Steven Adams bringing his guitar. He says he plays too so they’re gonna play together sometime. We need a zoom call with the Steven Gallo jam session.
Oleh Kosel: Alvin Gentry on whether all the Pelicans who traveled to Orlando tested negative: "Everyone's here. I don't really know the details of everything, but I know all of our guys are here and they're ready to go."
Mike Fisher: Carlisle on 1st #Mavs practice in Orlando Bubble: 'We're gonna have a great attitude about it. Could go down as one of the unique events in sports history. .. Facilities are great. First practice went really well.' DAL will work again Sat at 2p ET.
As NBA teams get situated in the Orlando bubble, one question that has persisted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is not only what happens if a player tests positive for the virus but also what lingering effects might follow. "There are unknown effects it has on lung capacity, unknown effects it has on cardiac health," said one NBA general manager of a team entering the bubble, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "What if a 24-year-old catches it in Orlando and, in 14 days, he quarantines and is fine, but then he has these everlasting heart problems? [Or he] gets winded so easily, or he becomes a little bit too susceptible to fatigue. ...These are all the unknowns."
Each case will be handled based on its own needs, but John DiFiori, the NBA's Director of Sports Medicine, told ESPN that the timeline for any player to return from a confirmed positive case is at least two weeks. "Everyone needs to understand that if someone were to test positive, it's quite likely that they won't return to the court for a minimum of two weeks -- minimum," said DiFiori, who is also the Chief of Primary Sports Medicine and attending physician at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery. "It may be even a little longer than that, depending on the individual circumstances, and then you need some time to get reconditioned.”
Are NBA players' hearts more at risk? "We have no reason to believe that any athlete is at higher risk for a complication and cardiac complications related to the coronavirus than anyone else," DiFiori said. "There's no reason that we know that would suggest that right now."
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."
September 26, 2022 | 9:45 pm EDT Update
“Kawhi is always going to be the hardest worker. He likes to lead by example, but his voice he’s using more,” point guard Reggie Jackson said. “I know people got to see a little more even when he was in Toronto and since his time being here, but he’s become, interestingly enough, a vocal leader for us. “He implements himself when need be, says the right things at the right times.”
Jason Anderson: Matthew Dellavedova on De’Aaron Fox: “He’s a lot stronger than I realized. He’s lean and obviously everyone knows how fast he is, but he’s really strong. He’s got a very solid base and … I didn’t know he was that strong.”
September 26, 2022 | 8:24 pm EDT Update
“I didn’t even hear the comments,” Lowry said. “Someone else told me about ‘em.” And when he heard what was said? “It’s whatever,” Lowry said. “Honestly, he has his opinion, right? Everyone has their opinion and it doesn’t do anything for me. All I do is motivate myself, I always motivate myself.”
Caleb Martin said “I would love to start” at power forward but “as long as I’m playing and can be productive, that’s fine.” Martin said the fact the Heat bypassed signing several veteran power forwards “says a lot to me. I’m flattered. I accept the challenge.”
First, Jazz center Udoka Azubuike and Agbaji used to be roommates. During Azubuike’s junior and senior season at Kansas (Agbaji’s freshman and sophomore season) the two lived together. Agbaji said the two bonded over their shared background — Azubuike is from Nigeria. and so is Agbaji’s father, Olofu. “We connected in that way and my dad would cook for him all the time and bring him Nigerian meals,” Agbaji said. “When I got traded here, I sent him a text. I was like, ‘Hey, Dok, what’s up.’ And he said congrats and that he’s excited to have me here.”