Pete Pranica: Taylor Jenkins notes that one of the big challenges is the constant variances in schedule when dealing with timing of meals, testing, training, etc. but says the NBA has kept everyone well-informed and organized.
All 22 teams in the NBA restart had to pack more than ever, for a road trip like none other. Every team is assured of spending at least five weeks at Disney, and some could be there for three months. The challenges for players and coaches are obvious, but the challenge for equipment managers - among the unsung heroes of this restart plan - aren't anywhere near as visible to those watching games from afar. ''This is what equipment managers were built for, honestly,'' Orlando Magic equipment manager Jacob Diamond said. ''We have some of the smartest guys around the league that do what I do and at the end of the day, for us, it's really no job too big, no job too small. Our coaches are relying on us, our players, and this is history right here. So, it's kind of cool to be a part of it - even though it's extra work.''
Toronto Raptors equipment manager Paul Elliott prides himself on typically taking only what he needs. He tends to take 45 bags on a standard road trip; by NBA standards, that is packing light. Not this time. For this trip, Elliott's count was 176 bags. And while most teams only had to move their operation once - from their home facility to Disney - Elliott had to pack the Raptors up twice, first from Toronto to their pre-camp workouts at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, and then again to get the stuff up to Disney. ''I looked at it as what they were going to take for a two-week Western road trip, took what I would usually pack for that, and kind of quadrupled it,'' Elliott said. ''I just had to make sure I had enough options for these guys to accommodate them when they need. I just want to be prepared.''
The Disney World bubble created by the NBA confined players to their hotel rooms for two days, although for McCollum there was seemingly enough to keep him busy. Witnessing players endure the uncomfortable coronavirus testing process has, meanwhile, been a light note to the situation. "Something that made me laugh, seeing people's reactions to the swab, the Covid test we've been doing for a while but it's always funny to see grown men shedding tears," said McCollum.
CJ McCollum: "I've enjoyed my time in the hotel room, it was therapeutic. We've all got cellular devices so we were able to reach out to our loved ones. I've got books, I've got video games, I've got wine, so I'm in a good space. Something that will stick with me. I think perspective. You've got a better appreciation for life, especially after you spend 48 hours in your hotel. You appreciate the little things a lot more. You appreciate relationships and situations you're in. You also appreciate outdoors a lot more."
The five-time All-Star believes the league's resumption will expose those who have not been working behind-the-scenes during lockdown. "I've been seeing guys coming in and out, working out hard in the weight room and pretty much staying ready," he said. "Once they let us know when we were going to be playing and what the whole format was everybody took it up a level there and then. When we got out on the floor nobody was out of shape, nobody was moving slow, nobody was bent over the whole time. It felt like everybody did what they should be doing to be ready to come in and hit the ground and go.”
Ira Winderman: Jae Crowder, on Heat's team room at Disney, "That's our safe haven. That's where we all get together and talk it out." Said team watched UFC there on Saturday night. Said having family photos on walls is particularly comforting.
Marc Stein: After an even 120 nights in a row at home -- personal record since 1993 -- it's time to go Bubble ... Seven consecutive days in quarantine without leaving the Walt Disney World room starts later this evening
Mark Medina: About to enter the NBA campus in Orlando. Will be tested this afternoon and then in quarantine for a week 🙏
Taylor Rooks: I’ve officially entered quarantine - among the media members living in the actual bubble. Can’t leave room for 7 days, testing everyday. I’m a little nervous, but the NBA is taking all necessary steps. This is a historic thing to be a part of. Looking forward to sharing content
Eric Koreen: NBA says Clippers, Wizards and Suns all canceled team practices today. No reason given. Can assume they were just days off until told otherwise.
Andrew Greif: Re: no practice today for the Clippers — it’s an off day for players. Some players might get some shots up individually but there’s no organized team practice. It’s expected they’ll be back on the court tomorrow for practice.
Eric Woodyard: Pacers Coach Nate McMillan says there’s no restrictions on how they’re using Victor Oladipo in practices, although he isn’t playing in Orlando. Victor has been on all the practice teams and still playing regularly. “He’s been going hard,” McMillan said.
The NBA is also supporting testing research through partnerships with the Yale School of Public Health and the Mayo Clinic, among others. MLB said it is offering free COVID-19 tests and antibody tests to health care workers and first responders in its home cities. And BioReference said in a news release it is working with MLS to provide antibody tests for the public in Orlando. Despite those good-faith efforts, sports risk losing the battle of perception as long as athletes are receiving multiple tests in a virtual bubble, while citizens in hard-hit areas wait in their cars or long lines for hours, often in vain, for the same test. "I think sports in general will be an easy target to say, why are we doing this?" said Roberts. "But you could say that about a hundred things. You don’t need your nails done. You don’t need your tacos. But those are obviously part of the economy."
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.
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.
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.
August 18, 2022 | 4:52 pm EDT Update
France defeated Belgium (90-71) which managed to stay competitive for one half, but after that couldn’t do much. Thomas Heurtel with 13 points and six assists, Rudy Gobert with 12 points and six rebounds, and Evan Fournier with 10 points and five rebounds led the charge for the “Bleus” who put on a show for the home crowd in Montpellier.
Michael Grady comes to Minnesota from Brooklyn, where he spent the last five-plus years on the Nets’ highly respected YES Network broadcast serving as a sideline reporter, pregame and postgame host and occasional play-by-play man. He steps into the high-profile role at BSN at a crucial moment for the franchise. The Wolves are coming off a renaissance season and pulled off the biggest trade of the summer, a blockbuster that brought Rudy Gobert to Minnesota from Utah with the goal of turning the Wolves into a contender in the Western Conference. “I know the fan base already has a sense of excitement about what this team can be, and I’m excited about fanning that flame,” Grady told The Athletic. “I’m excited to be a part of this community. That means a lot to me.”
It is the culmination of a long journey for Grady, who spent his younger days grinding up the ladder, from radio show producer to Pacers in-arena host and, eventually, a job with a television station in Indy that he parlayed into a coveted spot with the Nets’ broadcast crew. Grady would call 10-12 games per season for the Nets while filling in for Ian Eagle, one of the most respected voices in the game. The way he cultivated relationships with the coaches and players and how he prepared for broadcasts resonated with color analyst Sarah Kustok, who held Grady’s job as sideline reporter before he came aboard. “There are few professionals that compare to Michael Grady in his versatility, in his work ethic, in how much he pours his heart and soul into his craft,” Kustok said.
Grady grew up in Indianapolis during the Pacers’ heyday, when Miller and Mark Jackson were battling with Jordan’s Bulls and Patrick Ewing’s Knicks for Eastern Conference supremacy. Watching his team from the Midwest get overlooked and discounted in favor of the bigger-market teams instilled in him a defiance — an audacity, as he likes to put it — that could serve him well here in Minnesota. “You have the Lakers and Golden State and these big markets and these teams with players that are household names,” Grady said. “You mention Minnesota competing with them and some people might not take that seriously. But you have to have the audacity that you can go toe-to-toe with anybody out there. Being able to be a part of fanning the flame for what this franchise is building is something that I take very seriously and I’m really excited about.”
August 18, 2022 | 4:19 pm EDT Update
New York Basketball: “I was told by a source that the Jazz actually have a couple of offers, that I was told are from other teams outside of NY that they like an awful lot…“ — Utah sports radio host Spence Checketts to Jazz reporter Andy Larsen about Donovan Mitchell.
The Lithuanian national team defeated Spain in a close-fought battle behind Ignas Brazdeikis and Jonas Valanciunas’ effort in a friendly game in Vilnius with a final score of 78-76 (25-17, 14-13, 17-23, 22-23). Lithuania: Jonas Valanciunas 16 (9 REB), Ignas Brazdeikis 16, Rokas Giedraitis 12, Marius Grigonis 11, Domantas Sabonis 7 (6 AST, 5 REB); Spain: Lorenzo Brown 18 (5 AST), Dario Brizuela 12, Juan Hernangomez 8, Sebastian Saiz 7 (5 REB), Jaime Fernandez 7, Xabier Lopez Arostegui 7.