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"They sanitize everything," Howard said on an Instagram Live video he posted Sunday. "We're getting tested every day. So, it's not like we're around anybody that can give it to us because we all get tested together. And so, we're only around each other. We're only around everybody that's in the bubble. We don't see any outsiders. We don't have any contact with any outsiders. "So, I'm just ... I understand the whole 'wear a mask' and all that stuff, so nobody is not trying to do anything out of order. But, you know, again, I understand that there always has to be some type of controversy somewhere. And I'm not in no controversy. You know what I'm saying? I get it. It's some clickbait."
In the nearly hourlong video, Howard repeatedly brought up the subject of masks, responding to comments that followers posted on his livestream. "I got a mask," said Howard, whose face was uncovered while he broadcast from a laundry room. "I got extra masks in here to make sure now. Look, now: masks on top of masks. NBA masks." The eight-time All-Star held a handful of masks to the camera. "Who wants an NBA mask? We 'bout to sell 'em on eBay," he said with a laugh. "Well, not eBay ... Amazon. Amazon NBA. We're going to sell them."
In an email, the group said that their employers were not aware of their involvement with the accounts. During a Zoom conversation with The New York Times, the four friends said the idea sprang from their group text. DePaula, 35, sent a message: “Account that would blow up on Twitter: @nbabubblelife.” Phillips, 38, wrote back after setting up the handle: “The account is open,” he said, adding that it would be a “passion project.” “This is something we’d be following and talking about among ourselves regardless,” DePaula said.
As the accounts have gained popularity, the men behind them said they have begun to take their passion project more seriously, feeling a responsibility to provide basketball fans with bubble-related nourishment. This is not an account, however, where players will be made to look foolish — at least not intentionally. It is meant to be a counterweight to some things players have shared and been criticized for, such as when Rajon Rondo, the Lakers guard, posted a picture of his hotel room and compared it to a Motel 6. This is also an unusual role for those who work in N.B.A.-related media to take on: creators of a friendly account designed to make the players they cover look good.
Nick DePaula: Here’s the group chat texts from last Thursday that started @NBAbubbleLife : 10:07 - “Yo Drew...” 10:11 - “Let’s run it” 10:12 - “Setting it up now” 10:56 - Drew’s 1st post about JR Smith’s IG Live getting shut down Rolling on the floor laughing Have an idea. Fire it up. Get after it.
Eric Nehm: Asked Kyle Korver what it feels like in the bubble and he said, "He feels 24." Explained that all he has to do is play basketball. Starts each day feeling guilty because he can't help his wife with all the things she needs to get done each day.
Edmond Sumner: I’ve been asked how the bubble been a lot and I can honestly say it’s been great the @NBA has done an amazing job trying to make this the best experience for us!
Phoenix Suns General Manager James Jones said the day before the Suns left for Orlando that some players would arrive "at a later date." This was after The Republic reported two Suns tested positive for COVID-19 before the teams began mandatory testing for the virus.
Matt Velazquez: The NBA announced the official team rosters for the restart. The Bucks’ roster includes 16 players — two-way forward Cameron Reynolds is not on the list. Outside of Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton (COVID-19 positive), the other 14 Bucks are in Orlando.
Jonathan Feigen: Rockets roster for the restart, as expected, does not include two-player William Howard. This was expected because he signed with ASVEL in France (team Tony Parker runs.) With David Nwaba out while coming back from an Achilles injury, Rockets have 15 players on the roster.
A hot topic over the last few weeks has been what NBA games will look, sound and feel like with no fans in the building. There’s definitely merit in having that discussion, and we’ll get to that, but we do need to clear something up first. The NBA bubble arenas in Orlando, Florida, won’t exactly be empty. NBA players will be able to attend games they aren’t playing in. They aren’t the same type of rabid, one-team-only fans that we’re used to seeing in a crowd, but they love basketball.
NBA players watch basketball all the time. They watch on TV, they review film, they watch games they’re interested in via NBA LeaguePass. Even during the playoffs, it’s not uncommon to see players from noncompeting teams show up in person to watch the action. This time, the situation is a little unique because players won’t have to watch the games on TV. They’ll be right there, with every game played available to them. “I think it’s great that we’ll be able to do that,” Jazz center Rudy Gobert said Monday. “We’re all fans of the game of basketball. I think I’m definitely going to go watch some games.”
Players are familiar with playing when there aren’t people around. They practice every day without fans in the building and play pick-up throughout the year, especially in the offseason. “Without a crowd, certainly it’s going to be a little different,” Snyder said. “But, at the same time, players in our league love to play and love to compete. It’s not like there won’t be stuff on the line that motivates you.”
The Toronto Raptors announced Monday their broadcast schedule for the restart of the 2019-20 NBA season. Sportsnet and TSN will each carry four “seeding” games. Sportsnet has the Raptors’ first game back Saturday, Aug. 1 against the Los Angeles Lakers. Additional contests on Sportsnet include Aug. 3 vs. Miami, Aug. 5 against Orlando and Aug. 10 vs. Milwaukee.
Kyle Neubeck: Brett Brown says he’s expecting his “heavyweights” to play around 20 minutes in the early scrimmage games coming up over the next week. Rotation will likely differ game to game and then hopefully be settled by start of the real games
The NBA in March became the first major U.S. sports league to suspend its season due to coronavirus concerns. It is creating a “bubble” campus for 22 teams in Florida. The plan depends on frequent coronavirus testing and mass quarantine in one location. The players are “adapting well” and “getting along great,” according to Cuban, who said he could only speak to the Mavericks’ situation. He said players are wearing masks and following the health protocols.
The NBA has the “advantage” over the NFL, which is getting ready to start training camps for its 2020 regular season, said Cuban. Under the restart’s modified protocol, NBA teams can bring 15 to 17 players to Orlando. NFL teams have over 50 players in addition to larger staffs. The NFL doesn’t have plans to hold games in a bubble like the NBA. Instead, games will be played at each team’s stadium. “We have one location, we’re able to keep everything under control,” said Cuban.
Ava Wallace: Ian Mahinmi hit up the NBA bubble barbershop on the first day he got to Orlando. Had to get re-braided. "The barber shop at the yatch club we have is really nice." Uh, yeah.
Jonathan Feigen: In addition to Russell Westbrook arriving in Orlando for the NBA restart and Luc Mbah a Moute soon to follow, center Bruno Caboclo's extra quarantine period ended.
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: NBA working with 10 local, minority-owned restaurants to discuss joining campus delivery program and associated NBA-required health and safety protocols. Also continuing to source additional restaurants and minority-owned vendors to provide catering services.
The NBA has used the technology by partnering with Fusion Sport, which has usually worked with professional sports teams, colleges, military branches and private companies to compile and analyze data involving human performance and business trends. Fusion Sport has recently worked with organizations, including the NBA, to help analyze the data regarding every employee’s wellness, symptoms and test results. So when each player, coach, staff member and reporter fills out their symptom questionnaire, temperature and oxygen levels, they are not just logging the information so they can learn about their health status. The NBA and health officials will quickly learn, too. “Those are all getting fed to that Fusion Sport database and software,” Ryan said. “What we’ve done is written a big algorithm that takes in all of those inputs for every individual on campus for every given moment.”
Once someone checks into a location, health officials are given alerts so they can look up the person’s profile. If the Magic Band display shows green, that person can proceed through the checkpoint. If it turns a different color, a medical investigation begins. The reasons could include a person forgetting to fill out the symptom self-assessment, leaving a room despite nursing symptoms or breaking quarantine. Despite that technology, though, the NBA and Disney are not using these devices to contact trace or access a person’s location that are not part of the designated checkpoints. “The Magic Band isn’t holding any of your health data. That is not on the band at all,” Ryan said. “The band is a unique identifier that says a person is at this location at this time. There’s no memory on a Magic Band.”
Rix Sports Bar and Grill, tucked between the hallway to the practice courts inside the Coronado Springs resort and the hallway to players' rooms, has become the unofficial hangout spot inside the bubble. "It is tough when you're in your room 24/7 other than when you're in practice," Bucks guard George Hill said, when asked about Rix. "So, just to get out and sit in some regular chairs to kind of make it feel like it's just [normal] life itself still, that's what we're trying to do." By 7:30 every evening, the dark bar is buzzing with players, coaches and trainers. Starting Sunday, the place was open only to NBA players and personnel.
Milwaukee's room even has a pinball machine, and Miami surprised players by adding photos of their families. "It's really special," Heat guard Goran Dragic said. "We know we're going to be here for a long time and it was something unbelievable from [the organization] to do that for us. "Other teams, when they are walking past our room, they're always looking into our room and say, 'Whoa, look what they have.'"
Fishing has emerged as a favorite pastime for many of the players in between practices and meals. But if you care to fish, go early; the property has only 14 fishing poles available to borrow from a hut outside of the players' hotel. On Tuesday night, an employee manning the rentals told ESPN that he had only one pole left because so many players had signed out the equipment overnight. The hotel is ordering more poles to accommodate players' requests. On Thursday, teammates George, Montrezl Harrell and Reggie Jackson fished from the wooden bridge that passes over Lago Dorado in search of bass.
Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton has tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement he shared with the Journal Sentinel and ESPN on Monday. "I did not travel with our team after I tested positive for COVID-19," Connaughton wrote in his statement. "I am healthy and I feel great and I am excited to join my teammates in Orlando once I meet all the NBA protocols."
Adam Wexler: #Rockets D'Antoni on Westbrook's availability after quarantine: "I do expect that once he clears everything he'll be ready to go, 5-on-5 & things like that. Hopefully he'll get in a couple of scrimmages & be ready to play. Said Fri's exhibition might be a bit soon for him to play
Teams have also been secretive about which players are even in the bubble. "I would like to know who is actually freaking there," said Windhorst. "The league, quite frankly, has been acting a fascist, no, I'm not going to say that. The league, quite frankly, has been acting completely opaquely. I don't understand why. I understand if a player doesn't want to have it known he has contracted the virus, or if he has to leave, why he has to leave. That is fine. But it is completely reasonable, under the circumstances that we have, whether you could say whether a player is there or not. For the last two weeks, we have not been able to find that out. And it's gotten even tougher. Somebody has to call the league on it and that somebody is going to me. I'll be watching very closely how much is available."
Lakers Nation: LeBron James on interacting with and seeing other NBA players in the bubble: "Having this experience here, it feels like a big AAU tournament for grown men."
Royce Young: Steven Adams on living in the bubble: "Let's be clear: This is not Syria. It's not that hard ... We're living at a bloody resort. Everyone is going to complain, everyone has their own preferences, nothing too serious. Just a bit of dry food here and there."
Mike Fisher: Kidd-Gilchrist on his late arrival to the #Mavs bubble: 'I had some personal things I had to handle with my family. I'm happy to be here ... I'm excited to be with my new team and my teammates.'
When Ja Morant was a little boy, his father, Tee, personally put him through what he called “TTG camp” in their backyard in South Carolina. It stood for Train To Go. Tee Morant wanted his son to work hard and be ready to show people he was built for every obstacle. Pops recently brought the TTG camp back, using their suburban Memphis, Tennessee, home to get the Memphis Grizzlies’ rookie sensation prepared and stronger for the resumption of the NBA season, which begins on July 30. “They locked in,” Tee Morant told The Undefeated. “Of course, he was ready to get back out there. It was killing him on the inside. But the whole process helped him out a whole lot. It felt like he got an offseason. He did take advantage of the time off. Got stronger. Studied the game more. It was really good and efficient. It wasn’t just like he was laid up eating snacks.”
After training was completed for the day, TTG camp gave way to swimming in the backyard pool, competitive Uno card games and trivia sessions on the sitcom Martin. (Ja Morant said that he brought videos of Martin with him to Orlando.) “They have Martin playing cards,” Johnson said. “They have episodes of the show. Who did Sheneneh go on the date with? What kind of car did Martin drive? … Whoever gets them wrong has to do five pushups.” So, who was the best at Martin trivia? “Jamie, his mom, was the best,” Johnson said. “She was on it.”
CrownRound pushpinBrandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, M.A.: Dwight Howard: "Whoever wins this year, they deserve a championship because this is the hardest season of the NBA." "Nobody can put an asterik on it." "Whoever wins for real, I can speak it to extistence, this is going to be the toughest NBA season."
On Sunday, he was on IG Live, walking around in and outside without a mask. At one point during the video, it appears he answers a question from a fan who posted on IG. “Do I believe in vaccinations?” Howard said. “No, I don’t. That’s my personal opinion, but no, I don’t.” Just before that, he said, “I didn’t know that the coronavirus be flying through the air looking for people.”
On Friday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel said, “We all should be wearing masks in and around the hotel lobby. And the areas that we're being asked to wear a mask, we should wear a mask. And he's doing so now.” The NBA can issue other penalties. Each player is required to certify in writing that he will adhere to all protocols while on campus, according to the NBA’s health and safety document. “Failure or refusal to comply with the Protocols may subject a player to disciplinary action by the NBA or his team (but not both for the same act or conduct, pursuant to Article VI, Section 10 of the CBA), which may include a warning, fine, suspension, and/or removal from the campus," it reads on the document. "Repeat offenders may be subject to enhanced discipline. Player challenges to any disciplinary action shall be made through the Grievance Arbitration process of the CBA."
The atmosphere is that of an AAU circuit, with teams walking in small groups from place to place, and some players hanging with those from other teams. As Yahoo Sports’ Vince Goodwill proposed, the circumstances could allow the groundwork for the next NBA super team.
Occasionally, there are a few players strolling the bubble without masks, and social-distancing practices could be better. The league has received violation complaints from a mix of players and staff on the anonymous tip hotline — dubbed the “snitch line.” The league has taken these matters seriously and teams have been warned to follow the safety protocols to better ensure the protection of everyone on campus.
Schroder's wife, Ellen, is due sometime between Aug. 4 and Aug. 11, Schroder said Tuesday. The Thunder point guard plans to leave the Disney World campus around that time to be with his wife and family. "He's going to do and make decisions that are best for his family," Donovan said Sunday. "And whatever those decisions are, as a coach, I'm going to support them, and I know our team will support them." Schroder will likely miss multiple games. The Thunder will play eight seeding games from Aug. 1 to Aug. 14 before the playoffs begin Aug. 17.
Michael Singer: Have confirmed that Gary Harris and Torrey Craig are in en-route, as @Kendra Andrews reported. Given that they'll need to undergo 36-48 quarantine period, it's unlikely they take part in Wednesday's scrimmage vs. WAS. Team still waiting on a few key pieces, but those two help.
Kendra Andrews: League sources also say that Torrey Craig is expected to arrive with Harris. They will be landing tonight, after which they will go into the mandated 48-hour quarantine period.
Mark Medina: Out of quarantine. 🙏🏀
Gary Washburn: Out of quarantine. #NBABubble
Sean Cunningham: Kings coach Luke Walton, after opening with words honoring the late John Lewis, says Alex Len is out of quarantine doing individual work. Harrison Barnes is still in Sacramento.
Inside the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World, while preparing to restart the season and tune up for the playoffs during the coronavirus pandemic, some players have a lot of time on their hands. That includes Los Angeles Lakers center JaVale McGee and Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle. We've already seen players fishing and chugging beers in the bubble. They've brought mountains of sneakers, video game systems and hot sauce to Orlando, Florida. And McGee and Thybulle are becoming budding amateur video producers.
On Saturday, Howard said he thought reporting him was pointless. “Everybody’s making a big deal out of it,” Howard said. “But I feel like we’re in the safest place in Orlando. We get tested every day. So, we’re only around each other. We get tested every day. We can’t practice with masks on. I personally don’t see a risk of us getting it during the time period that we’re here.”
Individual circumstances present further challenges. Augustin’s father-in-law died recently, adding to the strain of an extended road trip away from his wife, Brandy, and their three young children. The wife of Orlando guard Evan Fournier returned to their native France with the couple’s 13-month-old son to stay with Fournier’s parents while he focuses on the N.B.A. restart. Vucevic’s wife is due with their second child in November, prompting the 2019 All-Star center’s parents to fly in from Montenegro to help Nikoleta Vucevic take care of the couple’s 19-month-old son. “That was actually huge for me to know that I’m not leaving her alone,” Vucevic said. “It would have been a much harder decision for me to play if she was alone and pregnant, with another baby to care of every day.”
The first exhibition games of the NBA restart will go a little more quickly than usual. The NBA is tweaking the rules for those initial matchups, going with 10-minute quarters instead of the usual 12 minutes. The change is for several reasons, including not wanting to overly tax players after they went more than four months without games, and because some teams do not have their full rosters at Walt Disney World Resort yet because of the coronavirus pandemic. The change will apply to only the first exhibition for teams; their second and third exhibition games at Disney will use standard timing. All teams are slated to play three exhibitions.
If the NBA season does get canceled in the end, and we're all hoping that is not the case, will media members get their money back for whatever you paid for it to get down there? And is it true that some media members will be there for a few months and then rotate after that? Joe Vardon: @Deven P. Hi Deven. So here's a little secret -- we haven't paid anything, yet. There has only been agreements between the NBA and our companies on the price. So I am not sure how that would shake out. Per your other question, it's true, most of us will be here for two months, and then a colleague will sub in for us for the final month. There are a few I suppose who will be here the full three months
The first exhibition games of the NBA restart will go a little more quickly than usual. The NBA is tweaking the rules for those initial matchups, going with 10-minute quarters instead of the usual 12 minutes. The change is for several reasons -- among them, not wanting to overly tax players' bodies after they went more than four months without games, and because some teams do not yet have their full rosters at Walt Disney World because of coronavirus and other issues.
Exhibitions start with a four-game slate Wednesday and continue through July 28. Each team will play three exhibitions, and the last two for each club will have the traditional 12-minute quarters. Plans call for all 33 exhibitions to be televised by some combination of local TV, national TV, NBA TV or NBA League Pass. The league is still working on some of the specifics for the first games, including whether to give teams the option of wearing uniforms or practice gear.
The exhibitions will be helpful in breaking up the monotony of practice, Denver coach Michael Malone said, but he stressed that player health will come before anything else in those games. "The No. 1 thing for me is can we get through these three scrimmages healthy and not getting guys put in a position where they're overworked, playing too many minutes and getting hurt," Malone said. "I think the vast majority of the 22 teams will approach it the same way."
When Damian Lillard finishes his daily hoop duties for the Portland Trailblazers, he will spend most of his downtime inside the NBA bubble working on his other passion: music. The All-Star point guard turned part of his suite into a mini recording studio at Disney's Wide World of Sports Complex, where his team will make a push for a playoff berth. The league constructed a social bubble to resume the NBA season and protect 22 teams from COVID-19 while at the resort, which features several activities such as walking trails, a bowling alley and a lake to fish or boat.
But under his rap persona Dame D.O.L.L.A., Lillard expects to turn his attention to laying down tracks when he is not occupied with basketball. He's striving to make his rap persona just as known as his pro basketball identity, like the Emmy-winning actor Donald Glover who won multiple Grammys under his alter ego, Childish Gambino. "That's the point I want to get to," he said. "I admire him with how he's established himself into two different lanes. People respect him in each lane. That's my goal."
That's what also led Lillard to release his new song and music video "Home Team" on Friday. The song pays homage to his family and closest friends that he financially helped start their entrepreneurial journey. "They do all these things and those are the things that I'm investing in to make my people deeper and stronger," said Lillard of his friends who have become a businessman, chef, handyman and even a farmer. "It's not an entourage of people that hangout with me, because I'm an NBA player. It's my strong circle."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Asked if Montrezl Harrell might be back for scrimmages or something more of when he will be back for restart of games, Doc Rivers said Clippers will wait. "When he needs to be back, he will be back."
Jovan Buha: Doc Rivers on Montrezl Harrell leaving the Orlando bubble to tend to a family emergency: “Things happpen in our lives, so we just have to leave it there.”
Jahlil Okafor on his process of getting ready for the NBA bubble: "It's been new. It's been new to me for sure. Just being so – bouncing around on my own time. Just trying to make the best out of it. I took a lot of time and a lot of focus on my body, trying to get as healthy as possible and basically just get as strong as possible in every aspect." Jahlil Okafor on how much work he was able to do during the NBA hiatus: "A lot. I think pretty much every day I was doing something on my body, whether I was lifting or just maintenance. It's pretty much the lifestyle I have chosen. I just try to take care of my body consistently."
The age of the NBA super team seems to have faded when Kevin Durant left the dynastic Golden State Warriors last summer, but the NBA’s unique restart has presented an opportunity for a revival for star players looking to join up in the future. In fact, one coach inside the NBA’s Disney campus believes it will happen. “The next super team will come out of this,” he told Yahoo Sports. “I believe it’s inevitable.”
There was a time when Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard received adulation for wearing a cape in the dunk contest. Now he's been disciplined for not wearing a mask in the NBA bubble. Howard said he was reported to the NBA Campus Hotline, set up to help protect players and staff participating in the league's restart in Orlando, Florida, and received a warning for not covering his face with a mask. "Somebody told on me," Howard said Wednesday in an Instagram Live post, broadcast to his 2.7 million followers.
Hi Chris, regarding the snitch hotline, are there any rumors of who is actually snitching? I'm not asking you to name names, I just wouldn't be too surprised if everyone kinda had an idea of who was using the snitch hotline. Chris Haynes: I don't know who is "snitching," but I know a few who were "snitched" on.
There's still a mystery as to whether Aron Baynes and Ricky Rubio are at Walt Disney World Resort. Devin Booker, Kelly Oubre Jr., Dario Saric, Mikal Bridges, Cam Johnson, Jevon Carter, Ty Jerome, Cameron Payne, Cheick Diallo, Frank Kaminsky III and Ayton are in the Orlando bubble based on photos, videos, Zoom media interviews, radio interviews, tweets and Instagram posts.
what's the most ridiculous thing you've heard happening in the bubble? Chris Haynes: Players are sneaking girls in. I don't see how it could happen. Security is all around. This will not be an easy feat. I would even venture to say it's an impossible feat.
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“It was adventurous for sure,” Holiday said. “There were some ups and down. There were some times where it got kind of hectic there. Zion (Williamson) getting hurt in the beginning. Then the 13-game losing streak. I got hurt for a while. But all in all man, we ended up being in position to make the playoffs. That was something we wanted to do. That was one of our goals. Then the pandemic hit. Just back in the bubble, it’s been an adventure for sure.”
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