Once teams select those fans, they will need a webcam a…

Once teams select those fans, they will need a webcam and a microphone. They will log onto Microsoft Teams through their computer or phone. And then they will use Microsoft Teams’ new feature, “Together Mode.” That will enable the fans to interact with each other digitally throughout the game while they watch the broadcast feed. With this feature, fans can high five each other, hold out signs or react to anything that happens on the court. The NBA’s video-boards will show those real-time reactions. “They better put some boos in there for us. If we’re not playing hard, we want to hear those boos,” Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons joked. “You can’t put this here and have the fans on the screen and not replicate Sixers fans. We’re one of a kind. They’ll do their best, but it’s nothing like playing at home at Wells Fargo.”

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Sources say Williams and a group of people (including Harlow) visited the club for dinner on Thursday evening after attending the funeral viewing. They didn’t stay long, according to those sources, and were allegedly there for the food above all else. “Ask any of my teammates what’s my favorite restaurant in Atlanta,” Williams said on Twitter on Saturday night. “Ain’t nobody partying. Chill out lol #Maskon #inandout.”
Williams attended the funeral of the loved one on Friday, per sources, and was back in Orlando on Saturday. Williams even tweeted about the funeral on Friday. “Glad I had an opportunity to say goodbye OG,” he wrote above a picture of Paul G. Williams. Real life was never going to stop just because the NBA decided to put everyone under the same sanitized roof, but now they must decide how long Williams needs to quarantine in order to eliminate any and all COVID-19 risks. Clippers coach Doc Rivers addressed the situation before his team’s scrimmage on Saturday. “He’s back here,” Rivers said. “I can tell you that much. Obviously those (pictures shared by Harlow on social media) got out and it’s something we obviously didn’t enjoy seeing or like.”
Milwaukee Bucks reserve guard Pat Connaughton flew to Florida on Saturday after a positive coronavirus test had kept him from joining his teammates at Walt Disney World two weeks earlier. The Bucks tweeted a video of Connaughton sitting in an airplane and saying, "heading to Orlando to meet up with my teammates."
The scale of the Orlando endeavor got us wondering how the NBA aligned all the relevant interests in short order. It speaks volumes to the unique relationship of the NBA players’ union and the owners, particularly when juxtaposed against the messiness of the early MLB talks. The NBA’s current labor moment fascinates for many reasons, but none more so than the perception that we’re currently living through the “Player Empowerment Era.” We caught up with someone uniquely suited to provide perspective on the matter. Dominique Foxworth, a current ESPN analyst who played six seasons at cornerback in the NFL, after which he earned an MBA from Harvard Business School. Most importantly — for this conversation — Foxworth served in leadership positions for both the NFLPA (President) and NBPA (Chief Operating Officer) during CBA negotiations. His experience of being in the room during negotiations on behalf of two unions with completely opposite reputations affords him a singular point of view as it pertains to labor dynamics in professional sports.
For Saturday’s scrimmages, the NBA featured pre-recorded segments of league officials posing as fans. Those segments aired before the game as well as periodically during the game. Once the season relaunch starts, though, the NBA will showcase about 300 “virtual fans” on 17-foot video boards throughout the game. That will include family members. "It can be a good thing. It reminds me of 'Black Mirror,'" Gobert said. "I like the concept. It will be great for families to watch us and know that we can see them in the stands."
Bobby Marks: A 10-day quarantine would see Lou Williams miss 2 seeding games and forfeit up to $150K in salary. A four-day quarantine would have Williams back on the court by the July 30 first game.
Williams was photographed at an Atlanta gentleman's club on Thursday night by the rapper Jack Harlow, who quickly deleted the post from his Instagram story. Harlow tweeted on Friday, "That was an old pic of me and Lou. I was just reminiscing cuz I miss him." In the photograph, Williams was holding a drink and wearing an NBA mask given out on the Orlando campus.
Sources told ESPN that Williams has been interviewed by NBA security about his whereabouts while he was away from campus, and told them he did go to the Magic City gentleman's club in Atlanta for a short time on Thursday night, but that there were no entertainers present while he was there. Sources said Williams told NBA investigators that he attended a viewing for Paul G. Williams, which ended at around 6 p.m. Thursday, then went to Magic City to get dinner. Williams tweeted a photo of Paul Willams on Friday, along with the caption "Long Live Pops."
Williams admitted to NBA security he visited Magic City strip club in Atlanta on Thursday night ... while he was excused from the NBA bubble to attend a family member's memorial service. Williams claims he was at the gentleman's club for a "short time" to pick up dinner after the family member's viewing ... which is when Harlow snapped a pic with the vet. In other words ... Harlow slipped up and tried to cover for his friend. Williams -- who has rejoined the team in Orlando -- is now under investigation by the league to determine how long he will have to quarantine.
Mark Medina: Doc Rivers on Lou Williams and being spotted at an Atlanta nightclub: "I can’t tell you about his journey because I wasn’t on that journey with him. He’s back here. I can tell you that much. Obviously those got out and that’s something we obviously didn’t enjoy seeing or like."
Shams Charania: Pelicans forward Zion Williamson will have a four-day quarantine that began on Friday night, NBA says. He is set to be cleared to rejoin Pelicans ahead of Thursday’s opener against Utah.
Jonathan Feigen: Austin Rivers indicates on his Instagram account that he is back in the bubble. pic.twitter.com/sn1fL3fe2o

http://twitter.com/Jonathan_Feigen/status/1287075094515396608
Chris Haynes: Los Angeles Clippers center Ivica Zubac arrived in the Orlando bubble last night and is under a two-day quarantine protocol, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Harrison Wind: Source: Keita Bates-Diop has cleared quarantine. He’ll still have to clear physical-type testing before he takes the floor so he won’t play tonight. Also, Monte Morris is at Disney World and currently under the league-mandated 36-48 hour in-room quarantine.
Joe Vardon: Elli Okobo of the Phoenix Suns is traveling to Orlando today, sources said, meaning Aron Baynes, who told @ShamsCharania he contracted COVID-19, and Jalen Lecque (personal reasons) are not here at Disney yet for that team @TheAthleticNBA
In an appearance on ESPN’s Get UP! segment, NBA insider Brian Windhorst detailed the whispers about the possible superteam that can be formed in the coming years. Speculation clearly stems from the fact that NBA superstars are going to be within close proximity of one another for months on end. “In a year, we’ll be talking about the formation of the Orlando Four superteam. Now I’m not sure it’s going to play that way because the reason people think about this is because of what’s happened with Team USAs over the years… in this case, the players are still playing with their teams,” he said.
New Orleans Pelicans rookie forward Zion Williamson returned to the NBA campus on Friday night, the team said in a statement. Williamson, who initially left the bubble in Orlando, Florida, on July 16 to tend to a family medical emergency, now enters the NBA quarantine period before he can rejoin the team. "My family and I appreciate the love and respect that everyone showed us while we dealt with a private family matter," Williamson said in a statement released by the team. "I'm excited to rejoin my team in Orlando and look forward to getting back on the court with my teammates after quarantine."
If Williamson has to quarantine for only four days, he would be available to play when the Pelicans open up seeding games on Thursday against the Utah Jazz. However, a source told ESPN that Williamson's status for that game, even if he is cleared to play by the NBA, is up in the air. Williamson originally left the bubble on July 16 and returned eight days later -- and a potential four-day waiting period stretches his time away from the team to nearly two weeks. The Pelicans will be cautious with his return.
Barnes cleared protocol in California on Thursday night and boarded a flight to Orlando on Friday morning, coach Luke Walton said. Barnes will have to quarantine once again upon arrival inside the NBA’s bubble. “He finished his Sacramento protocol, so he is on a flight to Orlando now,” Walton said, via the Sacramento Bee. “We’re happy to be getting him in here and then he’ll have to start his two-day quarantine once he gets here and pass that protocol before he can join us on the court, but a big step for us as far as getting him out here.”
Rapper Jack Harlow says he was NOT hanging out with Lou Williams on Thursday ... claiming he has nothing to do with the Clippers star leaving the NBA bubble. The 33-year-old L.A. hooper reportedly left the Disney campus this week due to "excused personal reasons" ... but is expected to rejoin the team at a later date. The whole thing seemed pretty normal -- considering several players have left the bubble for a number of reasons in the past few weeks -- until the "What's Poppin'" rapper posted an IG Story with Williams.
Farbood Esnaashari: Montrezl Harrell is on his way to Orlando. Looks like there's a chance the Clippers may not be missing so many players against the Lakers on opening night

http://twitter.com/Farbod_E/status/1286893475120558080
Andrew Grief: Marcus Morris says his late arrival to Orlando was tied to taking care of family. Mentioned he has a young son, with another on the way.
When the National Basketball Association (NBA) restarts its season on July 30th, it will use Microsoft Teams to recreate the atmosphere of a packed arena without any fans physically present. As part of its ongoing partnership with Microsoft, the league plans to use the software's recently released Together Mode to put more than 300 fans in the stands. The feature utilizes AI to segment your face and shoulders and put you in a shared digital space with other people.
Andrew Lopez: While the NBA hasn't announced how long Williamson's quarantine period, his status for the 7/30 opener could be up in the air even if he is cleared, per a source. Team will be cautious since he's been away for 8 days and has another (potential) 4 days to wait before joining team.
But Durant didn’t have much time to get acclimated before the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic two days later. “I did not have a traditional onboarding, but I sincerely believe that I am meant to be here at this moment,” Durant, who previously worked for ESPN for 20 years, told The Undefeated on Wednesday. “You learn fast. We had to figure out what this meant for our business, how to protect our cast members, how to do what was right for our guests. “I was the new person, the people around me weren’t new. They knew their jobs. They knew this company, and they brought me along.”
What is the state of women of color in sports? Rosalyn Durant: It is significantly better than it was when I started. I see more women. We find each other, we link arms, we support and we help each other. I’ve watched the numbers increase over the years. So, I am encouraged by where it is. I am committed to seeing it get to a better place where it’s not just women, but it’s women of color, and it is Black women who are not only in the companies, but who have a seat at the table. I see a path to that. Even the conversations that we’re having now in light of everything that’s happening in this world, it’s an awakening. I don’t believe this is a moment. I believe this is a movement that would lead us to more social justice, to more representation at all levels.

http://twitter.com/jovanbuha/status/1286729117434429441
The Clippers guard apparently left on Thursday to be able to party it up with Harlow and company at “a location U would never guess.” While his absence was excused, it’s unlikely that his venture into a club was, assuming this is actually from Thursday. Williams is the fifth Clippers player currently outside the bubble after Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley left to tend to personal matters. Marksman Landry Shamet is recovering from a COVID-19 infection, while center Ivica Zubac has yet to join the team in Orlando.
Marc J. Spears: NBA teams were sent a reminder today that all players & team staff on campus must undergo daily PCR testing to screen potential coronavirus infection, a source said. If not, the person will not be permitted to engage in any team activity until they resume and have a negative test
Tomer Azarly: Looks like Ivica Zubac is on his way to join the Clippers in the Orlando bubble. (photos via his fiancé)

http://twitter.com/TomerAzarly/status/1286718315235291136
Barnes tested positive for the coronavirus in early July, shortly before the Kings flew to Orlando as a team. His recovery took nearly three weeks before he was able to register two consecutive negative tests. "We're happy to be getting him in here, and then he'll have to start his two-day quarantine once he gets here and pass that protocol before he can join us on the court," Walton said in a video conference Friday. "But a big step for us as far as getting him out here."
Jonathan Feigen: NBA will have 320 fans each game invited to appear live on the 17-foot Michelob ULTRA Courtside video boards around the court. They will react, even interact, and be heard in real time during games. pic.twitter.com/CRbF3lXXph
Andrew Greif: Lou Williams did not practice today with the Clippers. A source tells @latimessports that Williams has left the NBA bubble for excused personal reasons and is expected to return soon.
Mirjam Swanson: The Clippers' Lou Williams has also left on an excused absence, per source. Teammates Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell also have left the bubble to deal with family matters. And the Clippers are still awaiting Landry Shamet and Ivica Zubac.
Jonathan Feigen: Can confirm that Rockets guard Austin Rivers had to leave the NBA campus for family reasons, per source. @Shams Charania first to report. The Rockets are hopeful that Rivers will be able to return soon.
What team seems to be enjoying themselves the most? Joe Vardon: I think a lot of teams are. There are team dinners and golf and fishing. For the MOST part, everyone seems to be in a decent mood. If you want me to throw out names, I'll say the Bucks seem to be having a grand ol time. Luke Walton was in a great mood yesterday when I saw him
Official photographs of the NBA's new 'bubble courts' in Orlando show the words 'Black Lives Matter' emblazoned across the parquet. The pictures, which were taken on Wednesday, come as the basketball league prepares to recommence its 2020-2021 season following a four month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic. Protests calling for racial justice and police reform have broken out across the country during the league's suspension, and NBA officials are now eager to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement.
Richard Deitsch: NBA Media news: Adrian Wojnarowski's ESPN suspension ends tomorrow. Per sources: Woj will ultimately end up reporting from inside the NBA bubble in Orlando, though the dates on that are still being worked on.
Kane Pitman: Brook Lopez on playing again: "Some people talk about what the bubble is like and it's a little tough and everything but we are so blessed to be in this situation to be able to come out and all hang out together, be with people we really care for and love and go out and hoop."
The Raptors came to be one of the few NBA teams at the Walt Disney World Resort accompanied by both of their senior executives — president Masai Ujiri and general manager Bobby Webster. “It was a conversation that we had very early on when we knew there were only so many spots,” said Webster on a conference call Thursday. “But really, it wasn’t that difficult a decision. I think you guys know how we operate, and having both of us here is good to take care of things here on the ground — we can communicate back to Toronto — but I think more than anything … we’re here in full support, we’re in this together, obviously we think this will be a long haul for us here, and we just wanted to do that.”
The least amount of time that anyone in the Raptors travelling party will have been away from their families by the time the second round of the playoffs begin – which is when families can come to Disney World – will be 10 weeks. Webster and Ujiri – each with young families at home – are no exception. “They’re really committed to the organization — that goes without saying — but they’re committed to what we’re doing,” said Raptors guard Norman Powell.
When the Raptors left the lobby of the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Naples, Fla., to make their way to Orlando after having spent two weeks there in ‘pre-quarantine,’ they looked up to see a pair of gleaming buses in the franchise’s Black and Red colour scheme with “Black Lives Matter” emblazoned on the side. “We didn’t know they were doing that, or at least I didn’t know,” said Powell, who has been outspoken in his support for social justice and is donating proceeds of his “Am I Next” shirts from his clothing line to a pair of charities aligned with the cause. “… But it was really cool to walk out of the lobby and see those buses with Black Lives Matter out there. I really like that.”

https://twitter.com/BenGolliver/status/1286377285701033985
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA informed teams of updated protocols for player re-entry: - Less than 4 days of quarantine (or none) if approved leaving for local/NBA-designated medical treatment - 30 minutes outside room per day during quarantine under conditions such as 25 ft. social distancing
Hayward notes the days feel a lot like a training camp, particularly when the team went to Newport for a week. He writes, "You wake up, go eat, come back, hang out for a little bit. Maybe you have practice in the morning or early afternoon. You come back. You go eat again. Get treatment. You have a meeting. You come back, you eat again, you go get tested. You go back to your room. So there hasn’t been that much free time. There’s small pockets throughout the day of free time, but not much."
Hayward points out, "There’s one conference room for each team, which is kind of like a meeting room and dining room, and it’s like an eight-minute walk from the rooms. But there’s one hallway to get there. So everybody walks down this hallway throughout the day at different times and you have to be wearing your mask the whole time. So you run into people from the different teams every day, and the coaches and all that stuff. It’s almost like passing period in high school, where you’re just constantly running into people and seeing the same people. Once we start playing games and competing against each other that might get a little weird."
J.R. Smith said he likes that he can play golf every day and the food has gotten better since the initial quarantine period. There’s just one problem. Asked what he wished he had packed, Smith replied, “Man, more underwear and socks.” “Honestly, I packed like seven because I thought I’d be good for once a day,” Smith said. “But I ain’t calculate all the showers in between everything that I be doing, so I’ve been running through in like two, three days. We’ve got a great laundry system, though. We’ve got a great laundry system, so I’m good.”

http://twitter.com/LakersSBN/status/1286074743200727041
Kelly Iko: Rockets F Luc Mbah a Moute has landed in Orlando, a source told @TheAthletic
P.J. Tucker didn’t see Russell Westbrook walk into practice at 7:30 Wednesday morning, but he felt it when the guard arrived. Literally. “He walked by and smacked my neck,” Tucker said grinning. “I didn’t know he was out yet.”
Holmes announced early last week that he had to quarantine for an extra period of time because he met a delivery food driver, which was a violation of the league’s health and safety protocol for the bubble. So what was it that led Holmes to make the decision? Some chicken wings. “I ordered some food, ordered some wings and went to grab the wings and I wasn’t really too aware of the borders,” Holmes said on Wednesday. “I stepped out, grabbed the food and came back and they just let me know they want me to be as safe as possible and had to enforce the rules, and I completely understand that. I won’t make that mistake again.”
I see you’ve been fishing. Do you regularly go fishing or is that because you’re there? Buddy Hield: I’m fishing because I have to be here. When was the last time you’d gone fishing before arriving in Orlando? Buddy Hield: This is the first time I’ve ever been fishing, bro.
I’m curious about the food. You’ve told me more than once the Bahamas has the best food, so how’s the food so far? Some have complained when they arrived. Buddy Hield: I’m grateful for the food and everything. I came from nothing, but you have to realize a lot of these guys come from Black communities so even though they probably didn’t grow up rich, they still had a mother’s love and touch into the food. So when you didn’t grow up rich, there was still a good cooked meal, it came from the heart, it was seasoned right, you know how it is. It’s a mother’s love. It didn’t matter if you were white or Black, it was a good, cooked meal. You don’t need a five-star lobster meal because we’re NBA players, no there’s a mother’s love in cooking. Whether it’s soul food, some fish, it was cooked in a way that you knew it was cooked right, it’s not cooked hotel right. I think when guys were complaining it wasn’t like “Oh we’re NBA players, we’re bougie.” We didn’t grow up on food like this, when we were poor, eating like this. So I think when people saw the pictures they thought “Oh, NBA players aren’t grateful.”
Two of his best role players, Patrick Beverley and Montrezl Harrell, have left the Disney bubble to attend to personal matters, sources confirmed to The Athletic. Both are expected to return, and in neither case is the player sick with COVID-19, but they will be subject to quarantine periods of four to 14 days when they return. Either way, they definitely won’t be playing Wednesday. The Clippers are also without Ivica Zubac and Landry Shamet.
Almost all players and coaches on Zoom calls with local and national media on Tuesday were wearing masks, strongly suggested if not mandated by the league. Dudley says that players been sticking with that protocol when the cameras are off as well. “Ninety-eight percent of the time, you see people with masks,” Dudley said. “Maybe (not) outside, if they’re walking somewhere or riding a bike or something like that. But for the most part, I want you to imagine you’re in a hotel room, and a convention center’s connected. By the time you leave your hotel room, you’re in the elevator, you go downstairs, your mask (is) on, (when) you get to the meal room, you take your mask off. You wear your mask to practice. You get to the practice, you take it off. It’s really a five-, 10-minute thing, and you can take it off. People are doing that. I would say that people are taking it serious, but to be honest with you, we’re not doing too much. Yes, you might see some pictures of people fishing. When they’re fishing, their masks are usually off. But when they’re around people – especially people who are non-teammates – and you’re walking by, everybody has their masks on.”
Howard took to Instagram Live on Tuesday in an apparent effort to clear the air. “I do not want people out here lying and people on here trying to say stuff about me because of my (Instagram) Lives and stuff that’s going on,” Howard said. “Because I’ve seen some things online about this whole mask situation.” He proceeded to rail against an online aggregator, BallerAlert.com, as well as USA Today, MSN and Yahoo, saying he had never talked to reporters from any of those outlets. However, his recent social media posts and a video conference with reporters on Saturday provided ample material for publications to quote him.
Players were instructed by the league to be “clean and neat in appearance” upon arriving at the arena, with postgame showers taking place back at team hotels. Clifford and Rivers conferred multiple times before the game about some of the concepts they hoped to work on during the scrimmage; both agreed, for example, to play some zone defense. Head coaches and their three front-row assistant coaches did not wear masks in this game, but all other team staff members behind them did.
The largest of Disney’s three arenas will have 62 seats for players who wish to come and watch. The others have 45 and 30 seats. “I’ve got to look at the schedule and see who’s playing, things like that, but there’s not much to do here, so to go out and watch some other teams, scout a little bit, I might end up going there,” Davis said.
When someone on the Clippers’ bench yelled “and one,” searching for a foul that was not called, it was the only voice heard in the arena. “I thought it was cool when somebody scored, they had their own graphic on the screen,” Williams said. “I heard the defensive chants. But when I actually was on the floor, I didn’t hear it. I didn’t see it. I didn’t feel it. I was locked into the game. “So I don’t know who that experience is for because there’s no fans in the arena but it definitely wasn’t for us.”
Fred Katz: Rui Hachimura took off his mask during his postgame media availability after he was told he was supposed to wear it. No penalties or anything like that being levied for not wearing masks, but the league just sent out a memo advising players and coaches to wear them in pressers.
Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks had her own brush with panic shortly after arriving in the bubble on June 12, when her first test returned positive. “My phone rang on Monday, and it was a Florida number,” she told me in a less ominous phone call last week. Rooks knew what was coming. “I said, ‘I assume this is a bad call,’” she said. Rooks was “shocked,” saying she had tested negative just before flying down to Orlando.
As she absorbed the news, Rooks sought guidance from a trio of NBA players who had previously tested positive for the coronavirus: Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, whose positive test in March triggered the league’s suspension of play; his teammate Donovan Mitchell; and the Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, who opted not to join his team in the bubble after testing positive earlier this month. “They were super helpful, and I’m also thankful to them for not telling anybody,” Rooks laughed. Ultimately, Rooks could breathe a sigh of relief: The initial result was deemed a false positive after subsequent retests came back negative.
Gerald Bourguet: Elie Okobo and Jalen Lecque are not with the team due to personal matters. Aron Baynes has COVID-19. All 3 are expected to join the Suns at later dates
Gina Mizell: Baynes says he is hopeful that he can join the #Suns at some point during the restart, but has not recorded the two negative tests the NBA requires to travel to Orlando.
Kyle Goon: Some pregame graphics — the NBA is still exploring ways to do this, but they want a home game to actually *feel* like a home game. This could be done through graphics, audience sound pumped in, or virtual fans among the options being considered. Important come playoff time.

https://twitter.com/kylegoon/status/1286008560728580096

https://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes/status/1286010646002360327
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
More HoopsHype Rumors
August 14, 2020 | 10:30 am EDT Update
August 14, 2020 | 9:34 am EDT Update
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander: Chris has been been amazing. I can honestly say he’s like a brother to me. It almost feels like we do everything together. We go eat together. We watch games together. Work out together. Yeah, he’s been he’s been amazing. Like I said, he taught so much from eating correctly to recovery to reads in the game. And the biggest thing about Chris is I think down to earth and genuine he is. Obviously with him and his accolades, he could easily act like, you know, I mean, he’s the best thing in the world to walk around like he’s better than everybody. But he honestly makes you feel like he’s just like, like your homie from back home.
Booker — who is still only 23 — was an All-Star this season, but he was initially snubbed before replacing Damian Lillard at the last minute. Booker’s numbers were undeniable, but as the best player on a perennial loser, he was building a reputation as an empty-calorie scorer. These eight games went a long way in changing that perspective. “We had one objective — to get better — and we did that,” Booker said. “I think we approached this with the right mindset from the beginning, from practices, from training camp in Phoenix, from the first two weeks we got down here, everybody was locked in on all cylinders.”
David Fizdale: I’m just hoping that I didn’t lose so many guys that I don’t get to sit in that seat again because I really felt like I can do it. You know, I proved that I can do it. And I just want that opportunity because I just learned after that situation that I think I got a lot to give to the next job that. If I can get the just the right pieces in place, boy, let me get a bunch of y’all running around out there. See what happened when I get junkyard dogs, a whole team full of them and see what happened. I had some puppies in New York. They weren’t your dogs yet. But I’m telling you: the kid Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox and RJ Barrett… Those kids are gonna end up being players in this league. They’re just babies.
August 14, 2020 | 9:29 am EDT Update
The final buzzer sounded Thursday night with the Utah Jazz topping San Antonio 118-112, officially eliminating the Spurs from contention for a Western Conference play-in spot and ending their record-tying run of 22 consecutive postseason appearances. “It means a lot to a lot of people probably, but I don’t dwell on the past,” said legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who captured five NBA titles during that span. “That stuff’s totally [not] important; what’s important is the moment you do what you’ve got to do then you move on, but looking at the past doesn’t do much good. Any success we’ve had has been because we’ve had some great players.”
Though the NBA saved itself from losing more than $1 billion by not canceling its season, the league will still suffer substantial revenue losses due to Covid-19. That will likely affect Oladipo’s next contract, as the players will see a drop in income available. Oladipo said his current concern is helping the Pacers in the NBA bubble and “continuing to strengthen my knee.” “I’m just focused on doing what I can to help my team the best way I can,” he said. “One day, it will all click again, and then I can worry about those other things when the time comes.”
Storyline: Victor Oladipo Free Agency
So when the Kings’ season ended Thursday, and Hield was asked if he’s comfortable with his role off the bench in Sacramento heading into next season, his answer raised some eyebrows. Including, I’d imagine, some in Philadelphia. Here’s what Hield had to say: [Hield] provided a series of short answers during a Zoom session with reporters and offered a cryptic response when asked if he could be content with his role going into next season. “Y’all know me,” Hield said. “Y’all know how I talk. Y’all know how I feel. Y’all can read me well, so I’ll let y’all answer that yourselves.”
Justin Kubatko: Most points scored by a player over the final three games of a regular season: 154 – Damian Lillard, 2019-20 128 – Dominique Wilkins, 1985-86 128 – Michael Jordan, 1986-87 128 – Kobe Bryant, 2005-06 127 – David Thompson, 1977-78 127 – Russell Westbrook, 2014-15
For New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson, it’s time to turn the page to next season and focus on getting better — with his game and his body. “I’ll talk to my coaches and see what I need to do better from their point of view,” Williamson said Thursday morning. “Talk to my player development coaches as well, see what I need to do better from their point of view. Just work on every part of my game and work on getting my body where it needs to be.”
Given how fluid this draft is, the Warriors could draft the same player at No. 5 that they’d eye with the No. 2 pick. According to league sources, Israeli small forward Deni Avdija, Iowa State point guard Tyrese Haliburton, Florida State shooting guard Devin Vassell and Auburn small forward Isaac Okoro are among the players Golden State would consider in that range.
With so much time spent off the court since his injury in January 2019, Oladipo stayed productive in other ways, including through business. Like numerous athletes, Oladipo has taken an interest in tech investing, and is particularly excited about his stake in a sports marketing company called Genies, which creates and licenses avatars of celebrities, mostly on social media.
The first game-worn jerseys from the NBA’s restart in Orlando have hit the auction block. NBA Auctions has launched a group of 58 jerseys from the league’s first few games in the “bubble” including those donned by LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Zion Williamson. Jerseys worn by members of the Lakers, Pelicans, Spurs and Nets are the first to reach the auction block from games played after the league stopped play in March due to COVID-19. Most of the jerseys are game-worn while a few were made for players who didn’t see action.
Google may finally end the internet tradition of traffic-grabbing how-to-watch posts with a new search feature that will display local TV and streaming options for NBA and MLB games when you search phrases like “how to watch the Lakers games.” The new feature is rolling out in the US today, and it can incorporate your location data to help you figure out which specific local channel is airing the game you want to watch. The new TV options will also appear on Google’s existing sport game search widgets alongside things like the box score or time remaining in the game.

Toronto Raptors assistant coach Adrian Griffin on Thursday denied a series of domestic violence accusations made by his ex-wife in a social media post. In a message posted to Twitter, Audrey Griffin said Adrian Griffin had repeatedly abused her, including choking her, throwing her into a wall with enough force to leave a hole and dragging her across a lawn while she was pregnant. “This morning, accusations were made against me on social media by my former wife that I vehemently deny,” Adrian Griffin said in a statement released by the Raptors. “We are involved in a longstanding legal dispute over alimony and child support arrangements. I am disappointed to have to address false accusations in this way, and I apologize for any distraction this has potentially caused for our team at this important time.”
The Raptors also issued a separate statement on the matter. “When we saw these allegations this morning, we were dismayed — Adrian is a valuable member of our team,” the team said in the statement. “Our leadership immediately spoke with him, and he flatly denied the allegations in the posts. We will support the process as he and his former partner settle these matters.” Audrey Griffin had previously made similar allegations of abuse on social media. On Thursday, she wrote in part, “How can someone do ALL of this and get away with it. … I will tell you how… just be in the NBA and win a game in the bubble. Cinderfella. That’s how. Simple.”
August 13, 2020 | 9:14 pm EDT Update
August 13, 2020 | 8:05 pm EDT Update
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