Rachel Nichols: Spoke to union prez Chris Paul about CO…

Rachel Nichols: Spoke to union prez Chris Paul about COVID outbreak in MLB & whether the NBA would need a bubble scenario for next season too (tentative hope is to start next season in Dec.) He said NBA has to get thru Orlando first but is monitoring other sports to see what works & doesnt

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Rachel Nichols: Have also had two other NBA players from countries where COVID is significantly under control tell me they have explored whether the NBA could come play there, but no serious discussions came out of those inquiries.
Williams’s case has chipped away at the sense of security created by that unblemished track record. If Williams’s trip had gone undetected, he would have been cleared to play in the Clippers’ opening night game against the Lakers and to participate in postgame interviews, assuming he passed four days of coronavirus tests upon his return. If he were an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus initially, the NBA could have been staring at its worst-case scenario: Williams unwittingly brings the virus into the bubble, plays in a full-contact game between two of the top championship contenders, and takes questions from reporters in close quarters before he or someone else eventually tests positive and the bubble bursts.
Shams Charania: Suns center Aron Baynes has cleared from coronavirus and is traveling today to Orlando to join the team, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Our sitdown on his one-month-plus dealings with the virus: pic.twitter.com/v2LDwpsZ89
Players, coaches and team personnel are not allowed to leave the campus without authorization and will live here for a minimum of six weeks. For the two teams that reach the N.B.A. finals, that stay will last until mid-October — provided the virus does not pierce the bubble. “It requires significant sacrifice from our players,” Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, said in a phone interview from his home in the New York metropolitan area.
The N.B.A. has not yet said how it would handle an outbreak on campus as the season resumes, but the bubble appears to be holding. The league announced that of the 346 players tested daily for the coronavirus from July 13 to 19, none tested positive for the virus. A few notable players have left, but the departures have been attributed to urgent personal matters or injuries. “From my standpoint, it’s going very well, and I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re on the right track,” said Silver, the commissioner, who is scheduled to make his first appearance on campus this week. “But I also recognize what we’re doing has not been done before, and the competition is just beginning. The real test will come when players are commingling, playing basketball without masks and without physical distancing.”
Jeff Passan: Eight more players and two coaches with the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, as an outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total of cases in recent days to at least 14, sources familiar with the situation tell me and @JesseRogersESPN. Adrian Wojnarowski: The MLB couldn’t sell a bubble in Arizona to its players association. Without a comprehensive national plan to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the NBA never believed it could play outside of a closed environment. So far, the NBA's Orlando experiment is working.
Playing video games has emerged as the most popular activity to combat isolation. Food variety was initially a big discussion point, but criticisms have dwindled as the league has increased the options. Early consternation about hotel assignments, which were based on team records at the time the season was suspended in March, has also faded, with several players acknowledging the poor optics of complaining about food and accommodations at a time of widespread economic struggle.
Yet the hunger for a shred of normalcy, such as going out to eat, quickly took hold. Players have largely taken over the only restaurant available in the Gran Destino hotel, which houses the top eight teams. Crowds at the restaurant, the Rix Lounge, have gotten so big that it has adopted a players-only policy in recent days. McCollum, who as a member of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive board had participated in numerous discussions around planning the bubble, said he still was not as prepared as he anticipated when he entered his initial quarantine.
Available diversions include fishing, golf, full barber services, high-speed internet to facilitate video game usage, along with a cavernous delivery center that takes in more than 1,000 packages daily from campus inhabitants ordering all manner of home comforts.
Robin Lopez: I didn't want to mention this (because I'm selfish) but there's a mini-fridge full of Mickey ice cream bars and sandwiches in the players lounge. Wasn't going to say anything, but people are starting to use the lounge now. Secret is out dangit.
Spending any time in a teammate’s hotel room is forbidden. No caddies are allowed on golf outings, playing doubles in table tennis is outlawed — singles only — and there can be no sharing of goggles or towels.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters Saturday on a videoconference call that Williams was indeed back in Orlando, Fla., and that the organization wasn’t happy that pictures surfaced of Williams at a strip club. “I can’t share much with his journey because I wasn’t on that journey with him,” Rivers said. “But he’s back here, I call tell you that much. And obviously those got out and that’s something we obviously didn’t enjoy seeing or liked.”
Ramona Shelburne: Lou Williams tweeted a photo Friday of a man named, Paul G. Willams, with the caption "Long Live Pops,." Sources said Williams told NBA investigators that he attended a viewing for Williams which ended around 6 p.m. on Thursday, then went to Magic City to pick up dinner.
Rachel Nichols: Kristaps Porzingis is the latest player who forgot to stop by the nurses station for his daily COVID test here in the bubble. He is now doing the mandatory one-day quarantine until his next negative test result comes back, and will miss today’s Mavericks game.
In a recent appearance on Global Kid Power Hour with Vedant Gupta, JJ Redick spoke about some of the special treatments the superstars are getting inside their hotel rooms. “I’ve seen videos of a couple of superstars rooms at other hotels, and let me tell you that the bubble experience is not the same for everyone,” JJ Redick said on Sunday.” Some guys basically have two and three-bedroom apartments. Unfortunately, I don’t have that, nor do I have a kitchen, but there are some guys with kitchens inside their rooms. “I’ve been in this sh*t for 14 years, and I can’t even get a nice room, but it’s whatever,” Reddick said jokingly.
After testing positive for the coronavirus on July 4, LA Clippers guard Landry Shamet has made his way to the NBA bubble for the first time. The 23-year-old flew to Orlando on Saturday, and on Sunday, he shared a view of his room to his Instagram story.
Dwain Price: Carlisle spoke 2 KP:"He was very contrite and really felt bad about letting the team down. Something like this is something that all of us can take as a cautionary tale and we just got 2 remember that the details of this situation that we're involved in are very, very important."
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.
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.”
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."
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
More HoopsHype Rumors
August 6, 2020 | 12:21 pm EDT Update

Jim Boylen a keeper?

But as the Sun-Times learned this week, even if Karnisovas didn’t like what he would have seen from Boylen he would likely be handcuffed from making a change. According to several sources, there is strong growing momentum that financial concerns the Reinsdorfs have about the 2020-21 NBA season will keep Boylen in his current seat, as well as most of the coaching staff.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 48 more rumors
At 6-foot-5 with a 6-9 wingspan and 225 pounds, he could grow into what the Hawks need defensively at the two-guard position next to Trae Young. The problem is getting him to buy all the way in on that end of the floor. There are several skeptics who worry about Edwards’ effort and willingness to fully commit to giving his best effort defensively. From what I’ve been told, his work ethic is definitely a big question mark for many people in the league, including some in Atlanta’s organization.
This is where things get a little interesting for the Hawks. There are some folks inside the organization who firmly believe Ball is the best prospect in this draft class, and it’s not close, and there are others who are against taking him because of the fit with Young. Particularly, the defensive end of the floor scares them because they aren’t good on that end. From what I’ve heard, he’s not a total cross off for the Hawks, but a lot more evaluation and talks are going to have to happen to get everyone in agreement for him to be the choice.
Storyline: No. 1 pick
August 6, 2020 | 10:55 am EDT Update
Damian Lillard on high school basketball: The other thing that makes it sad is the level of complacency because you’ve been told like you’re gonna make it and you’re gonna be a draft pick and you know, you don’t got to earn nothing. You don’t feel like you gotta work for nothing. And it’s sad when it’s time for them to make the NBA and they don’t make it. Like, either they don’t get drafted. Or they get drafted and they ain’t built to survive where everybody’s good. You know what I’m saying? Like, you’re talented and you, you know, you got all these gifts, but everybody got that. You know, I mean, like, if you if you’re 20 years old, or 19 or whatever, and you think you either come in here and just do whatever you want against Chris Paul, Pat Bev… Like if you think you bout to come in here and have your way, you don’t get embarrassed. You know, I’m saying like… Don’t nobody care about the hype. I don’t care what your agent told you. I don’t care what your manager, whoever is the person had been handling you since 10th grade… I don’t care what they told you. Once you get up here, you got to do it. And if you’re not prepared for it or mentally build for it, you’re not gonna make it. And that’s where you see a lot of these dudes. They get here and they don’t stick because they’re not built to make it here. And a lot of that has to do with the culture of high school basketball.

Former G League player Aaron Craft retiring

Ohio State alum Aaron Craft is officially focusing on medicine, he announced via a post on his personal Twitter account. “The new chapter has begun!” he wrote, “Excited, a little nervous, and extremely grateful to start a journey I’ve thought about for so long. I’ve always liked our home white jerseys!” From the beginning of the 2019-20 season prior to the coronavirus pandemic, he revealed his intentions to retire as a player after being accepted to the medical school at Ohio State University.
Statement from ESPN senior writer Jackie MacMullan: About three weeks ago during a discussion on the podcast The Hoop Collective, I misspoke when I expressed my opinion regarding the business practices of the Indiana Pacers, and inferred that Larry Bird had been frustrated during his time as team president. It was a careless remark, based solely on my opinion, and therefore should have never been said. Larry Bird never expressed those feelings to me, and I apologize to both Larry and team owner Herb Simon for poor choice of my words.
August 6, 2020 | 9:51 am EDT Update

Kevin Durant surprised by Caris LeVert

ON CARIS LEVERT … KD was surprised at how good his new teammate is. “He is definitely better than I thought. He’s different. He can score that thing. He can pass it. He’s quick. His thing is about being efficient, and I think that’s what you’re seeing. The shots he’s taking now, it’s like all of his lane. Not a lot of threes, a lot in the mid-range, getting to the cup. I think his IQ is what surprised me the most.”
KD said he’s been playing some with other NBA players, including Kyrie Irving, Blake Griffin and Allonzo Trier. “I’m playing a lot of one-on-one lately, so what comes with that is your handle is a little better, You’re more quicker with your moves. You’re less indecisive with what you want to bring out. So I’m just crafting that, that playground style of ball even more, just working out by myself or with two or three guys. “That’s the cool part about it because it’s hard to get that type of play in a regular season because you’re going through the team aspect, you’re training with the team and you want to preserve your body for the season. So if I’m playing 1-on-1 or 2-on-2s, it’s just going to help my creativity. That’s the timing thing that every injured player goes through. Just finding that rhythm again. Hopefully I gain it over time and once I get into real games it translates real fast.”
Kevin Durant and his manager Rich Kleiman have produced some interesting content through their company Thirty Five Ventures, from ESPN+ show The Boardroom to documentaries like Basketball County and Q Ball. And Durant has been a frequent guest on other podcasts, from The Bill Simmons Podcast to Pull Up With CJ McCollum to Knuckleheads (with Quentin Richardson and Darius Miles) to Play For Keeps. Now, Durant and Kleiman are starting their own podcast network, and they’re teaming up with established podcasting company Cadence13 (now owned by radio conglomerate Entercom) for that. Here’s more from a Cadence13 release:
Dapper Labs has closed a $12 million funding round led by National Basketball Association (NBA) stars Spencer Dinwiddie, Andre Iguodala, JaVale McGee, Aaron Gordon and Garrett Temple, according to a press release shared with CoinDesk. The funds will be used for further development of blockchain games including the eventual launch of NBA Top Shot out of private beta, Dapper Labs founder and CEO Roham Gharegozlou told CoinDesk in a phone interview. “Sports are our most important vertical now,” Gharegozlou said.
Arenas also took a shot at Los Angeles Clippers guard Lou Williams, who said he visited the Magic City strip club in Atlanta for food after leaving the bubble in Orlando for a funeral in July. “I would never eat at a strip club. I don’t go to the strip club to eat wings,” Gilbert told TMZ. “I can go to Wing Stop for some wings. I go to the strip club to see strippers.”
August 6, 2020 | 7:54 am EDT Update

Giannis Antetokounmpo very likely to win MVP, DPOY

If you thought this vote was going to be close based on LeBron James‘ run before the league’s stoppage, think twice. Per our poll, Giannis Antetokounmpo will be the near-consensus MVP after improving his scoring, rebounding and three-point percentage numbers from a season ago. By securing back-to-back MVP awards, Antetokounmpo will join Stephen Curry, LeBron James, Steve Nash, Tim Duncan, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Moses Malone, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell as the only NBA players to do so.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 298 more rumors
What attracted you to Brooklyn? Was it Kyrie going there? Or what made you want to be there? Kevin Durant: We went together so I think we talked about it together. I think they had a young core that was hungry for success, that played in the playoffs before. They had some young coaches that was looking forward to a new experience in the NBA. You know, I felt like there was a fresh organization that needed like an extra push, you know. You get two guys that can score the basketball. It just felt right.
Storyline: Durant-Irving Dynamic
August 6, 2020 | 3:26 am EDT Update
“In this situation with the NBPA, he wasn’t the only one that had a problem with what was potentially going to happen in the bubble. Like, everybody had concerns,” Durant said. “But obviously, he’s Kyrie—the biggest one—and that’s going to sell papers. At this time, especially during the pandemic, nobody making money, so you get an opportunity to get some clicks, it’s easy to use Kyrie. But it’s 80, 90 players who had the same questions he had.” Contrary to reports that Irving organized a group of NBA players to express their disapproval for the NBA restart, KD says that things transpired in a more organic way. “Kyrie wasn’t the one, like, ‘Yo, let’s get everybody together,'” he said. “Five or six people called one another, like, ‘Oh shit, I’m feeling that way too.’ Then, another 10 people called…But Kyrie the biggest voice out of ’em all, and because he relates to everyone in the league.”
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Isaiah Thomas: I’m fine with being a backup, At the end of the day I want to be apart of something and when my name is called I’d be more than ready!!! That goes for any team

Storyline: Isaiah Thomas Free Agency
Chances are, if you are reading this story on Anthony, you’ve heard the noise. And chances are, several of you are part of the noise. “When we got him, everybody had something to say about him,” Blazers star Damian Lillard said. “What he gonna do defensively? … He’s older … He’s done … Where’s he gonna fit in? … How is he in the locker room? … Why didn’t it work out with these other teams?”
All that “noise” has long ago been dismissed by the 36-year-old Anthony. But it hasn’t been forgotten by his teammates, who have come to adore the player they once worshipped from afar. “I say everybody who was talking, or said something negative about him, they need to apologize, you know?” Gary Trent Jr. said. “It’s Carmelo Anthony. He went through tough times. He battled, stayed resilient and for him to come back and bounce back like it’s nothing? That’s why he’s Carmelo Anthony and why he does what he does.”
With one of the most open NBA postseasons in years, there’s no clear title favorite right now, but the LA Clippers picked up one big endorsement: Kevin Durant. “If I had to choose — and I hate doing that s— because you never know what could happen, you seen that with us last year — but if I had to choose, I’ll go with Clippers and Bucks for the championship,” Durant said on the “Play For Keeps” podcast. “And I’ll go with the Clippers.”

Gregg Popovich compares Nikola Jokic to Larry Bird

Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. became only the third rookie since 2000 to post consecutive 30-point double-doubles but it was Nikola Jokic who left Gregg Popovich feeling like he had just faced a Hall of Famer. “Porter is a fine young talent,” the San Antonio Spurs coach said. “And Jokic, he’s like a reincarnation of Larry Bird. He does everything. He’s amazing. They were great.”
Bell was drafted by Chicago in the second round in 2017 and traded to Golden State on draft night. But after two seasons with the Warriors, he signed a free-agent deal with the Timberwolves last summer. Then, Bell was traded in February as part of a four-team, 12-player deal in which he was first traded to Houston and then moved to Memphis the next day. He experienced a flood of emotions as he processed the trade, and it opened his eyes to the “business” side of the NBA. “When it happened, I was down, I was sad, I wanted to cry,” Bell said. “I wanted to be mad, I wanted to cuss somebody out, I wanted to fight somebody. But I still had a chance to play basketball in the NBA. There’s not a lot of people who get to say that.”
So Zion is important and not just for the sake of the New Orleans Pelicans. The big question hanging over the league is whether he’s capable of shouldering it all. Dr. Brian Sutterer, of sports injury YouTube fame, has been watching intently and has his concerns. “He’s in a race against his own body,” Dr. Sutterer said over the phone. “If you go watch his Duke highlights compared to now, the difference is profound. In my opinion, his athleticism and conditioning have regressed substantially. He’s less explosive, less conditioned, slower on defense, has already had a portion of his meniscus removed from his knee after an injury, and he’s still under close monitoring from the medical staff.”
Storyline: Zion Williamson Injury
In a Wednesday morning telephone interview with Fox & Friends, Trump said he turned off N.B.A. games “when I see people kneeling” and “disrespecting our flag and disrespecting our national anthem.” Asked about Trump’s comments after the Lakers’ 105-86 loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder later in the day, James fired back. “The game will go on without his eyes on it,” James said at his postgame news conference from the N.B.A.’s so-called bubble at Walt Disney World in Florida. “I can sit here and speak for all of us that love the game of basketball: We could care less.”

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