New Orleans, Portland, Sacramento, San Antonio and Washington have felt it, too, because they all share such a narrow path to the playoffs. Once games began, on July 30, the competition injected a reality-show, “Survivor”-style desperation that has intruded upon strolls through the Yacht Club lobby, hallway encounters and community pool time among this sub-.500 sextet. “You’re rooting against everybody you see,” Frank Kaminsky of the Suns said. “At the end of the day, this is big for us. We need people to lose, and we want them to lose so we can get into position.” “Every day you see guys battling for the same spot as you,” Kent Bazemore of the Sacramento Kings said. “It’s cool, but when you play that same night, it’s kind of an awkward interaction.”
Nothing in terms of amenities offered at the more remote, five-story Yacht Club quite compares to the Gran Destino’s 123-foot water slide recently tested by the Los Angeles Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma and JaVale McGee or the Grand Floridian’s lakefront dining and clear view of the Magic Kingdom’s Cinderella Castle. JJ Redick of the New Orleans Pelicans called the Yacht Club a “wonderful resort,” but he also acknowledged, “We’re missing out on a few things.”
Undaunted by such critiques, his team’s losing or the accommodations, Washington’s Ian Mahinmi insisted he would head home feeling sorry for the eight teams that were not invited. “It is such a unique experience,” Mahinmi said. “Honestly, if you want to reflect on it, it would have been tough to be back home and be like, ‘Man, I wasn’t part of this.’”
Anthony Chiang: Kendrick Nunn is now back in the NBA bubble, according to a source. Again, the hope is Nunn will now have to quarantine for just four days before rejoining the Heat on the court. But that's ultimately the NBA's decision.
Ira Winderman: And second NBA source now also confirms to Sun Sentinel that Kendrick Nunn is back in Disney bubble. Four-day quarantine is seen as minimum, which could leave outside chance of availability Wednesday vs OKC, but Friday vs. Indy more possible, if not just wait for playoffs.
Chris Mannix: The NBA is operating in a bubble, and it works. If the coronavirus is still widespread in the winter, they will go back into bubbles. Right now, all sports need bubbles. All sports can pull off bubbles. Not creating them is a combination of being too lazy or too cheap.
Is the Orlando bubble a possible destination for the eight teams left out of the restart to run offseason training camps once the first batch of 22 teams are eliminated? The NBPA has no interest in that idea, sources said. It's a non-starter. The inevitable solution for the eight teams left out of Orlando: The NBA and NBPA agreeing upon voluntary workouts in the team facilities, sources said. The NBPA won't agree to mandatory reporting for players on the eight teams outside of the restart but will eventually allow it on a voluntary level, sources said. Several of the teams are frustrated and angry over how far they feel they're falling behind the teams in the bubble, and are aggressively voicing that to the league office.
Grizzlies star rookie Ja Morant, meanwhile, awoke Friday in a terrible mood. It was his daughter Kaari’s first birthday and he, of course, would not be there to celebrate. He, like Pop, is in the bubble. “I talked with my parents and told them it was probably one of the toughest days of my life, not being able to be at my daughter’s first birthday party,” Morant said.
Heat guard Kendrick Nunn will miss Saturday’s game against Phoenix for personal reasons and has left the NBA bubble, according to multiple sources. Erik Spoelstra did not mention any issue with Nunn during a Zoom session earlier in the day. Nunn - who previously confirmed he tested positive for COVID-19 in June - has left the bubble for reasons unrelated to COVID-19, according to a source. He’s expected back soon, according to another source, but it’s undetermined how many days he would be required to quarantine when he returns.
Except, perhaps, this one: What if those eight teams joined the rest of their colleagues inside the Walt Disney World bubble for training after the eliminated teams departed? Sources say the NBA has been exploring that possibility for quite some time now, and that the idea was raised most recently on the aforementioned governors call. And in some ways, it makes perfect sense.
On the most recent episode of the Bulls Talk Podcast, NBC Sports Chicago Bulls insider K.C. Johnson broke down the latest scuttlebut: Well, the latest is, you really got only one shared goal between these eight teams and that is to get some kind of formal group activities authorized by the league and the players association. How that plays out and the form that takes, there are different goals. There are some teams that wouldn't mind doing a bubble. There are other teams that would rather stay in their own practice facilities and not travel. There are other teams that want to do regional scrimmages against another team. And complicating this is that Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players association, is on record as saying: Unless there are the exact same safety protocols going on in Orlando for the second bubble, it's a non-starter for her.
The league's attention mostly has been in Orlando, obviously, and that was a signficant financial undertaking. So you'd also have to factor in that, what kind of financial undertaking would they commit to these eight teams. It did look like there was some positive momentum for, not a bubble, but for each team to be able to hold some sort of offseason training sessions, group sessions in their own facilities, like OTAs in the NFL. And I don't think that's dead, but there's certainly not as much optimism as there was maybe a week, ten days ago for that. I mean, it's fluid, and there's nothing definitive yet, but you may be staring at that dreaded eight month window between formal group activities for these eight teams.
I've heard from players that the lack of a crowd feels awkward. The normal energy isn't there. That stinks. But the quiet has benefits for TV viewers: We hear every "Hell no!" from bench players mocking opponent shooters. Those shooters hear it, too; the bubble is producing record levels of mean-mugging and bad words directed at bench jokesters. A reminder for refs: Shooters who return taunts at yappy benches should be immune from technical fouls.
Per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, the supposed hierarchy system has somewhat been ignored, as concerned parties deemed that their pleas will be addressed quickly if they cut off the middleman. Instead of using the so-called “snitch hotline”, players are reaching out directly to Commissioner Adam Silver. “Much has been said about the anonymous tip hotline intended for players and staff to report violations inside the bubble. But what I found out was that players have been circumventing that process. Multiple players are personally calling Commissioner Adam Silver to issue their complaints about things they’re seeing in the bubble,” Haynes revealed during the third quarter of the Clippers-Mavericks game on Thursday.
Across the seeding games so far, there’s been a drastic uptick in fouls called—over 10 more per game than in the regular season. And as The Athletic’s Seth Partnow pointed out this week, a good portion of that increase is coming during the first quarter, where fouls are traditionally called at a much lower rate. It’s also part of the reason games have been longer.
"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."
Brad Turner: NBA also said In the event that a player on the NBA campus returns a confirmed positive test in the future, he will be isolated until he is cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association.
Mark Medina: Gregg Popovich on the NBA having 0 positive cases: "There's absolutely no doubt that the NBA, under the leadership of Adam Silver, has done a magnificent job with being visionaries, looking at the big picture and looking at what unintended consequences may appear."
Paul Garcia: “I think it’s a great example for the country," says Coach Pop of the NBA bubble working so far. He says in our country, things would be different if we had that type of leadership from government and also from all citizens.
In a Wednesday morning appearance on Fox & Friends, Trump was asked about his take on the state of the league, which has seen the majority of its players and coaches kneel during the anthem in support of Black Lives Matter and other social justice movements. Two players — the Miami Heat's Meyers Leonard and the Orlando Magic's Jonathan Isaac — have stood during the anthem since 22 teams resumed their season in Orlando, Florida. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, a vocal critic of racial injustice, and assistant Becky Hammon have also chosen to stand during the national anthem. "When I see people kneeling during the playing and disrespecting our flag and national anthem, what I do personally is turn off the game," Trump said in the phone interview.
"I think it's disgraceful. We work with (the NBA), we worked with them very hard trying to get open. I was pushing for them to get open. Then I see everybody kneeling during the anthem. That's not acceptable to me. When I see them kneeling during the game, I just turn off the game. I have no interest in the game. Let me tell you this, plenty of other people out there, too."
"The ratings for the basketball are way down, as you know," Trump said. "I hear some others are way down, including baseball. We have stand up for our flag, stand up for our country. A lot of people agree with me. If I'm wrong, I'm going to lose an election. That's okay with me. I will always stand for our flag." Trump also addressed Black Lives Matter, comparing himself to former president Abraham Lincoln. "Black Lives Matter," he said. "Nobody has done better for our Black community than me. Nobody. With the possible exception of Abraham Lincoln; it's true. Criminal justice reform, opportunity zones, best employment numbers in history. Again, nobody has done for the black community – by far. I'll give the one exception: Abraham Lincoln."
Would you have felt comfortable going into the bubble from a health standpoint, had the Pistons been invited? Blake Griffin: Yeah, they put out a 120-page report and I read most of it just because I was kind of curious as to like, the protocol and how in depth all of this was gonna be, and it feels like the NBA and the NBPA of making sure that this protocol and these procedures that they put in place were covering most things. And I think they did for the most part, it sounds like they had a plan and multiple backup plans for each situation. They thought about a lot of different things and were very thoughtful about the things that they put into this, so I'm obviously biased, but I think the NBA does a very good job of taking action and sort of being the league that's like "here's how we're going to do this." I think it was a really good formula. Yeah, I would've felt comfortable.
A few weeks ago, members of the Trail Blazers tried to persuade Trevor Ariza to reconsider joining them in the bubble, sources told Yahoo Sports. Ariza opted out of the restart due to a one-month visitation window he had long scheduled with his son. But because his visitation period had been amended with a conclusion date now near the start of August, there was some optimism among the players that Ariza might be allowed into the bubble to further strengthen their chances of a deep playoff run.
The possibility was explored, but sources said the Trail Blazers had to have previously applied for a hardship waiver or a late-arrival form for Ariza to be considered for entry into the bubble. Even if those steps were taken, the league would have likely denied the request because Ariza chose to opt out, wasn’t included on the restart roster and didn’t arrive with his team on July 9. Players within the organization were upset with the outcome, sources said. Portland added Jaylen Adams to the roster as a replacement player.
Members of the media have access to what is known as “The Snitch Line” — the telephone number players and coaches have to anonymously report protocol violations on campus to N.B.A. security. I have thankfully not yet been scolded for a violation someone called in on me.
Bradley Beal and John Wall, the team’s cornerstone players who stayed home to recover from injuries, are watching daily practices and still participating in meetings and team group chats, sources said. The Wizards have set up live video links to practices and meetings for players and staff who are not in the bubble, sources said. Davis Bertans, who opted out of the restart due to health concerns and his pending free agency, has also been active on the live links, sources said.
Josh Robbins: Jonathan Isaac, who tore the ACL in his left knee last night, has left the bubble, Jeff Weltman said. The team wants to get a more complete set of MRI images of the interior of Isaac's knee, Weltman said.
Marc Stein: Everyone in the bubble is asked to wear a proximity sensor to promote social distancing. A chirping alarm sounds if two people wearing sensors are within six feet each of other for 10 seconds — provided both are actually wearing them and have charged them overnight.
Marc Stein: Sensors are optional for players, many of whom privately scoff at the idea of wearing a device that is not a movement tracker but is widely described that way. Everyone else, including reporters, is required to wear them. That leads to lots of chirping on bus rides and in postgame media scrums when maintaining six feet of distance is nearly impossible.
Marc Stein: San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, at 71, is the oldest coach in the N.B.A. He is among the few coaches who wears a mask while coaching games, despite the impediment to voice projection. When asked why he stays faithful to the mask, Popovich replied: “I don’t want to die.”
Some of these games feel like they are dragging a bit in terms of pacing. The unfamiliarity of the environment makes it hard to tell for certain, but according to Mike Beuoy of Inpredict, games are taking longer to complete in the bubble than they had been in home arenas.
Brandon Rahbar: Dennis Schroder is officially out of the Bubble with his wife for the birth of his new baby. Terrance Ferguson is also out with a leg contusion. Good news: Schroder, assuming he comes back, will definitely be back for the playoffs.
Brandon Rahbar: Donovan on Schroder’s time being out: “It happened this morning. He’s with his family. I’ll talk to him later today or tomorrow. He’s out this game and we’ll gather more info from him when we talk to him on the phone.”
Shams Charania: 76ers' Kyle O'Quinn missed his coronavirus test on Sunday and is not eligible to play today vs. San Antonio, team official confirms to @The Athletic @Stadium. O'Quinn was tested today and will rejoin the team upon negative result.
Marc Stein: Home-court advantage is allegedly dead at the NBA Bubble in arenas with no fans ... but "home" teams have gone 9-2 the last two days and are 14-7 overall
Marc J. Spears: NBA sent a reminder memo out to teams today to cover the point of emphasis related to face masks/coverings in connection with the Health and Safety Protocols for the 2019-2020 restart and the Disney rules, a source said. "Behavioral & hygiene practices" of everyone is "critical."
Sean Cunningham: Sacramento Kings assistant coach Igor Kokoskov departed Orlando to begin his next chapter as the new head coach of the EuroLeague’s Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
Doc Rivers has told LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell to take as much time as he needs following the death of Harrell's grandmother. Harrell posted a message titled "I LOVE YOU GRANDMA" on his Instagram story describing just how heartbroken he is. Harrell left the Clippers on July 17 for an excused family emergency. "From others, I get asked from inside like, when is Trez coming back and my answer's been the same," Rivers said before the Clippers played the New Orleans Pelicans. "When he's ready, he'll come back. You can't play if you're not right mentally and because of the emotional part of it. ... His grandmother is very tight with him so all I told him is I love him and take your time. We'll be ready with open arms when you come."
And whenever Harrell does return to his team’s embrace, Rivers said it’s important that he – and all the players competing in the enclosed environment, as well as all other associated personnel – be aware of the psychological support that’s available. “I think it’s the untapped resource in our league,” Rivers said. “Not only just players but coaches, too. I don’t know why it’s always been taboo, but it has been and we have to do a better job of making it like a sprained ankle where you get treatment just like you do if you injured your knee or something like that.
On Friday, Harrell posted that he didn't know when he "will stop crying." "I don't know how to feel right now," Harrell wrote on Instagram. "I feel lost empty you are my queen, my best friend, my light in all darkness. I never had you leaving my side. I don't know how I'm do it but I got to find some way but losing you today isn't going to make any day I wake up easy."
Richard Jefferson: NBA player hotline isn't snitching - it’s necessary. "Karl-Anthony Towns' mom passed away. There are people passing away all around this country. This is not snitching if somebody is risking everyone's health and safety. It is not snitching if someone's risking billions of dollars by going outside the bubble to do something that they are not supposed to do. That's not snitching. That is if you see something, say something. The fact that they let you do it anonymously, that makes it even better."
Salman Ali: According to @Rachel__Nichols, PJ Tucker has a whole room in Orlando dedicated to his shoes.
Darren Rovell: Read this one very closely. The @WashWizards have struck a deal with 1Sec Inc. in Japan to put their digital human influencer Liam Nikuro inside the NBA bubble to have virtual adventures in Orlando associated with the team. @TedLeonsis, @ZacharyLeonsis, you guys blow my mind.
Zach Leonsis: The @WashWizards digital team is doing some really impressive work. They deserve the credit here! The @NBA has always been on the forefront of technology and experimentation. What better time to try new things than now. #RepTheDistrict #WholeNewGame
In one of the roughly 20 scrapbooks in Reggie Williams' den, there's a picture from 1997 of Williams and former NBA commissioner David Stern standing on the midcourt logo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, which wasn't open yet. In the photo, Williams cuts the same figure he had as a linebacker for 14 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Williams recalls talking to Stern about the possibility of the NBA playing at the innovative facility. That vision is fully realized as the NBA resumes its season this week inside the complex that sprawls over 225 acres. It's also another part of a post-athletic legacy that arguably surpasses what Williams did during his NFL career.
When Williams was getting ready to head to Disney, Steeg was aware of the challenges ahead. "Knowing what he was going to get into and to be able to navigate it was really going to take something," Steeg said. "And obviously, he did." Not only did the Wide World of Sports Complex’s scope increase the degree of difficulty, but the complex also was situated on the Florida wetlands, which brought construction challenges as well. Disney hired architect David M. Schwartz, who worked alongside Williams and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, to achieve their vision. "I'm very pleased with it," Schwartz said. "I think it's a real addition to Disney. I think it did what Disney wanted it to do."
When Chris Paul first walked through the doors of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in early July, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard paused to reflect on the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season: the planning, the health concerns, the social justice issues. As the moment sunk in, Paul, who played a significant role in the restart as president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), got teary-eyed. “Just think about it. A lot of things we were seeing at one point were renderings, and just conversations,” Paul told The Undefeated. “What will they need as far as a weight room? What will I need here? What will they need there? So, to walk in and to see it all in person is humbling. This is just crazy. “
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid are among at least 15 NBA players who have decided not to put a social justice message on their jersey. Paul, who is close friends with James, is supportive of those players’ decisions. “That’s exactly why we have a league where you get a chance to make a choice,” Paul said. “And I respect any of those guys’ decisions. They may have their reasons why or not. For me … I was excited about the opportunity to speak on ‘Equality’ because I was asked about it. And also, for me, I envisioned my kids watching the game, my homies back home who go to the barbershops and talk about us and whatnot.”
“I don’t think he gets enough credit for us being here,” said New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick, who was Paul’s teammate on the LA Clippers. “His leadership has been amazing. I talked to him a couple weeks ago before we came here. … The thing that really stuck with me was how many hours per day for literally months he was on the phone, on Zoom, talking to people representing himself for the players. He absolutely worked his butt off to make this thing happen. Incredible leadership.”
Fans won't be allowed in the NBA bubble to cheer their favorite teams on. It is a bubble, after all. But knowing what a difference their support can make (home court advantage, anyone?) the NBA is proposing a few solutions: a tap-to-cheer app and video technology that will teleport their faces court-side from the comfort of their homes. "It's obviously very different for the players and it's different for the fans watching at home. I mean, in this sport -- like a lot of others -- there's that home court advantage, that six-man. It's the roar of the crowd, the boos of the crowd," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver Wednesday on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. "We are trying to replicate that to a certain extent without piping in obvious crowd noise."
On both the NBA and the WNBA app, there is now a tap to cheer option, which would allow fans to virtually cheer for their favorite teams. At the end of the game, the total cheers are tallied and shown on a scoreboard. At the end of the season, the fans from teams with top three total taps will be invited to participate in a virtual roundtable with that team's players, the WNBA's Atlanta Dream -- which started their season last week -- said.
Now with the NBA restarting, Morant says he thinks it's unfair that the padding the Grizzlies built between themselves and the closest playoff contenders in the West could prove irrelevant. "But, you know, we can't control that," Morant said in an interview on ESPN's The Jump that aired Thursday. "Only thing we can control is how, you know, we go out and attack each of these games before that decision is made."
In the NBA's bubble format, Memphis would have to be 4½ games ahead when the eight seeding games are complete to avoid a play-in game or games to determine the eighth and last playoff team. "I just feel like it's an extra chip," Morant said, when asked if the format could provide the Grizzlies with a chip on their shoulder. "You know -- more fuel to the fire, more motivation for us."
Kellan Olson: Mikal Bridges said he can compare the eight-game run over 14 days to something like a conference tournament or the NCAA Tournament where you can't focus on the end and you have to just go game by game.
Adam Silver: It’s been more than four months since we last played NBA basketball. Tonight we restart the season with 22 teams in Orlando and attempt to establish our new normal. And while spectators won’t be there in person, fans remain at the heart of our game. We’re introducing several elements to improve the live game viewing experience, including multiple, new camera angles, enhanced audio of players and coaches, a feature on our NBA app that allows for virtual crowd reactions, customized alternative streams on NBA League Pass with statistical overlays and influencers calling the action, and video boards surrounding the court featuring hundreds of fans watching from home.
Duane Rankin: Been informed rookie Jalen Lecque is in the Orlando Bubble and under quarantine. #Suns now have all 15 of their players on their #NBA restart roster in Florida. They'll open their eight regular-season "seedings" schedule Friday against Washington.
But the success of the NBA’s grand design is much wider. There are approximately 1,500 people in the bubble now — from team personnel, to the league’s office staff, to referees, to media, TV crews, and so on — and it is likely that none have tested positive. The league could not comment on that one, due to privacy laws, but common sense paints the picture. There are numerous times throughout the day and night here at Disney where people, regardless of occupation, are not wearing masks, or are less than six feet apart, or are even sipping drinks by a pool or eating indoors. And there has been no spread.
During Wednesday’s conference call with international media, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum touched on the potential impact the NBA bubble in Orlando can have on the Olympic Games. “I have not been directly in contact with the IOC, but as you may or may not know, I am on the executive committee of FIBA, and obviously FIBA has been in direct contact with the IOC,” he replied to a question on NBA being in direct contact with the International Olympic Committee, “Andreas Zagklis and I speak every week, and we actually have our chief medical officer on FIBA’s medical commission, and so there’s a lot of sharing of information about our NBA campus and the bubble environment that I know is being shared with the IOC, as well.”
Sources say the magnitude of this moment was the focus of a Wednesday conference call between NBA general managers and league officials, with Commissioner Adam Silver confirming that there will be no discipline for anyone who peacefully protests. For approximately an hour, with Silver joined by the NBA’s president of league operations Byron Spruell and senior vice president David Weiss on the call, they discussed the sensitivities surrounding this situation and the question of whether GMs who are already inside the bubble would be permitted to leave the stands and join their teams on the court as a sign of support. Several GMs left the call with the impression that they are free to do as they choose, with anyone who is part of each team’s traveling party inside the bubble permitted to be on the floor.
With millions of people watching on television, the last thing any GM wants to see is the players’ message muddled by a staff member’s blocking mistake. But avoiding any sort of optics mishap — like, say, someone walking in front of a camera at a powerful moment out of sheer confusion — requires clear communication with staff about how this should go. Sources say Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman were vocal on the call, as was Miami senior vice president of basketball operations Andy Elisburg. Weltman and Pelinka, in particular, expressed a desire to be on the court with their teams.
Rachel Nichols: A full-size fridge (with ice-maker), a couch, arcade games, boxing equipment, hundreds of thousands of dollars in Amazon orders...NBA teams & players have had ALLLLL kinds of things shipped into them in the Bubble. Here's how some very dedicated league employees make it work:
The 2019-20 NBA season restart will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets, highlighting a whole new game with a more connected and immersive experience for fans. This includes the 88 “seeding games” beginning July 30 as well as behind-the-scenes coverage and interviews from ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
The 22 teams participating in the season restart feature 89 international players from 34 countries and territories, including the record eight international 2020 NBA All-Stars: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece), Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks; Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz; France), Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets; Serbia), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers; Lithuania)*, Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012) and Ben Simmons (76ers; Australia).
All 88 seeding games will air outside the U.S. and Canada on NBA League Pass. The 88 seeding games include 41 games that will air in primetime in Latin America and 40 games that will air in primetime in Europe, the Middle East and Africa on the NBA’s broadcast partners in those regions and NBA League Pass, the most-ever games to air in primetime internationally in a two-week period.
"It's not an exact science, because nobody's ever done this before," Silver told Good Morning America on ABC. "We have plans in place where we might pause — similar to what baseball's doing now. Probably if we had any significant spread at all, we'd immediately stop and what we'd try to do is to track and determine where they're coming from and whether there had been a spread on campus. I would say, ultimately, we would cease completely if we saw that this was spreading around the campus and something more than an isolated case was happening."
"The word 'anxious' would describe how I feel. We've been working at this for a long time, but there is a high case rate in Florida, down in Orange County where Orlando is," Silver said. "We're seeing what's happening in baseball with the Marlins, so it's something we're continuing to track very closely. Having said that, we have confidence in this protocol that we designed. It's not actually a sealed 'bubble', but everyone that's on that campus is tested on a daily basis. They're taking extraordinary precautions. The only time they're not wearing masks is when they're actually playing basketball. It's to the extent that when somebody tests positive, we'll obviously track them closely. We quarantine people when they first come down. So, we think we have a plan in place that should work."
Shams Charania: Sources: Zero NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 344 tested at Orlando campus since last results were announced July 20. Consecutive testing rounds where no new player has tested positive.
NBA: Players receive both a nasal and saliva swab every other day, administered by the ~100 BioReference employees living in the bubble. The samples are driven 75 minutes away to a lab in Melbourne, Florida, for analysis.
The NBA will restart its season Thursday at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex without any fans, which marks one of many safety precautions the league has taken to resume operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Lately, Harlan has reflected on the past 15 years recording voiceovers for the popular NBA 2K series. “I’m in my closet at home with a headset on, and I’m calling a play with little or no crowd noise. So I’m kind of used to that,” Harlan said, laughing. “I’m really not thinking it’s going to be all that weird.”
The announcer booths sit halfway up the lower bowl, several rows behind the scorer’s table, leaving them without the intimate view of the on-court play. The announcers will be protected with plexiglass. Though they do not have to wear masks during the broadcast, the announcers will have to wear face coverings and obey social-distancing rules when they are out of the booth before and after the game. “Anyone who has been in this business a long time usually can draw upon previous experiences. In this case, there is nothing to compare it to,” Eagle said. “So that brings a unique set of circumstances for a broadcaster.”
Will the NBA’s health and safety protocols be enough to ensure a coronavirus outbreak does not occur? To what extent will the NBA and the players continue to speak out on social justice issues? “I don’t know if you can really tell the story of the NBA restart without telling the story about how active these players, coaches and the league have been with the various causes and the social justice push,” Harlan said. “Their voices are enormous in this. Not only will we have ‘Black Lives Matter’ in bold print on the floor. We’ll have names, causes, feelings and thoughts on uniforms that these players want to portray and show. It is every bit as much the story as the teams reassembling, trying to stay healthy and getting back on the floor.”
I'm not gonna lie to you. There's a narrative out there that LeBron is living different than the rest of the NBA in the bubble. Can you confirm or deny this? Alex Caruso: I mean, he's right down the hallway. He's like he's on the other side of the elevators. There's like half our team over here. I don't think... if he is, it's not that much different. I walked down the hallway and there's no sign on the door that says presidential suite.
Los Angeles Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell will miss the highly anticipated restart matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday and it is unclear when he will return to the NBA’s Disney bubble, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate has been away from the team since last week while tending to a personal matter on an excused absence.
I know everyone wants to be a good professional and all that, but it’s impossible for me to believe that players and teams won’t start to get itchy to leave the bubble environment. Though I’ve heard from non-player staff on the inside that it’s actually quite relaxing and far easier to have a routine on campus than it was over the last several months.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Finally, the Denver Nuggets have their entire roster in Orlando: Guard PJ Dozier arrived in The Bubble today, sources tell ESPN.
Ryan Blackburn: I can confirm via @denverstiffs sources that Vlatko Čančar is not in the bubble and is still in Denver. It's unclear when/if he will join the team in Orlando before the seeding games begin.
As the NBA prepares to officially restart its season in its bubble inside Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday -- and other sports, most notably Major League Baseball, struggle to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic -- National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said returning to a bubble might be the only feasible way for the NBA to complete next season, as well.
"If tomorrow looks like today, I don't know how we say we can do it differently," Roberts told ESPN in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. "If tomorrow looks like today, and today we all acknowledge -- and this is not Michele talking, this is the league, together with the PA and our respective experts saying, 'This is the way to do it' -- then that's going to have to be the way to do it."
In a call with the players back in May, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said money generated from live game attendance could account for up to 40 percent of the league's annual revenue. Roberts said the two sides are "beginning some very high-level discussions with respect to what the potential issues are," and said the laborious process that was necessary for the NBA and the union to hash out how to put the bubble together, and then actually go through the process of doing so, "took just about all of the oxygen out of the room."
Baseball’s instant crisis left the unmistakable impression throughout the N.B.A. campus at Walt Disney World that a “bubble” approach is the only kind that can work for team sports in the Covid-19 era — at least for the foreseeable future. Concern about what that means for the N.B.A. next season is mounting, even amid the relative prosperity of the league’s three-week run in its Florida bubble. The N.B.A. hasn’t announced positive tests for anyone on campus who had been released from quarantine.
We are supposed to get a daily email confirming our coronavirus test results. There actually have been a few days on this trip when no email arrived, but it’s not too worrisome because there is also an online portal that stores all of our test results — and because the league has made it known that any bad news on coronavirus testing will be delivered by phone.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Pelicans F Zion Williamson has cleared quarantine and will return to practice with the team in Orlando this evening, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: This gives Williamson two practices with the Pelicans prior to making a decision on his availability for Thursday's game against Utah. He returned to The Bubble on Friday after eight days away attending to a family emergency.
Erik Horne: Thunder coach Billy Donovan says Abdel Nader passed the concussion protocol and is available tonight vs. Blazers. Terrance Ferguson (leg contusion), Chris Paul (rest) and Nerlens Noel (missed COVID test) will not play.
Brandon Rahbar: Donovan: “Nerlens is extremely remorseful” about missing the COVID test. Billy says that even he has almost forgot to take his tests before and that it’s easy to slip your mind.
Mike Trudell: * @LeBron James on his body: “It’s like a re-start … I’m kind of just getting my body back up. The (scrimmage) games helped. These 8 (seeding games) will help too. I’ll be very smart listening to my body … it’s still a marathon with these next 8 games, then playoffs are a sprint."
Melissa Rohlin: LeBron called his wife “a beast” at holding things down at home & thanked Steve Jobs for FaceTime so he could stay in touch with his family
Marc J. Spears: The NBA sent a reminder to teams today that per agreement of the NBA and NBPA that when the season resumes Thursday the will be a return to random urine drug testing for steroids, PEDs and masking agents and diuretics, a source said.
September 20, 2020 | 12:22 pm EDT Update
So, I asked, how did Lakers coach Frank Vogel see it after he had watched the film? “We were definitely the aggressors in the game, and the box score I have right here has us with 28 (fouls),” Vogel said. “We got called for 28 fouls. They got called for 26.” It was a savvy stance to take, albeit oversimplified. So as Vogel left his media session to rejoin his team, I admitted to him that I hadn’t noticed that the final fouls tally was in the Nuggets’ favor. “I do my research,” he said with a grin.
When Orange County Register Lakers beat writer Kyle Goon asked Vogel about James’ shot selection this season, it was refreshing to hear a candid and fascinating response from the Lakers coach rather than something more political. James, whose midrange jumper has been so effective for so many years now, has focused more on shots at the rim and beyond the arc this season, in part because of the message being sent by the coaching staff. “It is definitely a coaching point,” Vogel said. “You know, we want to have an analytics-based shot selection mindset with our team. … It’s the free throw No. 1; layup dunk No. 2; corner 3, No. 3; arc 3, No. 4, and midrange is the fifth priority shot we could have. But I will not ever tell my team not to take midrange shots if they are open shots. The No. 1 analytic for me is ‘Are you open?’ or ‘Are you guarded?’ That applies to shots at the rim, applies to 3-point line and applies to midrange. I’ll take an open shot over any zone that you can put up the shot from, and we want to work for open shots.”
“We’re not trying to intimidate anyone,” said Rondo, who had seven points, nine assists and a plus-13 in nearly 22 minutes. “We’re just playing basketball. With the guys we have — Dwight (and his) physical ability, he’s just playing the game. No one’s out there trying to bully people. We’re playing to our strengths. “I’ve been telling (Howard) the last two weeks (that) he’s going to be our X-factor in the series. I’m very happy that he got an opportunity to come out and play and display his talent, and show how much we need him. Like I said, I told him in the Houston series, things don’t go his way sometimes but in a championship run you need all 15 guys, and that’s what we displayed (in Game 1). Coach being able to go deep in the bench, and use guys that we haven’t used last series, so it’s a testament to the management, the way we’re able to be flexible — go small, go big, and (in Game 1) Dwight Howard, especially, was great for us.”
“This has been something I’ve never dealt with. There’s a lot going on for me individually, (and) for my family. And then the rehab, just with (the coronavirus in society) and the bubble and trying to do the best that I can to not have to quarantine for many days coming back here and having to quarantine — basically taking five days off from treatment and rehab and then trying to get myself ready to play in the Eastern Conference Finals, that’s something that’s a daunting task for sure. So for me … I’ve tried to do the best I can each day with it, and not put pressure on myself and just try to help us win basketball games, honestly.”
“To be honest, I didn’t get much sleep the last 48 hours,” Brown, who clashed with Smart in the passionate locker room scene, said when asked about the recovery process for their team. “I was so antsy to get back and play basketball. I don’t think the last two games exemplify what this team is about. So, I couldn’t wait to come out and be the best version of myself and try to add to a win. And I’m glad to be a part of this team and this organization and I’m proud of how we responded. … At the end of the day, we’re a family. We represent this organization. We represent each other and we won’t ever let anything come in between that. We’ve got a tremendous opportunity and we understand that and nothing’s going to stop us from trying to maximize that.”
Back in February, Us Weekly published a story about how Vanessa had been leaning on her mother, Sofia Laine, as she grieved the loss of Kobe and hers and Kobe’s 13-year-old daughter Giannia. Laine had moved in with Vanessa at one point, but she now says her daughter has kicked her out of the Bryant home. Laine sat down for an interview with Univision that is set to air in its entirety on Monday. A preview clip, which is only in Spanish, was shared on social media. According to Erika Marie of Hot New Hip Hop, a teary-eyed Laine claims in the interview that her daughter has kicked her out of the Bryant home and demanded that she return a car Vanessa had given to her.
September 20, 2020 | 9:24 am EDT Update
Celtics coach Brad Stevens was hesitant to praise Hayward for his sacrifice partly because he learned about the revelation through the media instead of directly. “If he wants to go back for the birth of his child, that takes priority,” Stevens said. “That’s his decision and it’s, you know, I want to leave it at that. That’s his decision.”
Rachel Nichols: Hayward told me his wife Robyn isn’t in active labor yet, but she’s progressed thru enough pre-labor stages that the baby could come at any time, from tonight to the next few days. He doesn’t have his phone on the bench with him (per NBA rules) but will be checking it at the half
A source confirmed to The Athletic that free agents Tristan Thompson and Matthew Dellavedova will not be in attendance during Cleveland’s training camp. Andre Drummond will also not be participating, missing the in-market bubble for personal reasons.