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Josh Lewenberg: The Raptors are travelling to Tampa later today. Players must return 3-4 negative tests to be cleared for individual workouts. Their first team practice (at Saint Leo University) is scheduled for Sunday, with their first preseason game (@ CHA, Dec 12) coming the following weekend
Shams Charania: NBA-NBPA Core Health and Safety Principles for 2020-21 season: pic.twitter.com/IjtYUPPi77

http://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1332727781504000002
Rick Bonnell: Heard something interesting about training camp rosters: There are NBA teams not planning to bring the maximum number of allowable players to camp, on the reasoning that adds to potential COVID risk/complications. That means some teams would not have any more players than available roster spots. The downside: Fewer bodies to scrimmage, particularly if you have nagging injuries holding out rotation players.
The cause of death was COVID-19, according to an announcement Monday by Hoffman Entertainment. Maas had first gone to the hospital on Nov. 15, near his home in Glenview, Ill. “It was very quick and unexpected,” Hoffman said Tuesday in a phone interview. In the days after Maas’s death, the reaction from across the sports world underscored just how deep a niche the couple had carved out. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called the group “one of my favorite half time shows.” The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder were among the organizations and athletic departments that paid tribute on Twitter. Jeff Long, the athletic director at Kansas — where Quick Change became a yearly staple at Allen Fieldhouse — wrote on Twitter that he would “marvel at how they changed without a hint of how they did it! David was my personal favorite!”
David Maas was a magician, TV and YouTube star and, with his wife, the centerpiece of halftime entertainment in basketball arenas all over the country. Maas died on Sunday at the age of 57. According to the New York Times, Maas performed in all 30 NBA arenas, 15 WNBA arenas and at least 76 universities. He also performed at the Big Ten basketball tournament and the Final Four. Maas and his wife, Dania, were famous for the "Quick Change" act where they would perform dances and routines in one costume, then be covered by a tarp, sheet or box and emerge in another costume. In 2014, Sporting News ranked it as the best halftime show in basketball.
Liz Mullen: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver tops the list of @SBJSBD's reader survey on the question: Which professional sports league commissioner/top executive was most effective at navigating the challenges of 2020? SBJ: bit.ly/3kYJzBE pic.twitter.com/00lO8Qz32c

http://twitter.com/SBJLizMullen/status/1330929235725193216
Marc Stein: NBA teams have been notified that no more than 50 people at one time will be allowed in practice facilities this season, @NYTSports has learned The full range of health and safety protocols for the coming season, sources say, are still being finalized by the league and union
Warriors officials hatched their plan — which included coronavirus testing for all spectators ahead of games — over the past eight months. The protocols would have been the first of their kind and could have marked a new phase in the return of spectators to sports in the U.S. But local officials told The Chronicle last week that they were wary of the idea, especially as the state experiences its fastest increase of cases since the pandemic began.
Ava Wallace: GM Tommy Sheppard was asked about getting fans back into Capital One Arena this season. He said he's at the mercy of NBA and local guidelines -- in DC, remember, gatherings of more than 50 still aren't allowed.
Dr. Howard Njoo said the Raptors presented a plan with good health protocols and have learned from the NBA's "bubble" experiment, when the league finished the 2019-20 season at an isolated campus near Orlando, Fla. But Njoo said the NBA will not be using the hub city concept for the upcoming season, and that it would be "tough on everyone involved" to observe the same health measures over a months-long NBA season during which teams are not isolated together.
The Golden State Warriors have presented an ambitious plan to state and local officials to reopen Chase Center in San Francisco at 50% capacity for the upcoming NBA season, which owner Joe Lacob believes can be the model for all sports franchises and entertainment venues to safely bring back fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lacob said the Warriors are prepared to spend upward of $30 million to test every fan, Warriors employee and player with the most accurate form of COVID-19 testing for each home game or day they come to at Chase Center.
"I not only want to get this done and show the world how we can do it now, I'm willing to spend the money to do it," said Lacob, who holds a master's degree in public health from UCLA and built his fortune as a venture capitalist in biotechnology. "This is a serious, serious problem. It cannot go on for multiple years ... because if this were to go on for several years, the NBA is no more. "You cannot sustain this league with no fans. You can do it for a year. We'll all get by for a year. But suppose we're in this situation next year. Now we're talking some serious, serious financial damage to a lot of people."
Brandon Quinn: Michigan State announces that Tom Izzo has tested positive for Covid-19 and will be working remotely while he recovers. "You'd be hard pressed to find a coach that has taken more precautions than I have," Izzo says in a statement.
Biden made the nation's COVID-19 response a key pillar of his campaign. And although it is not an issue specific to sports, that response — and how it changes under a Biden administration — has had and will continue to have a significant impact on sports at all levels. It could be particularly pivotal for pro sports leagues such as the NBA, NHL and MLB, all of which are hoping to welcome fans back to their games next year.
Biden has appeared more willing than Trump to aggressively address COVID-19 in the short term with hopes that it will curtail the spread of the disease in the long term. He has supported a national mask mandate and said in August that he would implement a national lockdown if scientists recommend taking that step. "If you have a reproduction rate in a community that's above a certain level, everybody says, slow up," Biden said during a presidential debate. "More social distancing. Do not open bars and do not open gymnasiums. Do not open until you get this under control, under more control."
Tim Reynolds: There's no agreement on the money - yet - but the NBA's player representatives have decided to back the notion of a Dec. 22 start to the season, AP is told. Talks between the union and league will continue on matters like escrow/COVID testing/etc.
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA aims to have arena suites open to fans at 25-to-50 percent capacity for 2020-21 season tipoff, based on local regulations. An amount of fans — under protocols such as masks, social distancing and coronavirus testing — is a goal to start season.
Shams Charania: The coronavirus pandemic has made life fluid, and a clinical vaccine will play a role in this too. NBA's goal is some amount of fans to start the season, depending on each market's restrictions. Courtside fans, for instance, would be about 10-to-12 feet away, sources said.
"There have been significant advancements in rapid testing since the onset of COVID-19. We’re fairly optimistic that the market will generate more and better forms of faster testing. “There may be opportunities in the context of an arena, particularly in the lower bowl, where there is an economic model that allows for it. Of course, that’s part of the equation: Ultimately, is it affordable in the context that you want to use it? I think we also see potentially a broader role that these teams can play in their community, which is that of testing.
Tim Reynolds: One thing to note from the offseason workouts memo shared with teams today detailing how they can open facilities: In a big departure from the past norms, teams cannot make their facility available to players who were not under contract with the team when last season ended.
Murphy said league brass is still figuring out ways to make the season a go, safety-wise, for all parties. “I’m sure face coverings will be a big part of it,” said Murphy, noting that there could be a combination of social-distanced seating, limited crowds and the addition of hand sanitizer stations. “Our air ventilation system has been upgraded and deemed to be COVID-19 safe.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is urging anyone who congregated to celebrate the Lakers or Dodgers championship wins to get tested for the coronavirus. “For those who went to the streets to celebrate … and were around strangers in an unsafe environment, please get tested and stay isolated for 14 days per the county’s Department of Public Health advice,” he said Wednesday.
The change of heart allows the NBA to showcase its league on the year’s most important day for its TV partners — Christmas. And it gives Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau little time to get organized as training camps will have to start around Dec. 1. “It’s interesting Silver talked behind the scenes about waiting until a March time frame if it meant getting a vaccine,’’’ one NBA insider said. “That’s until the finance committee showed him the numbers.’’
The NBA's revenues dropped 10% to $8.3 billion during the 2019-20 season amid losses due to the pandemic, according to financial numbers shared with teams and obtained by ESPN. The balance of the finances included an $800 million loss in gate receipts and a $400 million loss in sponsorships and merchandise, sources said. The NBA's losses included $200 million in deemed "net negative impact" from a months-long splintering of a partnership with China in the aftermath of the Daryl Morey tweet promoting Hong Kong freedom a year ago, sources said.
Before the pandemic and social unrest plagued the world, the NBA lost two of its icons in former commissioner David Stern and Kobe Bryant. And this time last year, a rift with its international business partner, China, started. The NBA has said that feud could cost $400 million. “I would say it’s been a challenging year,” Tatum said in an interview with CNBC. “It’s been our longest season in NBA history, and so much was thrown at us collectively as a league.”
Revenue projections for the league this season were missed by about $1.5 billion, the person said. The losses were the result of a combination of factors — the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the cancelation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season in a bubble at Walt Disney World without fans, the nearly $200 million price tag for operating that bubble and a yearlong rift with the Chinese government that saw NBA games not shown on state television there.
One of the biggest challenges will be negotiating the terms of next season’s salary cap. That number is typically derived from the league’s revenues, but the pandemic cost the league an estimated $1.5 billion, according to people not authorized to speak publicly, so that formula is untenable. A massive salary cap drop would push the overwhelming majority of the league deep into the luxury tax while drying up the free-agent market in an instant at the same time.
From Enloe High School to Maryland and the NBA. Chris Wilcox was known for his fierce play and protecting the paint. Now, he wants to protect his community, the Triangle, from COVID-19. "Where I'm from, the community invested in me," Wilcox said. "I could go to anyone of my neighbors' houses, go get a meal, all the doors were open. Basically what I try to do is open those same doors for my community."
When the coronavirus pandemic broke out, Wilcox started “Wilcox Distribution” as a way to get PPE distributed to under-served communities. "When I (saw) the prices of masks, gloves, shields and things like that, I was like 'hold on now'," Wilcox said. "There's got to be a way to get good products into the communities because we can't afford to pay premium prices for some of that stuff."
After Angelenos came together over the weekend in a massive demonstration and others crowded to celebrate the Lakers’ victory, Los Angeles County health officials on Monday released guidelines to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. “If you were in a crowd with non-household members, especially if people weren’t wearing face coverings and were shouting, chanting, and/or singing, you may have been exposed to COVID-19 if an infected person was also there,” L.A. County Department of Public Health officials said. “People can pass the virus to others, even before they know they have it.”
No victory parade is planned through the streets of L.A., and no public team celebration in downtown will be held anytime soon.
Shams Charania: Within 72 hours of prospect visits, all individuals must register negative coronavirus test. Three NBA team executives allowed per visit with 2020 prospects; the prospect is allowed to bring three individuals (family member, agent, etc).
Having dealt with COVID-19 and been sidelined for weeks prior to the NBA’s resumption of play in late July, Heat guard Kendrick Nunn said Sunday he could only imagine what it would be like for an infected a football player to return. “I guess it all depend on the person. Some people recover within a couple of days, some weeks,” he said after the Heat’s morning walkthrough. “Unfortunately, mine was a little bit long, like two weeks, two and a half weeks to actually get that negative test.”
Only in recent days did Nunn again truly feel back to himself, having had to leave the Disney bubble along the way for a death in the family and then return to quarantine in isolation. “It was tough,” he said of regaining his stride. “It was tough, I’d say. Definitely tough, But the good thing I was here stacking those days on top of each other, being consistent in routine and trying to get to that peak of my game as quickly as possible.”
Donatas Urbonas: Joffrey Lauvergne was re-tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday, per sources. The final test on Saturday will show if JoJo was falsely tested positive on Thursday.
With the Los Angeles Lakers on the verge of an NBA championship, the county’s top health officer urged residents Thursday to celebrate responsibly, remembering that the coronavirus should preclude large parties or public gatherings. “We’re still in the middle of a pandemic,” Dr. Muntu Davis said. “Very excited that the Lakers are going to be playing this next game. And we just want to remind people the safest way to celebrate all of our teams, the Lakers and the Dodgers, is to do it in the comfort of your own home.”
STAPLES Center: STAPLES Center & L.A. LIVE will not be airing/showing tomorrow’s NBA Finals game or potential post game celebrations on any of the exterior digital signage. Vehicle & pedestrian access will be limited & @Lakers fans encouraged to watch the game and celebrate responsibly at home.
Zalgiris Kaunas announced that center Joffrey Lauvergne tested positive for COVID-19. The player is currently asymptomatic and isolated at his home. So far this is the seventh confirmed COVID-19 case that concerns a EuroLeague player after the start of the season
If you’re watching from a distance, like the Lakers’ J.R. Smith, this mishmash of uncertainty over testing protocols, communication and lack of quarantining is leading to some obvious and frustrating questions. Namely, how is it that Congress and the White House are getting this so wrong? “I’ve been tested every single day since being in the bubble! How is it Congress doesn’t have a testing protocol? Just watching #CNN,” Smith, who has been inside the NBA bubble for months, tweeted.
Smith also pointed out the hypocrisy when it comes to only certain people having to follow Covid protocols. The NBA had strict guidelines in place, punishing players for even getting take out before they cleared their quarantine window. Meanwhile. the newly diagnosed White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, who had known exposure to the virus, had continued to brief reporters without a mask for days. The double standard here is fairly obvious and you know things are super messed up when J.R. Smith is the voice of reason.
Willy Hernangómez remains in Spain while waiting for his NBA return, however, in recent hours, the international center has made the headlines in Madrid for his activity off the courts. According to reports by Telemadrid (as adapted by Marca), the player was among the 200 people present at an illegal party that had to be intervened by the police in the municipality of Aravaca, Madrid. The player was not arrested, but he was among those identified, as stated in the report.
Hernangomez made a statement followed these events, in which he admitted he was indeed among the attendees at the party, apologizing to the public. “As a result of the latest information that emerged about me, I wanted, firstly, to confirm that I was indeed present at said event. Secondly, and more importantly, to apologize publicly, assuming my mistake and being fully aware of what it implies. in the situation we are living in, “ Hernangomez wrote in a statement issued by his representative agency.
Jared Weiss: Adam Silver to @Rachel__Nichols: "I think the issue is with daily testing and rapid testing, can you contain (COVID) so it doesn't rapidly spread." He is continuing to observe NFL and MLB's operations to inform how NBA attempts to pull off regular season at home arenas in 2021.
Mark Medina: Adam Silver: "Based on everything I've ready, there is no chance there will be a vaccine" by next season. Silver said that he thinks the rapid testing and safety protocols could still allow fans in limited capacity into arenas. But again all fluid
Marc J. Spears: Adam Silver says “it’s not clear what’s going to happen with the Olympics.” Silver adds “basic protocol” to fight against the coronavirus with wearing masks, maintaining physical distance, washing hands and cleanliness is working.
Teams across the sports spectrum have faced diminishing revenues due to the lack of spectators allowed at most events, but Tsai said he remains encouraged that fan interest remains high. “Live sports is a rare commodity,” he said. “You could tell just during the Covid period when there was no sports on TV, people were just craving for it. Once you put games back on, people have come back to watch sports enthusiastically.”
Yale has designated three independent laboratories to perform the university-developed SalivaDirect™ COVID-19 test. Along with Yale Pathology Labs — the first to offer the test — Access Medical Laboratories, Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC), and Mirimus, Inc., represent the initial wave of providers for the innovative testing method. They will make SalivaDirect™ available to people in Florida, Minnesota and New York by late September.
Burke was scheduled for his first COVID-19 test as part of the NBA’s return-to-play protocol the next morning. He woke up feeling a bit better, so he didn’t worry as he took the swabs at the Mavericks' facility. That night, Mavericks director of player health and performance Casey Smith called. “Hey, man,” Burke remembered Smith saying, “you tested positive for corona.” For the next five days, isolated in his room, Burke remained feverish, with tightness in his chest and a sore throat. Once the Mavericks left July 8 for Orlando, Burke started daily COVID-19 testing, too.As his coughs became more productive and he regained energy, he figured he’d soon test negative twice, an NBA requirement to enter the bubble. That wasn’t the case.
At 8:30 a.m. on his 24th day in quarantine, Burke received a negative result. He was so hopeful to join the Mavericks that he packed up then. At 8:30 a.m. again the next day, Burke held his breath as he quickly opened his phone, hoping to see a message that started an 'N' instead of a 'P'. It did. “Man,” Burke said. "I was so happy. That day, the Mavericks chartered a private jet to take Burke to Florida, where 36 to 48 more hours of hotel quarantine, per NBA protocol for all players, awaited him.
He thinks the mental focus and rigorous diet he maintained in Dallas quarantine helped prepare him to average more than 12 points and 24 minutes in 14 games, including three playoff starts. “He’s really answered the bell and we couldn’t be happier,” Mavericks president of basketball operations Donnie Nelson said during the Mavericks' playoff run. Burke hasn’t noticed any physical side effects from COVID-19 since recovering.
In July, Barnes tested positive for coronavirus and watched his wife suffer through “full blown symptoms.” Barnes said his empathy was affected throughout the experience. “I’ve grown in maturity because I understood from an intellectual standpoint how serious Covid-19 is and all the effects it was having on our society,” Barnes said. “Covid-19 is still present,” he added. “It’s still active and serious, so people need to take caution and preventive care against it. But in general, in society, I think we can be more empathetic.”
Ira Winderman: Per WNBA: After receiving inconclusive COVID-19 test results today for players from the Seattle Storm, the WNBA announced that Game 1 of the WNBA Semifinals between the Seattle Storm and the Minnesota Lynx has been postponed out of an abundance of caution.
The worst part of the season was when Herro couldn’t work. He started dealing with a lower-leg injury in February and missed 15 games, coming back for the first time on March 11 — the night the league shut down. And then came another problem: Herro eventually learned that he had COVID-19, after testing positive for the antibodies. “I was sick for a week or two,” Herro said. “My chest was hurting really bad. I had it right when the season shut down.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
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January 26, 2021 | 2:01 am EST Update

Nets hoping for Andre Drummond buyout?

Meanwhile, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer reported on a podcast with Andrew Yang, the former presidential candidate, that the Nets have their eyes on Drummond who’s playing on an expiring $28.7 million contract. ”People around the league say the Nets are hoping that Andre Drummond, the Cavs center, gets bought out. That’s what people say they’re hoping for but that’s unlikely because Cleveland is still in it,” referring to the playoff hunt.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 82 more rumors

John Wall: 'They thought I was done'

“I just wish I would have known up front and not have to beat around the bush to figure things out. That’s just my motivation there. They thought I was done. Basically, that’s how I feel. This is my opportunity to show them that I’m not done. But the most important thing for me is get the win. I don’t care how many numbers I have, it’s about getting the win. That’s the most important thing because if I get 40 and then we lose, the trade don’t look as bad from their aspect because they beat us that one game they did play us. So, my ultimate goal is to try to get a win for my team tomorrow.”
Well, that’s going to be hard to imagine once you hear his extended thoughts on playing the Wizards on Tuesday, which he shared with NBC Sports Washington’s Chris Miller. Now with the Rockets, Wall admitted facing the Wizards is personal after how his exit was handled, and that he is out for revenge. “Just seeing everybody that’s over there, a lot of people that’s on that side that probably didn’t believe I could come back to be the person I am. And probably some people that had a little say so into me being traded,” Wall told Miller. “I feel like it was a whole process and it wasn’t just something that happened overnight. I think this was in the works. That’s my motivation. Who wouldn’t want to beat the team that traded them and felt like I was done?”
“Most importantly, all I really wanted from the start of all of it was just to be told the truth. That’s the most important thing and what made it so hard for me to understand what was going on because I wasn’t told the truth. I understand it’s a business and things go on and people move on and you get traded, organizations in different ways. When I heard the rumors, I called and asked are these true or are these something not to worry about? From that day forward, all I heard was ‘no, those rumors aren’t true, don’t worry about it.’ In all reality, it was true,” Wall said.
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