How do you reflect on your time in the NBA bubble last season, and should the league go back? Damian Lillard: I enjoyed the bubble for what it was. The NBA put us in a safe environment that allowed us to compete for a championship, and do what we love to do. That came at the expense of our family and being away from home. Right now, I think I would say no to going back to the bubble. What we need to do is challenge each team and each organization to be more disciplined, and the players to be more disciplined, and understand that if one person decides to step outside the protocol and what they’re asking, how it can impact and affect other players, and not just those players, but their families and whoever they take it home to.
Damian Lillard: So, that’s what the challenge is, and just let them know, we need to create a bubble within our team, within our organization. The people in our facility and a bubble in our household, that way we’re protecting each other to the best of our abilities. But I wouldn’t say go back to a bubble because there’s so much more season to be played, people have families, and at least we’re forming a bubble in our homes, in our own beds and get to do it that way.
Matthew Tynan: So, the Spurs have teamed up with Xenex Germ-Zapping Solutions in an effort to fight COVID-19. They’re the first NBA team to deploy robots (yes, robots) to disinfect their arena. The future is here, folks. The rise of the machine is upon us. pic.twitter.com/nt4KiIA1Vi
Chris Mannix: I've been hearing from people within the league office that you're not gonna see anything radical happen when it comes to how they're going to deal with this growing number of infections and people being exposed to infections, but they will nibble around the fringes a little bit and adding bodies might be one way to do it.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Stan Van Gundy repeated that 4,400 people died in the US of coronavirus yesterday and that is what matters the most, more than a basketball game. “This is serious stuff and we need to prevent the spread.”
Eric Woodyard: As cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer says he trusts in the league to keep them safe but also acknowledges that “it certainly feels like we’re being pushed to that limit.” He respects the NBA and will continue to follow leadership.
Sarah K. Spencer: Kevin Huerter says the Hawks have a few people who are self-isolating. "Hopefully we can nip it real quick... We had no contact with Phoenix. But with our team situation, obviously we think we have the right people in isolation and hopefully it doesn't spread too far from that."
Sarah K. Spencer: Kevin Huerter: "As far as I know, someone in our organization at some point was exposed. We don't know whether it was tracing or whether they had it. All we know is there were people who weren't involved in practice today that usually are."
Shams Charania: 16 new NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 497 tested since Jan. 6, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Sarah K. Spencer: Lloyd Pierce says he is self-isolating in a hotel room right now, due to contact-tracing. He didn't give a time period of how long he has to isolate, just says it's until the league tells him. Says he has tested negative.
Connor Letourneau: Damion Lee on Eric Paschall's false-positive coronavirus test: "This virus is nothing to play with, whether it's a false-positive or an actual positive. ... It'll be great having EP back out there tomorrow."
Aaron Gordon: It’s starting to get janky... I’d be cool with a bubble if it was in the Bahamas or Hawaii and we got to bring our family/wife or girlfriend
What if players volunteered at the many public distributions centers that are being arranged throughout the country and received the vaccine in that setting while encouraging the masses to do the same along the way? A source with knowledge of the call with team presidents said UCLA was the possible site mentioned, but that sort of approach could gain traction. According to a Pew poll of 12,648 people conducted from Nov. 18-29, just 42 percent of Black people intended to get the vaccine when it became available. It has been chronicled and analyzed that many in the Black community are known to be distrustful of vaccines, in large part because of the shameful history of the Tuskegee syphilis experiment.
The potential thinking here isn’t hard to understand: The sight of the world’s most famous basketball players — the large majority of whom are Black — getting the vaccine while sharing productive vaccine messaging could go a long way toward aiding that cause. With President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20, a source said league officials have been in touch with the incoming administration’s transition team about how the NBA might be able to help.
Malone’s Nuggets were inside the bubble until the Western Conference finals were over. He argued publicly for coaches to be able to welcome families — a luxury the players enjoyed far, far earlier than coaches. There is no bubble now because the isolation was too much for everybody involved. League officials resist even the idea of a shutdown or pause right now. They want to plow ahead and get this season over, so the next one (with fans allowed in) can start on time. But to hear Malone warm to the idea of a bubble is an indicator of just how difficult it is navigating a season outside of one in this pandemic.
“Do I think it’s worthwhile?” Donovan said. “I think it’s worthwhile as long as the people still making those decisions feel very comfortable about the safety measures and protocols being in place to try to protect everybody as best as possible. And I think everybody is kind of putting their trust in the doctors, in the medical experts.”
“What we’re missing in this is COVID created this, but the concern is not COVID now,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “The concern is injuries, because guys are playing so many minutes because we don’t have enough guys. If I was deciding games in that way, I would be very careful if I’m the league, because you don’t want that to happen either.”
Thunder guard George Hill pushed back against the stricter COVID-19 safety protocols the NBA announced Tuesday, wondering why the season would continue if such measures were necessary. “I’m a grown man, so I’m gonna do what I wanna do,” Hill said after the Thunder’s 112-102 loss to the Spurs. “If I wanna go see my family, I’m gonna go see my family. They can’t tell me I have to stay in the room 24/7. If it’s that serious then maybe we shouldn’t be playing. It’s life. No one’s gonna be able to just cancel their whole life for this game.”
Farbod Esnaashari: Everyone is paying attention to George Hill's quote, but should pay attention to Shai: "If it means I have to wear a mask on the bench the whole time, it is what it is and I'm gonna do it. I want to get back to normal living, and whatever it takes to get back, I'm going to do it
Harrison Faigen: Kyle Kuzma isn't overly enthused by the idea of going back to the bubble, but made it seem like he'd be willing if necessary. "Obviously that would be a last resort type of deal... But this team, this organization, if a championship is on the line, that's what we're going to do"
Adrian Wojnarowski: On @Sportscenter reporting on why — so far — the NBA isn’t pausing the season.
Harrison Feigan: "That's the hope, obviously," Marc Gasol, when asked if he thinks the NBA can make it through the season. "Hopefully we can get through this month and then we'll go from there."
Mike Trudell: Marc Gasol said he understands and respects the tighter policies as the NBA tries to minimize risk during the ongoing pandemic: “It’s for the best of everyone. We understand that."
Kendra Andrews: Malone says it's not surprising the league updated its covid protocols. He says he wants hopes for greater commitment to those rules moving forward. "Hopefully these new protocols will allow us to see less players and teams affected by covid."
Harrison Wind: Michael Malone on the enhanced COVID protocols: "I think everybody's got to be committed to that and stop thinking about themselves and think about the collective good of their teams and the entire NBA." "None of us want to see the season stopped."
Brandon Rahbar: Al Horford on the NBA’s COVID protocols: “For all of this to work, we have to continue to cooperate and do what’s asked of us. I feel like that’s the only way we can continue the season. We have to take care of ourselves. We have to be cautious.”
Tom Moore: #Sixers coach Doc Rivers on new, stricter #NBA rules: 'We just have to be more careful. ... I'm not concerned with some of the things on the floor. ... It's coming from the outside to the inside. We just have to be vigilant when we walk outside.'
Brad Townsend: Mavericks who are listed as out for tommorow's game at Charlotte due to "health and safety protocols." Maxi Kleber, Dwight Powell, Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Jalen Brunson. As of yesterday, four Mavericks had tested positive for COVID-19, sources told the DMN.
Shams Charania: For at least next 2 weeks, NBA players and team staff are essentially entering in-market bubbles: - Home: Remain in residence at all times (except for exercise outside, essential activities, extraordinary circumstance) - Road: Stay in hotel (unless team activity or emergency)
Adrian Wojnarowski: Among protocol changes now agreed upon: NBA players can no longer interact with non-team guests at road hotels, sources tell ESPN. Players were allowed to have guests in rooms, but that is no longer the case.
Adrian Wojnarowski: More changes to protocol, sources tell ESPN: At home, players and team staff must remain at residence except to attend team-related activities at facility orarena, exercise outside, perform essential activities or the occurrence of extraordinary circumstances.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Any person who regularly visits the inside the home of a team staff member or player for professional purposes must undergo Covid testing twice per week, sources tell ESPN.
Shams Charania: New facemask rule: All NBA players must wear masks on the bench at all times, including the locker room, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: For minimum of next two weeks, pre-game meetings in locker rooms are limited to 10 minutes -- with masks on, sources tell ESPN. All other meetings with players and team staff must be on the court, or a larger space that allows for 6-feet of social distancing.
Shams Charania: NBA players are now only allowed to elbow or fist bump when socializing pre- and post-game and maintain six feet of distance, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: League's mandating increased mask wearing for players in games, except for "cool down chairs" arranged at least 12 feet from bench and 6 feet apart. Players can go there immediately after leaving court during game, but must return to regular seat on bench wearing a mask.
Tim Reynolds: The hope is that the new rules about limiting where players go (at home and on the road) are going to only be in place for two weeks, though a source cautions, "that's probably the minimum."
TJ McBride: So it sounds like the GM meeting yesterday was largely just to reinforce protocols while discussing these few extra additions to the protocols. Frankly, it’s not enough and I hope that teams start to step in with more authority to make it clear this season is getting out of hand.
Tom Orsborn: Jakob Poeltl on the vaccine: "My initial instinct is I want to take it. I am assuming if they are available to us, they have done enough research on it and it’s safe. It’s not only for my benefit but for the benefit of everybody else as well."
Tom Orsborn: Jakob Poeltl on talk of NBA announcing even tighter COVID guidelines: "They have got the experts working. I am hoping they are being reasonable and that they are making good decisions. I think all we can really do is trust in them."
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Boston Celtics-Orlando Magic game on Wednesday is expected to be postponed, sources tell ESPN. The game is postponed, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources: NBA and NBPA working through a minimum two-week window of protocol tightening that includes: *No hugging or interaction of rival players on court pre and post-game. *Reducing social interactions during games, including tapping hands during free throws.
Marc Stein: The NBA has formally opened a review of videos that appear to show the Nets' Kyrie Irving at a recent party without a mask If Irving misses any games due to what is ruled a protocols violation, he would be subject to a fine of more than $460,000 per game ... 1/72 of his salary
With his team right in the thick of things, Van Gundy, who is 61, is rightfully more concerned about everyone’s health and safety than when they’ll play a game of basketball. Here’s the full quote via Nola.com’s Christian Clark. “First of all, personally, I’m 61 year’s old. This s*** scares me. It scares me. I don’t want to get it. I’m scared of other people getting it too. I just don’t want anyone in our group or anyone else to get it.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sources with @Malika_Andrews: As the NBA is expected to begin examining online videos circulating of a maskless Kyrie Irving at a family birthday party, there’s no belief that he will return to the Brooklyn Nets lineup this week.
In the videos -- which began being widely shared Monday night -- a smiling Irving is dancing with his sister Asia on a confetti-covered floor and clapping as she blows out candles. If the video is found to be recent, that behavior could be a breach of the league's coronavirus protocols. The league's COVID-19 guidelines forbid players from going to clubs, bars and lounges. They also ban attending social gatherings of more than 15 people.
Fred Katz: The Wizards have placed two players in health and safety protocols and have canceled today’s practice, they announce.
Marc Stein: The Wizards announce they have canceled today’s practice “out of an abundance of caution” after two of their players entered the league’s and safety protocols
Beal missed one game before getting cleared by negative tests and was back on Monday night against the Phoenix Suns. He poured in 34 points with nine assists and eight rebounds to lead the Wizards to victory. Afterward, he was seen wearing a mask once the final buzzer went off. Lesson learned. "It was weird," Beal said of his time off due to the league's protocol. "Last couple of days, 48 hours, was crazy. Having to stay away from everybody and quarantine with myself the last couple of days. The positive is I've been testing negative, so that's a good thing."
Gerald Bourguet: Monty Williams, asked if he feels safe playing right now: *Deep sigh* *Laugh* Says he feels safe, but the COVID numbers are insane right now
Quinton Mayo: “ I just listen to what the NBA tells me about the protocols and they told me that Brad can play so I’m happy.” - Scott Brooks on Health and Safety protocol in regards to Bradley Beal
The NBA called off two more games because of COVID-related and contact tracing issues on Monday, and a person with knowledge of the situation said the Miami Heat were preparing to be without “at least five" players for the next several days because of possible exposure to the coronavirus.
May 22, 2022 | 5:43 pm EDT Update
Since these bench decorum issues generally have been resolved after the league intervenes, technical fouls have not been used a deterrent, and the league does not plan to start issuing techs during the conference finals. However, the topic will be discussed in the offseason, and the league will explore ways to address bench decorum during games in real time, a person with knowledge of the situation told USA TODAY Sports.
The final item – distracting opponents in an unsportsmanlike manner during game action – came into play in Game 2 when Steph Curry, with the Warriors wearing white uniforms, threw the ball to Theo Pinson, who was not in uniform but wearing a white sweater with his left arm raised. Curry clearly thought it was a Warriors teammate. That play in particular riled league officials.
“Stay level-headed,” Grant Williams said when asked how the Celtics have managed to survive the peaks and valleys of the playoffs so far. “At the end of the day, no matter what happens, whether it’s a big win or big loss, you have to play it the right way. We can’t let it carry over. It’s 2-1 right now and we play in front of our Garden fans and can make it 2-2. “It’s one of those things where we still control our destiny. We have to come out there and not only be a little more physically dominant and be more conscious of what we are trying to accomplish. Just like a regular season, there’s going to be peaks and valleys, you are going to have success and times you are not playing well, but the best teams stick together through thick and thin and they do their best job understanding the same thing can’t beat you twice.”
“It was brutal,” Green said of not being in the playoffs the previous two seasons. “We’ve been dying to get back to this space. “And we didn’t leave the space because we just got too old to do it … [or] because all of us went our separate ways. … Yeah, Toronto beat us, but no one has really come and said, ‘All right, the Golden State Warriors’ time is up.'”
Mark Followill: The Mavs are trying to equal their longest single-season home playoff win streak tonight in Game 3 of the West Finals. They’ve won 5 straight (2 vs Utah & 3 vs Phoenix). Their best was 6, the first 6 of the 2011 run (3 vs POR, 2 vs LAL, 1 vs OKC).