Tim Reynolds: The updated Games Lost This Week To COVID…

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Years ago, a longtime NBA scout settled into Madison Square Garden for an early-season college game. He found his seat more than two hours before tip-off, eager to watch warmups. He’d heard good things about the prospect he had come to evaluate. The player, a college junior, was excelling for a ranked Big East team. The scout pulled out his notebook and pen.
But the player, whom the scout declined to name, “didn’t possess the demeanor of a pro.” He didn’t hustle. He “goofed off,” failed to run in straight lines during warmup drills and didn’t make much eye contact with teammates. “The overall feel I got left me with a lot of questions,” the scout recalls. “It was a red flag.” He crossed off the prospect’s name, packed his bags and left the arena — before the game had even begun. Sticking around, he reasoned, would have been a waste of time.
“When you see a player in person, I can’t tell you the world of difference it makes,” says a Western Conference scout based in the Northeast. “It’s all in the details you pick up: warmups, body language, what do they do when the camera isn’t on them. The stuff you can’t get on TV or on Synergy (an analytics and film platform). The biggest thing is that being at the games and seeing these guys for yourself reduces our organization’s risk as far as making a pick.”

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The Washington Wizards are dealing with an outbreak situation, with the franchise now up to five players who have tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell The Athletic's Shams Charania and Fred Katz. The Wizards last played on Monday against the Phoenix Suns. They have already had two games postponed this week — Wednesday against the Jazz and Friday against the Pistons. Washington's next scheduled game is Sunday against the Cavaliers.
Fred Katz, Wizards writer: The Wizards had plenty of close calls with COVID-19 before eventually having to miss games. They played the Celtics last week, the day before Boston flashed a positive test. Before that, they went up against the 76ers the day before they had one. Kevin Durant went into quarantine the day after his Nets played the Wizards. Bulls players tested positive in the middle of a series in Washington. Now, the Wizards are the ones dealing with the real-life issues that come with playing this season in the middle of a pandemic.
Katz: Most importantly, the Wizards have to get healthy. Players who test positive for coronavirus must quarantine for a minimum of 10-to-14 days, per league rules. If they have symptoms, quarantines can be longer than that. They then have a two-day ramp-up period and have to pass a cardio test before returning for good. It could be a while before some of these guys return. The status of the upcoming series against Cleveland, scheduled for Sunday/Monday, is up in the air, given today's news. Either way, it will be a minute before we see the Wizards in their full form.
Cody Taylor: Steve Clifford said the Magic are very confident the game tomorrow night vs. the Celtics will be played: "Our plan is that we'll be playing."
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.
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.
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."

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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.
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.
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"

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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."
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.
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May 15, 2021 | 10:45 am EDT Update

Ben Wallace elected to Hall of Fame

Marc J. Spears: Ex-Detroit Pistons and HBCU Virginia Union star Ben Wallace will be inducted into the Class of 2021 for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a source told @TheUndefeated. The 2004 NBA champion was a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time All-Star.
This rumor is part of a storyline: 227 more rumors
The expectation in the wake of the procedure is that Oladipo would not be ready to return to court work until November or possibly even later, likely limiting his 2021-22 action to the second half of the season, if that. The chances of Oladipo returning to the Heat could come down to whether the team attempts to maximize salary-cap space to sign an outside free agent, such as Kyle Lowry or, possibly, Kawhi Leonard, or instead opts to operate above the salary cap and prioritize retaining the current roster.
Center Jarrett Allen said Friday he was surprised at Okoro’s workload — he led all NBA rookies in minutes per game as of Thursday. “It’s awesome to see. It’s been a great rookie season for him,” Allen said of Okoro’s progress. “He’s been through a lot, just seeing trades, how much he’s been playing. “I saw he’s played the most minutes out of every single rookie. That’s a tough job coming in at how old he is and he’s handled it like a real professional. Just going down the line, I think that’s going to help him in the long run, make him have a good and lasting career.”
Charlotte Hornets forward Miles Bridges has been cleared from the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols and will be available to play against the New York Knicks on Saturday, the team announced. He missed six games while in the COVID-19 protocols, with the Hornets going 2-4 in his absence while trying to hold on to the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference with just two games to go before the league’s play-in tournament next week.
Those that knew Bryant well believed his Hall of Fame speech would have been as unique as his on-court performances. And though he admired Jordan for how he played basketball, sought any competitive edge and maximized his business earnings, Bryant would not have wanted to be like Mike with his Hall of Fame speech. For all the endless comparisons on whether Jordan or Bryant finished with a better NBA career, Bryant’s Hall-of-Fame speech would have been more uplifting and classier than Jordan’s. “When MJ said his speech, it was like he still had an axe to grind with certain folks. I don’t think Kobe would’ve gone that route,” former Lakers guard Brian Shaw told USA TODAY Sports. “I think it would’ve been more in terms of making his message something that everybody could get better at in light of the present-day situation.”
Jordan called out Magic Johnson, Isiah Thomas and George Gervin for the alleged freezeout in the NBA All-Star game during his rookie season. Jordan ridiculed former New York Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy for calling him “a conman” and arguing he befriends his opponents so he can soften their competitiveness. Jordan chastised former Utah Jazz guard Byron Russell for believing he could defend him in the 1998 NBA Finals. In Bryant’s case? During the final years of his NBA career and the four years in his post-retirement life, Bryant seemed too at peace to be settling scores. He became more focused on ensuring a successful second act of his life than remaining stuck on the accomplishments and shortcomings of his first one. “It would’ve been a very heartfelt talk,” Clippers executive and former Lakers general manager Jerry West told USA TODAY Sports. “He would’ve been very humble in his speech. He would’ve talked about his experiences in his life, and the people that he respected and admired.”
“Kobe Bryant was like a little bro to me, man,” Garnett said. “I got to see Kob. He was very young and not as polished as everybody got to see him. He was very vulnerable. We were both vulnerable. We were both young. And we used to always interact with each other with that youthfulness, with that kid. That kid persona. “We always talked the game, cracked a lot of jokes on each other, but at the end, it was two very fierce competitors. And there was our parallel. As much as he wanted to win, I want to win at the same time. As much as he thought he was the best, I thought I was the best. So I would always crack on him and tell him he was too small to play. He used to always crack on me and tell me I was too slow to guard him. It was great conversation, great back and forth and great competition.”
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