Knicks fans desperate to get back to Madison Square Garden are ponying up $250 for last-minute COVID tests before tip off, in order to meet new state testing rules for large venues. Under the regulations that went into effect Feb. 23, venues with more than 10,000 people can operate at 10 percent capacity — as long as every guest has passed a COVID test within 72 hours of tipoff.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: After missing 10 consecutive games in the league's health and safety protocol, Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday is likely to return to the lineup against the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday.
Eric Nehm: Jrue Holiday practiced today, but Mike Budenholzer thinks he'll be listed as doubtful for tomorrow's game against the Clippers.
“Please be careful stepping out of the house every single day,” said Towns. “Follow all the protocols and rules and advice that Dr. Fauci, who’s the best of the best in the world at this…take his advice and understand that it’s coming from a place of wellbeing for everyone in this country.”
54% of Americans think it would be a good idea to give NBA players early access to the COVID-19 vaccine in order to increase public confidence in it, according to a survey administered last week by The Harris Poll.
Jason Jones: Kings are also without Jabari Parker along with Hassan Whiteside (health and safety protocols) at the Knicks tonight. Luke Walton said all prep for tonight was done via Zoom once there was word there was a positive COVID test, they got the list of players not available last night
We are excited that Governor Cooper has granted the opportunity for fans to begin returning to indoor arenas and entertainment venues. We have remained in contact with state and county officials, as well as the NBA, throughout the last year and are preparing a plan that we believe will allow fans to safely return to Spectrum Center in the near future. With the health of our guests, players and staff as our top priority, we have implemented a variety of upgrades to ensure that Spectrum Center is as safe as possible, including increased levels of air filtration and purification, as well as enhanced cleaning and disinfecting procedures.
Tom Orsborn: Pop said no timetable for the return of the players in protocols: "Each one is a little bit different. It depends on the testing they do. So, I think a few more days, the quarantine period ends, but then there are a couple more days of more tests to see how it has affected them."
Michael C. Wright: Pop on the Spurs’ situation w/COVID-19 protocols: “We’re doing well, just moving on. Tough break for us, but not near as difficult as [what] many, many, many here in the state of Texas have had to endure. That’s for sure. So, we can’t complain.”
Jim Owczarski: #Bucks guard Jrue Holiday remains in the league's health and safety protocol and did not practice today. He is progressing through that protocol.
Keith Pompey: #Sixers’ Julius Erving with his COVID-19 Vaccine PSA youtu.be/BduFxXmReSA via @YouTube
Lakers guard Dennis Schroder tested negative for COVID-19, but he will be out at least a week because of potential exposure to the virus through contact tracing, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Saturday the team has a "more firm timeline" on Schroder, who will be sidelined an additional three games after being a late scratch in Thursday's loss to the Brooklyn Nets because of the league's health and safety protocols. He missed Saturday's 96-94 loss to the Miami Heat and will also be out Monday versus the Washington Wizards and Wednesday at the Utah Jazz.
Barclays Center is the first major North American sports venue to package COVID-19 testing as part of its ticket price. Fans will be offered the chance to take a test mailed to them far enough in advance to get a green light to attend games, and then given a rapid test to confirm their negative COVID status before entering the building, with results coming in six minutes.
The Sixers, Flyers, and Wells Fargo Center officials recently sent the city a proposal to have 5,000 fans in attendance for games beginning some time next month, according to sources. One of the sources said the Sixers would be satisfied with a limit of 2,500. Before Wednesday’s game against the Houston Rockets, the Sixers had played in front of only media members and team officials.
Embiid said it would be “a different story in Philadelphia. They care, and they are going to come to games and they are going to boo you. They are going to show up for you. But at the end of the day, it’s all love.” More than a dozen NBA teams are currently allowing fans in the stands. The Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Orlando Magic have the largest allowable crowds at up to 4,000 per game.
Brian Robb: Jayson Tatum says he's talked to other athletes who have dealt with similar lingering effects as him after having COVID-19 after he spoke up about it earlier this week.
Marc J. Spears: Ex-Warriors center Festus Ezeli is in quarantine in the G League Bubble and will be out Sunday, a source told @TheUndefeated. He is a part of the @nbagleague player pool making him eligible to be picked up by any team . He hasn’t played since 2016 NBA Finals due to knee injuries.
With the Miami Heat increasing the amount of fans permitted to attend games at AmericanAirlines Arena during the COVID-19 pandemic to about 3,000, a limited number of individual game tickets will soon be made available to the general public. A few hundred individual game tickets will go on sale to the general public on Saturday starting at noon on Heat.com for each of the final four home games before the All-Star break: Wednesday vs. Toronto Raptors, Feb. 26 vs. Utah Jazz, and Feb. 28 and March 2 vs. Atlanta Hawks. There is a four ticket per game purchase limit.
Jeff Goodman: NCAA will allow limited number of fans at the NCAA Tournament, including all rounds and the Final Four. The decision to allow up to 25% capacity with physical distancing was made in conjunction with state and local health authorities.
Within all of that, there was always going to be skepticism from the public that — whether it was the NBA or other pro sports leagues — the wealthy were going to jump the line (with the vaccine). I almost feel like it would make people feel good to know that someone who is guiding a lot of the protocol with the NBA is not a hired gun who only focuses on their priorities, if that makes sense. Dr. Leroy Sims: It does make sense, and what we’re doing on the NBA side is exactly what you indicated. We’re respecting public health guidelines, seeing what the CDC says and following what states and local governments and departments of health recommend. So to your point, we are not jumping the line. We are not looking to get ahead of anyone. What we’re doing is making sure that the essential and frontline workers have access to the vaccine, that people who are — from a health point of view — the most vulnerable, they have access to the vaccine. We don’t want to be in a position where we’re taking vaccines away from ER doctors or people who live in nursing homes or people with chronic medical conditions. We understand that and respect that. When the question does come up — when can we get vaccinated? — and I lay out the information about how the distribution is working right now, people go, “Yeah, I understand that.”
As a white man who has learned more and more on this front, I wonder if you think the players’ concerns are born out of the specific history here or is it also a generational thing where guys’ parents told them to be careful with the medical community (without the cultural context)? Dr. Leroy Sims: All those things are in play, Sam, because you have people who do know the history. These are some very well-read and savvy guys. They know the history. But also, they live in some of these communities, or come from some of these communities, and have seen the impacts up close and personal and have lived it. So there’s that piece that can’t be overlooked, that there is a familiarity with what’s happening. And it’s a beautiful thing that our guys stay in touch with the community. And they’re role models. And it is for that reason that we do want to partner with our players. We do want their support. We do want them to be spokesmen regarding this vaccine, and even though they can’t get vaccinated right now, we hope that they’ll lend support to family members who may be eligible to get vaccinated. So that’s one of the calls that I have: Can you all support us that way? And hopefully, when it’s your turn and we can vaccinate you, you’ll get vaccinated as well.
Mike Vorkunov: Knicks partnered with a provider to distribute at-home FDA-approved saliva COVID-19 PCR tests to fans who buy tickets for Knicks games at MSG in Feb. It will be overnighted upon request, to fulfill requirement of a PCR test no more than 72 hours before a Knicks game at MSG. pic.twitter.com/szI8cnlVIj
Shams Charania: In announcing All-Star events on March 7, the NBA and NBPA will commit more than $2.5 million in funds and resources toward HBCUs and provide additional support and awareness around equity and access to COVID-19 care, relief and vaccines.
Stefan Bondy: Knicks announce they’re selling tickets now for between $50 and $380. You need proof of a negative CoViD test to get in. Test has to be within 72 hours of the game.
According to ManGamesLost.com, a subscription website that tracks injuries (including illnesses, like COVID-19) across all major sports, the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers are the two most-injured teams over the last three seasons, in a virtual, statistical tie. The website’s data runs through games played on Monday. So from October of 2018 through Feb. 15, the Bulls’ players had missed 605 games to 604 for Cavs players. Due to the pandemic and the general flow of a schedule in an ongoing season, the two teams haven’t played the same amount of games on their schedules.
The Cavaliers are partnered medically with the Cleveland Clinic, consistently ranked among the finest hospitals in the world. That’s not to say doctors never make mistakes, but there aren’t exactly any league whispers about the Cavs needing to cut ties there. One agent who represents players on the Cavs, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the organization does “a very good job” managing players’ health. “They are very transparent, very thorough,” he said.
Ky Carlin: Doc Rivers confirms that Ben Simmons does not have COVID. He’s just out with the flu. He asked me not to mention COVID anymore. He said it’s a dirty word. #Sixers
Shams Charania: Sources: Five new NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 454 in the last week.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Dr. Sims told ESPN on Wednesday: “I’ve tried to tackle misinformation….These guys look at data all the time. I know they get the data, and appeal to them at that level.”
The NBA's outreach to the agents of many of the league's elite players -- with hopes of getting stars to participate in PSAs to promote the safety and effectiveness of the vaccine -- has been met with a tepid response, sources said. Player apprehension about receiving the vaccine are consistent with those that also exist in Black communities throughout the country, agents and players told ESPN.
Sources describe a number of factors contributing to many players' reluctance to participate, including uncertainty about taking the vaccine themselves, reluctance to advocate its use for others and resistance to extending favors to a league amid the largely unpopular plans for an All-Star Game.
On a call with league general managers on Tuesday, commissioner Adam Silver continued to tell top team executives that the league wouldn't "jump the line" of the general public to get vaccines, but he suggested an optimistic timeline that included the possibility of late March and early April for the start of player vaccinations, sources said. Nevertheless, that's considered a fluid timeline, largely meant to reaffirm to teams the need to be prepared for whenever the opportunity to vaccinate players comes from public health officials, sources said.
Michael Singer: Michael Malone said to this point, none of his players have expressed any lingering effects of COVID cases. Asked him that question following Jayson Tatum’s admission that he doesn’t have the same stamina after his case.
Shams Charania: The NBA plans to hold the 3-point competition and Skills Challenge in pregame of the March 7 All-Star Game in Atlanta, and the Dunk Contest at halftime of game, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium .
Tom Orsborn: Pop: "We all have to continue being meticulous about doing everything that needs done. (COVID-19) is still here, and we are not even close to done with it, so we are trying to really tell our team to bear down every day - every day - and do everything we are told to do.”
Anthony Chiang: Tyler Herro said he was told right before Thursday's game that he tested positive and could not play against the Rockets. But it turned out to be a false positive, and subsequent negative tests allowed him to travel with the team to Salt Lake City.
Ira Winderman: Tyler Herro, on watching game in Houston, while awaiting test results, "I felt like I was in jail." He said room had a small TV, but it also had a shower, so he was able to shower after warming up.
Minnesota Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns is back after his bout with COVID-19, but the virus is still having an impact on him mentally. Shortly before tipoff of the Timberwolves’ game against the Charlotte Hornets on Friday, the Hornets scratched P.J. Washington due to health and safety protocols. The scratch came when the Timberwolves were warming up, and Towns admitted that he was left shaken by it.
Tom Orsborn: Pop on the approach to this COVID rodeo road trip vs. previous ones: "It’s the same, it’s just more boring because you basically can’t leave your room...But as we all keep telling ourselves, we’ve got it pretty easy compared to a whole lot of people out there. So, not to worry or complain."
Rick Bonnell: BREAKING: Hornets forward P.J. Washington is OUT tonight vs. Timberwolves for health-and-safety protocols.
Rick Bonnell: BREAKING: Hornets Cody and Caleb Martin will both miss tonight’s game — health and safety protocols. Story coming
Marc Stein: Kevin Durant is back and fully available for the Nets' game Saturday night at Golden State, Steve Nash says. The Warriors are planning two tribute videos for Kevin Durant ... one Saturday night when Durant makes his on-court return to the Bay Area and another next season when fans are back at Chase Center
Ira Winderman: Per Heat: Tyler Herro accompanied the team to Salt Lake City last night for tomorrow night's game vs the Jazz and is no longer in the NBA's health and safety protocols.
Ian Begley: Frank Ntilikina continues to test negative for COVID but didn’t travel with Knicks to Washington DC for Friday’s game vs. Wizards, per source. Ntilikina didn’t play Tuesday as he’s subject to contact tracing after being in proximity to someone outside of NYK who tested positive.
The Toronto Raptors announced Thursday that they will finish the 2020-21 season in Tampa, Florida. Because of ongoing border restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and mindful of public safety measures in Canada, the team has decided they will continue to play their home games at Amalie Arena.
“Florida has been really welcoming to us and we’re so grateful for the hospitality we’ve found in Tampa and at Amalie – we’re living in a city of champions, and we intend to carry on the tradition of winning for our new friends and fans here,” Raptors President Masai Ujiri said. “But home is where the heart is, and our hearts are in Toronto. We think often of our fans, of our Scotiabank Arena family, and all those we are missing back home, and we can’t wait until we can all be together again.”
Towns didn’t go into specific details about the symptoms he experienced or the exact underlying conditions to which he was referring, but he described an experience that was harrowing and, at times, frightening. As hard as it was on his body, Towns said it may have been even harder on his mind. The long nights, the loneliness of isolation and knowing his mother was no longer there to help him through it. “There’s things I haven’t dealt with and still grieving and stuff that I have to deal with now in silence with no one around to help me with that process,” he said. “Mental health is real and it’s very, very real and I’ve dealt with it my whole life and I’m glad that I had my mother with me, because she always just knew how to heal me and that mental aspect. Obviously with her not here, it’s even more challenging, but she gave me a lot of tools, so I just utilize them as best I could.”
Ohm Youngmisuk: Karl-Anthony Towns: "Getting COVID stopped everything...I am a high-risk case. COVID did not treat me well whatsoever. A lot of scary nights." He told his sister he got a bad version of COVID and had "a lot of it in me..A lot of long nights and the vitals weren't good (at times)"
Ohm Youngmisuk: KAT: "Everyone is different. My underlying conditions did not play in my favor with COVID... I am the most genetically close to my mother...nothing was playing in my favor.. mental health is very real. I have dealt with it my whole life and my mother always knew how to heal me."
Ohm Youngmisuk: KAT: "I feel very guilty about the treatment I got [that] I [wish was] more widely available to anyone in the world. I feel very guilty... there is such mental strain through all this time. A feeling of guilt because of the resources I have. I wish I could (share) the resources."
Melissa Rohlin: Karl Anthony-Towns described his harrowing experience with COVID: "You get to a point where you feel like you're never going to see the court again."
April 19, 2021 | 8:10 am EDT Update
Chema de Lucas: Mike James will play with the Brooklyn Nets until the end of the season. Immediate incorporation. Nets interest in the CSKA Moscow player was first reported by @Eurohoopsnet.
Reigning EuroLeague scoring champion Mike James has emerged as a candidate to sign with the Brooklyn Nets, Eurohoops has learned via a source. James was suspended indefinitely by CSKA Moscow in late March following an incident with team head coach Dimitris Itoudis and has headed back to his native United States. UPDATE: He will join the Nets, according to Chema de Lucas.
The Toronto Raptors announced Monday they have signed forward Yuta Watanabe (YOU-tuh wah-tuh-NAH-bay) to a standard NBA contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Watanabe, 6-foot-9, 205 pounds, is averaging 4.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 13.4 minutes in 39 games (one start) as a two-way player with the Raptors this season. He is shooting .448 (56-125) from the field, including .400 (24-40) from three-point range, and has scored in double figures six times. Watanabe recorded a career-high 21 points Apr. 16 vs. Orlando.
Hasheem Thabeet is looking to make an NBA comeback, his agent Jerry Dianis told me on Saturday. The 7’3″ big-man just won MVP honors while playing in Taiwan for the Hsinchu JKO Lioneers. “Bottom line Hasheem Thabeet was given a opportunity, and he killed it,” Dianis told me. “MVP performance with career highs in points, rebounds, minutes played, assists and steals. Thabeet averaged 18.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per game.
To gauge who are the top international players, HoopsHype polled 15 NBA talent evaluators, including 10executives and five scouts. Each talent evaluator was asked to list his top five international players. The criteria included any player pro player not in the NBA right now. Some of the talent evaluators prioritized former NBA players and older veterans who are having an immediate impact on their team overseas. Others placed a higher value on younger prospects who are likely to come to the NBA in upcoming drafts. 1. Nikola Mirotic (Barcelona): The 30-year-old forward is shooting an astounding 59.7 percent from the field and 47.2 percent from beyond the arc while scoring 15.9 points per game. “He’s the guy that’s been most productive in the NBA, and someone you can put in an NBA game right now if you had to,” one NBA executive told HoopsHype.
2. Josh Giddey (Adelaide 36ers): “He has great size and excellent court vision,” an NBAexecutive told HoopsHype. “He sees the floor so well, and he’s probably too unselfish at times. His shooting will need a lot of work. He needs to become a consistent threat from three and he needs to improve at the line, but he’s playing in a tough league at a young age and he’s having success.”
3. Vasilije Micic (Anadolu Efes): The 6-foot-5 Serbian guard has his draft rights retained currently by the Thunder. While some have speculated he could make the jump to the NBA, his agent, Misko Raznatovic, denied having talks with any clubs for next season at this time. Still, Micic has drawn the attention of NBA teams with his play. “He’s almost an elite passer,” one NBAscout told HoopsHype. “He’s a good shooter, both on and off the dribble. He’s not athletic but has enough strength after his first step to get at the rim once he gets a runway. He’s very smart. His basketball IQ is off the charts.”
“With the recent conclusion of his season in Taiwan, Hasheem is an unrestricted free agent,” Dianis added. “He is in the best shape of his life as certified by his recent MVP performance. Hasheem looks forward to helping an NBA team that needs his athleticism and size off the bench. I have no doubt Hasheem will be inundated with worldwide opportunities.”