Mike Vorkunov: Madison Square Garden will be able to expand fan attendance to 30% capacity for Knicks and Rangers games on May 19 after a recent decision by NY Gov. Cuomo to ease COVID-19 restrictions. It's been at 10% capacity since Feb. 23, when fans were allowed into the building again.
Damian Lillard: So we gone be the only damn team in the whole league with no fans .
Shams Charania: Hornets forward Miles Bridges is expected to miss 10-to-14 days due to health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Bridges is having a strong season, averaging 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds.
The Jump: "Teams are gonna recommend players to get the one shot vaccination" —MacMullan #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump
Today the Atlanta Hawks announced plans to increase attendance for postseason play to 7,625 fans, approximately 45 percent of State Farm Arena’s full capacity. The plan received approval by both the NBA and the Georgia Department of Public Health. The Hawks opened the 2020-21 season with no fans in attendance before increasing capacity to 1300 fans on Jan. 26 and later increasing to 3000 fans for the second half of the season on March 13. At 35-30 (.538), the Hawks are currently in 5th place in the Eastern Conference with seven games remaining (six at State Farm Arena) in the regular season. Fans can guarantee priority access to the 2021 Playoffs by visiting Hawks.com/membership or texting or calling (866) 715-1500 for more information.
Shams Charania: Lakers guard Dennis Schroder is expected to miss 10-to-14 days due to health and safety protocols, sources tell me and @Bill Oram. Schroder entered protocols on Sunday.
Mark Murphy: Fournier on his bout with COVID: "It’s a golden opportunity for me to finally be with a great team, and the fact I got COVID is heartbreaking, to be honest. That’s the hard part. You guys don’t know me yet, but I’m as mentally tough as it gets. I’ll get through that for sure.”
Jay King: Fournier said he's been feeling "really weird" since returning from COVID-19. Said it feels like he has a concussion. The bright lights were bothering his eyes and his vision was blurry. Everything going too fast for him. A bit better now but in some ways, "it's still the case."
Sixth man Alec Burks, who is out of COVID-19 protocols, was held out of Sunday’s contest but has a chance of suiting up in Memphis. The Knicks have not made Burks available for comment since his return to the team. He has missed eight straight games. “He’s getting a lot closer,’’ Thibodeau said.
KC Johnson: Billy Donovan on Zach LaVine: "I think we're hopeful that this will take another week. It's our best guess. There will be things he'll have to do going into this week that are set by the league in terms of their policies and protocols."
Shams Charania: Sources: Two new NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 488 tested since April 21.
Most of the absences have been tied to contact tracing, according to the spokesperson, who added that the league expects all 10 of the referees currently sidelined to be available for the playoffs, which start in less than a month. "We at the NBA have taken a very strong stance, especially with referees traveling commercial, that we want referees and the teams that they are serving to be safe," Monty McCutchen, the NBA's vice president of referee development and training, told ESPN. "And so with an abundance of caution, we pull people out on contact tracing, if there's even the smallest inkling [of an issue]."
Months later, in December, Monk would end up testing positive for COVID-19, and he experienced mild symptoms. He lost his sense of taste and smell, had chills, and was forced to isolate for 14 days during the ramp-up to an NBA season that he was greatly anticipating. Then, just when he was starting to get healthy, his grandmother died from the virus. Her death hit Monk hard and made him realize just how dangerous his situation had been. “That s--- was terrible, man,” Monk said.
Josh Robbins: Steve Clifford also said one of the officials in the Magic's game Tuesday in Atlanta tested positive for the coronavirus, placing the Magic in the league's enhanced protocol.
Josh Robbins: On a Zoom call with reporters, Steve Clifford reiterated that he feels fine and has no symptoms. He had a positive test Thursday night, two negative tests Friday and a positive test this morning. Clifford took another test this afternoon and will have another tomorrow morning.
Tim Reynolds: Steve Clifford does not expect to coach tomorrow night. Still TBD, officially. If he cannot go, Tyrone Corbin will coach the Magic.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford tested positive for the coronavirus, but results have shown to be inconclusive and he could coach on Sunday night vs. Pacers if he tests negative twice prior to tip-off, sources tell ESPN. Clifford has been vaccinated and has been asymptomatic.
The Magic were scheduled to practice Saturday and would have benefited from the work, especially considering their recent roster turnover. But the team had to cancel the session due to health and safety protocols after the positive test for Clifford. He has received his first vaccination shot and is asymptomatic and the team is hoping for a false negative, league sources indicated.
Josh Robbins: Reporting with @Shams Charania: League sources say Magic head coach Steve Clifford has tested positive for the coronavirus, but the Magic are holding out hope it is a false positive. Clifford has had his first vaccine shot already and is asymptomatic.
Roy Parry: The Magic have canceled practice today due to health and safety protocols. No further details are available at this time but tomorrow's game at Amway Center against the Pacers remains on schedule, according to a team official.
Fournier missed the previous nine games due to a bout with COVID-19. The Boston Celtics swingman struggled in the 109-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, missing all seven of his shots in 22 minutes. After the game, he opened up about his difficult experience with the virus. "My experience -- where do I start? The first two days I was doing great, no symptoms at all, and then flu-like symptoms, high fever, really tired, fatigue, all that," Fournier said.
Evan Fournier: "I honestly stayed in bed and slept for four or five days. The roughest part was ramping up the activity. The last two days of practice was really hard. I had moments where I was doing good and moments where I was exhausted. That's why you have to push through it. You have to do it to feel better. I don't want to spend another week just ramping up my activity and doing cardio and all that. I need reps with the guys."
People who persistently test positive for COVID-19 after clinically recovering and adequately self-isolating are not likely to spread the virus to others, according to a new study that examined the NBA’s 2020 “bubble” in Orlando. After its season was interrupted by the pandemic last March, the NBA resumed its season in Orlando, Florida, as players were sequestered at Disney World to prevent against infections. Nearly 4,000 players, coaches, staff and vendors were tested daily for the coronavirus.
Shams Charania: Kings guard De’Aaron Fox is expected to miss at least 10-to-14 days due to health and safety protocols, sources tell me and @Sam Amick. Sacramento is currently three games out of play-in 10th seed.
Anthony Slater: Kent Bazemore is also out tonight due to health and safety protocols, per Warriors. The rotation keeps taking hits.
Damion Lee: .... And for those wondering, I did get the vaccine and continued to practice the proper safety protocols. 🤷🏽♂️ Y’all be blessed and safe out here! 🤞🏽🙏🏽
Chris Grenham: Brad Stevens says Rob Williams is still day-to-day, but hasn’t shown enough progress to play yet. Evan Fournier will probably play at some point this weekend, per Stevens.
Chris Grenham: Jayson Tatum says he's spoken with Evan Fournier about covid-related things quite a bit. "Just things to look out for when you first get back. I think that's the toughest period, when you first get back. ... He knows I'm here for anything while he's dealing with it."
Jared Weiss: Stevens' Celtics injury update: - Walker under the weather but "Hopefully will be able to go tomorrow." - Brown is doubtful for tomorrow with shoulder bursitis. - Smart is back - Fournier is out - Rob Williams "Tried to do a little bit more but won't be able to go tomorrow."
Shams Charania: Sources: Three new NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 488 tested since April 14.
Several assistants contacted by Bleacher Report specifically mentioned the league’s stringent COVID-19 testing protocols—a necessary procedure—as another negative factor on players’ rest and recovery time. “Some nights we fly in at three in the morning and have to get up for a test at 8 a.m.,” another assistant coach said.
Rob Schaefer: No update on Zach LaVine’s timetable, per Billy Donovan. LaVine has been in COVID protocol since April 15. Donovan: “One thing I can tell you (from talking to LaVine) is he’s very bored.”
Keith Smith: Brad Stevens says Even Fournier will have his final testing to be cleared in the next couple of days. Stevens said Fournier will probably be doubtful Thursday and the team will determine his availability after that. Team is hopeful Robert Williams will return Thursday.
Marc Stein: The Thunder announced March 2 they will not admit fans this season. The Blazers, I'm told, are optimistic they will get clearance for reduced crowds before regular season's end. The Bulls are still trying "to determine if there is a timeline where fans can return to home games.
KC Johnson: Bulls injury report lists LaVine out for health and safety protocols and Satoransky probable with back sprain. No other players listed. LaVine is expected to be out at least 10-14 days, per sources.
Chicago Bulls All-Star guard Zach LaVine is expected to miss several games after entering into the NBA's health and safety protocol, sources told ESPN. The Bulls called off practice Thursday because of health and safety protocol concerns, the team said.
Chicago's playoff hopes have been dampened lately, as the Bulls have dropped four straight games to fall to 22-32. The Bulls are currently 10th in the Eastern Conference, holding the final spot in the play-in tournament. LaVine is averaging a career-high 27.5 points per game this season.
Shams Charania: Zero NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 488 tested since April 7, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum said Tuesday night that he is still dealing with the after-effects of contracting for COVID-19 three months ago and has been using an inhaler before games as a means to combat them. "Close," he said, after scoring 32 points, along with nine rebounds and five assists, in a 116-115 Boston victory in Portland, when asked whether he's back to 100 percent. "Very close.
"It's a process. It takes a long time. I take an inhaler before the game since I've tested positive. This has kind of helped with that and opened up my lungs, and, you know, I never took an inhaler before. So that's something different. "I for sure feel better now than I did a month ago." He added that he isn't sure how long he's going to have to use the inhaler, saying it will be until he feels good enough to play without it. "There's no exact timetable," Tatum said. "[It's] just when I feel comfortable enough and I think I don't need it."
Josh Lewenberg: Nurse on the Raps players that returned from the H&S protocols last month: "Those guys all to a person, to a man were saying they didn't feel quite right. They felt like they could play but they just didn't feel quite right out there after they came back, and I think that showed"
Dave McMenamin: Alfonzo McKinnie, coming off one of his strongest games as a Laker, is out tonight vs. NYK because of the league’s health and safety protocols, the team announced. Dennis Schroder is listed as probable with a pelvis contusion.
Jason Anderson: The Kings will admit 1,600 preselected frontline workers to Thursday's game against the Minnesota Timberwolves in the first step toward welcoming fans back to Golden 1 Center with incremental increases in paid spectators in subsequent games. More to come on this.
The Washington Wizards will welcome fans back to Capital One Arena for the first time this season on Wednesday, April 21, at 7:00 p.m. when the team hosts the Golden State Warriors. Due to the very limited tickets to be made available (attendance will be limited to 2,100 fans, 10% of the venue’s capacity), priority for ticketing will be given to season ticket members, with information forthcoming on ticket availability for the general public. Fans are encouraged to visit https://www.nba.com/wizards/wizticketpresale to sign up for alerts and information regarding individual game ticket access.
The exact number is not known. Getting the vaccine is a personal choice. The organization did not make it mandatory. Not all of the players agreed to it. But a source said a “fair amount of players” received the one-time Johnson and Johnson shot. There are currently 15 guys on the roster, including Lamar Stevens and Brodric Thomas, both of whom are currently on two-way contracts. “It was a great turnout,” a source said.
Because it was Johnson and Johnson, members of the organization who received the vaccine during that rollout will not need a second dose. According to a source, Cavs coach J.B. Bickerstaff, 42, received his vaccine earlier, prior to knowing it would be available to the entire team on March 30. Bickerstaff had the first dose of Moderna. His second shot is scheduled for Monday, April 12 -- a team off day following a weekend back-to-back and before the Cavaliers travel to Charlotte for a one-off road game, sources say.
Evan Fournier: Just want to take a moment to thank you all for the love and support over the last few days. I can't wait to get back on the court and help my team win. ☘️
Darnell Mayberry: Before embarking on a season-long, five-game road trip, Chicago Bulls players received the COVID-19 vaccine, sources told The Athletic. theathletic.com/2504521/2021/0…
Shams Charania: Sources: One NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus out of 483 tested since March 31.
The partnership, which is in effect, is expected to be announced as soon as Wednesday morning, according to league sources. A third of the league -- including the Orlando Magic, San Antonio Spurs and Atlanta Hawks -- has already been using CLEAR's Health Pass program, which includes a combination of health surveys and secure linking to COVID-19 lab results and vaccination records, for their employee or fan safety protocols in-arena.
May 31, 2023 | 12:39 pm EDT Update
Bulls, Nikola Vucevic have opened up extension talks
In Chicago, I’m told that the Bulls have opened up extension conversations with their starting center Nikola Vucevic. Sources tell me there is mutual interest in getting a deal done. Both sides have until June 30 to get an extension done. If there is no agreement by that point, Vučević would enter free agency and be one of the top centers available on the market. Vučević had the third-most double-doubles in the NBA this year (51), averaging 17.6 points and 11.0 rebounds with a 52.0 field goal percentage at a usage rate of 21.4.
Lakers want to use D'Angelo Russell in sign-and-trade?
My read on the situation is that the Lakers would prefer to use D’Angelo Russell in a sign-and-trade, but I’m not sure the market is there. Landing Kyrie Irving for Russell is shaping up to be a pipe dream, especially with Dallas unlikely to help Los Angeles out. Fred VanVleet, a Klutch client, looms as a possibility, but adding him would require Toronto to agree to terms with Russell (or take on the Beasley and Bamba contracts). Where, exactly, is the free-agency and trade market for Russell? I just don’t see it.
Pistons heavily pursuing Monty Williams to be next head coach
Nearly two months after Dwane Casey stepped down from his role as head coach, the Detroit Pistons are heavily pursuing Monty Williams, the NBA’s winningest coach since 2021, to be their next man in charge, league sources tell The Athletic. The Pistons are preparing to offer Williams in the range of $10 million per year, league sources said, which would put him among the league’s highest-paid coaches. Detroit has been hopeful over the past several weeks that Williams would consider accepting the job, sources added.
If Williams declines the proposal, Lee, a Bucks assistant since 2018, is expected to emerge as the likely choice, league sources said.
Since the start of the first round of the NBA playoffs, four coaches — Williams (Suns), Mike Budenholzer (Bucks), Doc Rivers (76ers) and Nick Nurse (Raptors) — have been fired. Williams, immediately, was on Detroit’s radar, per league sources. Milwaukee, too, heavily pursued Williams, per league sources.
Duncan Robinson grew up in New Hampshire and was a Celtics fan throughout his childhood so it was a little surprising to see the New England native pour salt in the wound of Boston fans in Game 7. In an appearance on JJ Redick’s podcast on Monday, Robinson revealed the entertaining reason that motivated him to do the taunt.
“I don’t know how this happened but maybe someone I went to high school with but my number got put in a group chat somewhere,” Robinson said. It was a massive group chat so after we lose Game 6, my phone is randomly blowing up from a bunch of random New England numbers. They are saying, ‘Get ‘F*****’, Celtics in 7, sending me memes of Curt Schilling’s bloody sock.’ It’s just all these random numbers, 70 texts. “So I’m like what is going on and I’m also pissed since I’m on the heels of this bone-crushing loss, not to mention I missed some shots down the stretch I’d like to have back. I’m like really worked up about it. So then I’m like thinking, creating all these scenarios in my head, if I get the chance in the Garden, I’m going to do something.”
Robinson got that chance in the fourth quarter as the Heat put the game out of reach following his layup, leading to a Boston timeout. “I wanted to do it,” Robinson admitted. “There was a little of internal conflict because you are playing on the floor that you grew up being fortunate to go to some games on and grew up in Celtics country. You have this idea you want to do it but I have to be relevant enough to warrant that and I toed the line on that.”