July 5, 2020 | 2:38 pm EDT Update
Eric Walden: Jordan Clarkson said he briefly considered not going to Orlando, because of the combo of the BLM movement, plus his fear of injury affecting his free agency, but in the end, “I wanna go hoop. I’ve been bored sitting at home.” Also said he feels safe in the bubble environment.
Eric Walden: Jordan Clarkson predicted the Jazz may be rusty for about a week, but that they’ll quickly shrug it off. He anticipates he’ll be ready to go immediately: “When I got traded here, I just flew in and put on a jersey and played, so the chemistry just worked as soon as I landed.”
Eric Woodyard: Jordan Clarkson calls it a “really big loss” to play without Bojan Bogdanovic in Orlando, but the Utah Jazz guard says “everyone will have to step up and make it happen.” Says they have “enough talented guys that we can all put together and compete and put out a good product.”
Eric Walden: Quin Snyder also slammed the door firmly shut on the possibility of Bojan Bogdanovic returning this season, even in a deep playoff run: “Bojan’s not gonna pull a Willis Reed and run onto the court and be able to play.”
Eric Walden: Utah Jazz coach Quin Snyder, on Mike Conley leaving at some point for the birth of his child: “I hope we’re without him for as long as heeds to prioritize what is a gift. … Not to diminish the playoffs or the games in any way, but there’s things in our life that trump games.”
Brian Lewis: #Nets wing and NBPA VP @Garrett Temple on #NBA restart: “As black men, black people in America…this is an everyday struggle. So I think the way that we can utilize those 2, 3 months in Orlando to continue to push the narrative, to continue to have it on people’s minds.”
Enes Kanter: Kurdish people have been discriminated,oppressed & persecuted through out history Human Rights are every Human being’s Right All the people including Kurdish people have an equal right to freedom! Kurds have their right to live free! I stand with Kurds #KurdishLivesMatter ✊
July 5, 2020 | 1:47 pm EDT Update
Alex Schiffer: Garrett Temple said he’s expecting his first child in mid-September and will leave the team and bubble to be there for it if the Nets are still playing. Doesn’t want to miss the birth of his child.
Malika Andrews: Nets’ Garrett Temple said that while he is committed to playing in Orlando, he echoed JJ Redick’s sentiment that there isn’t a total comfort in going. He says he feels “nervous anxiousness” about making the trip.
Brian Lewis: Garrett Temple said he and fellow NBPA VP Kyrie Irving – along with just about every other black man in the #NBA – both want the same thing. There were just discussions about how to get it. “There are different ways to skin a cat.” #Nets
“I’m probably the most experienced remote announcer that the NBA has,” said Chris Marlowe, a longtime veteran of Altitude and 1984 Olympic Gold medal winner in volleyball. “Because of my extensive volleyball experience, I have done plenty of remote broadcasts from different sites, delayed broadcasts or taped broadcasts.”
As for next month’s challenge, Marlowe is confident that he and his color analyst, Scott Hastings, can interpret and call the games from afar. “It’s certainly a technique on how to do it,” he said. “You can’t always see clearly or hear clearly an official’s decision. You can’t interpret it because you’re not right there, so it takes a little bit of imagination.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:10 pm EDT Update
Sefolosha, who hails from Switzerland, told Swiss media that some of his Rockets teammates had tested positive for the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including one with whom he had been close with for a few days in Houston. Sefolosha has a wife and two daughters, and an English translation of the report indicates that they factored into his decision.
For the most part, the players are feeling pretty comfortable with the health and safety precautions that the NBA has put in place, and believe that the league is doing every thing within their power to mitigate risk related to the coronavirus. It all looks good in theory and on paper, but how it will all work once the players are actually there is another thing entirely. “I’m sure there will be some changes once we get down there, and they see that some things worked and some things didn’t,” Georges Niang said on Thursday.
As far as the actual games go, the players aren’t worried about playing without fans or how the schedule was decided on. They’re just excited to get to play again. “We miss playing the game of basketball,” Niang said. “We miss our day jobs so I think for the most part we’re excited to get down there and use our platform for social issues and be safe while doing that. The NBA has set up an environment that’s given us the right safety protocols to move in the right direction to be able to play.”
The insinuation was that players would not be able to be away from their sexual partners for such a long time. “Forget three months, they’re gonna struggle with three weeks,” Smith yelled. Do the Jazz think that players will break the rules of the bubble? “If they do, that’s them,” O’Neale said, dismissing the notion. “I’m single, I’m by myself, I ain’t got nothing to worry about. Quarantine life was kind of easy for me. I just played video games and hung out with my dog, so I think it’ll kind of be the same thing. Just without my dog. I’ll be alright.”
Rick Carlisle: “They’re all doing great. Luka’s doing great, [Kristaps Porzingis] is doing great, Tim Hardaway [Jr.] is doing great. Seth Curry is doing terrific. Some of these guys had some little aches and pain when we entered into the hiatus… A lot of them have been able to heal up from that stuff.”
Rick Carlisle: “On the heels of George Floyd’s death on May 25, the head coaches got together on a Zoom call which was put together very quickly. We talked about the things that are going on in the world. Lloyd Pierce, who is the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks, made a very passionate speech to the entire group about his feelings about everything. He was immediately appointed the chair of the NBA coaches committee on racial injustice and reform. That committee met on Zoom calls probably five times and filtered through a lot of different things to the point where now on a national level we’re under the Obama Foundation …”
Rick Carlisle: “In Dallas, I’m partnering with Mothers Against Police Brutality. We’ve met many times on Zoom. We had an in-person meeting with the mayor. We had a virtual meeting with T.C. Broadnax, the city manager. We had another meeting with [Dallas police chief] Renee Hall. So we’ve gotten into good conversations there. Our initiative, the final title of it, is NBA Coaches for Racial Justice. We will have a pin that we wear. A big part of what we’re doing, because we’re coaches, we’re teachers and we’re educators.”
July 5, 2020 | 1:00 pm EDT Update
Nets Daily: Chris Chiozza said he wasn’t that disappointed his two-way wasn’t converted to a standard deal but would “love” to return to Nets next season. Loves his teammates, staff, coaches. He’s an RFA come October.
Perhaps the most difficult injury to return and recover from is a ruptured achilles, but not only has Rodney Hood put in the work off the court, he is also putting a tremendous amount of work on the court. The Portland Trail Blazers tweeted a video of the former Duke basketball player rising up to the rim, albeit in a controlled and cautious way as he works his way back to the court.
ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith was the one to throw the San Antonio Spurs head coach’s name in the mix, but there’s been no word about the idea since. Not until Nets general manager Sean Marks was asked about the possibility on WFAN’s Joe & Evan on Friday: Pop has a job. So I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach — and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So I’ll let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs. He owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there.
When he gets back to the head coaching search, Marks intends to talk to Brooklyn’s “key players” about who will run the show next. And he specifically mentioned Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving when addressing the matter on WFAN: It would be probably, you know, not incredibly smart of us if we did not involve some of these key players in this decision. That only goes to Kevin, I think it’s — you know, Kevin and Kyrie, we’re gonna pick their brains on what they are looking for in a leader, what they want in a coach, what they need. I think these guys have been brutally honest so far.
Jamaal Wilkes said he’s proud to be an American and wants law and order while at the same time seeing the need for change in the wake of demonstrations after the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. “I’m not an activist. I’m not in the guts of the stuff, but we need some kind of reform with the police department (while) recognizing that the majority are good police,” Wilkes said in a recent conversation with the Bay Area News Group’s Wes Goldberg. “And they are probably as sick and embarrassed and disgusted with the Floyd incident as most of the country is.”
The Floyd murder during the COVID-19 pandemic. Jamaal Wilkes: “On one hand, it was very shocking and disturbing. On the other hand, it’s nothing new . . . it was unbelievable. It was horrible and no one could deny it because there was footage. That, along there being no sports, brought it to a head. I think that all lives matter, of course, but it’s only black lives that are being murdered. We can no longer tip-toe or ignore the elephant in the room, which is systemic racism, white privilege.”
If returning to play would dilute the message of the protest. Jamaal Wilkes: “They have to resume their season as soon as they can. First and foremost, it’s their job. That’s what they do. I don’t know if the NBA per se has to do anything because I think they’ve been the most progressive sports league that I’m aware of. But what the NBA does best is play basketball. That’s what they need to get back to.”
July 5, 2020 | 12:42 pm EDT Update
On Saturday, The Basketball Tournament kicked off and Jared Sullinger was on the sideline for Carmen’s Crew. He was the coach of the team filled mostly with Ohio State alumni. It’s a role he relishes. Yet it’s not a role he wants to assume permanently. Sullinger, the Celtics’ first-round pick in 2012 who enjoyed four solid seasons with the club, still has aspirations of returning to the NBA. He’s only 28 but hasn’t played in the league in three years. His post-Celtic career lasted just 11 games with the Raptors, and then Sullinger learned about the harsh reality of being injured and considered damaged goods.
He has recovered fully. Sullinger is married and the father of twins. He reflects on his Celtics years fondly but hopes he’s not done gobbling up rebounds with his burly frame. “I want to play and, of course, the NBA is the ultimate goal,” he said. “The last two years I just felt like I had to find myself. I had to find something that drives me and makes me want to play. In the NBA, you kind of get lost in the shuffle because you have so many games, and when I got out there in [the Chinese Basketball Association] it was kind of a retreat for Jared Sullinger to learn himself and fall in love with the game again.”
Smith aspires to be a general manager, but the NBA has had issues in recent years with diversity in front offices. He hopes that recent events will cause the NBA power structure to closely examine hiring. “To think people don’t gravitate toward people who are like them, look like them, or are like-minded, then you don’t understand the basis of stereotypes and racism, which is two different things,” he said. “If I make my decisions based on race and not having the ability to have the opportunity, then I’m a racist. It’s a simple process. White America is like how do I figure it out? You’re making the decision and you’re taking into account that it will hinder someone based on their race. That’s a racist act, period.”
What bothers Smith and many other former players is that front office candidates who did not play the game but are astute analytically are somehow seen as more qualified than former players. “You mean to tell me LeBron James couldn’t put a team together? He puts it together now. You’re telling me his production and consumption of information is not more valuable than someone who’s never played the game? It’s impossible. It’s an awareness.”
Though Marlowe said he would’ve preferred the NBA scrap the regular-season games and jump straight to the playoffs, he did find an advantage for the Nuggets. Their grueling schedule, featuring games against both Los Angeles teams, the Raptors and the Thunder, is a perfect primer for the postseason, he said. The Nuggets were 15-11 against teams that were .500 or better throughout the season, which was a better record than all but three teams in the NBA. In addition, as Marlowe pointed out, seeding doesn’t really matter since there’s no homecourt advantage. “I think the eight play-in games are interesting because I believe six of the last eight for the Nuggets were going to be played away from Pepsi Center, so the Nuggets don’t have to do that,” he said. “That being said, I don’t think winning is the preeminent goal in these (seeding) games. I don’t think it really matters to the Nuggets to finish third, fourth, fifth or sixth. I think the key is, can coach Malone and the rest of the coaches get this team playing at its zenith in these eight games and going into the playoffs?”
Meanwhile, high atop the Chicago skyline, Bosh was in a conference room receiving a pitch from the Heat — a meeting punctuated by Pat Riley unfurling a small velvet carpet onto the table, followed by the presentation of a small velvet bag. “Oh, yeah, Pat brought his rings out. It looked just like a Crown Royal bag,” Bosh said. “He puts it down, like boom. Big boy talk. When he ended the meeting, Pat gave me a 2006 Heat championship ring.” “Take it. Keep it. Give it back to me when you win one,” Riley said to Bosh. “I still haven’t given it back,” Bosh said. “I wonder if he even remembers that? I think I mentioned it once, like, ‘Yo, do you want that ring back?’ And he said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And I kept it moving.”
A generation ago, it was tough to find any Warriors fans outside of the Bay Area, let alone at some desolate outpost in Southeast Europe. But by now, such encounters no longer count as shocking. After five consecutive trips to the NBA Finals, with a roster that features some of the game’s most marketable players, and after a concerted effort to raise their profile abroad, the Warriors emerged as a certifiable global brand. According to the team’s internal tracking, the majority of the Warriors’ social media followers reside outside the United States — that’s 80 percent of their followers on Facebook, 70 percent on Instagram, 52 percent on Twitter.
He recalled over the phone last week that in the late ’80s, growing the NBA meant Stern handing a baffled TV executive from Italy a stack of videocassette recordings in hopes the exec would air them when he got back home. “The victories were getting a game that was played 10 days ago aired at a terrible time on Italian television,’’ Welts said. “That’s the kind of thing we considered a victory back then.” Around that time, league officials also attended an international market show in Cannes. “With pretty much a cardboard table and a bunch of business cards,’’ Welts said. “We just tried to grab any television programmer who was there to try to explain to them what the NBA was and why it would be such a great property for their company to air on television.”
July 5, 2020 | 4:34 am EDT Update
In an appearance this week on the “Let’s Get Technical” podcast with retired NBA stars Rasheed Wallace and Bonzi Wells, Gerald Brown of SiriusXM NBA Radio noted the presence of rumors linking Popovich to the Brooklyn Nets. The rumors state that Nets owner Joe Tsai is looking to make a “godfather offer” to Popovich for him to come coach the team.
Stone Cold Shea Jackson: It’s mostly trolls I guess. But even homie callin him entitled. Earlier in June and people siding with him. Now they talkin bout him demanding a trade and shit but it ain’t never from him. And that got niggas callin him a bum. And he the realest dude you could find in the league. Damian Lillard: My stance ain’t changed. This is a result of a pandemic and lack of content lol.
Add in Nic Claxton’s season-ending injury, and that leaves Jarrett Allen as the only healthy Net taller than 6-foot-9. Expect GM Sean Marks to sign a big man as a substitute player for Jordan. “We have to definitely think about that,” Vaughn said. “Sean and I talked this morning on a call and we talked about addressing our size and not putting extra demand on Jarrett. So that could definitely be a route we take for sure.
J. Michael: The #Pacers would have to waive a player to sign someone else to replace Oladipo. Not doing that, I’m told. Their priority remains getting out of this in one piece. Not advancing in the playoffs. Other teams feel the same way. This isn’t a typical postseason
From the moment he and his teammates reconvened in Florida last week, Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka said everyone was “locked in” and ready to get to work. “I saw just how everyone is in great shape,” Ibaka said on a conference call with reporters Saturday. “They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work. “I’ve been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people’s locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not. “So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready.”
Josh Lewenberg: Serge on COVID-19 numbers in Florida: “Honestly, it’s a little concerning. Hopefully everybody follows the rules when we get into the bubble in Orlando… I have my daughter, who lives here. It’s kinda scary a little bit.” Ibaka on Raptors: “Man, listen, we believe in us. We have the experience, we have the championship mentality already, we’ve got confidence. It’s time to go to work. We’re ready.”
“I’m happy now. I’m in a good place, you know,” Gobert told reporters Friday. “And I’m happy that I get the joy back from playing basketball with my team and the competitiveness is back. I’m ready to try to go out there and try to win the championship. That’s the goal. And to be honest, after everything we’ve been through as a team and as human beings, it would be a great comeback.” Gobert answered questions for about 11 minutes. He talked about the relationship with Mitchell. (“It’s never going to be perfect,” he said, acknowledging strains that have been no secret.) He talked about the potential of signing a lucrative extension — he’s supermax-eligible — with the Jazz, which could happen before next season. (“I don’t plan on leaving right now,” he said.) He talked about his recovery from the virus, which is ongoing, at least in how his sense of smell hasn’t totally recovered. (“Smelling, I took that for granted too. It’s back now, it’s back at 80%, I’m not worried,” he said.)
And Gobert expects he and Mitchell, on the court anyway, will be fine. “As long as we respect one another and we both share the same goals and we both do what’s best for the team, that’s what matters,” Gobert said. “And, you know, I think over the last few years that’s what we’ve been doing and that’s what we plan on continuing doing.”
Brett Brown has said his hope is that the 76ers will leave for Orlando with their fitness level at a B level, while looking to upgrade to an A during the official training camp portion of the ramp-up. It’s clearly a message he’s shared with his players too. “In a matter of two weeks, I feel like I’ve gotten back into really good shape,” said Thybulle. “I think it’s going to be easier to build on after this. Like Coach [Brown] said, being at a B, I feel like I’m definitely there, and once we start playing, it’s going to fall into place,” Thybulle said.
Turner’s father, David, contracted the COVID-19 virus and was quarantined in a bedroom in the family home in Dallas for about 10 days. He’s doing well now according to Myles, but the episode had an obvious impact on his feelings toward going back to basketball when the number of cases of infected people continues to rise. Turner moved back into his parents’ house when he returned to Texas after the season was put on hold. His father hadn’t been feeling well and was discovered to have the virus the second time he was tested. “I saw it firsthand and how it affected my family and I couldn’t imagine how it’s affected other families,” Turner said Friday during a Zoom call with media members. “I definitely wasn’t a big proponent of playing at first. I still have questions now, but most of the questions have been answered.”
She quickly became aware of Paul’s reputation as Paul became aware of hers. Despite living in Los Angeles, Paul knew other D.C. lawyers. “I couldn’t figure it out,” Roberts said. “How does this guy know people in my circle?” Roberts laughs about it now, realizing how extensive Paul’s list of contacts is. “In the last few months we’ve gotten closer,” Roberts said. “I count him as one of my favorite people on the planet. And not because he’s making my life easier, though God knows he is, but because his concern and commitment to this game, to his brothers, is extraordinary.”
Paul regularly dishes the rock in meetings. “If there’s been a presentation, Chris says ‘OK, what do y’all think?’ If there’s a minute of silence, it’s like a lecture in law school when the professor calls on a student,” Roberts said. “So and so, what do you think? That’s how he engages everybody in the decision process, but at the end of the day, that’s why you like having him on your team.”
Some might question if a future hall of famer is working in the best interests of players buried on the end of the bench, but Iguodala said Paul always falls back on the same mantra: “How can we amplify every player’s voice?” “He’s the definition of a leader, man,” said Grizzlies forward and NBPA secretary-treasurer Anthony Tolliver. “I don’t think there could be a better combination of leadership and superstardom and work ethic when it comes to leading this union. “Whoever comes next is definitely going to have pretty big shoes to fill.”
And it’s only wise, with Marks admitting what everybody knows: Durant and Irving will have input in the next coach. “My conversations with those guys are generally based around me checking in to see how they’re doing,” said Vaughn, who worked closely with Irving this season and was essentially his position coach. “Some of those conversations lead into basketball, some of those conversations lead into life conversations, some of those conversations might lead into, ‘I have a podcast for you to listen to.’ So it ranges. For me, it’s more of the connection knowing that I’m thinking about them.”