NBA rumors: Al Horford tested negative for COVID-19 twice before Game 2

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https://twitter.com/Murf56/status/1527418249310261254
Indiana star Trayce Jackson-Davis tested positive for COVID-19 and did not attend the NBA Draft Combine this week in Chicago, a source confirmed to IndyStar. The 6-9 forward was not able to participate in any of the athletic testing Wednesday at Wintrust Arena, nor will he join in the scrimmages scheduled for Thursday and Friday.
Tim Reynolds: Ime Udoka says he's good after being sick yesterday, and confirms that Derrick White left today for the birth of his child. Will play Saturday. On Horford: "Al is still doubtful." Tests pending. On Smart: "Marcus is looking better." Will try it pregame before final decision.
Jared Weiss: Erik Spoelstra on illness starting to affect availability in this series with Horford in protocol and Udoka sick: “It’s really disappointing. Every time you think it’s behind us, it’s not and it’s really frustrating for us. You don’t want to see it on both sides.”
While Brown was understandably excited about this new opportunity, he tried to focus on the task at hand: beating the Memphis Grizzlies in Game 4 of the Western Conference Semifinals. The Warriors were up 2-1 in the series and Monday's game was pivotal. Little did Brown know, he would be thrust back into a head-coaching role sooner than expected. “Steve called me on his way in at about 4:45, and said he just wasn't feeling well and there's a chance that he may not be able to coach tonight,” Brown recalled. “We've done this drill before, and so I said, ‘Okay.’ He came in, got tested; I get a call back at 5:15 saying that he's out. So that's how I found out [I’d be the head coach]."
Despite everything the Warriors were dealing with, they managed to beat the Grizzlies 101-98 to take a 3-1 lead in the series. “I'm so proud of them," Brown said. "Our leader in Steve being out with COVID right before the game. Draymond, emotionally, he's our emotional heart and soul, and for him to get hit with something that impactful, not only was it tough for him, but we felt it. We felt it as a group. It was a tough night for us. But at this point in the year, you win ball games. It doesn't matter how you get there, but you win ball games. We found a way to win tonight and that's why I'm excited. “When we went in the back, [Warriors assistant] Chris DeMarco says, ‘Punch 42. Dive 52.’ I'm like, ‘What are you talking about?’ He said, ‘We just kept handing the ball off to the fullback left and right, and at the end of the game, we kicked a field goal to win it. Hell of a football game.’ And that's what it was. But that's playoff basketball. Sometimes it's grimy. Sometimes it's gritty. They turned it into that in Game 2 in Memphis and we lost. They turned it into that again tonight, especially with Ja [Morant] out, but our guys found a way."
Chicago: Zach LaVine (health and safety protocols) has been downgraded to questionable. Alex Caruso (concussion protocols) has been downgraded to questionable.
Alex Schiffer: We are told at Nets practice that Goran Dragić is still in health and safety protocols.
Horford said he was aware that his absence from the recent Toronto game made some wonder about his future availability, but added that he would be able to play. He said this remains a personal matter for the players, and he declined to go into further detail. “It’s something I haven’t wanted to discuss,” Horford said. “I think with the Celtics, we made it clear we’re not going to discuss those things, and it’s a health matter, and we all respect everybody’s individual perspectives. That’s why I’m not going to get into it and talk about it. But I’m ready to go.”
What could derail this season, however, is the team entering the playoffs without all players vaccinated. The Celtics refuse to say publicly whether all their players are vaccinated, as some teams have declared. And according to an NBA source, at least two frontline players are not vaccinated, which would prevent those two players from participating in road games in a playoff series against the Toronto Raptors.
Anthony Chiang: P.J. Tucker is out tonight because of knee irritation. Erik Spoelstra will not coach tonight's game because of health and safety protocols. Chris Quinn will coach.
Mark Medina: Starting today, Crypto.com Arena won't require fans to show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test to attend any events. This coincides with both state of California and LA County both lifting those requirements for large indoor events.
In 2019, the Lakers purchased an “all-risk” commercial property insurance policy from Federal. The policy covered Crypto.com Arena (then called the Staples Center) and the UCLA Health Training Center, where the Lakers practice. The policy authorized the Lakers to seek reimbursement for “direct physical loss of or damage to” their properties. Although some recent sports insurance litigations have involved virus exclusion policies, this policy lacked one.

http://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1507044162473844753
Ian Begley: Statement from NBA & NBPA following NYC’s updated vaccination requirement, in part: “We support the Mayor’s determination that the old rules treating hometown and visiting players differently no longer made sense.” Full statement: pic.twitter.com/MjIMwGSmmX
Shams Charania: Kyrie Irving is eligible to make his home debut at Barclays Center on Sunday vs. the Charlotte Hornets, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium . New NYC exemption for in-town athletes and performers will be effective immediately beginning Thursday.
Shams Charania: Sources: Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving will be cleared for home games as New York City will on Thursday change private sector vaccine mandate to allow exemption for athletes and entertainers in workplace. Unvaccinated Yankees and Mets players also now eligible for home games.
The progress toward further changes to New York City's private-sector vaccine mandate has inspired confidence that Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving could be back on the court for home games at the Barclays Center in the near future and that New York Yankees and Mets players who have not received the COVID-19 vaccine would be cleared to play at home prior to Opening Day in April, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.
New York Mayor Eric Adams' office has been working with health officials on a plan that would impact more than only unvaccinated, high-profile professional athletes in the area, sources said, and although no final decision has been made, there's increasing hope that a rollback of the mandate that restricts NBA and MLB players from participating in home games will be lifted in the near future.
Adams said Tuesday that "baseball, basketball, businesses ... they have to wait until that layer comes," but sources believe a plan is progressing that could have Irving on the court as soon as next week, sources said.
Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers are two of the most notable people in the world that have yet to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Both stars have received much criticism from those who support the vaccine while also receiving lots of support from those who are against the vaccine. One such person who has now come out in staunch support of the duo is former NBA star John Stockton. The Hall of Famer recently stated that he has a list of “hundreds” of vaccinated athletes that have “dropped dead on the field.”
Will Guillory: The Pelicans have upgraded CJ McCollum to questionable for tomorrow's game vs Phoenix. He's missed the last two games after going into Health & Safety Protocols
Brian Lewis: Kevin Durant on Kyrie Irving not being able to play at home: "I dont get it; just feels like at this point now somebody's trying to make a statement or a point to flex their authority. But everybodys looking for attention & thats what I felt like the mayor wants right now, some attention." #Nets
Shams Charania: Kyrie Irving is joining his Nets teammates and coaches in the locker room at halftime, sources say. Irving is able to move freely inside Barclays Center as a spectator — a special one, at that — but is not able to play.
Anthony Puccio: Kyrie Irving walks to his courtside seats… in his home arena. pic.twitter.com/8NKAHwFrfm

http://twitter.com/APOOCH/status/1503068793467252742
Alex Schiffer: Kyrie Irving takes his seat to thunderous applause. pic.twitter.com/DGMNsO3mhS

http://twitter.com/Alex__Schiffer/status/1503070344034275329
The NBA insider also pointed out the recent change in mandates the New York Mayor Eric Adams put into place recently. Things seem to be moving in the right direction for Brooklyn, which is a positive sign for the Nets and Irving’s home debut this season. “Certainly you’ve seen a progression in the mayor’s office of alleviating restriction but still the performer restriction that keeps Kyrie Irving out hasn’t changed.”
Duane Rankin: Devin Booker (protocols) OUT for tomorrow's game at #Bucks. Didn't travel with team. Cam Johnson (right quad contusion) OUT as well. #Suns
Kristian Winfield: Steve Nash has not cleared the health and safety protocols yet, so Jacque Vaughn will be talking after practice today. Nash has yet to post 2 consecutive negative COVID-19 tests, but today is Day 6, so he is expected to return for tomorrow’s matchup against the Celtics.
Brain Lewis: #Nets Head Coach Steve Nash will not coach tonight’s game due to health and safety protocols. Assistant Coach Jacque Vaughn will assume head coaching duties until Nash returns. #NBA
Mike Vorkunov: NYC Mayor Eric Adams came closer today to saying he'll get rid of vaccine mandate & phase out vaccine passport. Adams: "Yes, I can’t wait to get it done... I’m not going to get ahead of the science because I’m ready to get ahead of all of this & get back to a level of normalcy." pic.twitter.com/6Kr9DtOjkd
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June 26, 2022 | 6:52 am EDT Update

Kevin Durant has not spoken with the Nets in weeks?

Not much of Murdock’s take was optimistic if you’re a Nets fan. Indeed, he referred to the franchise’s current situation as “destruction” in the podcast and suggested perhaps more firmly than other pundits that Durant could indeed leave. “The vision is on the verge of crumbling,” he wrote. “It didn’t have to be this way,” he said, summing up. “This team … and it’s ironic. Kevin came to reconcile relationships, build relationships with his BFF’s and it’s not working out. It’s doing the exact opposite. And you juxtapose that with Golden State winning…” “Now, you have reports that Kyrie is looking elsewhere. I made some calls. Kevin Durant has not talked to the team in weeks. I don’t think Kevin is confident in the front office right now. I don’t know if he’s at the stage of leaving but there’s a big uneasiness from not only from the Kyrie side, but the KD side as well.”
At the center of it, Murdock pointed out multiple times is the Nets relationship with Irving. “His biggest beef is that he feels that the front office didn’t grow to understand Kyrie, whatever that means. I would push back on that when a guy leaves for two weeks at a time … Kyrie earns the lion’s share of the blame. But I think KD believes that ‘hey, you guys didn’t understand this guy. You didn’t try to figure out where he was coming from.’”
Still, Durant believes the Nets didn’t support Irving particularly when they decided not to play him at all in October, after he refused to get vaccinated like all but a handful of NBA players, then brought him back in October. “That’s just how he feels. ‘Hey man, I brought this guy in, him and Kyrie, and the front office didn’t do enough to support him at a time when we needed to support him.”
Moreover, Murdock pointed to the Nets decision to dump Adam Harrington, their long-time assistant coach and director of development, as a big negative for KD. Durant and Harrington go back to KD’s time in Oklahoma City when Harrington was his shooting coach. “And here’s another thing, KOC, the Nets got rid of Adam Harrington. who’s very close to Kevin. He’s one of Kevin’s guys. And that had a big ripple effect on how Kevin feels about this right now. He’s still in this figure-it-out mode but there is some fire to that smoke that he’s kind of reevaluating where he stands with this.”
LeBron James and Kyrie Irving won a ring together before, and it may not have been their last … ’cause Matt Barnes tells TMZ Sports the Lakers could be smelling champagne if Kyrie Irving joins L.A. Matt — who played for the Purple and Gold for two seasons — spoke about the recent Irving rumors out at LAX this week … and he told us if Uncle Drew ends up with the Lakers, it could result in the franchise’s 18th championship.

Hawks interested in Deandre Ayton, but wouldn't pay max money

The Hawks could still pursue Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton in free agency. Sources tell The Athletic that the Hawks’ interest in the 23-year-old would be contingent on landing him for less than a max contract. That may not be an option, as the Pistons, who have the cap space for a max contract, are expected to be aggressive in their pursuit of Ayton in free agency.