Brandon Rahbar: Dennis Schroder is officially out of the Bubble with his wife for the birth of his new baby. Terrance Ferguson is also out with a leg contusion. Good news: Schroder, assuming he comes back, will definitely be back for the playoffs.
Brandon Rahbar: Donovan on Schroder’s time being out: “It happened this morning. He’s with his family. I’ll talk to him later today or tomorrow. He’s out this game and we’ll gather more info from him when we talk to him on the phone.”
Shams Charania: 76ers' Kyle O'Quinn missed his coronavirus test on Sunday and is not eligible to play today vs. San Antonio, team official confirms to @The Athletic @Stadium. O'Quinn was tested today and will rejoin the team upon negative result.
Marc Stein: Home-court advantage is allegedly dead at the NBA Bubble in arenas with no fans ... but "home" teams have gone 9-2 the last two days and are 14-7 overall
Marc J. Spears: NBA sent a reminder memo out to teams today to cover the point of emphasis related to face masks/coverings in connection with the Health and Safety Protocols for the 2019-2020 restart and the Disney rules, a source said. "Behavioral & hygiene practices" of everyone is "critical."
Sean Cunningham: Sacramento Kings assistant coach Igor Kokoskov departed Orlando to begin his next chapter as the new head coach of the EuroLeague’s Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul.
Doc Rivers has told LA Clippers forward Montrezl Harrell to take as much time as he needs following the death of Harrell's grandmother. Harrell posted a message titled "I LOVE YOU GRANDMA" on his Instagram story describing just how heartbroken he is. Harrell left the Clippers on July 17 for an excused family emergency. "From others, I get asked from inside like, when is Trez coming back and my answer's been the same," Rivers said before the Clippers played the New Orleans Pelicans. "When he's ready, he'll come back. You can't play if you're not right mentally and because of the emotional part of it. ... His grandmother is very tight with him so all I told him is I love him and take your time. We'll be ready with open arms when you come."
And whenever Harrell does return to his team’s embrace, Rivers said it’s important that he – and all the players competing in the enclosed environment, as well as all other associated personnel – be aware of the psychological support that’s available. “I think it’s the untapped resource in our league,” Rivers said. “Not only just players but coaches, too. I don’t know why it’s always been taboo, but it has been and we have to do a better job of making it like a sprained ankle where you get treatment just like you do if you injured your knee or something like that.
On Friday, Harrell posted that he didn't know when he "will stop crying." "I don't know how to feel right now," Harrell wrote on Instagram. "I feel lost empty you are my queen, my best friend, my light in all darkness. I never had you leaving my side. I don't know how I'm do it but I got to find some way but losing you today isn't going to make any day I wake up easy."
Richard Jefferson: NBA player hotline isn't snitching - it’s necessary. "Karl-Anthony Towns' mom passed away. There are people passing away all around this country. This is not snitching if somebody is risking everyone's health and safety. It is not snitching if someone's risking billions of dollars by going outside the bubble to do something that they are not supposed to do. That's not snitching. That is if you see something, say something. The fact that they let you do it anonymously, that makes it even better."
Salman Ali: According to @Rachel__Nichols, PJ Tucker has a whole room in Orlando dedicated to his shoes.
Darren Rovell: Read this one very closely. The @WashWizards have struck a deal with 1Sec Inc. in Japan to put their digital human influencer Liam Nikuro inside the NBA bubble to have virtual adventures in Orlando associated with the team. @TedLeonsis, @ZacharyLeonsis, you guys blow my mind.
Zach Leonsis: The @WashWizards digital team is doing some really impressive work. They deserve the credit here! The @NBA has always been on the forefront of technology and experimentation. What better time to try new things than now. #RepTheDistrict #WholeNewGame
In one of the roughly 20 scrapbooks in Reggie Williams' den, there's a picture from 1997 of Williams and former NBA commissioner David Stern standing on the midcourt logo at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, which wasn't open yet. In the photo, Williams cuts the same figure he had as a linebacker for 14 seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. Williams recalls talking to Stern about the possibility of the NBA playing at the innovative facility. That vision is fully realized as the NBA resumes its season this week inside the complex that sprawls over 225 acres. It's also another part of a post-athletic legacy that arguably surpasses what Williams did during his NFL career.
When Williams was getting ready to head to Disney, Steeg was aware of the challenges ahead. "Knowing what he was going to get into and to be able to navigate it was really going to take something," Steeg said. "And obviously, he did." Not only did the Wide World of Sports Complex’s scope increase the degree of difficulty, but the complex also was situated on the Florida wetlands, which brought construction challenges as well. Disney hired architect David M. Schwartz, who worked alongside Williams and former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, to achieve their vision. "I'm very pleased with it," Schwartz said. "I think it's a real addition to Disney. I think it did what Disney wanted it to do."
When Chris Paul first walked through the doors of the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa in early July, the Oklahoma City Thunder guard paused to reflect on the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season: the planning, the health concerns, the social justice issues. As the moment sunk in, Paul, who played a significant role in the restart as president of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA), got teary-eyed. “Just think about it. A lot of things we were seeing at one point were renderings, and just conversations,” Paul told The Undefeated. “What will they need as far as a weight room? What will I need here? What will they need there? So, to walk in and to see it all in person is humbling. This is just crazy. “
LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Jimmy Butler and Joel Embiid are among at least 15 NBA players who have decided not to put a social justice message on their jersey. Paul, who is close friends with James, is supportive of those players’ decisions. “That’s exactly why we have a league where you get a chance to make a choice,” Paul said. “And I respect any of those guys’ decisions. They may have their reasons why or not. For me … I was excited about the opportunity to speak on ‘Equality’ because I was asked about it. And also, for me, I envisioned my kids watching the game, my homies back home who go to the barbershops and talk about us and whatnot.”
“I don’t think he gets enough credit for us being here,” said New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick, who was Paul’s teammate on the LA Clippers. “His leadership has been amazing. I talked to him a couple weeks ago before we came here. … The thing that really stuck with me was how many hours per day for literally months he was on the phone, on Zoom, talking to people representing himself for the players. He absolutely worked his butt off to make this thing happen. Incredible leadership.”
Fans won't be allowed in the NBA bubble to cheer their favorite teams on. It is a bubble, after all. But knowing what a difference their support can make (home court advantage, anyone?) the NBA is proposing a few solutions: a tap-to-cheer app and video technology that will teleport their faces court-side from the comfort of their homes. "It's obviously very different for the players and it's different for the fans watching at home. I mean, in this sport -- like a lot of others -- there's that home court advantage, that six-man. It's the roar of the crowd, the boos of the crowd," said NBA commissioner Adam Silver Wednesday on CNN with Wolf Blitzer. "We are trying to replicate that to a certain extent without piping in obvious crowd noise."
On both the NBA and the WNBA app, there is now a tap to cheer option, which would allow fans to virtually cheer for their favorite teams. At the end of the game, the total cheers are tallied and shown on a scoreboard. At the end of the season, the fans from teams with top three total taps will be invited to participate in a virtual roundtable with that team's players, the WNBA's Atlanta Dream -- which started their season last week -- said.
Now with the NBA restarting, Morant says he thinks it's unfair that the padding the Grizzlies built between themselves and the closest playoff contenders in the West could prove irrelevant. "But, you know, we can't control that," Morant said in an interview on ESPN's The Jump that aired Thursday. "Only thing we can control is how, you know, we go out and attack each of these games before that decision is made."
In the NBA's bubble format, Memphis would have to be 4½ games ahead when the eight seeding games are complete to avoid a play-in game or games to determine the eighth and last playoff team. "I just feel like it's an extra chip," Morant said, when asked if the format could provide the Grizzlies with a chip on their shoulder. "You know -- more fuel to the fire, more motivation for us."
Kellan Olson: Mikal Bridges said he can compare the eight-game run over 14 days to something like a conference tournament or the NCAA Tournament where you can't focus on the end and you have to just go game by game.
Adam Silver: It’s been more than four months since we last played NBA basketball. Tonight we restart the season with 22 teams in Orlando and attempt to establish our new normal. And while spectators won’t be there in person, fans remain at the heart of our game. We’re introducing several elements to improve the live game viewing experience, including multiple, new camera angles, enhanced audio of players and coaches, a feature on our NBA app that allows for virtual crowd reactions, customized alternative streams on NBA League Pass with statistical overlays and influencers calling the action, and video boards surrounding the court featuring hundreds of fans watching from home.
Duane Rankin: Been informed rookie Jalen Lecque is in the Orlando Bubble and under quarantine. #Suns now have all 15 of their players on their #NBA restart roster in Florida. They'll open their eight regular-season "seedings" schedule Friday against Washington.
But the success of the NBA’s grand design is much wider. There are approximately 1,500 people in the bubble now — from team personnel, to the league’s office staff, to referees, to media, TV crews, and so on — and it is likely that none have tested positive. The league could not comment on that one, due to privacy laws, but common sense paints the picture. There are numerous times throughout the day and night here at Disney where people, regardless of occupation, are not wearing masks, or are less than six feet apart, or are even sipping drinks by a pool or eating indoors. And there has been no spread.
During Wednesday’s conference call with international media, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum touched on the potential impact the NBA bubble in Orlando can have on the Olympic Games. “I have not been directly in contact with the IOC, but as you may or may not know, I am on the executive committee of FIBA, and obviously FIBA has been in direct contact with the IOC,” he replied to a question on NBA being in direct contact with the International Olympic Committee, “Andreas Zagklis and I speak every week, and we actually have our chief medical officer on FIBA’s medical commission, and so there’s a lot of sharing of information about our NBA campus and the bubble environment that I know is being shared with the IOC, as well.”
Sources say the magnitude of this moment was the focus of a Wednesday conference call between NBA general managers and league officials, with Commissioner Adam Silver confirming that there will be no discipline for anyone who peacefully protests. For approximately an hour, with Silver joined by the NBA’s president of league operations Byron Spruell and senior vice president David Weiss on the call, they discussed the sensitivities surrounding this situation and the question of whether GMs who are already inside the bubble would be permitted to leave the stands and join their teams on the court as a sign of support. Several GMs left the call with the impression that they are free to do as they choose, with anyone who is part of each team’s traveling party inside the bubble permitted to be on the floor.
With millions of people watching on television, the last thing any GM wants to see is the players’ message muddled by a staff member’s blocking mistake. But avoiding any sort of optics mishap — like, say, someone walking in front of a camera at a powerful moment out of sheer confusion — requires clear communication with staff about how this should go. Sources say Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka and Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman were vocal on the call, as was Miami senior vice president of basketball operations Andy Elisburg. Weltman and Pelinka, in particular, expressed a desire to be on the court with their teams.
Rachel Nichols: A full-size fridge (with ice-maker), a couch, arcade games, boxing equipment, hundreds of thousands of dollars in Amazon orders...NBA teams & players have had ALLLLL kinds of things shipped into them in the Bubble. Here's how some very dedicated league employees make it work:
The 2019-20 NBA season restart will reach fans in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages on their televisions, computers, mobile phones and tablets, highlighting a whole new game with a more connected and immersive experience for fans. This includes the 88 “seeding games” beginning July 30 as well as behind-the-scenes coverage and interviews from ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida.
The 22 teams participating in the season restart feature 89 international players from 34 countries and territories, including the record eight international 2020 NBA All-Stars: Giannis Antetokounmpo (Milwaukee Bucks; Greece), Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks; Slovenia), Joel Embiid (Philadelphia 76ers; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2011), Rudy Gobert (Utah Jazz; France), Nikola Jokić (Denver Nuggets; Serbia), Domantas Sabonis (Indiana Pacers; Lithuania)*, Pascal Siakam (Toronto Raptors; Cameroon; BWB Africa 2012) and Ben Simmons (76ers; Australia).
All 88 seeding games will air outside the U.S. and Canada on NBA League Pass. The 88 seeding games include 41 games that will air in primetime in Latin America and 40 games that will air in primetime in Europe, the Middle East and Africa on the NBA’s broadcast partners in those regions and NBA League Pass, the most-ever games to air in primetime internationally in a two-week period.
"It's not an exact science, because nobody's ever done this before," Silver told Good Morning America on ABC. "We have plans in place where we might pause — similar to what baseball's doing now. Probably if we had any significant spread at all, we'd immediately stop and what we'd try to do is to track and determine where they're coming from and whether there had been a spread on campus. I would say, ultimately, we would cease completely if we saw that this was spreading around the campus and something more than an isolated case was happening."
"The word 'anxious' would describe how I feel. We've been working at this for a long time, but there is a high case rate in Florida, down in Orange County where Orlando is," Silver said. "We're seeing what's happening in baseball with the Marlins, so it's something we're continuing to track very closely. Having said that, we have confidence in this protocol that we designed. It's not actually a sealed 'bubble', but everyone that's on that campus is tested on a daily basis. They're taking extraordinary precautions. The only time they're not wearing masks is when they're actually playing basketball. It's to the extent that when somebody tests positive, we'll obviously track them closely. We quarantine people when they first come down. So, we think we have a plan in place that should work."
Shams Charania: Sources: Zero NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 344 tested at Orlando campus since last results were announced July 20. Consecutive testing rounds where no new player has tested positive.
NBA: Players receive both a nasal and saliva swab every other day, administered by the ~100 BioReference employees living in the bubble. The samples are driven 75 minutes away to a lab in Melbourne, Florida, for analysis.
The NBA will restart its season Thursday at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports Complex without any fans, which marks one of many safety precautions the league has taken to resume operations during the coronavirus pandemic. Lately, Harlan has reflected on the past 15 years recording voiceovers for the popular NBA 2K series. “I’m in my closet at home with a headset on, and I’m calling a play with little or no crowd noise. So I’m kind of used to that,” Harlan said, laughing. “I’m really not thinking it’s going to be all that weird.”
The announcer booths sit halfway up the lower bowl, several rows behind the scorer’s table, leaving them without the intimate view of the on-court play. The announcers will be protected with plexiglass. Though they do not have to wear masks during the broadcast, the announcers will have to wear face coverings and obey social-distancing rules when they are out of the booth before and after the game. “Anyone who has been in this business a long time usually can draw upon previous experiences. In this case, there is nothing to compare it to,” Eagle said. “So that brings a unique set of circumstances for a broadcaster.”
Will the NBA’s health and safety protocols be enough to ensure a coronavirus outbreak does not occur? To what extent will the NBA and the players continue to speak out on social justice issues? “I don’t know if you can really tell the story of the NBA restart without telling the story about how active these players, coaches and the league have been with the various causes and the social justice push,” Harlan said. “Their voices are enormous in this. Not only will we have ‘Black Lives Matter’ in bold print on the floor. We’ll have names, causes, feelings and thoughts on uniforms that these players want to portray and show. It is every bit as much the story as the teams reassembling, trying to stay healthy and getting back on the floor.”
I'm not gonna lie to you. There's a narrative out there that LeBron is living different than the rest of the NBA in the bubble. Can you confirm or deny this? Alex Caruso: I mean, he's right down the hallway. He's like he's on the other side of the elevators. There's like half our team over here. I don't think... if he is, it's not that much different. I walked down the hallway and there's no sign on the door that says presidential suite.
Los Angeles Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell will miss the highly anticipated restart matchup against the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday and it is unclear when he will return to the NBA’s Disney bubble, league sources told Yahoo Sports. The Sixth Man of the Year candidate has been away from the team since last week while tending to a personal matter on an excused absence.
I know everyone wants to be a good professional and all that, but it’s impossible for me to believe that players and teams won’t start to get itchy to leave the bubble environment. Though I’ve heard from non-player staff on the inside that it’s actually quite relaxing and far easier to have a routine on campus than it was over the last several months.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Finally, the Denver Nuggets have their entire roster in Orlando: Guard PJ Dozier arrived in The Bubble today, sources tell ESPN.
Ryan Blackburn: I can confirm via @denverstiffs sources that Vlatko Čančar is not in the bubble and is still in Denver. It's unclear when/if he will join the team in Orlando before the seeding games begin.
As the NBA prepares to officially restart its season in its bubble inside Walt Disney World Resort on Thursday -- and other sports, most notably Major League Baseball, struggle to deal with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic -- National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said returning to a bubble might be the only feasible way for the NBA to complete next season, as well.
"If tomorrow looks like today, I don't know how we say we can do it differently," Roberts told ESPN in a phone interview Tuesday afternoon. "If tomorrow looks like today, and today we all acknowledge -- and this is not Michele talking, this is the league, together with the PA and our respective experts saying, 'This is the way to do it' -- then that's going to have to be the way to do it."
In a call with the players back in May, NBA commissioner Adam Silver said money generated from live game attendance could account for up to 40 percent of the league's annual revenue. Roberts said the two sides are "beginning some very high-level discussions with respect to what the potential issues are," and said the laborious process that was necessary for the NBA and the union to hash out how to put the bubble together, and then actually go through the process of doing so, "took just about all of the oxygen out of the room."
Baseball’s instant crisis left the unmistakable impression throughout the N.B.A. campus at Walt Disney World that a “bubble” approach is the only kind that can work for team sports in the Covid-19 era — at least for the foreseeable future. Concern about what that means for the N.B.A. next season is mounting, even amid the relative prosperity of the league’s three-week run in its Florida bubble. The N.B.A. hasn’t announced positive tests for anyone on campus who had been released from quarantine.
We are supposed to get a daily email confirming our coronavirus test results. There actually have been a few days on this trip when no email arrived, but it’s not too worrisome because there is also an online portal that stores all of our test results — and because the league has made it known that any bad news on coronavirus testing will be delivered by phone.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Pelicans F Zion Williamson has cleared quarantine and will return to practice with the team in Orlando this evening, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: This gives Williamson two practices with the Pelicans prior to making a decision on his availability for Thursday's game against Utah. He returned to The Bubble on Friday after eight days away attending to a family emergency.
Erik Horne: Thunder coach Billy Donovan says Abdel Nader passed the concussion protocol and is available tonight vs. Blazers. Terrance Ferguson (leg contusion), Chris Paul (rest) and Nerlens Noel (missed COVID test) will not play.
Brandon Rahbar: Donovan: “Nerlens is extremely remorseful” about missing the COVID test. Billy says that even he has almost forgot to take his tests before and that it’s easy to slip your mind.
Mike Trudell: * @LeBron James on his body: “It’s like a re-start … I’m kind of just getting my body back up. The (scrimmage) games helped. These 8 (seeding games) will help too. I’ll be very smart listening to my body … it’s still a marathon with these next 8 games, then playoffs are a sprint."
Melissa Rohlin: LeBron called his wife “a beast” at holding things down at home & thanked Steve Jobs for FaceTime so he could stay in touch with his family
Marc J. Spears: The NBA sent a reminder to teams today that per agreement of the NBA and NBPA that when the season resumes Thursday the will be a return to random urine drug testing for steroids, PEDs and masking agents and diuretics, a source said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Before 5 PM on day before seeding games, NBA teams must designate a participation status for players in a league portal, according to a league memo; Five hours prior to tip in instances of back-to-back games.
The 7-3 center was not allowed to play in the scrimmage against Indiana because he missed a mandatory coronavirus test on Saturday, which was a scheduled off day for the team. The league stipulates that when a player misses a test, he must be retested and cannot participate in team activities the next day. “He broke one of the protocols yesterday, he didn’t get tested – just forgot to get tested,” Carlisle said before the Mavericks’ 118-111 loss to the Pacers, their second of three scrimmages leading up to Friday’s restart. “When that happens, for safety reasons, he’s unable to join the team the following day. He’s getting retested today (Sunday). I believe he’ll be able to rejoin us tomorrow (Monday).”
Dwain Price: Porzingis on missing the COVID-19 test on Saturday: "It was just a mistake on my part. It was a day off and everything kind of threw me off a little bit and I just kind of missed it. It is what it is now. I can't turn back the time and do the test. I wish I could."
Dwain Price: Carlisle said Kristaps Porzingis practiced with the #Mavs today after the power forward/center sat out yesterday's scrimmage against the Pacers because he forgot to take a mandatory coronavirus test on Saturday. The NBA put KP into a 24-hour quarantine yesterday. @Dallas Mavericks
Barry Jackson: Spoelstra said what's happening with Marlins is "humbling" in terms of what COVID-19 can do. "We are not in control. We feel very comfortable about the plan and depth of planning and thought" with NBA's approach.
Porter Anderson: Media: @Andy Slavitt on @CNBC's #ClosingBell on sports and #COVID19: "The @NBA is doing something quite helpful, testing out a brand-new saliva test they've agreed to be, in effect, the guinea pigs for. It will be a very low-cost test that could be used with the general public."
With the COVID-19 outbreak resulting in the 2019-2020 professional basketball season being played without audience members, the NBA has partnered with Microsoft to give fans virtual courtside seats. The start of the 2019-2020 basketball season is just around the corner, but unfortunately, no fans are allowed to set foot in the stadium to watch the game because of the coronavirus risk such a gathering would pose. Instead, the NBA has partnered with Microsoft to create a digital courtside experience for fans using Microsoft Teams.
Players will also be able to enjoy having this digital audience, as the NBA will equip each game court with "17-foot-tall LED screens that wrap three sides of the arena" in place of fan-filled stands. 300 people will be displayed in virtual seats on these screens surrounding the game. Those not pictured will still be able to watch a live feed of the match within the Teams platform.
Gina Mizell: #Suns announce that Elie Okobo practiced today, and confirmed Aron Baynes is on his way to Orlando after clearing COVID-19 protocol.
Kendrick Perkins: It’s disturbing when a Rookie in Zion Williamson can act more Mature than NBA vet Lou Williams!!! Lou Williams: 15 years in this business and the most dirt you have on my name is stopping to get hot wings during a pandemic. Perk. Shut up. And stop laughing and saying it’s just tv when you run into me too.
Lou Williams: But I digress. I went home to see a man off to his final resting place that was a giant in my life. I don’t want that to get lost in all this attention. So again, LONG LIVE THE GREAT PAUL WILLIAMS SR. back to my quarantine so I can join the guys soon. Peace
Andrew Greif: "We all feel very safe here," Doc Rivers says of the NBA's bubble plan. "But our guards are up." He mentions it's easy to restart a league but finishing it is difficult.
Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin says that he expects Zion Williamson to join the team in practice by Wednesday. Williamson returned to Orlando on Friday night, after leaving the NBA bubble for eight days because of a family emergency. NBA protocol says that because the Pelicans' star rookie returned negative COVID-19 tests daily while he was away, he must quarantine for four days while he returns four more negative tests.
"In theory, his quarantine would end Tuesday afternoon-ish," Griffin said on Monday. "The problem is he has to test and get the results before they release him." While Williamson was away from the team, Griffin says the 20-year-old was able to fit in some light workouts. Now that he is in quarantine, the league delivered a yoga mat and a few other pieces of workout equipment to his room but, "it is not like he is able to do anything that is conducive to running and jumping." Griffin was unsure if Williamson was given a stationary bike.
Joe Vardon: Anthony Davis just arrived to Visa Center, wearing dark glasses. His eye is still sore from being poked. LeBron was here early for a workout. Neither is playing today, nor are Kyle Kuzma and Dwight Howard for the Lakers
Rachel Nichols: Spoke to union prez Chris Paul about COVID outbreak in MLB & whether the NBA would need a bubble scenario for next season too (tentative hope is to start next season in Dec.) He said NBA has to get thru Orlando first but is monitoring other sports to see what works & doesnt
Rachel Nichols: Have also had two other NBA players from countries where COVID is significantly under control tell me they have explored whether the NBA could come play there, but no serious discussions came out of those inquiries.
Williams’s case has chipped away at the sense of security created by that unblemished track record. If Williams’s trip had gone undetected, he would have been cleared to play in the Clippers’ opening night game against the Lakers and to participate in postgame interviews, assuming he passed four days of coronavirus tests upon his return. If he were an asymptomatic carrier of the coronavirus initially, the NBA could have been staring at its worst-case scenario: Williams unwittingly brings the virus into the bubble, plays in a full-contact game between two of the top championship contenders, and takes questions from reporters in close quarters before he or someone else eventually tests positive and the bubble bursts.
Shams Charania: Suns center Aron Baynes has cleared from coronavirus and is traveling today to Orlando to join the team, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Our sitdown on his one-month-plus dealings with the virus: pic.twitter.com/v2LDwpsZ89
Players, coaches and team personnel are not allowed to leave the campus without authorization and will live here for a minimum of six weeks. For the two teams that reach the N.B.A. finals, that stay will last until mid-October — provided the virus does not pierce the bubble. “It requires significant sacrifice from our players,” Adam Silver, the N.B.A. commissioner, said in a phone interview from his home in the New York metropolitan area.
The N.B.A. has not yet said how it would handle an outbreak on campus as the season resumes, but the bubble appears to be holding. The league announced that of the 346 players tested daily for the coronavirus from July 13 to 19, none tested positive for the virus. A few notable players have left, but the departures have been attributed to urgent personal matters or injuries. “From my standpoint, it’s going very well, and I’m cautiously optimistic that we’re on the right track,” said Silver, the commissioner, who is scheduled to make his first appearance on campus this week. “But I also recognize what we’re doing has not been done before, and the competition is just beginning. The real test will come when players are commingling, playing basketball without masks and without physical distancing.”
Jeff Passan: Eight more players and two coaches with the Miami Marlins have tested positive for COVID-19, as an outbreak has spread throughout their clubhouse and brought the total of cases in recent days to at least 14, sources familiar with the situation tell me and @JesseRogersESPN. Adrian Wojnarowski: The MLB couldn’t sell a bubble in Arizona to its players association. Without a comprehensive national plan to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the NBA never believed it could play outside of a closed environment. So far, the NBA's Orlando experiment is working.
Playing video games has emerged as the most popular activity to combat isolation. Food variety was initially a big discussion point, but criticisms have dwindled as the league has increased the options. Early consternation about hotel assignments, which were based on team records at the time the season was suspended in March, has also faded, with several players acknowledging the poor optics of complaining about food and accommodations at a time of widespread economic struggle.
Yet the hunger for a shred of normalcy, such as going out to eat, quickly took hold. Players have largely taken over the only restaurant available in the Gran Destino hotel, which houses the top eight teams. Crowds at the restaurant, the Rix Lounge, have gotten so big that it has adopted a players-only policy in recent days. McCollum, who as a member of the National Basketball Players Association’s executive board had participated in numerous discussions around planning the bubble, said he still was not as prepared as he anticipated when he entered his initial quarantine.
Available diversions include fishing, golf, full barber services, high-speed internet to facilitate video game usage, along with a cavernous delivery center that takes in more than 1,000 packages daily from campus inhabitants ordering all manner of home comforts.
Robin Lopez: I didn't want to mention this (because I'm selfish) but there's a mini-fridge full of Mickey ice cream bars and sandwiches in the players lounge. Wasn't going to say anything, but people are starting to use the lounge now. Secret is out dangit.
Jordan Clarkson: they have to restock that every hour... those ice cream sandwiches smmmacccckkkkkkkk!!! haha
But I’m in a bubble within the bubble. The restrictions on members of the news media are onerous; I was not allowed to leave my room even to fill an ice bucket during quarantine, and I had to agree not to approach team personnel if I happened to see them outside officially arranged interview sessions. The typical interactions that nourish my reporting have largely been banned.
Spending any time in a teammate’s hotel room is forbidden. No caddies are allowed on golf outings, playing doubles in table tennis is outlawed — singles only — and there can be no sharing of goggles or towels.
Clippers coach Doc Rivers told reporters Saturday on a videoconference call that Williams was indeed back in Orlando, Fla., and that the organization wasn’t happy that pictures surfaced of Williams at a strip club. “I can’t share much with his journey because I wasn’t on that journey with him,” Rivers said. “But he’s back here, I call tell you that much. And obviously those got out and that’s something we obviously didn’t enjoy seeing or liked.”
Ramona Shelburne: Lou Williams tweeted a photo Friday of a man named, Paul G. Willams, with the caption "Long Live Pops,." Sources said Williams told NBA investigators that he attended a viewing for Williams which ended around 6 p.m. on Thursday, then went to Magic City to pick up dinner.
Rachel Nichols: Kristaps Porzingis is the latest player who forgot to stop by the nurses station for his daily COVID test here in the bubble. He is now doing the mandatory one-day quarantine until his next negative test result comes back, and will miss today’s Mavericks game.
In a recent appearance on Global Kid Power Hour with Vedant Gupta, JJ Redick spoke about some of the special treatments the superstars are getting inside their hotel rooms. “I’ve seen videos of a couple of superstars rooms at other hotels, and let me tell you that the bubble experience is not the same for everyone,” JJ Redick said on Sunday.” Some guys basically have two and three-bedroom apartments. Unfortunately, I don’t have that, nor do I have a kitchen, but there are some guys with kitchens inside their rooms. “I’ve been in this sh*t for 14 years, and I can’t even get a nice room, but it’s whatever,” Reddick said jokingly.
December 2, 2020 | 1:29 pm EST Update
This extension will take James through the 2022-23 season, giving him 20 seasons in the NBA. James is now set to make $39.2 million in 2020-21, $41,180,544 in 2021-22 and $44,474,988 in 2022-23.
He then expressed how the fans’ reactions not only to his on-court contributions but also his off-court work impacted his decision to remain in Indianapolis. “I think that means a lot because, yes, I am a basketball player,” he added. “But playing this game, you know, is my job. But, I’m also trying to help others, encourage others, and be a good example for how you live life, period. “So to hear people say that I’m good for the team on the floor but as well as off the floor is a big deal to me…Indiana is a very very dope place to play because you get love from everyone all around. I literally don’t feel like I’m playing in a city and like, ‘dang, people don’t like me.’ And I really feel the love from everyone. That’s, again, a big deal to me because I just want to be somewhere where people want me and appreciate me. And I think I found that.”
Orlando Magic forward Al-Farouq Aminu underwent a minor arthroscopic procedure to address continued swelling in his right knee, President of Basketball Operations Jeff Weltman announced today. The procedure went as planned and will allow Aminu to complete his final phase of rehabilitation. Aminu’s return to the court will depend on how he responds to treatment and rehabilitation. He missed 55 games last season after originally suffering the injury on November 29, 2019 vs. Toronto. Aminu underwent surgery on January 7.
The sports nutrition company Ladder, which James started with Arnold Schwarzenegger as well as a host of other investors and athlete personalities, has been acquired by the digital fitness company Openfit to be the company’s official nutrition provider. Openfit announced the acquisition on Wednesday and LeBron James celebrated the news on social media on Wednesday morning as well. “After pushing my body to its limits season after season, I needed a different level of supplements that I could trust to complement my workouts and aid in the recovery process. With Ladder, we achieved that. We were able to work with experts to create an incredible line of certified, high caliber supplements for all athletes, but we always recognized that is just one part of the process,” said LeBron James, champion athlete and Ladder co-founder in a press release about the acqusition. “Now with the reach and resources of the Openfit platform, we’re excited about bringing this all together and creating a new level of training and nutrition that fits everyone’s individual needs.”
December 2, 2020 | 1:06 pm EST Update
Shams Charania: Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James has agreed to a two-year, $85 million maximum contract extension with the franchise, CEO of Klutch Sports, Rich Paul, told @The Athletic @Stadium.
Dave McMenamin: LeBron James’ two-year, $85 million extension – as confirmed to ESPN by his agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports – will take him through the 2022-23 season, giving him 20 in the NBA. His oldest son, Bronny, is slated to graduate high school in 2023. The Athletic first w/ extension
Dane Moore: A source within the league told me a suspension for Malik Beasley is “likely” in response to his arrest this fall. Asked today about whether Beasley might be facing a suspension, Gersson Rosas said “it’s an ongoing process” that Beasley and the team have fully cooperated with.