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“One, he showed me professionalism, really how to be a student of the game; studying the playbook, studying players…it’s like knowing your enemy better than it knows itself and being prepared. He’s always prepared. He always has a plan A,B,C,D,E,F and G so, that’s one thing that they’re going to get out of Coach Thibbs. Also he expects every player to practice, every player bring their A game and he preaches with defense first; if you play defense you will get offense. So if you want play offense, you got to play defense. I loved that about him and he’s just a hardnosed coach.”
Some league sources have suggested never to count out Calipari when Leon Rose, the new Knicks president, and William Wesley, unofficial team advisor, are involved. Last February, the Kentucky coach raved about Rose but said he wouldn’t be interested in leaving Kentucky to work for him. Calipari signed a 10-year “lifetime’’ contract with Kentucky last June.
Some league sources have suggested never to count out Calipari when Leon Rose, the new Knicks president, and William Wesley, unofficial team advisor, are involved. Last February, the Kentucky coach raved about Rose but said he wouldn’t be interested in leaving Kentucky to work for him. Calipari signed a 10-year “lifetime’’ contract with Kentucky last June.
Former Knicks coach Larry Brown, who bounced back and forth from the NBA to college during a Hall-of-Fame career, is Calipari’s longtime mentor and speaks to Calipari a couple of times a week. Brown doubts the 61-year-old Calipari would throw his hat in the ring at the last minute and upend the Knicks’ coaching search, in which Tom Thibodeau is the heavy favorite.
The Knicks, after all, have a coaching search to conduct, and throwing a disastrous 2019-20 season in the garbage will be easy. Who wants to remember David Fizdale’s stint, or Steve Mills’ or James Dolan’s issues with arena chants and Spike Lee? Moving forward to the Leon Rose era can’t begin in earnest until he hired his coach. To that end, sources say Tom Thibodeau is the heavy favorite to land the job.
Mike Miller, the interim coach who acquitted himself well after taking over for Fizdale, will get a look. Kenny Atkinson will also be interviewed, according to The Athletic. Around the league, people have cautioned to never count out John Calipari, given the Kentucky coach’s strong connection to Rose’s associate, William Wesley. But the belief is that this is Thibodeau’s to lose, and a source said he’s confident about getting the job — to the point that Thibodeau has made calls to assemble a staff.
In raving about Thibodeau in general, Van Gundy touted him as more than a defensive master. The former Bulls and Timberwolves head coach was on Van Gundy’s staffs previously with the Knicks and Rockets. “Tom Thibodeau is a great, great basketball coach – like, great,’’ Van Gundy said on SiriusXM radio. “And I think unfortunately for him the perception of him on the sidelines as this gruff, nasty dude is not even close to who is he personally. Like, he is a great guy. He’s fun to be around. He’s enjoyable to be around, and he loves basketball. He loves NBA basketball and he works at it and he is elite in his profession.”
With the Rockets, Nets and 76ers occupied until late August with the season restart, the Knicks don’t even have competition. “I hope he gets another opportunity to be a head coach because if you look at his body of work he certainly deserves it and any team that may interview him or hire him would be very fortunate to have him as a head coach.,’’ Van Gundy said. “He gets thought of as a defensive coach but if you look at his best teams in Chicago and in Minnesota they were very high level statistically speaking offensive teams and I think it’s been overlooked when people try to evaluate Tom from the outside.”
With that in mind, we reached out to one current NBA coach and one former NBA coach to gauge their thoughts on some Knicks candidates. Below are their thoughts on how Tom Thibodeau would fit in New York... SCHEMES... "He's an elite defensive coach. There's no question. Those guys will be playing hard for him and, if they follow his scheme, they'll defend the pick-and-roll well. They'll take away drives and control the paint. His schemes are excellent, but as we saw in Minnesota, the schemes alone can't offset lack of effort from players or subpar defenders. I think RJ Barrett has the frame and athleticism to be a talented defender. Mitchell Robinson has a ton of upside on that end as a shot-blocker. Tom should be able to get the best out of those two and whoever else they put on the court."
The Knicks’ coaching search won’t officially start until they get binding word that they will not be among the teams invited to Central Florida. Such confirmation, of course, could come as soon as Thursday, when the league’s Board of Governors is scheduled to vote on Silver’s preferred proposal. The expectation in league coaching circles is that the Knicks will move with reasonable swiftness from there, since Tom Thibodeau is regarded as such an overwhelming favorite to replace the interim coach Mike Miller. Leon Rose, the Knicks’ new team president, has a close relationship with Thibodeau from their lengthy stints as agent and client with Creative Artists Agency. Word is that the Knicks, for good measure, have already begun background work on their top target.
If the Knicks decide on Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach, he will have plenty of time to construct a solid staff. But the former Knicks assistant may not need much time. Members of Thibodeau’s past staffs in Chicago and Minnesota are likely eager to join him in New York to revive the dead Knicks, according to sources.
If the Knicks decide on Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach, he will have plenty of time to construct a solid staff. But the former Knicks assistant may not need much time. Members of Thibodeau’s past staffs in Chicago and Minnesota are likely eager to join him in New York to revive the dead Knicks, according to sources.
Moving forward to the Leon Rose era can’t begin in earnest until he hired his coach. To that end, sources say Tom Thibodeau is the heavy favorite to land the job. Mike Miller, the interim coach who acquitted himself well after taking over for Fizdale, will get a look. Kenny Atkinson will also be interviewed, according to The Athletic. Around the league, people have cautioned to never count out John Calipari, given the Kentucky coach’s strong connection to Rose’s associate, William Wesley. But the belief is that this is Thibodeau’s to lose, and a source said he’s confident about getting the job — to the point that Thibodeau has made calls to assemble a staff.
The advantage of Thibodeau wanting a return to New York is the defensive wizard has worked with Rose before as a client of Creative Artists Agency. Some insiders believe Atkinson could be a better fit than Thibodeau because he’s reputedly better suited for a younger roster that is rebuilding.
The Knicks won’t begin any coaching search until they find out whether their season is over, according to sources. That could come as soon as Friday night, should commissioner Adam Silver finalize a format for the season’s restart following a conference call with the team owners.
Former Brooklyn Nets coach Kenny Atkinson likely will also receive an interview, sources said. Atkinson and the Nets parted ways in March with the team at 28-34 and on the way to the postseason during a difficult fourth season at the helm. Atkinson helped turn the franchise around during his tenure, taking it from a 20-win team in 2016-17 to a playoff team last season and one that proved to be an attractive destination for Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in free agency. He was a Knicks assistant for four seasons under head coach Mike D’Antoni.
The New York Knicks and president of basketball operations Leon Rose will soon embark on the search process for a new head coach and Tom Thibodeau is atop the list of targets, sources told The Athletic. The Knicks are believed to be targeting a decision in the next few weeks, sources said. Interim coach Mike Miller has left a strong impression throughout the franchise, including in his time since Rose assumed control of the front office. Miller is expected to receive an interview when the Knicks do start formally talking to prospective head coaches, according to league sources, after stabilizing the team following a 4-18 start that led to David Fizdale’s firing.
Thibodeau added that he’s learned from his mistakes and talked around some of them that occurred during his stints with the Bulls and Timberwolves. Often criticized for working his players too hard — especially in Chicago — Thibodeau said he spent this season touring the NBA and picked up training habits.
“The way everyone’s managing with load management and where your team is, sports scientists, so it’s different. And if your team is young and you’re in a rebuild, you’re probably practicing more than an older veteran team,” Thibodeau said. “In some cases where the team is mixed, there’s almost two practices going on in one, where your young guys are getting the work they need, and the older vets are in the weight room getting strength and conditioning.”
If you follow the NBA, you know that one of the criticisms of Tom Thibodeau is something like this: his intensity and his approach to practices/playing time wear players out. Whether that's true or not depends on who you talk to and what their perspective is on the matter. Thibodeau, a strong candidate for the Knicks' head coaching job if interim head coach Mike Miller isn't retained, addressed those criticisms in an interview on ESPN's First Take earlier this week.
Here's what he said: "I think we all have questions to answer as coaches. The big thing is oftentimes there's things that are being said where there's no validity to them, they're being painted by people that have never even been around you," Thibodeau said when asked by Max Kellerman about the criticism that his players are fatigued in the playoffs. "And then I would say to all those people, the facts are what the facts are. To look into the facts, to do your research, to look into the numbers and to also talk to former players, the guys who have played for me. I think if you did that, you would find what the truth is. There are certain things that I do believe in. But as we all know, our league is always changing. It never stays the same and it never has, nor will it ever. So you have to keep adapting as time goes on.
During the First Take interview this week, Thibodeau essentially declined to comment on the reports stating other teams are interested in hiring him. "They're just rumors an that's what it is. And this time of year, everything is on hold," he said. "Normally you would have some openings and right now there aren't any openings. So you don't want to speculate on what jobs could open. That's what you have an agent for. He'll certainly, at some point, look at if there is an opportunity, whether it be a good match or not. I'm still under contract with Minnesota so I feel like I'm in a position where I can be patient."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aE6cgYVMNrM
During an appearance earlier this week on the “Knicks Fan TV” podcast, in which he said Dolan is “scared” of him, Oakley was asked if he thought Van Gundy would be a good selection as the next Knicks head coach. “With these guys, a Jeff-type coach?,’’ Oakley said. “If I know Jeff correctly — and I played for him and know how he coached — I think it would be tough to come back and coach young guys. What he believes in for his offense and defense in this day and age, it’s totally different.’’
Oakley doesn’t think Van Gundy would have the patience for the millennial NBAer. “You can make three, four turnovers and miss four free throws in the first few minutes and take bad shots,’’ Oakley said. “You look at these teams. Out of 80 shots, 30 shots are bad. “Basketball has changed. You’re not getting the 1990s back. The game has a totally different atmosphere. You got to build a team with leadership and players willing to sacrifice. These kids don’t care about basketball. All they care about is getting the check, playing video games and the social media.”
Asked if he can envision Jackson coming back home to coach the Knicks, Kleiman said: “There’a few things in life that like would check certain boxes for me. If he ever had a chance to coach the Knicks, obviously I’d be over the moon. But more importantly he’d be a tremendous coach. Somebody who brings a certain amount of credibility to any room he walks into. He can’t help but infuse positivity into a culture. I’ve seen it.’’
Frank Isola: Leon Rose has been close with Tom Thibodeau for two decades. If a coaching change is made Thibodeau would be among the favorites. Thibs is 106 games over .500 in his NBA head coaching career. By comparison, the Knicks have won a total of 144 games over the last six seasons.
Frank Isola: Leon Rose has been close with Tom Thibodeau for two decades. If a coaching change is made Thibodeau would be among the favorites. Thibs is 106 games over .500 in his NBA head coaching career. By comparison, the Knicks have won a total of 144 games over the last six seasons.
"I don't make those decisions, but from my personal standpoint, dealing with him on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game -- everything.," Randle said. "We've responded really well to him and he's done a great job." Since he replaced Fizdale with Dec. 7's 104-103 loss to the Pacers, Miller is 13-20 through his first 33 games in charge of the Knicks. Over that span, Randle has been an instant beneficiary of Miller's tweaks.
"I think, just knowing him and his personality, he doesn't pay attention to it -- he's focused on us every day, preparing us the best way he can and I really think that's, honestly, his focus," Randle said of the possibility that the Knicks replace Miller. "I know, for me, as a competitor and as a player, we deal with it in a different aspect of free agency and trade rumors and all that type of stuff and I don't focus on it, man. Just focus on the task at hand and NBA is kind of one of those things -- you just go with the flow and when something happens, you adjust to it. But he's been amazing every day, just as far as his focus and what he's doing."
As the Knicks (17-38) get back into the swing of things with the 2019-20 season's second half set to begin in Friday's 7:30 p.m. game against the Indiana Pacers (32-23) at Madison Square Garden, Randle opened up on Miller's impact Wednesday. "I don't make those decisions, but from my personal standpoint, dealing with him on a daily basis has been absolutely amazing while he interacts with us, how he coaches the game -- everything.," Randle said. "We've responded really well to him and he's done a great job."
Since he replaced Fizdale with Dec. 7's 104-103 loss to the Pacers, Miller is 13-20 through his first 33 games in charge of the Knicks. Over that span, Randle has been an instant beneficiary of Miller's tweaks. Randle averaged 16.5 points on 44.2-percent shooting with 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists over 31.9 minutes in his first 22 games under Fizdale. Since Miller took over Dec. 7, Randle has 21.1 points on 46.2-percent shooting, 10.5 rebounds and 3.0 assists over 33.5 minutes in the past 33 games. "He just made some adjustments, so what he feels is best, as far as playing to guys' strengths and stuff like that," Randle said. "It's just the adjustments and all that type of stuff. So he's done a great job."

http://twitter.com/Rachel__Nichols/status/1230259261780963333
“Rose has always been known as much more ethical than most agents, and if he can deliver players and let a strong coach coach, this could work out,” the Thibodeau confidant said. “It’s never a sure thing because of ownership, but Thibs knows he can work with Rose and also knows he’d be able to bring in his people as well.”
“Rose has always been known as much more ethical than most agents, and if he can deliver players and let a strong coach coach, this could work out,” the Thibodeau confidant said. “It’s never a sure thing because of ownership, but Thibs knows he can work with Rose and also knows he’d be able to bring in his people as well.”
We're still a couple of months away from the Knicks earnestly engaging in a coaching search. So it's a bit too early to say who is -- and isn't -- a significant candidate for the job. But if the Knicks want to make another run at Villanova head coach Jay Wright this offseason, they'll need to make an extremely strong pitch to lure him out of Philadelphia.
An NCAA source said Tuesday that Wright would need to be "overwhelmed by the opportunity" to even consider leaving Villanova for another job. This echoes a report from The Athletic's Dana O'Neil, who noted Monday, "source told me Jay Wright is not going anywhere. Not to the Knicks. Not to the Sixers. Not to Oz. His house is for sale. He's not."
Forbes reported that the Knicks landing Wright is a "strong possibility." But the NCAA source on Tuesday downplayed the chances of a Wright-Knicks pairing.
League sources say Villanova coach Jay Wright could become the next head coach of the Knicks. “There is a strong possibility that Jay Wright in New York could happen,” one league source said. With his Hall of Fame coaching résumé, charismatic personality and easygoing manner with fans and the press, Wright has always seemed like a potential strong fit for the bright lights of Madison Square Garden.
Interim coach Mike Miller has won his share of Knicks’ fans by stabilizing the Knicks defense. He’s posted a three-game winning streak and a four-game winning streak that ended Sunday when the Knicks blew an eight-point overtime lead in Atlanta. Miller carries a 13-19 record entering the final game before the All-Star break Wednesday versus Orlando. If team president Steve Mills and GM Scott Perry were coming back next season, Miller had a shot to return if his record got to be around .500. But Mills is gone, Perry may be demoted or fired and incoming president Leon Rose is prepared to make a flashy coaching hire after the season.
According to NBA insiders, ex-Knicks assistant Tom Thibodeau and former Knicks coach Jeff Van Gundy are expected on Rose’s short list. Neither Thibodeau nor Van Gundy have gained so much as an interview across the years. Owner James Dolan was said to hold a grudge against Van Gundy for quitting during the 2001-02 campaign.
Thibodeau is a Creative Artist Agency client and has worked with Rose, who will leave his position as head of CAA’s basketball department. According to a source, Van Gundy likes Rose and the feeling is mutual. Van Gundy and Thibodeau are still tight. Thibodeau was Van Gundy’s assistant during their Knicks days. “If Leon ever hired Jeff, the fans would love him,’’ one insider said.
LaVar says he not only stands by his decisions to take LaMelo Ball out of high school in the United States (he went to Lithuania and Australia) ... but says he's convinced Melo will be the #1 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. Ball says his dream would be for the NY Knicks to hire Mark Jackson as the next head coach -- who would then take Melo with their first pick. In fact, Ball says he sees a world in which all 3 of his sons sign with the Knicks and play in Madison Square Garden. He thinks his fam can save the franchise.
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July 7, 2020 | 11:24 am EDT Update
July 7, 2020 | 11:21 am EDT Update
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving is joining rapper Common and others for a TV special calling for action following the death of Breonna Taylor. Irving is producing “#SAYHERNAME: BREONNA TAYLOR,” which will debut Wednesday at 7 p.m. EDT on the PlayersTv digital and broadcast network. Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, was shot eight times in Louisville, Kentucky, by plainclothes officers serving a narcotics search warrant without knocking at her apartment on March 13. No drugs were found. Louisville has seen weeks of protests over the shooting and demonstrators around the country have chanted her name.
Irving, who has been outspoken about social justice issues, says as society is calling attention to police brutality and systemic racism, it is “critical to magnify how these unjust behaviors and practices are directly impacting Black women.” Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter, Democratic U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and journalist Jemele Hill are among the others appearing in the program.
Adrian Wojnarowski: First team in The Bubble: The @Orlando Magic are departing for the bus ride to Disney. Aaron Gordon, DJ Augustin, Jonathan Isaac, Steve Clifford and Nik Vucevic. pic.twitter.com/f1kqiQUIHV

Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Once the NBA resumes its season in a controlled environment, players will have more to worry about than winning. They will have varying concerns about how the resumed season could affect their mental health. Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward will be away from his pregnant wife, Robyn, and children until she is due to give birth sometime in September. “It’s definitely a stressful time for us,” said Hayward, whose wife and children are moving to Indianapolis to be near family while he is with the Celtics as part of the NBA’s 2019-20 restart at the ESPN Disney Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.
Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal said players are concerned about being isolated on a campus where their leaving is discouraged. If a person on campus leaves, the person is subject to more testing and additional quarantine time. “We can’t just leave,” Beal said. “We can’t just order whatever food we want. We can’t just do activities which we want to do. We can’t go to our teammate’s room. There’s a lot of (expletive) we can’t do. It’s tough. I get it from a mental wellness standpoint.”
Storyline: Mental Health
July 7, 2020 | 8:52 am EDT Update
Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu said that he’d “love” to see Pau Gasol wearing the team’s jersey once again. Gasol has mentioned that a return to Barcelona is an attractive option for him to spend what may be the last season of his career. “I would love for Pau Gasol to play for Barça. I never rule anything out, but European basketball doesn’t have the mechanisms or resources that the NBA has,” Bartomeu said to Catalan radio RAC 1, per Marc Mundet.
There had long been friction between the two, the kind typical with NBA duos, particularly if those star players are relatively early in their careers — and especially in a roller-coaster season such as this one for the Jazz, who have basically played .500 ball aside from a 19-2 run in December and January. One high-ranking Jazz source categorized the pre-pandemic issues between the 28-year-old Gobert and Mitchell, 23, as “a 2 out of 10 on the NBA drama scale.”
“You know, I tried to put myself in his shoes,” Gobert told ESPN. “There was a lot of fear, and I think more than anything, he reacted out of fear. That’s why I don’t really blame him. We all have different character; we all react differently. When it’s something like that, when he tested [positive] for a virus that we don’t know a lot about, it’s scary. It was scary for me, and I’m sure it was scary for him. “The most important thing is what you do from there.”
The Jazz wanted to start virtual team meetings and workouts, but Gobert told teammates in early April that he wouldn’t feel right participating until he had a discussion with Mitchell. A month into the NBA hiatus, Gobert and Mitchell talked. “We told each other what we had to say to each other,” Gobert said. “We are both on the same page. We both want to win. We both think that we have a great opportunity, and we know that we need each other. We talked about a lot of things, but the main thing was that we are on the same page and the fact that our team needs us. We can win together. That’s the most important thing.”
As a smiling Mitchell sneaked up from behind and made some silly sounds, Gobert looked over his left shoulder and delivered a one-liner into the microphone: “Hey, pass the ball, god damn it!” Mitchell, who had 28 points on 21 shots and two assists, laughed and turned toward the tunnel to the Jazz locker room, altering his path to give high-fives to a couple of kids in the courtside seats who were wearing his No. 45 jersey. It was a moment that made many within the Jazz organization uncomfortable. They knew Gobert’s quip contained a lot of truth about his feelings on Mitchell’s passing.
Storyline: Mitchell-Gobert Dynamic
Gobert rarely hesitates to let teammates know if they miss him when he is open around the rim. He’ll occasionally point up during play in animated fashion, sometimes as he is running back on defense, to note that a lob should have been thrown. He’ll often air his gripes verbally, during games and again in film sessions. Mitchell hears it the most, simply because as the Jazz’s go-to guy, he has the ball in his hands the most. That, according to several Jazz sources, has been the primary irritant in an overall successful partnership.
(The Bucks) had to shut down their facility over the weekend because of positive test. How much of a concern is that for the team that is right now the favor to win at all? Malika Andrews: I checked in with a source with the Bucks and they just told me that they are mostly bummed about the timing. They are not expected to open the facility again before they traveled to Orlando this week. And for a lot of guys, these last two weeks they’ve actually been able to be inside the practice facility is the first time they’ve been able to touch a basketball in a while.

July 7, 2020 | 2:23 am EDT Update
There are varying levels of trust in the NBA’s bubble, but most everyone agrees this is the best the league can do amid the conditions. NBA sources have insisted the plan, while exhaustive, isn’t cemented and that the league is ready to adjust if necessary. Between June 23 and 29, 25 players tested positive for the coronavirus. An additional 10 staff members also tested positive. Seven of the 22 teams heading to Orlando, including the Clippers, have closed their practice facilities after learning of positive tests.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Seton Hall junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili has had Zoom calls with close to 20 NBA teams, including the Knicks. The 6-foot-10 native of the Republic of Georgia is testing the NBA Draft waters ahead of the Oct. 16 NBA Draft, and said he’s still undecided about his future plans. The NBA withdrawal deadline is Aug. 3. “I’m taking my time and evaluating all of my options,” he said Friday. “I had a lot of interviews and I want to think about my plans.”
When Kidd got rebuffed, he jumped to the Bucks, run by opportunistic New York-based owners, Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. “I wouldn’t hire Jason Kidd if he was the last coach standing,’’ said an NBA source who has worked with Kidd. “It would be a terrible choice. There’s a reason Milwaukee is in the place where they are right now — coaching.’’
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Job
Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott said players being given a list of phrases they may put on the backs of their jerseys when the NBA season restarts in Orlando, Florida, later this month, rather than choosing what they want to say themselves, was a “bad miss.” “They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys. That was terrible. It was just a bad miss, a bad choice,” Scott said Monday during a conference call with reporters. “They didn’t give players a chance to voice our opinions on it; they just gave us a list to pick from. So that was bad, that was terrible. “I’m all about just doing, instead of saying and posting, or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything, you know?”
Speaking on a separate call Monday, Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had a few other suggestions that he wished the league would have allowed players to use. “There’s a lot of stuff. I know everybody has different reasons they’re playing for. … Four hundred and fifty guys, or however many will be there, are sending in whatever they feel like would add to that list and encompass the group that’s going down there,” Brown said. “What I’d like to personally see on there? Maybe ‘Break the Cycle,’ putting that on the back of your jersey. ‘Results,’ that’s what everybody is really playing for. ‘Inequality by Design,’ maybe. Things like that might have a deeper impact than some of the things that were given to us. I think it was a little bit limiting.”
The WNBA announced Monday that seven of 137 (5.1%) tested players were positive for COVID-19, and that 11 of the league’s 12 teams will report to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for its season start-up by the end of the day. The one exception in that travel schedule is the Indiana Fever. After sustaining two positive tests in their organization, the Fever’s travel will be delayed at least five days “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements,” according to a statement from the league.
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
Vinsanity cited that he was going to do a one-step, 180-degree dunk under the basket (which sounds hella impressive by the way) but decided to go on a different route to increase his chances of winning. “It was ‘ooh-ahh’ for a lot of people but it didn’t feel right. It didn’t have the ‘wowing’ factor. That’s not what I was looking for. I just didn’t have that feel so I just scrapped that dunk,” the NBA icon revealed. “The dunks that I originally had planned, I was like this was not going to win. So I scrapped it right there on the spot. I’m just trying to pull things that I’ve done from times past that I felt would win or present the wow factor.”
July 7, 2020 | 2:21 am EDT Update
There are varying levels of trust in the NBA’s bubble, but most everyone agrees this is the best the league can do amid the conditions. NBA sources have insisted the plan, while exhaustive, isn’t cemented and that the league is ready to adjust if necessary. Between June 23 and 29, 25 players tested positive for the coronavirus. An additional 10 staff members also tested positive. Seven of the 22 teams heading to Orlando, including the Clippers, have closed their practice facilities after learning of positive tests.
Storyline: Orlando Bubble
Spencer Dinwiddie: Protocol only calls for 7 days and negative tests not the 14 day standard. Yep, the plan would be to fly to Orlando after workout. For players that show up late, it might make it difficult to resume season at all due to more rigorous testing requirements.

Seton Hall junior forward Sandro Mamukelashvili has had Zoom calls with close to 20 NBA teams, including the Knicks. The 6-foot-10 native of the Republic of Georgia is testing the NBA Draft waters ahead of the Oct. 16 NBA Draft, and said he’s still undecided about his future plans. The NBA withdrawal deadline is Aug. 3. “I’m taking my time and evaluating all of my options,” he said Friday. “I had a lot of interviews and I want to think about my plans.”
When Kidd got rebuffed, he jumped to the Bucks, run by opportunistic New York-based owners, Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry. “I wouldn’t hire Jason Kidd if he was the last coach standing,’’ said an NBA source who has worked with Kidd. “It would be a terrible choice. There’s a reason Milwaukee is in the place where they are right now — coaching.’’
Storyline: Knicks Coaching Job
Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott said players being given a list of phrases they may put on the backs of their jerseys when the NBA season restarts in Orlando, Florida, later this month, rather than choosing what they want to say themselves, was a “bad miss.” “They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys. That was terrible. It was just a bad miss, a bad choice,” Scott said Monday during a conference call with reporters. “They didn’t give players a chance to voice our opinions on it; they just gave us a list to pick from. So that was bad, that was terrible. “I’m all about just doing, instead of saying and posting, or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don’t think that’s going to stop anything, you know?”
Speaking on a separate call Monday, Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown had a few other suggestions that he wished the league would have allowed players to use. “There’s a lot of stuff. I know everybody has different reasons they’re playing for. … Four hundred and fifty guys, or however many will be there, are sending in whatever they feel like would add to that list and encompass the group that’s going down there,” Brown said. “What I’d like to personally see on there? Maybe ‘Break the Cycle,’ putting that on the back of your jersey. ‘Results,’ that’s what everybody is really playing for. ‘Inequality by Design,’ maybe. Things like that might have a deeper impact than some of the things that were given to us. I think it was a little bit limiting.”
The WNBA announced Monday that seven of 137 (5.1%) tested players were positive for COVID-19, and that 11 of the league’s 12 teams will report to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. for its season start-up by the end of the day. The one exception in that travel schedule is the Indiana Fever. After sustaining two positive tests in their organization, the Fever’s travel will be delayed at least five days “in an abundance of caution due to the CDC’s close contact self-quarantine requirements,” according to a statement from the league.
Storyline: Coronavirus Infections
Vinsanity cited that he was going to do a one-step, 180-degree dunk under the basket (which sounds hella impressive by the way) but decided to go on a different route to increase his chances of winning. “It was ‘ooh-ahh’ for a lot of people but it didn’t feel right. It didn’t have the ‘wowing’ factor. That’s not what I was looking for. I just didn’t have that feel so I just scrapped that dunk,” the NBA icon revealed. “The dunks that I originally had planned, I was like this was not going to win. So I scrapped it right there on the spot. I’m just trying to pull things that I’ve done from times past that I felt would win or present the wow factor.”
July 6, 2020 | 11:14 pm EDT Update
Antetokounmpo will be a free agent in 2021. When Kidd joined the Lakers as assistant, the scuttlebutt was he would succeed Frank Vogel when “The Greek Freak’’ became free. Antetokounmpo was said to be “devastated’’ when the Bucks fired Kidd. “LeBron loves Kidd,’’ one team executive told The Post. “But Giannis swears by him.’’
Nick DePaula: In a video to fans in China, Klay Thompson says, “My mind and body are 100% ready to get back on the court.” His new Anta KT5 sneaker launch is inspired by his trip last summer to a 400 year-old Chinese medical center in Shanghai and the treatment he received there.

July 6, 2020 | 7:59 pm EDT Update
“We are extremely encouraged with the progress Darius has made in his recovery process,” Pelicans Executive Vice President of Basketball Operations David Griffin said. “The work he has put in both prior to and during these limited mandatory workouts has been remarkable. We look forward to seeing him back at full strength heading into the 2020-21 campaign.” The Pelicans will not be granted an additional roster spot pursuant to the rules the NBA has set forth for signing replacement players for the remainder of the 2019-20 season.
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