NBA rumors: Trae Young to make his return against Bulls

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Neil Dalal: Wizards have upgraded Bradley Beal (protocols) to questionable for Tuesday night at Heat. Aaron Holiday joins Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Raul Neto, Anthony Gill, and Thomas Bryant as OUT in protocols. Rui Hachimura remains "questionable", but is not expected to play.
Jason Anderson: The Sacramento Kings are listing Alex Len (health and safety protocols) as questionable for Tuesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Davion Mitchell and Neemias Queta are still out.
Mike Vorkunov: NBA just implemented new protocol where players/coaches can clear isolation 6 days after a positive COVID test. CDC just announced people can leave quarantine after 5. CDC director told the AP they want to "safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science”
The decision to shorten the quarantine to six days, sources said, is based upon expert research and data -- including the league's own -- that shows no one with a cycle threshold (CT) over 35 has shown to be infectious again after five or six days, sources said. CT measures how many times a test has to cycle to find the virus in an individual. For example, a 35 CT is fainter than a 20 CT. The NBA and NBPA has relied on data from its own infectious disease experts, the CDC and models and research in the United Kingdom.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA and NBPA agreement comes at a time when players are testing positive and heading into quarantine at an unprecedented rate -- 172 have entered Covid protocols in past two weeks, including a single-day high of 27 on Sunday.
Andy Larsen: FYI: the Jazz broadcast crew didn’t travel with the team on this road trip, citing coronavirus concerns. Team says they’ll broadcast from home “for the next several road trips.”
Chris Haynes: Scott Brooks will serve as replacement head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers with Chauncey Billups entering health and safety protocols, league sources tell @YahooSports.
Jared Weiss: Grant Williams expects to return from COVID tonight, per source. Williams is listed as questionable in health and safety protocols and just boarded a flight to Minneapolis for tonight’s Celtics vs. Wolves game at 8 ET.
Jim Owczarski: #Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo said he would never have known he had COVID-19 unless he had been tested. He said being asymptomatic helped him keep his conditioning up over the 10 days out - even if the ball felt weird once he got back on Dec. 25.
Chase Hughes: Kyle Kuzma said he was pretty sick during his stint in Covid protocol. Said his first game back "was a struggle" because of how the symptoms and not playing for a few days affected his breathing.

http://twitter.com/TheTraeYoung/status/1475197208819605513
Cody Taylor: B.J. Johnson and Chuma Okeke are out today at Miami due to health and safety protocols, the Magic announced. R.J. Hampton has been cleared from protocols and is available for today’s game.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to make his return to the lineup vs. Boston today (2:30 PM ET, ABC), sources tell ESPN. After 10 days in protocols, the two-time MVP had a strong workout on Friday and -- barring a setback -- is expected to be available.
Shams Charania: Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo will make his season debut on Christmas Day vs. the Boston Celtics, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. DiVincenzo was set to return Dec. 15 from June ankle surgery before entering protocols. Now, he’s back.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Hawks center Clint Capela has cleared Covid protocols and will play vs. the Knicks (noon, ESPN). Capela averages 11.5 points and 12.8 rebounds. Hawks still have eight players in protocols, including Trae Young. More on a two-hour NBA Countdown at 10 AM ET on ESP
Toppin said he “didn’t have a lot of symptoms” after testing positive for COVID-19, but he mostly spent his 10 days idled in his bedroom away from his family. He said he worked out with elastic bands and watched “a lot of basketball” and a couple of Netflix shows. “Man, I was aching in that bed. I’ve never been in bed for that long,” Toppin said. “Like, that was the longest 10 days of my life, I ain’t gonna lie to you.”
Marc Stein: The Celtics just issued a five-tweet injury report for their Christmas Day game at Milwaukee. Among the key updates: Al Horford (health and safety protocols) and Marcus Smart (left hip contusion) are now questionable. More from me: marcstein.substack.com
Chris Kirschner: For tomorrow’s game at New York: Cam Reddish (right ankle sprain) is probable.  Delon Wright (left ankle sprain) is probable. Clint Capela (health and safety protocols) is out Sharife Cooper (health and safety protocols) is out.  Danilo Gallinari (health and safety protocols) out
Sarah K. Spencer: Hawks injury report for Christmas Day game adds that Onyeka Okongwu is out in health and safety protocols. That's nine players in protocols for them. Both Cam Reddish and Delon Wright are probable to play. pic.twitter.com/B4MXbX60jK
Adrian Wojnarowski: After playing one game on a 10-day deal, Atlanta's Wes Iwundu has entered Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN. Iwundu played 23 minutes in the Hawks' victory over the 76ers.
When the Nets were pulling Brown off the court, they delivered Harden his testing news in the training room. Beyond the din of the Barclays crowd, Harden looked at Brown, and Brown looked at Harden, and they wondered what in the world was happening. "You feel anything?" Harden asked him. "I'm good," Brown said. "You?" No symptoms, Harden told him. Feeling fine.
On a weekly league medical call on Dec. 14, one team health official said the Bulls expressed frustration that they had a number of asymptomatic player cases, with each required to be sidelined for 10 days. Given the urgency of their situation, the Bulls were testing everyone, but they asked, why wasn't every other team doing the same? The Bulls believed there were more asymptomatic players out there, and that the league, by not mandating daily testing, wasn't doing enough to try and find them, a source said. To the Bulls, it felt unfair -- that they were suffering from a competitive disadvantage.
For the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, mandated daily testing in a league with a nearly 97% player vaccination rate didn't make sense. And their respective infectious disease experts agreed, according to league sources. Instead, as the winter months approached and cases started to surge nationally, the league urged booster shots, increased testing around Thanksgiving and advised continued vigilance.
Privately, several team executives and team health officials believed not testing everyone was financially motivated, though league officials have disputed this characterization to ESPN. For now, when a team has a positive case, that team is encouraged -- but not required -- to test all players and potentially impacted staff to see how far the virus has spread; the same is recommended when a team faces another team that has detected a positive test.
But the circumstances this winter are different. While nearly all players are vaccinated, team health officials note that almost one-third of players received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot dose, which offers the lowest level of protection compared to Pfizer and Moderna. There are concerns about waning immunity; only about 65% of eligible players have received booster shots, roughly 275 total players, sources say.
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June 30, 2022 | 12:26 pm EDT Update
Re-signing Brunson at a deal that pays him $30 million annually, per Bobby Mark’s calculations, could cost the team $130 million in salary and subsequent taxes next season. That’s without the team using its taxpayer’s mid-level exception, a $6.4-million carveout that the team might need to sign another wing or split among several players asking more than the veteran’s minimum. It’s another calculation the team must make, a financial one dependent on how much Cuban is truly willing to spend. Dallas can’t be blamed for its valuation of Brunson being lower than New York’s. Team sources have certainly expressed surprise and dismay at just how much the Knicks are prepared to offer him. But sometimes, that’s the cost of free agency.

Andre Drummond also on Knicks’ radar

I’d expect the Knicks to waive Gibson and then give strong consideration to signing him to a new contract later in the offseason; though, as SNY reported, the club has several backup centers on its radar. Among them: Isaiah Hartenstein and Andre Drummond, per sources. Bleacher Report first noted Hartenstein on the Knicks’ radar. The Knicks will be aggressive in their pursuit of Hartenstein, per SNY sources. The Orlando Magic, as Marc Stein reported, is also a suitor for Hartenstein. Teams with interest in Drummond say the Knicks have a degree of interest in the center.