NBA rumors: Wizards allowed to host fans at home

Michael Brice-Sandler: NEWS: D.C. has approved waivers to host fans at Capital One Arena for Wizards and Capitals games, effective immediately. Additionally, the Nationals and D.C. United will now be able to host fans at 25% capacity at Nats Park and Audi Field. Story tk.

More on 2020-21 Season Plans

Ted Leonsis: All of us @MSE are disappointed with the city’s failure to grant our waiver allowing fans to attend @Capitals & @WashWizards games this season. Our staff have worked tirelessly putting in place numerous infrastructure upgrades & health and safety protocols to protect fans & staff
Wes Goldberg: Here's Warriors President & COO @RickWelts discussing the "encouraging news" that fans may be allowed into Chase Center as soon as this month. "Our job now is to sit down with the county and make sure ... we can return Warriors fans into Chase Center."

http://twitter.com/wcgoldberg/status/1378098004549337095
For larger-capacity venues, testing or proof of vaccination would be required and capacity limited to 20% in the red tier. The threshold would be 10%, or 2,000 people, in the orange tier — and could increase further to 35% if all attendees are tested or show proof of full vaccination.
Duane Rankin: #Suns will raise fan limit from 3,000 to "5,500-plus" starting April 7 vs. Utah, team officials said Wednesday.  The "plus" is in suites. Attendance been little over 3K since going from 1,500 to 3,000 when Suns played Brooklyn Feb. 16. 1st had fans this season 2-7 vs. Boston.
After successfully hosting nearly 3,000 fans per game in socially distanced pods of 1-4 seats, the Charlotte Hornets will increase the capacity of fans at Spectrum Center from 15% to 25% – approximately 5,000 fans per game – starting with the team’s next home game on Friday, March 26 vs. Miami. The Hornets have worked with state and county authorities throughout the reopening process and have once again received approval for the increased capacity plan.
Today, Golden 1 Center announced it has received the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management designation from the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI). Another step toward preparing for the return of fans and guests, the WELL Health-Safety Rating for Facility Operations and Management is an evidence-based, third-party verified rating for all facilities, focused on operational policies, maintenance protocols, emergency plans and stakeholder education to address a current and post-COVID-19 environment and broader health and safety-related issues into the future.
As of April 1, limited fans will be returning to outdoor arenas like Dodgers Stadium. When it comes to Staples Center though, fans will have to wait a little bit longer. Sources revealed to AllClippers that Staples Center is hoping to have limited fans "a few months from now, in time for the playoffs."
The Charlotte Hornets will welcome back a limited number of fans at Spectrum Center, starting with the team’s game on Saturday, March 13, vs. the Toronto Raptors at 7 p.m. The Hornets’ reopening plan has been approved by state and county authorities, allowing the team to host fans at 15% capacity, which is approximately 3,000 fans per game.
The Charlotte Hornets hope at least some fans can return to Spectrum Center as soon as next month, but team President Fred Whitfield cautioned that the NBA franchise will err on the side of public health before moving ahead. State and local government health mandates will be the ultimate arbiters. The NBA has largely left it up to teams and local health and government officials to determine when fans are allowed in arenas and how many.
Whitfield added, “Hopefully in March, but who knows? A lot of it is going to be incumbent on what the numbers are, how many vaccines are being added — there are a lot of dynamics (health officials) are going to have to consider.”
Brian Lewis: Abbamondi: "For the remainder of the season we're donating a portion of ticket proceeds to support vaccination efforts in Brooklyn. We'd also like to thank our fans for their support this season and we are looking forward to bringing their energy back to Barclays Center!” #Nets
Mike Vorkunov: MSG announces they'll allow 2,000 fans at each game, starting with Knicks-Warriors on Feb. 23 and Rangers-Bruins Feb. 26, after Gov. Cuomo announced that arenas are open for fans again at max 10% capacity and with PCR tests for fans 72 hours before the event.
Anthony Puccio: The Brooklyn Nets plan to host a limited number of fans at Barclays Center starting on February 23, a source told The Association. The plan is to allow 200 fans into the arena. Platinum season ticket holders will get first priority to purchase tickets.
Tim Bontemps: This will go into effect sometime in the next week. The NBA is in the process of getting the masks to all 30 teams before requiring them to be worn. They’ll need to be worn in any situations where masks are required under the NBA’s protocols, including on the bench during games.
Ben Anderson: The @Utah Jazz announce Vivint Arena will open the upper bowl at Jazz games for socially distanced pod seating, beginning Feb. 2. The overall capacity will be 3,902 for season ticket members choosing to attend games. All health and safety precautions remain in place.
Under new media rules, after you pass your COVID test, you go to your assigned seat and stay there. Period. Unless you need a bathroom break. From the Nets' media seats in the 200 level (think “corner of the arena, halfway up”) one could see a pair of security guards come onto the court during every timeout, but there was nothing for them to do except go through the motions and look busy. There was no one inside the arena for them to crowd control.
Jeff McDonald: With Lakers in SA for two games this week, DeMar DeRozan applauds NBA for scheduling format that keeps a traveling team in one city for multiple dates. “You’ve got to understand they’re trying to limit travel as much as possible for health reasons. You’ve got to respect that.”
Facing projected losses of up to 40% in revenue for the 2020-21 season due to the loss of gate receipts, according to ESPN, players weighed the financial realities with the physical and mental toll of resuming play so quickly, leading to the shortest NBA offseason in history. “It was a no-brainer for us to start (early),” Monte Morris said. “It was something that some guys weren’t wanting to do so quick, just with the standard of being off, just getting done with basketball. Sometimes, you want to sit back and have a break.”
In an interview Tuesday morning, Nets and BSE Global CEO John Abbamondi told CNBC that the NBA will face huge losses without fans in the stands this season, but he’s hopeful that as things return to normal with COVID vaccines, arenas will be full again by the post-season. Abbamondi added he’s also hopeful that the NBA season will survive “bumps along this road” as the play resumes while the pandemic continues to rage across the country. The concern, he said, begins with players testing positive for the coronavirus.
Abbamondi told CNBC that NBA teams hope they’ll be able to welcome fans back in time for the postseason, when gate revenues —and team profits— are usually at their highest. In the meantime, the league has raised $900 million and will provide teams with $30 million each to stay afloat for the year. “We are optimistic that before this season is over, which will be in the summer of next year, things are going to look very different,” Abbamondi said. “There is a lot of caution, but there’s also a sense of optimism, and I think all Americans share that.”
Adam Spolane: Adam Silver just said on TNT that the NBA hasn't officially cancelled the 2021 All Star Game. They have cancelled the game in Indianapolis on the date it was scheduled for, but that doesn't mean the All Star Game won't be played
The Mavericks provided no timetable for returning crowds to the arena but said they will continue to work with Dallas County, AAC and NBA officials to “determine the best possible scenario” for a safe option.
And yet, the executive said, “do I think all 72 will be played for every team? No.” “When we went to Orlando, our expectation was that it was possible that we would have cases and that we would have to manage those and obviously that was as successful as we could have dreamed,” said David Weiss, the NBA’s senior vice president of player matters. “Now our expectation is that we’re going to have cases and we’ll have to manage those, especially given the backdrop of the country.
Eric Walden: Adam Silver, on a conference call, said that “it’s untenable” for the league to play a full season in a bubble environment, but that the league is starting now because “We’re comfortable with the health and safety protocols we’ve designed.”
The problem is that frequent testing is a reactive, and not a truly preventative means of stymieing an outbreak. A forgotten fact about the 2020 NBA bubble is that there were dozens of positive tests from staff, workers and other individuals involved with running the bubble. But the bubble was successful in preventing these cases from spilling over into the pool of players because of the hard barrier between the players and the rest of the bubble (and surrounding world). Bharti noted that “when you have something like the NBA’s bubble system, it’s defined by layers of increasing porosity around the tightly protected players [e.g., buffers between the players and the hotel staff, who move in and out of the bubble]. But once you’re in the inner bubble, the mixing and the contact rates inside of it are very high and the contacts are frequent. So if you take that configuration of frequency of contacts and intensity of contacts, and you try and do it without the peripheral buffers, you would very quickly end up in trouble because you wouldn’t have firebreaks between teams.”
The NBA schedule means more travel and frequent contact between teams. For all of the NBA’s problems with COVID-19, the structure of the NFL schedule facilitates more control over interactions between teams. That is, over 80% of teams usually play on a single day (Sunday, with most of the other matchups being single games on Thursday and Monday). And this schedule means that it is easier to control contacts through the rescheduling of games. For the 2020-21 season, the NBA has gone to lengths to change the schedule to prevent frequent travel and contacts (e.g., instituting a “series” structure as in the MLB, where teams play each other multiple times consecutively, all in one city).
The NBA may not have the personnel to withstand player losses that will come with team outbreaks. One of the largest threats to the NBA’s well-being resides in one of its strengths. That is, the league has risen to prominence so rapidly in part because it is a player- and personality-driven sport. And it is that way because teams are not composed of large armies of faceless individuals who can easily be replaced. Rather, basketball is a great sport specifically because singular performers have such a large influence. And part of this is reflected in the size of NBA rosters: 15 players, of which 13 are active at any given time. Because of this, an outbreak among three players on a given team would be much more challenging to compensate for than in the NFL, with its larger roster (53 players) and practice squad reservoirs. Given the interconnectedness of the schedules and frequency of travel, an outbreak on one team could have ripple effects throughout the league, complicating the schedules of other teams.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview with ESPN's Stephen A. Smith on Monday that the league will never "jump the line in any form whatsoever" when it comes to its players receiving COVID-19 vaccines and that the league plans to work with the government on public service campaigns to promote the importance of taking a vaccine. "There's no way we'd ever jump the line in any form whatsoever," Silver said. "And, for the most part, because our players are so young and healthy without some sort of comorbidity, they will not be a high priority for vaccinations. There are some other members of the NBA community working on court who are older and will have a higher priority to get the vaccine.
Adam Silver: The forthcoming season requires a new approach. We’ll no doubt face challenges, but like people everywhere, we want to work if we can do so safely and responsibly. The NBA is no different than many other organizations trying to find their way through the pandemic by balancing several factors, including the potential for significant economic hardship. We are part of a U.S. sports industry that is responsible for 1.3 million jobs. Tens of thousands of people rely on our league and related businesses for their livelihoods.
Adam Silver: In the same way we prepared for our bubble, we’ve designed thorough health and safety protocols in consultation with public health and medical experts, the National Basketball Players Association and our teams that will allow us to return to our arenas. Many of the core principles that we relied on in Florida — daily testing, physical distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand-washing — continue to guide our efforts and the health and safety of everyone remains our top priority. Our season opens Tuesday night and we recognize the journey won’t be without obstacles. It will require extraordinary commitment from players, coaches and staff. But we want to get back to work – safely and responsibly.
“We know there are going to be challenges and bumps, but so far things are good and we’re optimistic that we have a plan that we can work through those challenges and bumps,” said David Weiss, the N.B.A.’s vice president of player matters. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks, said: “We won’t be able to eliminate cases and outbreaks. But if we can minimize them, then hopefully it can be as close to a normal season as possible.”
Marc Stein: After allowing a small number of fans into its two home preseason games, Memphis has amended that policy — no fans when the regular season begins. That takes the NBA down to six teams allowing reduced crowds: Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans, Orlando, Toronto (in Tampa, Fla.), Utah.
Tim Reynolds: The NBA's board of governors have approved a notion to have active rosters go to 15 players this season, up from 13. It'll almost certainly be a one-year change, done in response to the challenge of life in a pandemic.
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September 22, 2021 | 11:13 pm EDT Update
The Timberwolves named executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta as their new overseer of basketball operations, making him the first person of Indian origin to run a franchise’s basketball operations. Minnesota is expected to have a full search process, but team officials are fond of Gupta and will provide him a chance in the No. 1 role, sources said.
Some of the issues were exacerbated this summer when Rosas and Gupta butted heads over Rosas’ decision to block Gupta from making a lateral move to the Houston Rockets with increased pay, sources said. Rosas said the timing of the request, coming right before the draft and free agency, made it impossible for the Timberwolves to let someone with as much proprietary knowledge of the team’s plans go to a competitor. The tension between Rosas and Gupta only grew later in August when Rosas banished Gupta from the team’s offices and granted him permission to seek employment elsewhere, according to sources. The issue was resolved in early September after ownership got involved and Gupta decided to stay.
One person who said he had no qualms with how Rosas led and thought there was a collaborative environment did say that the overall vibe in the front office was tense. Some of that, he believed, was due to the disenchantment of other members of the staff, but he also believed the pandemic played a role. “It is not a root cause, but it’s an accelerant,” the source said in August just before the staff left for vacation. “It’s not the spark that lit the flame, but it’s something that makes the flame burn hotter. We haven’t had a day off in basically two years.”
Storyline: Minnesota Timberwolves Turmoil