Storyline: Jonathan Isaac Injury

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Did Nathan Spencer (the team’s head strength and conditioning coach) drop off some equipment to you right before the practice facility closed? Jonathan Isaac: Yes. They were super-mindful of what was going on and they brought me a bike, they brought me weights. They brought me everything that I need to be able to do my rehab. That’s why it works so well. So I have a little impromptu gym in my living room. Every day I get up and I start knocking out what I’ve got to do for the day. Do the rehab specialists watch you via Zoom or FaceTime as you’re working out, or do they speak to you afterward? Jonathan Isaac: They speak to me afterward always, and they took me through all my exercises the day before (the facility closed). So I know what I have to do. And then if I have any questions, I FaceTime them.

Just the mere sight of promising forward Jonathan Isaac being back with the team and participating in some light shooting drills on Monday had to be glorious vision for the Orlando Magic. The nearly 7-foot Isaac has been out since Jan. 1 when he suffered a posterior lateral corner injury and a medial bone contusion in his left knee early in a Magic victory over the Washington Wizards. Isaac, 22, did not need surgery for the injury, but he was forced to walk on crutches and keep his leg in a cast and later a thigh-to-shin brace for a six-week period – all of which he has since shed. For now, Isaac said he’s just happy to be back around basketball and his teammates.

“(The injured knee) feels good. I’m happy to be off the crutches and it’s good to walk around on my own power. And being able to just come out here and shoot free throws, it feels really good,’’ Isaac said. “I think (taking the process day by day) is the best way to look at it,’’ he said. “I just want to put in the work that I need to put in that day and worry about the long-term stuff in the long term. (The Magic medical staff) has got the long-term in their head and I’m just like, `J.I., get better every day and do what they ask me to do.’

Jonathan Isaac done for the season?

Orlando Magic president Jeff Weltman has provided an unfortunate update on the status of 22-year-old forward Jonathan Isaac, who is currently dealing with a knee injury. Weltman recently made an appearance on ESPN’s Afternoons with Scott Anez podcast and revealed Isaac isn’t expected back this season: “Yeah, I never want to say a thousand percent, but I think we’re not expecting him back, put it that way,” Weltman responded when asked if he could confirm if Isaac is expected to sit out the remainder of the season. “And if we’re pleasantly surprised then so be it, but the fact of the matter is the longer you’re out you’re gonna get de-conditioned and we don’t ever wanna rush our guys back or put them in a position to get re-injured, god forbid. We’re taking a very cautious approach as we always do.”
5 months ago via ESPN

Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac suffered a hyperextended left knee during Wednesday’s 122-101 win at Washington, the team announced. He will undergo an MRI on Thursday in Orlando and then be re-evaluated. After the game, he said he felt he’d avoided a serious knee injury. “I’ve never hurt my knee before,” Isaac said. “So as soon as it happened, I just naturally start thinking the worst. ‘Wow man, it’s over.’ But as I was down there, it started to feel better and better just being down there. So I kind of felt, just the reassurance that I was going to be [OK].”


Isaac left the Magic locker room without any noticeable limp and he is considered day-to-day. “It is the same thing, so you can say it’s a little annoying, but I’m just ready to get back in tomorrow and continue to get treatment and see how I feel,” said Isaac, who also said he had no immediate swelling and X-rays on the ankle were negative. “I felt it while I was in the game and tried to go a couple minutes to see how I feel. I couldn’t really do much on it so I decided to come out.”

Jonathan Isaac’s return to game action is imminent. Coach Frank Vogel said Isaac will practice with the Magic’s G-League affiliate in Lakeland on Thursday and then play for Lakeland when it hosts the Maine Red Claws on Friday night at the RP Funding Center. “I feel good,” Isaac said after Orlando’s practice Wednesday afternoon. “I definitely understand why they want me to spend some time there [with Lakeland]. I’m just focused on getting back up here [with Orlando] as fast as possible and getting back around these guys.”

Jonathan Isaac likely will have a minutes restriction during his stint with Lakeland. “My goal in the games I do play in, if it is more than one or just one, is to win those games,” Isaac said. “Like I said before, those guys down there have been working really hard on what they want to do and where they want to get to. And I’m not going down there to steal the show or try to take every shot. I just want to play hard and play great basketball and get a win.”

Jonathan Isaac, 20, severely sprained his ankle on Nov. 11 when he landed on the foot of a player whose shot he had just swatted. He’s played only sparingly since then but is hopeful that he will be back on the floor for the Magic following the break for the NBA All-Star Game. Until then, Isaac said he’s completely comfortable watching others in his draft class shine because he knows his moments will eventually come. “Everybody’s time is different, and everybody has a different journey to greatness and has a different road,’’ Isaac said. “So, it’s just about being happy for guys when their numbers are called and when their time is now. My time will be later.’’

Isaac, a deeply religious person who often speaks openly about his faith, said the time away from games has been good for his brain and body. Through vigorous work in the weight room with Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Bill Burgos, he’s added 11 pounds to bulk up to 222 pounds. And rather than allow the time away to bother him mentally, Isaac said it’s been a good refresher that stoked his hunger for basketball. “I feel like it’s been a blessing being out and being able to slow down,’’ said Isaac, who recently gave a sermon about his faith at a local Orlando church. “Being a rookie, you take so much onto you when you’re playing so much, and you are trying to handle life outside of basketball. But being able to slow down and really focus on my life outside of basketball and my body … has been great.’’

When Orlando Magic rookie Jonathan Isaac makes his long-awaited return, he might play first for the Magic’s G-League affiliate in Lakeland. Isaac hasn’t played since Dec. 26 because his right ankle never fully healed from a sprain he suffered Nov. 11. “It’s going to be predicated on the practices that we have coming out of the break, how he looks, how he feels, how his conditioning is,” coach Frank Vogel said. “There’s a possibility that he plays in the G-League for a couple of games to help get his games under him.”

The Orlando Magic rookie suffered the injury during a loss Monday afternoon to the Dallas Mavericks when he elevated toward the rim, collided with two defenders and landed awkwardly. Isaac remained in the game for 40 more seconds but sat out the second half. A team spokesman said an MRI was performed after the game and said the exam revealed no structural damage other than a strain. Isaac will not play in the Magic’s final two exhibition games Wednesday and Thursday for precautionary reasons.
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May 25, 2020 | 9:30 pm EDT Update
Teammates with the Lakers for two seasons from 2014-16, Tarik Black had a front-row seat for some of the most memorable moments of the final days of Bryant’s Hall of Fame career. But none of them can top April 13, 2016. That was the date of Bryant’s last NBA game. And the former Jayhawk said he remembers every detail of that night at Staples Center. “Allen Fieldhouse was one of the most electrifying places I’ve ever played been in my life,” Black told the Journal-World during a recent phone interview from Los Angeles. “But everything else pales in comparison to that night of Kobe’s last game. I’ve never experienced a feeling or been a part of a sports moment like that in my life.”
Black remembers being with Julius Randle, Larry Nance Jr. and Jordan Clarkson the afternoon of that game when he first saw Bryant arrive at Staples Center. Together, they approached the man they affectionately called “O.G.” and gave him a simple message. “We walked up to him and said, ‘You’re going to take every shot tonight,’” Black recalled. “And he was like, ‘No I’m not. Just play basketball.’ And we were like, ‘No, O.G. You’re going to take every shot. If we get an offensive rebound, it’s coming to you.’”
During his two seasons as Bryant’s teammate, Black and Bryant became close. As luck would have it, an injury during his 2019-20 season in Israel sent him back to Los Angeles earlier than normal and he was able to see Bryant one final time just a week before the helicopter accident. It was the first time the two had seen each other since their days as teammates. And Black, unaware of what fate lied ahead, made sure to make the encounter count. “I actually got a chance to thank him for what he meant for my life,” Black said. “And he just kept saying, ‘I’m proud of you.’ So it rocked me to my core when I heard about his passing.”
Storyline: Kobe Bryant Death
May 25, 2020 | 5:30 pm EDT Update
Roc Nation Sports has signed a large class of highly regarded NBA draft prospects, including point guard LaMelo Ball, a projected top-five pick. The agency recently signed Ball’s brother, New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball, away from CAA Sports. Roc Nation NBA agent Raymond Brothers is representing both of the Ball brothers. LaMelo Ball, who played last season in Australia on the Illawarra Hawks of the National Basketball League, is ranked No. 3 overall by website nbadraft.net. Brothers is also representing No. 12-ranked Memphis forward Precious Achiuwa.
Roc Nation signed Texas Tech guard Jahmi’us Ramsey, who is ranked No. 24: Washington power forward/center Isaiah Stewart, who is ranked No. 26; and Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley, who is ranked No. 35 by nbadraft.net. Additionally, Roc Nation signed Temple forward Quinton Rose, American University guard Sa’eed Nelson and Indiana guard Devonte Green, brother of Los Angeles Lakers guard/forward Danny Green. Agents Brothers, Drew Gross and Sam Permut are representing the players.
Tandem Sports + Entertainment has signed Northwestern guard Pat Spencer for representation in the NBA draft. Matt Laczkowski, Tandem director of athlete and talent representation, is representing Spencer, who transferred to Northwestern after playing lacrosse for four seasons at Loyola-Maryland. Spencer was drafted No. 1 in the 2019 Premier Lacrosse League draft, but chose to spend the next year pursuing basketball as a graduate transfer at Northwestern.
Storyline: Draft Agents
Ty Lawson posted a cryptic message on his Instagram story Monday in which he seemed to call out UNC head coach Roy Williams. “Who talks s— about someone who won them a championship …” Lawson wrote in his Instagram story. “(You’re) weird… I got messages from 10 NBA GMs that said it came out your mouth … That’s why I don’t f— with Carolina or support anything y’all do.”
May 25, 2020 | 4:32 pm EDT Update
Turner Sports analyst and Hall of Famer Charles Barkley didn’t feel the need to hedge in a Monday appearance on the Paul Finebaum Show. “We’re gonna make a decision in the next week,” Barkley said. “I’m 100% sure we’re going to play. I know my friends in Major League Baseball are going to play. I know that the (NHL) is going to play. … I do know this, talking to my bosses at Turner: We’re going to play basketball. It is gonna be in Florida and Vegas, or just Florida.”
Storyline: Season Resuming?
“The key is gonna be the players,” Barkley said. “I mean, listen — big basketball players pushing on each other in the lane, fighting for rebounds and post position, there’s no way they can social distance. You got to worry — they say they’re gonna put them in a hotel for two or three months, I’m like, ‘Well are the maids gonna be in the hotel for two or three months?’ The maids are gonna go home every day. What about the people in room service? They’re gonna go home every day. So it’s just a lot of unanswered questions.”
The Department will work with the professional sporting groups to identify the specific athletes, essential staff, team and league leadership, spouses, and dependents covered by this exemption, including Major League Baseball, the National Basketball Association, the Women’s National Basketball Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour, the Ladies Professional Golf Association Tour, the National Hockey League, the Association of Tennis Professionals, and the Women’s Tennis Association.
Storyline: Season Resuming?
Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the swift development of vaccines and effective treatments for COVID-19 are priorities towards achieving the Tokyo Olympics next year. Abe says recovery from the coronavirus pandemic only in Japan would not be enough to hold the Games because it involves spectators and athletes from around the world. He reiterates that the government hopes to hold the Tokyo Games “in a complete form” with spectators as a proof of human victory against the coronavirus.
Part of VICE TV’s VICE VERSA series of documentary specials, One Man and His Shoes essentially serves as an expanded version of what Episode 5 (and to some extent, Episode 1) of The Last Dance touched on: The cultural phenomenon of Nike’s Air Jordan shoe line. Director Yemi Bamiro doesn’t have to tell a larger narrative (though his film eventually goes there), so he can zoom in on this aspect of Jordan’s story.
May 25, 2020 | 4:26 pm EDT Update
How optimistic are you that the NBA will resume play at some point? Carlisle: “I am optimistic. It feels like things are moving in what I would characterize as a generally good direction, in terms of our ability to test and control an environment. I have no absolute knowledge of anything, but I do know there’s a great desire of the players to return to playing games and get into a playoff format of some sort.”
Storyline: Season Resuming?
Rick Carlisle: “I think if you look at the big picture, it probably sets up even better for the start, if the new season’s going to start in December, which a lot of people are speculating. It’s kind of like the elongated All-Star break. And some of the good things that’s brought for the remaining part of the regular season you’re coming off of an eight or nine-day break instead of a three or four-day break, as in the old days.”
Isiah Thomas: “I think in Ja we are watching the next generation of the great point guards that have been coming through our league. You have that group of Stephen Curry, Kyrie Irving, Damian Lillard, John Wall and so forth, but for the younger generation of point guards, I think Ja – who is projected to win the 2019-20 Rookie of the Year award – is going to be leading that evolution of great point guard play.”
In leading the ‘Bad Boy’ Pistons to back-to-back NBA titles (1988-89 as well as 1989-90), Thomas consistently compromised his private numbers to guarantee group success. It is a high quality he likewise sees in Morant. “That is a unique gift,” Thomas claimed. “Team- friends will certainly like you for it yet analytics will certainly despise you for it. Sharing the basketball as well as obtaining everybody entailed, being prepared to make the ‘hockey’ aid instead of keeping the round to obtain the aid on your own … you see Ja doing all of those points in the program of a basketball video game.
Mike Bibby sat down with CBS Local’s DJ Sixsmith and talked about his run with Sacramento — a fit that was comfortable for Bibby right away. Even though trading for him meant bidding farewell to Jason Williams, a guy Kings fans were in love with. “The guys treated me like I was there for five, six, seven years,” Bibby said. “I got there and Jason Williams was a prized possession in Sacramento and when I got traded for him, I just wanted to fit in, I didn’t know if the fans would like me or if the team would like me. In my first year we had the best record in the West. I had the best time of my life and my career playing in Sacramento with those guys. I think Sacramento is the best team I played on.”
May 25, 2020 | 4:09 pm EDT Update
Tobias Harris hasn’t shot a basketball since the 2019-20 season was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic. But he has been working out every day in his garage gym at his Philadelphia home to stay ready should play resume. He’s also been talking to his teammates on Zoom. “Everybody wants to be safe, so that’s the key thing,” Harris replied when asked if he has any concerns about a return. “If we can find a venue and it’s safe and we have the proper protocols in place for guys to feel comfortable, then I’m fine with it.” Harris described the idea of playing actual games in an empty gym as, “Kind of like a practice setting. But guys are competitive, so we’re always gonna go as hard as we can.”
Storyline: Season Resuming?
Hearing Chicago Bulls star Michael Jordan in “The Last Dance”, crying on the locker room floor following his Father’s Day championship in 1996 — MJ’s first title since his dad, James, was murdered — caused Harris himself to become emotional. “I ain’t going to lie, I was shedding a tear when I saw Jordan crying,” Harris told Yahoo Sports in a recent telephone interview. “I thought they should’ve just stopped the episode right then and there. It was touching. I’d seen the photo a whole lot, but I was probably too young to understand. And now you can really see all the emotion that’s in it. I did some research after the show ended. You hear about his father passing away, but then you dive in and it’s a pretty crazy story.”
Harris, a Long Island native, was fortunate enough to see Jordan play at Madison Square Garden when he was a kid alongside his father, longtime NBA agent Torrel Harris — founder and CEO of Unique Sports Management — and his older brother, Tyler Harris. It proved to be a memorable evening. “We kept asking my dad if we could meet him after the game and he was just telling us maybe,” Tobias recalled. “But it ended up happening and it was unbelievable. As we were walking away I realized I didn’t get him to sign my card. So my dad had to pull him back and get him to sign our cards. Tyler and I were so excited on the train ride back. I kept thinking my dad was so cool because he knows Michael Jordan. I ended up losing the card on the way back, but it didn’t matter because I had gotten to meet him. It was an unforgettable experience.”
“When I was given the checkbook, I went to put in the tip & information to close the table and I couldn’t believe it,” the message read. “From a $160 check, the tip read $1,000.” The restaurant noted that the waitress was “shaking and had tears of happiness” while saying many employees had been suffering due to closures amid the coronavirus pandemic.

May 25, 2020 | 1:18 pm EDT Update
The Sun-Times has reported that Karnisovas and general manager Marc Eversley have already had detailed discussions with players and retained personnel, and were getting enough mixed feedback of what’s gone on the last year that they were leaning toward starting with a new coach of their choosing. Ownership and former VP of basketball operations John Paxson have given support for Boylen, but a source reiterated that COO Michael Reinsdorf was by no means influencing the front office’s decision on the coach and would allow Boylen’s dismissal if Karnisovas wants to go that way. No questions asked.
Storyline: Bulls Front Office
Doc Rivers may have the largest All-Time starting five squad ever. Austin Rivers joined his father on the GO OFF podcast, where the two talked about All-Time starting fives, Kobe stories, and their player/coach dynamic. When it comes to an All-Time starting five, Doc Rivers is in favor of size. “I’m going Kareem at the center,” Rivers said. “I’m going Tim Duncan at the four, because those both are two-way players. I’m going Michael, and Magic at the one and two. This may be the biggest team ever. And then LeBron at the three.”
Coach Rivers had a top-five shooting squad as well. “Dirk at the five,” Rivers said. “I would put Durant at the three. Steph at the point, because that’s what you’d need. I would put Kobe in there because of his ability to drive. Now the whole team changes. At the four I couldn’t even come up with one.” Austin contested that Ray Allen should be on his father’s top-five shooting squad, but Doc believed Kobe’s ability to drive superseded the argument. In addition to Kobe’s driving ability, the elder Rivers believed Kobe’s shooting would improve significantly on a squad of good shooters.
May 25, 2020 | 10:34 am EDT Update
“Everything is pointing toward a return of the NBA this season at a single site in Orlando at Disney World,” Wojnarowski said on ESPN’s Get Up. “Teams expect the league to tell them to start recalling their players as soon as next week. There will be a two-week quarantine back in markets. Some teams might go directly to Disney to start training or somewhere in-between. But the league has started to not only put the plans in place for return in terms of testing and safety, health-wise. But really digging this week into what that format is going to look like.”
Storyline: Season Resuming?
They were close to hiring Steve Kerr before he decided to take a job with Golden State. The Knicks also reached an advanced state of negotiations with Milwaukee’s Mike Budenholzer before hiring David Fizdale. Discussions between the Knicks and Budenholzer in the 2018 offseason advanced to a point where some people who would have come with Budenholzer to New York were talking about places to live in the city because they felt Budenholzer was close to taking the job, per SNY sources. Prior to Budenholzer’s interview with the Knicks, the New York Post reported that New York was Budenholzer’s top choice entering the offseason.
He proposed a photo that would have her looking like a pin-up in the style of a mermaid, and Buss was on board. “It was kind of like I was like a mermaid underwater with a blue backdrop,” Buss said. “They used to show mermaids holding pearls … and so instead of the pearls I got basketballs. And I’m not naked but I might look like I’m naked. I get people [who say], ‘How dare you put a naked picture of you on Twitter. It was in Playboy.’ And it’s not. It was from Sports Illustrated! “Yes, do I have to talk about the Playboy and the decision [to pose]. Yes, I’m still explaining it 20 years later. They want to judge and put me in a category.”
Then she told a personal story about another star. When her dad, Jerry Buss, bought the Lakers in 1979, they drafted Magic Johnson and became the NBA’s premiere franchise. It ended suddenly when Johnson had to retire in 1991 because of an HIV diagnosis. “I prayed to the skies above and I said if we ever get a player on our team like Magic Johnson again, I will never ever, ever take that player for granted,” Buss said, her voice catching. “And then we got Kobe. As heartbroken as I am, one comfort that I have is that Kobe knew how much we loved him and we told him and we retired his numbers. He never doubted that we were behind him 100%. That gives me some comfort. We never held back the celebrating the greatness that was Kobe.”
May 25, 2020 | 6:47 am EDT Update

James Wiseman the frontrunner for the No. 1 pick

In an anonymous poll of 35 NBA executives conducted by Stadium, James Wiseman has emerged as the frontrunner for the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s NBA Draft. The 7-foot-1 center, who played just three games at Memphis this past season prior to withdrawing from school amidst an NCAA suspension, received 20 of the 35 votes (57 percent). “I wouldn’t even want the No. 1 pick,” one NBA general manager told me. “If I have it, I’m trying like hell to trade it.”
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