Storyline: Kevin Durant Injury

552 rumors in this storyline

“Durant and his people have downplayed it. Obviously Kevin right now, the focus after his positive test for coronavirus, clearly it’s just all about health. But yeah, you allow your mind to wander a bit,” Eagle said on YES Network. “Whether or not Durant, from those little video snippets that we’ve seen … he looks good. He looks like himself. He looks like a player that could step in and play today.

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Prompted by a question from Kay about the possibility of a Durant return when the season resumes — say in June — Eagle speculated: “Durant and his people have downplayed it. Obviously, Kevin right now, the focus, after his positive test for coronavirus, clearly it’s just all about health. But yeah, you allow your mind to wander a bit. Whether or not Durant, from those little video snippets that we’ve seen, he looks good. He looks like himself. He looks like a player that could step in and play today.”
2 weeks ago via ESPN

Adrian Wojnarowski: Obviously, people have talked about Kevin Durant in Brooklyn. I’ve been told that that is not an expectation of him coming back, although I heard he’s looked pretty good over there that the plan was not to do that. Because remember, you’d come back, you’d have a pretty short turnaround, no matter what you do, from the end of this season to next season, and they’re going to be careful with him now. Could that change? I guess it could change but right now, the next plan is to not bring Kevin Durant back.
2 weeks ago via ESPN

The possibility of a summer return for the NBA season has led to speculation that injured superstar Kevin Durant could rejoin the Brooklyn Nets in time for their postseason push. But Durant’s longtime business partner Rich Kleiman tamped down expectations for the former MVP on Monday morning, telling Golic & Wingo that hopes of Durant playing in June or July are “not very realistic.” “Honestly, not very realistic from my standpoint, and not even spoken about,” Kleiman said.

Even so, Kleiman said he expects Durant, who has done only a handful of media interviews this season, to reclaim his spot among the NBA’s top talents. “I have no question he’ll be back better than ever,” Kleiman said. “By next season, I expect nothing but KD. Great things will happen. Injuries are a part of the game, and it’s obviously been a bit frustrating. The Nets are still in playoff position. The players are developing and getting better. I expect things to pick up. Everyone knows what [Durant and Irving] can do when they’re playing and healthy.”

Durant hasn’t been traveling with the Nets on road games, and neither has Irving since getting hurt on a West Coast road trip in November. Kenny Atkinson — who insists there’s no danger of detachment from the team — said that’s not going to change as long as their rehab is better served at home. But he said that could change eventually. “No, we’re around them enough. I always hark back to the priority’s got to be what’s best for them from a rehab standpoint. That overrides everything,” Atkinson said. “And sometimes they want to come, and we’re like ‘No, you need to be on the AlterG at home.’

Kevin Durant rules out return this year

One day after his mother, Wanda, was seen on TODAY saying, “I know he’s not going to play this year,” Durant told Rooks the same thing. It was his most definitive statement on the subject of his return. When Rooks asked KD if there was any chance he’s coming back this season, Durant first responded, “No, I don’t think so,. Not for now,” Rooks demanded and got a definiite answer. “NO! No. The best thing for me is to continue the rehab, get as strong as I can and focus on next season,” he said, after admitting he’s itching to play.

“Well I know he’s not going to play this year,” Mrs. Durant told TODAY, continuing, “Which I’m glad because he doesn’t have the pressure. It’s bittersweet because I see a calmness in him even in this (rehab). Because he was injured before and he was frantic. “I’m not saying he doesn’t want to play. Of course he wants to play and play with his teammates, but he’s accepted the fact that this is not the time for him to play and he’s going through the process of healing. And he’s growing as a person.”

Kevin Durant, now 31, is out with a torn Achilles. The Nets owe him $164,255,700 over the next four years. John Wall, now 29, is out with a torn Achilles. The Wizards owe him $171,131,520 over the next four years. Yet, Brooklyn is viewed to have a bright future in large part due to Durant. Washington is viewed to have a grim outlook in large part due to Wall. Wizards owner Ted Leonsis called out the dichotomy. Leonsis on The Habershow: “Why is everyone so positive – Kevin Durant has the same injury as John Wall and is older.”

Kevin Durant says he's not coming back this season

Asked by Stephen A. Smith if he completely ruled out the possibility he could play this season, Durant said “yes,” and replied “I don’t plan on it” to a quick follow-up. The Nets last month tried to douse talk of a Durant return, with GM Sean Marks saying the team isn’t planning on Durant playing. But Marks did add that “ultimately Kevin will have a large say in when he comes back and how he’s feeling.”

The Nets won’t push Durant but there is always the chance Durant could push the Nets. The normal recovery time for his injury is six to eight months. Durant could, in theory, make his Nets debut in March. Dr. Fred Cushner, an orthopedic surgeon at the Hospital for Special Surgery who has dealt with NBA players for two decades, told The Athletic that while Durant’s ligament “will heal in six months, that’s only part of the picture because he has to get his strength back and be in game shape.”

Though Nets GM Sean Marks refused to rule Durant out for the season, the feeling within the league is trending toward him potentially playing this season. “I know KD is taking the rehab process ultra-serious. He wants to come back as soon as it’s appropriate, and healthy and the right decision for him, and then also subsequently that would also be the right decision for,” said Dinwiddie, who points out that even a slightly-diminished Durant could still be a superstar. “The beautiful part about this is, the man is 7-foot and one of the best shooters of all time. At worst you get Dirk [Nowitzki], and Dirk was a monster. So we’re ready for him to come back whenever he wants to and whenever he’s ready to do so, and we know that he’s going to be a phenomenal major piece of our roster.”

Kevin Durant back this season?

Though Nets GM Sean Marks refused to rule Durant out for the season, the feeling within the league is trending toward him potentially playing this season. “I know KD is taking the rehab process ultra-serious. He wants to come back as soon as it’s appropriate, and healthy and the right decision for him, and then also subsequently that would also be the right decision for,” said Dinwiddie, who points out that even a slightly-diminished Durant could still be a superstar.

“The beautiful part about this is, the man is 7-foot and one of the best shooters of all time. At worst you get Dirk [Nowitzki], and Dirk was a monster. So we’re ready for him to come back whenever he wants to and whenever he’s ready to do so, and we know that he’s going to be a phenomenal major piece of our roster.” New Nets CEO David Levy told The Post that Durant’s comeback is something the team could even chronicle. “When you start thinking about the Kevin Durant comeback story and filming that, just opportunities,” Levy said.

John Wall: I don’t like to talk about other team doctors or whatever, but if you watched Kevin, the whole time before he played that Game 5, if you watch where he was icing at, or when he had his injury, I know what a calf strain is like. I know what an Achilles injury is like. When you look back like that, I knew it was an Achilles injury from the start. I can’t diagnose what those doctors said. But if you look where he was icing his leg, it was the Achilles the whole time. I had a teammate, Sheldon Mac, that tore his Achilles the same way and once he made that same move, I knew exactly what it was. I talk to Kevin all the time. We’re great friends. He’s doing great. He’s taking his time, I guess. I don’t know. I just wish him the best. He’s one of those guys, if he has the Achilles or not, it’s not going to affect him, I feel, because he can score at all levels.

Kevin Durant seems to be making great progress — because the NBA superstar was out in Los Angeles on Wednesday … cruisin’ around the restaurant scene WITHOUT crutches! Remember, Durant tore his right Achilles on June 12 during Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals … but the recovery is expected to be so tough, he could miss the entire 2019-20 season. Which is why we were so impressed when we saw KD walking out of Catch restaurant in L.A. — sure, there was a little hitch in his giddy up … but overall, he was moving pretty well.

Now Jordan is talking about not only his new team, but also his old friend — and how Durant is recovering from his ruptured Achilles, arguably the most-watched body part in New York City. “We’ve got a lot of talent on this team,” Jordan told Gothamist during a promotional event Wednesday at a Dunkin’ in Midtown Manhattan. “You know obviously Kevin had a tough injury, he’s going to be out for a while, but he’s progressing great, he’s recovering fast, we’ll be even better when we get him back and healthy.”

Durant’s familiarity and comfort level with the Nets medical staff was a major determining factor in him ultimately signing a deal to come to Brooklyn. While most critics are scoffing at the thought of Durant seeing the hardwood this upcoming season, according to Weinfeld, Durant’s chances are exceedingly better than that of injured Wizards star John Wall’s. “A point guard plays a different kind of game than Kevin Durant does,” noted Dr. Weinfeld. “An explosive type athlete, his demand is different than that of Kevin Durant’s. You talk about odds of coming back to where he was, I think Durant’s odds are better than an athlete like John Wall whose whole game is quickness and explosiveness. He [Wall] counts much more on those muscles being exactly where they need to be as opposed to a player like Durant and his style.

While many expect not to see either Wall or Durant until the 2020-2021 season, Dr. Weinfeld is confident that Durant can return to the player fans saw lead the Warriors to two championships, three straight finals appearances, and dominate the NBA as a two-time Finals MVP and league MVP. “I think he’ll probably be somewhere between 90 and 100 percent,” stated Dr. Weinfeld. “That’s my thought assuming everything goes smoothly and he doesn’t have any setbacks I think you can expect somehwere in the 90 to 100 percent range.”
9 months ago via ESPN

Marks, though, refused to speculate about when Durant could potentially return to the court. “He will be evaluated with the performance team and so forth,” Marks said. “I think a timeline will be given in due time, but as of now, we’re certainly not going to comment on when or if and make any sort of hypotheticals. It’s too early.” Both Nets leaders were also asked about the process of integrating Irving — who is coming off a tumultuous season in Boston — into the mix in Brooklyn.

A leading Achilles expert, Dr. Anish Kadakia, of Northwestern University, has reviewed studies showing 85% of NBA players who suffer Achilles tendon ruptures don’t last more than two seasons after their return. According to Kadakia, 68% return and 32% never play again. Further, it takes until the second season back for the player to return to his normal ability, taking into consideration “aged matched controls,” he said. “Very few players play past two seasons,’’ Kadakia told The Post. “Two seasons and that’s it. But after two years and you’re still playing, studies show you’ll be as good as you’d be as if you didn’t rupture — factoring in decline with age. You probably haven’t lost anything but time. But in three years, it’s not the same Durant from three weeks ago.”

In explaining why Durant won’t be the same sniper in 2020-21, Kadakia said it’s jumping and speed. The surgically repaired leg regains just 95 percent of the power of the healthy leg. “When you shoot, you jump,” he said. “You’re jump is off because you don’t have as much power in one leg than the other. You play your whole career based on how much height and quick reaction you get when you want to shoot. Some can’t do that anymore, no longer able to push off like you were before. “And speed is heavily affected, making the quick cut. You lose a little of that power, when you want to push off as hard as you want. An elite athlete losing 5 percent power makes big difference.’’

Questions that linger over whether the strained calf led to the Achilles injury, and if the Golden State Warriors made him aware of that possibility, remain unanswered. But the indication from several league sources is that Durant is not happy with the team, and the presumption is that it stems from whatever role Warriors officials played in his decision to suit up. Coach Steve Kerr says he was told Durant could not further injure himself by playing, which obviously proved not to be true. If Durant was told the same, it would give credence to the notion that, as one league executive claims, “He’s really pissed off at the Warriors.”

ESPN’s Jay Williams, a Durant friend and a partner with Durant’s manager Rich Kleiman on “The Boardroom’’ told The Post it’s too early for the Warriors superstar to figure out what the injury means for his free-agent future. Williams has spoken with Durant since the devastating injury. “I think Kevin right now is still trying to deal with post-surgery,’’ Williams said Tuesday at a Madison Avenue Draft event. “That’s his first and foremost thing. You do what you do to your Achilles on that stage, it takes a minute to recalibrate. You can’t just go back to business. But Kevin has to make the best decision for Kevin. I’ve told him that. Rich Kleiman has told him that.”

In the past, Williams was outspoken in wondering if the Knicks were a good fit for Zion Williamson because of owner James Dolan. But Williams, a Jersey product, declined to weigh in on Durant’s fit as a Knick. “Kevin coming back (in Game 5) shows he’s kind of like the people’s champ,’’ Williams said. “He always wants to win no matter what. He’ll sacrifice his body. I think it’s now time for Kevin to do what’s in the best interest of Kevin Durant.’’

On average, a post-Achilles player misses 10 games a year after he returns to action. And a high percentage of post-Achilles players suffer a significant soft-tissue injury in their first year back, as Cousins did. That could be anything from a hamstring strain to a sports hernia to a quad or calf strain. “He’s not going to be an 82-game-a-year guy,” said a doctor working for another NBA team. “I always say that they can be the same player in smaller doses. So, fewer minutes, fewer games. You will see flashes. The sustained greatness is really, really tough.”

Second, did this mark the end of the Warriors’ dynasty? Not only do the Warriors have questions about Thompson. Kevin Durant is recovering from a surgically repaired right Achilles tendon. The Warriors otherwise have limited purchasing power and a No. 28 pick to bolster their team. Nonetheless, Thompson said that “Klay and Kevin will both be back to wreak havoc among the league.” Thompson also added “the Warriors are far from done.” As for Durant’s free agency? “I always have faith he’ll stay. This is the second-best organization you can play for. Of course, you know what the best one is,” said Thompson who played for the Showtime Lakers and remains a radio analyst for the team’s flagship station. “Why leave a great situation like Golden State? These guys are still going to be championship contenders for years to come.”

“Even though Golden State had some tough injuries the last game and this game, they showed how much heart they have,” Raptors center Marc Gasol said. “What it means to be a championship team. They didn’t make any excuses. They kept playing.” Afterward, Warrior Stephen Curry sat at his locker appearing to be more pained about the team’s injuries than its three-peat hopes and days at Oracle Arena coming to an end. Most of his concern centered on the health of his fellow All-Stars Durant and Thompson. “It’s not good. Klay and KD are two dudes who are supposed to be walking into the best summer of their lives,” Curry told The Undefeated. “It was taken away from them just like that. It’s tough. It is tough. Two really good dudes.”

Almost half of 44 NBA players who ruptured Achilles tendons over the past three decades were unable to return or play more than 10 games upon returning to the league, according to a study presented this year to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. Those players who did return were “unable do so so at their pre-injury level, as evidence by the observed decline in PER,’’ according to the study set to be published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine. But researchers said Durant’s exceptional ability bodes well for his recovery. “It’s hard to be definitive because everybody’s so unique,’’ said Brett Owens, an orthopedic surgeon and lead author of the study presented this year to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. “But what we have seen in other sports is the skill level of the player really tends to bode well for their ability to return.’’

Durant, Leonard and Davis are the three best players available and are the only three stars the Clippers are actively pursuing. The Clippers are firmly in contention for Leonard and/or Durant, but Durant’s torn Achilles in Game 5 of the NBA Finals on Monday night — as well as Leonard’s Finals run with the Raptors and Davis’ recently revised trade list — has somewhat clouded the offseason forecast. That is compounded by the fact that missing out on the stars they want will not force the Clippers into a reactionary decision — be it a signing or trade — this offseason, league sources told The Athletic.

Kevin Durant: What’s good everybody I wanted to update you all: I did rupture my Achilles. Surgery was today and it was a success, EASY MONEY. My road back starts now! I got my family and my loved ones by my side and we truly appreciate all the messages and support people have sent our way. Like I said Monday, I’m hurting deeply, but I’m OK. Basketball is my biggest love and I wanted to be out there that night because that’s what I do. I wanted to help my teammates on our quest for the three peat. Its just the way things go in this game and I’m proud that I gave it all I physically could, and I’m proud my brothers got the W. It’s going to be a journey but I’m built for this. I’m a hooper. I know my brothers can get this Game 6, and I will be cheering with dub nation while they do it.

But Kerr did make one thing clear: The Warriors, he said, were of the belief the only risk being taken was related to the calf itself – not the Achilles. “When we gathered all the information, our feeling was the worst thing that could happen would be a re-injure of the calf,” Kerr said. “That was the advice and the information that we had. At that point, once Kevin was cleared to play, he was comfortable with that, we were comfortable with that. So the Achilles came as a complete shock. I don’t know what else to add to that, other than had we known that this was a possibility, that this was even in the realm of possibility, there’s no way we ever would have allowed Kevin to come back.

The emerging narrative Kevin Durant had his ruptured right Achilles tendon repaired by a New York surgeon in spite of the Warriors’ medical staff is bogus, according to one local doctor who watched the tragic injury unfold from afar. “I knew he was coming [to New York],” said New Jersey foot and ankle orthopedic surgeon Andrew Brief, who has known Dr. Martin O’Malley for over a decade. O’Malley performed what Durant called on Instagram a “successful” surgery to repair the tear Wednesday. “I mean, O’Malley operated on him before [2015 foot surgery],” Brief said. “He’s a repeat customer. That was the way it was going to go the moment it happened.”

In a chat with The Undefeated, Gay said he reached out to Durant and touched on what the Warriors All-Star has ahead of him in his rehab process. “He hit me back and was appreciative,” Gay told The Undefeated over the phone from Milan. “We will have a conversation soon.” “The biggest thing is finding your rhythm and knowing your body,” said Gay, who will be a free agent again this summer. “As long as you can continue to heal and get your rhythm back, the only thing that will be new is figuring out your body.”

One thing that Barea said Durant can without question expect is a long, arduous and at times boring grind that will not end for Durant until sometime in 2020. “I’m five months into it,” the 34-year-old guard said. “I’m basically coming in everyday from 9 to 12 in the morning and I do weights, then do court work and then go back to weights. But I’m basically doing it all on the court already. I’m doing pick-and-rolls, floaters, 3-point shots, a little bit of conditioning. I feel great.”

Warriors to offer Kevin Durant a max contract?

Multiple league sources told Yahoo Sports that they expect the Warriors to still offer Kevin Durant a max extension, regardless of the injury. The only argument against doing so is the commitment to a player who may never be the same. Then again, the alternative is alienating Durant further by offering anything less than the full max and potentially losing him with no sufficient alternative in free agency for 2020 and beyond.
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March 28, 2020 | 7:34 pm EDT Update
Ballmer also talked about some of the efforts the Clippers have made to help out arena employees that have been impacted by the stoppage of play. “We’re being diligent about continuing to pay our employees,” he said. “We’re trying to take care of our smaller vendors. We had a t-shirt vendor we had $100,000 committed to for playoff t-shirts. I think it’s important that we pay that money, put it down now, and see what can happen over time since we are in a better position.”
The Atlanta Hawks through the Hawks Foundation and State Farm are providing support and resources to deliver meals for the frontline workers treating COVID-19 patients at Emory Healthcare through an innovative multi-week meal program that will bolster the Atlanta restaurant community, allowing local well-known restaurants to re-employ workers who were recently laid off or furloughed due to the financial effects of the COVID-19 situation.
March 28, 2020 | 5:45 pm EDT Update
J.B. Bickerstaff hasn’t been tested for coronavirus. No one in the Cavaliers organization has. He said all of his players are healthy and asymptomatic. “I don’t feel any effects. My kids are good. My wife is good. I feel like the people who need the test should use the test and they should be the ones getting tested,” Bickerstaff said. “At this point, I’m comfortable with where we are and the steps that we have taken to protect ourselves.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
There are deeper concerns. Health, safety, quality of life. More important things to consider. But there are also 17 games on the Cavs’ schedule. Bickerstaff was hoping to capitalize on that time. He still is. “I would hope to play the final 17 games to be honest with you,” he said. “Where we are and how important that is to us as a team in building and the taste it can leave as we go into what would have been a summer break — guys wanting to go out, work, prepare and get better because they start to see some things heading in the right direction. That momentum I think was going to be and would be important for us.”
Does Bickerstaff, who has been in the NBA since 2004, have any guess on what will happen? “Not at all. I know they will be relentless in their effort to do what’s best by everybody,” Bickerstaff said. “By everybody, it’s not just the teams that are involved, but all of our fans. Sports have always been a release for everybody. You have a tough day at work or whatever, you can come home, watch the Cavs and lose yourself for two and a half hours in that. This point in time, with all the stuff going on, I think it would speak volumes when it gets back. I think it will be a celebration. Make a huge impact on people’s lives.”
Juventus sporting director Fabio Paratici predicts that soccer could take a page from the NBA and execute more trades as opposed to buying and selling players. With teams potentially missing out on millions of dollars on TV deals, prize money, ticket and merchandise sales and more, trading may be the most economical option for teams to modify their squads. “There will be lots of trades, a situation that will bring football closer to the NBA,” Paratici told TuttoSport.
March 28, 2020 | 2:41 pm EDT Update
MT: Just a hypothetical here, but what if the standings are frozen and things go right to playoffs. How would that work from a physical standpoint, depending on how much time passes? Figure you’d need some kind of warm-up games? Green: For sure. I don’t think that’d be fair to just have teams dive right into the playoffs. I think we’d need at least five games of the regular season to just get us our flow back. Get our legs back under us, get some kind of rhythm, get our chemistry, get our team back. I don’t know if it’s preseason-type games or scrimmages, but at least five or six games under our belt to get back into team form.
Storyline: Coronavirus
March 28, 2020 | 2:12 pm EDT Update
When the Pistons learned Wood had tested positive for the coronavirus, they were thoroughly briefed by the hospital regarding the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) laws, which protect the privacy of patients. “That’s why we were so mystified when it leaked out,” Casey said of a report in The Athletic. “Christian was upset his name got out there. He didn’t release it. And the worst part was it got out before Christian even had a chance to tell his mom.
Storyline: Coronavirus Positives
“I was very unhappy about that. I told our staff, ‘This is unprofessional. This can’t happen again.’ It was so unfair to our player.” Casey said Pistons owner Tom Gores and vice chairman Arn Tellem were proactive in making arrangements for the teamwide quarantine, setting up daily phone calls with a physician so players could have their questions answered, providing the option for players to have meals delivered to their doors, and making mental health experts available to anyone who was feeling anxious about the virus and its ramifications. They also recorded temperatures twice daily from each player.
Most of them do not have their own courts in their homes, so conditioning is the focus for the moment, Casey said. “If you think about it,” Casey said, “this is the first time in these guys’ lives that no gym is available to them. They don’t have access to any state-of-the-art NBA facilities, no college gyms, no high school gym, no health clubs. It will be a challenge for all of us to get everyone reengaged mentally go back and play.”
March 28, 2020 | 1:16 pm EDT Update
Ewing has been asked about it in the past, and he always said he holds Oakley in high standards while not wanting to discuss his personal matters. However, he does want the bug squashed soon. “Whatever is going on with him and Mr. Dolan, like I’ve said before, it’s something that needs to stop,” Ewing told ESPN Radio on The Bart and Hahn Show. “He’s one of the best players that I’ve played with. He’s a part of the Knicks’ history. He and Mr. Dolan need to get in a room somewhere and figure that out.”
Kwatinetz said that he and Ice Cube, the other Big3 co-founder and hip hop mogul, are “probably just a few days away” from finalizing various logistics to ensure the tournament is broadcast globally. That includes resuming talks with potential broadcast partners, calculating the show’s budget and the tournament’s rules and schedule. Kwatinetz said he has fielded interest “far in excess” for the potential 16 players. Former NBA players will mostly represent that field, but Kwatinetz said he wants to “include at least one or two of the best female players.” Part of that hinges on the WNBA schedule. It will hold a virtual draft on April 17 and said it remains on schedule with the beginning of training camp (April 26) and the season opener (May 15). The WNBA might change its itinerary, though, depending on if it is considered safe to resume business.
Storyline: Coronavirus
None of the professional sports leagues have any certainty on when they can resume play. Not with the coronavirus outbreak growing by the day. That has not inhibited the Big3, however, from making plans for its fourth season, a pre-season tournament and even a reality show. The 3-on-3 basketball league partnered with media production company Endemal, which has produced the highly-rated reality show “Big Brother,” to create a quarantined reality show and a three-week pre-season tournament starting the first week of May. Big3 also plans to open its fourth season of its 12-team league on June 20 in Memphis. “We can’t control what happens with the virus. Nobody can control it,” Big3 co-founder Jeff Kwatinetz told USA TODAY Sports. “If that has to be pushed back a week or two, that’s possible. But we feel pretty good about being able to be up and running in May.”
March 28, 2020 | 12:43 pm EDT Update
“So that game when we playing against Kobe, I was begging our medical staff to play in that game,” recounts Irving. “Kobe had 42 points that game and he guaranteed that he was gonna give us 40. So I get it at the top of the key, I hear the crowd and the crowd was like; they;re all erupting silently. They’re like: ‘oh!!’ and everybody starts clapping like: ‘oh yeah!’ and it[s at the top of the key. Now what does that remind you of? Back in the city, back in Jersey, when you get in that moment, this is your time. So I get at the top of the key and I make a move, he stutters for a minute and I spin. When I spun, this dude was waiting for that and he punched that shit. He punched it, he punched it bro.”
Irving then broke down what made the Black Mamba’s game and his life special: “Kobe was the essence of seeing somebody there who you couldn’t believe was so smooth and so sharp and sound and fundamental,” said Irving. “My dad used to pause the games and he used to have me sit there and rewatch Kobe’s footwork and I used to sit back time after time in my computer room and watch Youtube highlights of Kobe and just highlights of him for hours.”
“It was windy and all types of (expletive) was going through my head. I look up at the boat and I see ‘Bron jump off the boat like he’s MacGyver,” Anthony said. “He jumped off the boat into the water. He was bringing me back with one arm. He’s swimming with one arm and he’s carrying me with the other arm.” “Yo, Bron, I appreciate that. You saved my life that day. Them little flippers wasn’t working for me.”
March 28, 2020 | 11:00 am EDT Update
This is supposedly his farewell before retiring after 17 seasons in the NBA. The circumstances haven’t allowed it to enter his mind, especially the past two weeks. The league has been suspended since March 11 because the coronavirus outbreak, so Haslem’s finale has been put on hold. “Yeah, I mean, everybody, obviously, it comes to mind,” Haslem said on a conference call Friday. “For me, I’m still maintaining hope that we can salvage some of the basketball season. So I haven’t gotten to that point yet. And in the midst of all this, there is a lot going on. So I’m focused on a lot of different things right now that are keeping me occupied, as far as not really thinking about what’s going to happen as far as my last basketball game.”
Storyline: Udonis Haslem Retirement?
LeBron James has an unusual gift. He has a photographic memory that allows him to remember the location of all ten players on the court in each moment of a 48-minute game. “I’ve always had it,” James told Sports Illustrated. ” A lot of my friends when I was younger playing the game, they were like, ‘Man, how did you remember that play? Or how did you remember that? It was so long ago.’ I never thought about it. I didn’t even know what photographic memory meant when I was younger until I got older. It’s something that I was born with or blessed with.”
“There’s a lot of people in the league with LeBron’s body,” Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers said. “There’s no one in the league with his brain.” James sees things before anyone else. He has an encyclopedic knowledge of every player in the league and their tendencies. He knows where his teammates should be, and how their defenders will likely react. “He knows everybody,” Quinn Cook said. “He could be last guy on the bench on the team, but he knows he’s left-handed, he’s a shooter, don’t go under him, he’s a driver, stuff like that. He pays attention to the game, he watches the game and he studies. He helps us get prepared just with his voice.”
Lakers’ assistant coach Jason Kidd, who was a 10-time All-Star during his 19 seasons in the league, defined “basketball IQ” as having an all-encompassing grasp of the game. “I think it entails understanding time and score, understanding your opponent, understanding your teammates and understanding yourself,” Kidd said. “It’s kind of like a movie, but playing at fast forward. I think he plays the game that way in the sense of anticipating what’s next. And when you have a high basketball IQ, you understand what’s going to happen next before anybody else does.”
March 28, 2020 | 5:09 am EDT Update

Gordon Hayward opting in?

Around the league, front-office executives say they expect that Hayward will opt-in. “It’s too much money to pass up,” one general manager told Heavy.com. “He could get a longer deal if that is what he really wants. But I don’t think the Celtics want to give it to him, they have a lot of young guys to pay and the starting (salary) number on whatever the contract is will not be close to $34 million. He can opt in this year and then take a big contract next year. When you look at what he has done since his injury, he has only gotten better. He could get better next year and be ready for the summer of 2021.”
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Another front-office executive, from the Western Conference, told Heavy.com that even before the coronavirus forced the NBA into a suspended season, he expected that free-agent conditions will give Hayward an easy decision. The only X-factor is whether Hayward has an agreement in place with the Celtics to opt-out and sign a longer deal. “There wasn’t going to be a whole lot of free-agent money on the market this summer no matter what,” he said. “That was always going to make it difficult to figure out how to opt-out and get paid. He could do that and re-sign with the Celtics and there may already be a handshake deal for something like that. I don’t know for sure but it would not surprise me.

Storyline: Jamal Crawford Free Agency
One young NBA player sent him a video of his apartment complex’s fitness room. Not an option, Payne told him, strongly discouraging him from using that space due to concerns of infection. To try to compensate, Payne has been on the phone with players’ agents working to get his clients the athletic equipment they need during the layoff. At the top of the list are home-friendly TRX resistance bands and stationary bikes “where they’re able to get some hard cardio in without disturbing the people under them.”
The longtime NBA announcer and analyst joined her ESPN colleague Adrian Wojnarowski on his podcast, The Woj Pod, to share her journey, from symptoms to recovery, as the new coronavirus pandemic continues to spread across the United States and the rest of the world. “I cannot begin to express to you the feeling of gratitude that I have for health,” she told Wojnarowski. “And I just want people to know, it’s important to social distance and to continue to function with all good practices of hand washing, wiping down surfaces, whatever your trusted medical professionals are telling you, please, please follow those.”
“You’re aware of the shortage of tests, and you have that moral dilemma as a person,” she said. “[But] obviously our job requirement is such that we are on airplanes where we hear people cough and sneeze. We are in incredibly close proximity. The month prior to that game on March 11 happened to be a particularly hectic one for me travel-wise. “I was not spending very much time in my apartment here in the Philly area. So, I just thought, I started to believe, even though my symptoms did not seem to line up with the typical symptoms, I believed, given the nature of my profession, the number of people I encounter, that I did in fact have exposure to the virus.”
In a podcast with RocketsWire on Friday afternoon, Houston Rockets CEO Tad Brown expressed optimism that the NBA will be able to resume its 2019-20 season following its coronavirus-induced shutdown. “First and foremost, we’re going to rely on the health professionals to tell us when it’s safe, and tell us the path on how to move forward for it to be safe for our players, for our coaches, and for the people who are involved in those games,” Brown told RocketsWire.
“We’re going to come through the other side,” Brown said Friday. I can honestly say Tilman has been fantastic with me, with our staff, with everything that we’re doing while under a significant amount of stress.” “He’s given me and Daryl [Morey] the directive to continue to handle things the way that we’ve always had to handle things during times of crisis like this. Tilman has been fantastic with the Rockets and Toyota Center organizations, and really supporting us in that endeavor.”
Storyline: Season Suspension