Storyline: Season Resuming?

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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.”

“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.

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.”

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.”

“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.”

“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps,” Cuomo said. “I believe sports that can come back without having people in the stadium, without having people in the arena, do it! Do it! Work out the economics if you can. We want you up. We want people to be able to watch sports to the extent people are still staying home. It gives people something to do. It’s a return to normalcy. So we are working and encouraging all sports teams to start their training camps as soon as possible, and we’ll work with them to make sure that can happen.”

The individual risk tolerance that Silver and the players are mulling has collective consequences. One player’s willingness to take a chance ups the risk for the colleagues he is in contact with, and the NBA’s collective decision-making affects the communities around them. Disney World, nestled between Orlando and Kissimmee, is surrounded on all sides by smaller towns and municipalities, where players could contract and spread the coronavirus for days before tests pick it up. The rate of false negatives, depending on the timing and type of tests, falls somewhere between 5 and 25 percent.

Any return to play must also come with a green light from the N.B.A. players’ union. A spokeswoman for the union did not immediately respond to a request for comment. It is also unclear what the logistics of such a return would be, such as how many, if any, fans would be allowed into an arena for games, how freely players would be allowed to move around or what kind of testing would take place. The games would almost assuredly be run without fans in the stands, as has been the case for some other recent sporting events in golf and soccer. Any return to play would also have added risks for players or team personnel who have underlying health conditions, or for people over 65, a group that includes three head coaches.

At least one player, Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie, has raised one of the issues the league and the union will have to navigate if the league, as some have suggested, returns and goes straight to the playoffs. “If we go 16 teams directly to playoffs do those teams get paid more for the risk and carrying this years revenue after Corona and China?” Dinwiddie, who is not the designated players’ union representative for the Nets, posted on Twitter, referring to the loss of revenue from the league’s rift with the Chinese government.

But while front offices will likely lobby for the proposals that make the most sense for their respective teams, the ultimate decision on what is best for the league as a whole falls to commissioner Silver, though that is also dictated by advice from public health professionals. Granted, there are still many details to iron out — issues such as availability of tests for COVID-19, how hermetic a “bubble” would have to be to reduce the likelihood of new infections and how many players/coaches/staff from each team would be allowed to attend are still to be determined — and a spike in cases as states start to loosen stay-at-home restrictions, or any significant change in how the COVID-19 pandemic is playing out in the United States, could derail even the best laid plans. But after over two months of uncertainty regarding the resumption of the NBA season, we’re finally starting to get some answers.

The NBA has entered into exploratory conversations with the Walt Disney Company about restarting the remainder of its season at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, in late July, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said Saturday. “The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing, Bass said. “Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place.”

NBA sends survey regarding options to restart the 2019-20 season

The NBA has sent a survey to its 30 general managers regarding competition formats for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, sources told The Athletic. This continues the NBA’s process of gathering information and input from its organizations prior to a restart amid the coronavirus pandemic. GMs received the survey late Friday night, which included polling on whether the NBA should do a play-in tournament, the preferred number of teams to enter the playing site and the preferred number of scrimmages or regular-season games prior to the playoffs.

GMs will be able to vote on a series of scenarios, The Athletic has learned. Season formats for consideration: — Advance directly to playoffs: (16 teams, four rounds, best-of-seven series) with postseason teams based on standings as of March 12 — A “Playoffs Plus” option: Expanding the number of teams with the opportunity to play, either through holding a play-in tournament to determine the final seed(s) in playoffs, to be played by “bubble teams” or replacing the first round of the playoffs with a group stage.

“You’ve just got to be very cautious and very careful about everything, and I don’t think you can take anything for granted,” said Alvin Gentry, 65, the coach of the New Orleans Pelicans. He is one of three N.B.A. head coaches who are 65 or older. When the N.B.A. abruptly suspended play on March 11, Larry Nance Jr. of the Cleveland Cavaliers feared he was done for the season, no matter what. Nance, 27, learned in high school that he had Crohn’s disease, which is often treated with medication that can put users at higher risk of infections.

Some teams have considered setting up temporary training camps at interim stops prior to arriving at Disney World in Orlando, where Eastern Conference teams expect they’ll be stationed to complete the season, sources said. Twenty-one of the league’s practice facilities are open for voluntary workouts, but most players on the Knicks and Nets haven’t returned to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, New York. In most instances, front office executives say, they’re unable to get players to return to their markets to start preparing for the season’s resumption without the commissioner announcing that the season will be resumed.

On Thursday’s call, the league was vague in detailing several resumption scenarios still under consideration, including a modified 30-team regular-season schedule directly to the playoffs, pool-play rounds of a play-in tournament and play-in models with less than 30, but more than 16 teams, sources said. Several members of the league’s Board of Governors believe that the league preference isn’t to bring every team to resume the season, but remains undecided. First, the fewer teams, the fewer people at risk to spread or contract COVID-19. Also, with little chance to play more than five-to-seven regular season games, a month of preparation seems like an excessive investment for teams at the bottom of the standings. And the idea of rewarding the league’s very worst teams in a play-in tournament has been met with scant enthusiasm.

“I didn’t envision it going exactly this way as far as enhancing our reputation as the [No. 1] sports destination in the country, but we would certainly be excited about hosting both the NBA and/or MLS for their seasons or partial seasons,” Dyer said during a radio interview Friday on 96.9-FM and 740-AM. “I’ve had communications with both and they have similar criteria. They’re going to pick somewhere to reopen where they have acceptance from the state and local government; they need facilities availability; and they need the availability of rapid [COVID-19] testing. I think we fit in all three of those categories.”

Former Thomas & Mack Center director Daren Libonati said he believes Las Vegas would be an ideal location for the resumption of the NBA season, but noted that it has its challenges. “Your biggest challenge, the biggest spoke in the wheel, would be transportation, getting your people from venue to venue and creating a schedule that is organized,” said Libonati, who has 33 years of experience working in local sports an entertainment. “But … that’s what makes us probably the sexiest city in the world,” he added. “We have the ability to flip a switch and change our venues.”
3 days ago via ESPN

Concerns of testing capacity and perception in the initial weeks have shifted to issues of protocol — the league’s position has been to closely watch other sports return to action, learn from what has gone well and adapt that information to suit its needs. Dr . Vivek Murthy has spoken to league leaders and team owners, and, informally, to others across sports who confidentially contact him. The questions are all of the same ilk: When can fans return to games? How should they respond if someone tests positive? How often should they test athletes or staffers? How should they safely keep distance between staffers and players?
3 days ago via ESPN

“Look, there is a nonzero risk to players that being infected with COVID-19 could lead to major complications,” Murthy says. “It depends obviously on their health and preexisting conditions. The goal here is not to be alarmist and say that this is definitely going to have severe adverse effects on any NBA player who gets infected. That’s not the case. You know, most NBA players are young and healthy and the statistics say most of them would, would ultimately be OK.”

Would you be okay playing with or against a guy that you knew tested positive for COVID19?” “Curry: Oh that’d be tough. I mean, that’s one of the things that you’re having to address because that is a real scenario. If you try to play and there is no vaccine, there’s no way to really guarantee nobody’s going to get it. I think if you are at a place where everybody says yeah we’re ready to play and then they know what they’re committing to. And if not, it doesn’t make sense, then you won’t see a ball bounce.”


Ingles will take a wait-and-see approach to playing games if the season does start. “It’s not worth it,” Ingles, discussing practice at the Jazz facility, told Utah radio station 1280 The Zone last week. “I have a gym, I have everything I can do. As for basketball, it’s a bit more difficult, but I think that as we go ahead and find out more information about it, it will be easier to make a decision. But I am in no way willing to risk my children, and Renae, and everything else, to go play basketball.”

Throughout the hiatus, Milwaukee has continued to operate as if the organization will continue to play. The team is nursing the NBA’s best record (53-12), and the Greek Freak is itching to return to the court. “I have complete confidence that if there’s a way for us to return to basketball, return to play, in a healthy and safe manner, for our players and for the public and people that would be involved, that our league will figure out how to do it,” Jon Horst said. “Commissioner Silver is incredible.”

There has been some optimism over the possible return of the NBA after many teams recently reopened their practice facilities. The Los Angeles Lakers reopened theirs May 16, and while Rondo said he has yet to return, he hopes the league will return to action in a safe and healthy fashion soon. “I want to play. As a competitor, you want to play,” Rondo said. But he also wants to protect his family and the people around him. “Safety first, understanding that life. We can’t take it for granted, even though we are athletes who are some of the best people in shape as far as body and heart condition. But all it takes is one case where a body can’t fight off the virus.”
5 days ago via TSN

It sounds like the NBA has made some progress towards a return to play and maybe salvaging the season. What are you hearing from the players association and does it seem like it’s realistic? Fred VanVleet: “The crazy part is that everything we hear is out, you know what I mean? Like, there are no secrets really. There’s not much that you guys don’t know that we know. Obviously, we probably have a little bit more candid conversations in private. But, yeah, as of now what’s out there is about Orlando and Vegas and trying to get back and see what that would look like, try to get teams a couple weeks to get ready to play and then see what happens.”
5 days ago via TSN

Fred VanVleet: “So, I think the optimism, there’s some credence to it, but obviously we all know the challenges that we’re facing. I just think that the combination of there being so much money involved and 450 guys who live and die basketball, I think there are a lot of reasons to get back to playing. So, I think the motive is there, the want to play is there, the resources are there. It’s just a matter of figuring out how we can put it together in the right way where it’s safe and efficient. There’s gonna be risk regardless. There’s risk if you cancel the season and there’s risk if we get back together. But I think the league is just trying to assess those risks and make sure we’ve got all of our bases covered.”
5 days ago via TSN

What would you need to see implemented or changed for you to feel comfortable going back? Fred VanVleet: “If I’m there by myself I think I’m okay with it. Now, if my kids were there, or things like that, I would be a little bit more on guard. That’s just me speaking personally. I’m pretty at ease with it. I’m not letting it freak me out but I also, to my knowledge, don’t have any pre-existing medical conditions or anything like that. So, there are guys in the league that are probably going to have real concerns about the virus itself and I understand that, but I think for me personally I’m not in that boat, so to speak.:
5 days ago via TSN

Fred VanVleet: “I think as long as they’re doing their due diligence and it’s not just a money play, where it’s like, ‘Okay, let’s get back to play because we have all this money we need to make up.’ I know that’s probably one of the factors but as long as there are real guidelines in terms of what we’re doing from a health standpoint, which I feel there is, I think that I’ll be okay with it. And if not, I’ve accepted it. I think we’ve been on break long enough to where I’m pretty open-minded to any idea that gets us back playing, you know what I’m saying? I wouldn’t be heartbroken if they cancelled the season because I understand all of the things that go into it, but I definitely wanna get back out there.”
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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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