NBA Rumor: The Tournament

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Former No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet has re-entered unrestricted free agency after a teammate in The Basketball Tournament tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of the month. Thabeet, 33, was set to compete with the “Playing for Jimmy V” team during the annual tournament, but event rules mandate that any team who receives a positive test be disqualified from competing in the bracket any further. Thabeet tested negative for the coronavirus, a person with knowledge of the situation said.

With Major League Baseball scheduled to start play July 23 or 24, the NBA scheduled to resume play outside Orlando, Fla., July 30 and the NHL yet to determine its restart date, The Basketball Tournament will become a test case for the safety of spectator-free contact sports played in quarantined conditions, though its single-elimination format makes the comparison to leagues resuming regular seasons imprecise. Losing teams will depart immediately, without returning to the hotel. The maximum stay in Columbus is 14 days. “A single-elimination tournament eliminates so many ‘touch points,’ ” Jon Mugar, the tournament’s founder, said.

The Basketball Tournament, the 64-team, $2 million winner-take-all summer tournament entering its seventh season, will change the rules to reduce the chances of a game ending on free throws, tournament officials told ESPN. If a team commits a foul while in the bonus during the Elam Ending — which has teams play to a target score rather than to the end of a clock — the other team will get only one foul shot, rather than two, and retain possession of the ball, said Jonathan Mugar, TBT’s founder and CEO.

Welcome to The Basketball Tournament, where Chris Paul is listed as the coach of Team CP3 — and it doesn’t matter what that actually means. “Just, the way we operate, if my name is on it I’m going to be there,” Paul said after his team beat Power of the Paw, a Clemson alumni team, 73-68 in the second round of TBT. “I actually look forward to this. We called Jon (Adams) and were like, ‘Yo, we’re putting a team in the TBT.’ We said ‘we,’ it’s us, we, all of us as a family.”

Frederick Douglass High School’s gym will be awash in former Kentucky players this summer as one of eight regional sites for the $2 million “The Basketball Tournament” with DeMarcus Cousins recently announced as head coach for one of the teams. Cousins, who recently was announced as a nominee for the Kentucky Athletics Hall of Fame, was announced Wednesday as the coach of the Puma-sponsored Team Loyalty Is Love. Cousins is apparently the first announced member.

The Basketball Tournament, a winner-take-all event in which former pros and reunited college teams compete for $2 million, is expanding to China in a partnership with former NBA All-Star Yao Ming. Yao and Beijing Starz International Sports Management Co. will help launch a tournament next year in China, according to tournament co-founder Jon Mugar. The Chinese version will be modeled after the U.S. tournament, in which teams gain free entry through social-media support and the most active fans share in the prize money.

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