Storyline: Trevor Booker Free Agency

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March 29, 2020 | 1:42 pm EDT Update
We talked about how much the game has changed, but are there any active players who sort of remind you of yourself? Theo Ratliff: Yeah, I think the guy we, the Hawks, just acquired: Clint Capela. He definitely mirrors my mentality and approach to the game. He’s not a guy who really worries about being a major part of the offense, but he’s always looking to help his teammates by blocking shots and rebounding the ball.
In today’s NBA, big men are being forced to evolve and the Houston Rockets are even going away from centers entirely. What are your thoughts on how the NBA is changing? Theo Ratliff: I think the game has definitely changed. Back in my day, everything was kind of based on the big man being dominant in the post. With the evolution of analytics and their calculations that have people shooting more three-pointers and more layups and not really focusing on their mid-range game or post-ups, it has really changed the game. Plus, you have so much more open space now and you can’t armbar guys, you can’t check guys who are coming down the middle and different things of that nature. It opens up the lanes so much because they’re taking so much away as far as what the defense can do.
You have the 22nd-most blocks in NBA history. You need to have great timing and instincts to be an elite shot-blocker. Can you teach those things or is it one of those things where you either have it or you don’t? Theo Ratliff: Oh, you can definitely develop it. It’s all about muscle memory and timing and visualization. I was just talking to a guy today about how to master whatever it is that you do and it’s all about visualization – seeing things before they happen. Also, doing a lot of studying of other players and their tendencies, where the ball will be in certain offenses, who likes to drive versus who likes to post and different things in the game that help you visualize how you’re going to play against that specific opponent and where you need to be to help.
Theo Ratliff: You’re talking about a tremendous competitor. To this day, I still don’t know how he did the things that he did and how he was able to push through certain injuries. When he sprained his ankle, it looked like he broke his ankle, but then he’d be right back out here. His will and determination and pain tolerance was right up there with Kobe. He was just able to will himself to do certain things. When we were down, we knew where to go. We’d find him, he’d find the ball, and he would just take over games. Just from his leadership on the floor, that helped us be at our best. We had a lot of guys who were just kind of journeyman guys who hadn’t really stepped out and came into their own when we came over to the Sixers to play alongside him – guys like Aaron McKie, Eric Snow, George Lynch. He helped push us and elevated our game and our status as NBA players. He’s a tremendous guy, a tremendous person as well. Very giving, very family-oriented. He takes his time, even to this day, to speak to your kids and give his story and talk about what he did and the ups and downs of his life. He’s just a tremendous individual.
But on March 14, a Saturday, there would be a party, in anticipation of Cain’s birthday three days later. Mom’s Cigar & Lounge Warehouse has a private room that can accommodate 70 people, and at that point there were no restrictions in New York on gatherings of that size. Mitul Shah, one of the owners, said that he had discussed canceling the party with Cain, and that they had decided to take extra precautions. There would be plenty of cleaning and sanitary wipes, employees would wear gloves, and nobody showing symptoms of a cold or flu would be admitted.
Storyline: Coronavirus
As he waited several days for the results, Cain learned that another person at the party had tested positive. When he got his own results back, on March 22, he spread the news again: Quarantine yourself and get tested. He did not know that, by then, Green was in the final throes of the virus. He had felt sick all week, mostly with a cough. When his fever spiked on March 20, he went to the hospital. He was tested for coronavirus, his family said, and was told the results would take some time. He went home. He lived alone. “I’m not going to lie,” he texted to his daughter, Bria Natalie Green, 26, one of his four grown children. “I was scared to death.”
Basketball legend Shaquille O’Neal skipped too many board meetings at Papa John’s International Inc. in his first term as a director and shouldn’t be re-elected, a major investor advisory firm said. O’Neal, the four-time National Basketball Association champion, attended less than 75% of the pizza company’s board and committee meetings over the last year, investment adviser Institutional Shareholder Services said in a Thursday report. Because of that record, ISS is asking investors vote against his re-election at the scheduled April 23 annual meeting — the only such recommendation among members of that board.
March 29, 2020 | 11:21 am EDT Update
Former Knicks star Stephon Marbury wants to deliver the Big Apple something it needs even more than an NBA title — 10 million N95 masks for hospital workers and other first responders handling the coronavirus pandemic. Marbury, who played in the NBA 14 years before moving overseas to become a legend in the Chinese Basketball Association, told The Post he’s made arrangements with a mask supplier in China willing to sell New York 10 million masks “at cost” for $2.75 each – well below the roughly $7.50 price tag N95s normally run the state.
Storyline: Coronavirus
“At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury said during a call from his Beijing home. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.” “I have family there in Coney Island, a lot of family … who are affected by this, so I know how important it is for people to have masks during this time.” With China now beginning to recover from the pandemic, Marbury’s mask contact has more N95s than that country currently needs, according to Brooklyn Borough Hall. The gear would be delivered 2 million at a time over five weeks.
Fernandez’s parents live with his grandmother in a 1,000-square-foot apartment in his native Badalona, in the far northeast corner of the country. Independent and healthy, his grandmother lived by herself until she was 88 years old. “You spend a lot of time outside all year ‘round, and right now that’s no longer allowed,” Fernandez said of Spain’s government-mandated shutdown. “They’re that part of the population that’s, they have a lot of risk because they’re older than 60, and my grandma is almost 90, and they all have had some sort of heart condition. Minor, but they’ve had it, so that’s one of the reasons that it’s scary.”
“I think you’re seeing all the police officers go into hospitals, using their sirens to say thank you to them, and a lot of people clapping at a certain time of the day just to support all those nurses and doctors,” Fernandez said. “That brings a country together. “When I see it from here, it’s tough because you’re so far away, and at the same time it’s concerning because we don’t know how it’s going to hit us here,” he said. “We would be fooling ourselves if we think that everything will be fine in two weeks.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
March 29, 2020 | 7:02 am EDT Update
New Knicks president Leon Rose wanted to examine the 26-year-old closely across the last 16 games as he enters free agency. That audition likely will get cut short with the season’s indefinite suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. “It was a chance for him to showcase to the Knicks and to see if he wanted to be here,’’ one NBA source told The Post. “He always wanted to be a Knick.’’
Storyline: Moe Harkless Free Agency
“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. “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.”
The French Basketball Federation announced that all the competitions for 2019-2020 that are held by the organization are canceled amid the coronavirus crisis. The only exception is the Women’s Basketball League for which a final decision will be taken on April 10. The French Federation organizes all basketball competitions in France except the French Jeel Elite League (the First Division championship), Pro B (the professional Second Division) and the Leaders Cup. This means that there won’t be a French Cup this season.
Storyline: Coronavirus
March 29, 2020 | 4:09 am EDT Update
For one, there’s a chance that with a reduced salary cap next season, players like Harrell and Morris might come at a cheaper price this offseason. The market was already bleak, and now it’s even bleaker. Meanwhile, the downside is the Clippers have no idea how their free agents fit into a championship picture. Each player has questions that make their future roles with the team murky.
Storyline: Marcus Morris Free Agency
Mitchell joined a live stream of Hart’s podcast on YouTube on Saturday, March 28. The Utah Department of Health cleared Mitchell of isolation on March 27, more than two weeks after he tested positive for the virus. “When I found out in the morning, that’s when it really hit me. Like ok, this is real and it mainly hit cause I didn’t know what it was. I was healthy,” said Mitchell. “I’m like, am I going to get symptoms? That was the scariest part. I can say that was the craziest thing in my life.
In text messages to several NBA players who were granted anonymity to speak freely, most told The Athletic they would either be eager to return to the court as soon as Silver summoned them, regardless of the virus, or at least when it was deemed safe for them to return. “I just don’t want to be a part of the spreading,” one NBA vet said. “The actual Corona doesn’t bother me. I’ve had the flu many times. But I want to do my part as a good citizen. As soon as that evolves from staying home to playing again, I’m in.”
Storyline: Season Suspension
Various ideas have been floated by players and executives. One is to consider using a sprawling casino property in Las Vegas, where everything could be held under one roof. Others have suggested playing in the Bahamas, where a ballroom could be converted into a playing court specifically for broadcast. There has even been talk of taking over a college campus in the Midwest, where reported cases of COVID-19 are lower for the moment.
Bryant Barr, Curry’s friend and former Davidson teammate who is also president of SC30, Inc., Curry’s company, saw Fauci doing an interview and a corresponding Twitter comment suggesting that Fauci should do one with a celebrity to engage a younger audience. LeBron James and Taylor Swift were among those recommended. But Barr knew the perfect guy. He convinced Curry to do it and coordinated with the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Long considered the con to drafting either of his sons, Ball addressed the idea that he is considered baggage for LaMelo. In an appearance on Pardon My Take, Ball offered one of a few brief moments of seriousness in a largely light-hearted, satirical interview. “No. I couldn’t be baggage. But here’s the thing. If you don’t take my son (based) on how you feel about me, he ain’t supposed to be there anyway. I’m not on the court. People like to make the narrative “Oh he put pressure on them.’ No, no, no. My sons wouldn’t be where they’re at without me.”
LJ Figueroa, the Red Storm’s leading scorer, announced his intentions on Saturday to enter the NBA draft while keeping his options open of returning to school for his senior year. In a press release, St. John’s said the 6-foot-6 wing isn’t going to hire an agent and sources close to Figueroa, who turned 22 on Saturday, told The Post he is making this decision to get evaluated by NBA executives and scouts.
There is a hope that the ultra-talented, often-injured Isaac will someday blossom into one of the greatest Magic players of all time, but he has already become one of the organization’s most benevolent. Just this week, Isaac teamed with his local church, J.U.M.P. Ministries, to partner with (ProjectLifeNow.org) to provide hot breakfasts and lunches five days a week for school-aged children in the Orlando. Many of these kids from disadvantaged backgrounds rely on free-or-reduced lunches to actually stay nourished during the week and Project Life plans to feed them throughout the coronavirus crisis.
Wade continued that thought and then offered his analysis of Curry. “He is the nicest person in the world,” Wade said. “But one of Steph’s greatest strengths that a lot of people … some people, but a lot of people don’t because they talk about all the threes and ball-handling is Steph never stops moving off the ball. You guys see when Steph gives the ball up, that’s when he’s his most dangerous. And that’s crazy to think, right? Because when he has the ball, he’s unguardable. “But when he does not have the ball, forget about it. He’s like Rip Hamilton and Ray Allen, those guys when it comes to conditioning and shape that he’s in and the way he’s able to run. That’s when he gets scary, when he gives the ball up.”
While the NBA is on hiatus, former Thunder star Russell Westbrook found time to wrap up some business back in Oklahoma. His single-story home, which he bought shortly after joining the team in 2008, just sold for $426,900. The nine-time All-Star, who now plays for the Houston Rockets, has purchased plenty of real estate since then. In 2015, he bought a Beverly Crest abode from Scott Disick for $4.65 million and upgraded again three years later, nabbing a Brentwood mansion near LeBron James for $19.75 million. This one’s a bit more modest at just over 3,000 square feet. It sits on a landscaped lot in Edmond, a suburban city a few miles north of the Thunder stadium.
Storyline: Real Estate
On the latest episode of “The Big Podcast with Shaq,” the Hall-of-Famer clarified his relationship with Joe Exotic, who is currently serving a 22-year prison sentence after being convicted of two counts of murder-for-hire, eight violations of the Lacey Act (which prohibits the trade of wildlife, fish and plants that have been illegally taken, possessed, transported or sold) and nine violations of the Endangered Species Act. According to O’Neal, he visited the zoo for the first time while traveling to a game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks. “So we go in there, and it’s a beautiful place, and the character that was there was Exotic Joe. We’re there and I dropped some donations for the tigers’ foods and all that. We take pictures with [the] tigers. We went back a couple times. “Then we go back another time and we found out that he’s involved with all the stuff, and then, actually, I stopped going.”
“I don’t harm tigers. I love tigers. I love white tigers. Do I put donations to these zoos to help these tigers out? I do it all the time. Do I own tigers personally at my house? No. But I love tigers. Listen, people are going to make their own opinions, but, again, I was just a visitor. I met this guy — not my friend. Don’t know him. Never had any business dealings with him, and I had no idea any of that stuff was going on.”
March 28, 2020 | 9:30 pm EDT Update
There may not be opportunities for individual workouts with teams ahead of the draft. The Portsmouth Invitational Tournament, a haven for middling prospects, has been canceled; the combine, where many of the top players are evaluated, remains in limbo. Teams will have to find different ways to do pre-draft assessments. “The whole league is watching video,” Pistons senior adviser Ed Stefanski told The Detroit News. “We’ve seen some (of the top prospects). Everyone has a bank of information on players, so we’re all in the same boat.”
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.