As coronavirus cases rise in different regions across the United States, commissioner Adam Silver has made clear that the league is monitoring the numbers as it prepares to head for Orlando. Silver has described to league executives on conference calls recently that his goal is for the Disney World campus to be the safest place in the U.S. “We have confidence in the plan that we’ve built,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told players and teams on a call this week, according to sources. “It was designed for this.”
Storyline: Coronavirus
TNT will look ahead to the NBA’s restart with a series of one-hour special editions of the Sports Emmy Award-winningInside the NBA presented by Kia and new NBA on TNT Tuesday Night studio shows starting Tuesday, July 7, at 8 p.m. ET. Inside the NBA’s Ernie Johnson, Charles Barkley, Kenny Smith and Shaquille O’Neal will be featured on Thursday nights, while Dwyane Wade, Candace Parker, O’Neal and Adam Lefkoe will appear on Tuesday nights. TNT’s Chris Haynes will report from Orlando.
Fultz, who is averaging 12.1 points and 5.2 assists this season, did not have access to the Magic’s practice facility, so he could not treat his various shoulder and knee ailments that had bothered him in recent seasons. Even though Fultz already plays in Orlando, where the NBA will host its resumed season, the Magic do not have any geographical advantage. “At first, I thought we were going to be able to stay at home so I was a little excited. But then I realized we were going to have stay in the bubble, too,” Fultz said. “I understand the reasons why. It’s something I’m consciously thinking about. But I think about other teams that have to fly in their state and where they are playing at to come to Orlando. It is something that none of us have been used to or ready for. I’ve been thinking about it like it’ll be an AAU tournament.”
Fournier believes the NBA’s safety protocols, which also include regular testing, should offer enough protection. “For the NBA to take such a risk by resuming the season, the measures will be maximum,” Fournier said. “They will make our lives easier so that we do not have to ask questions and make us feel safe every day.” Fournier is also reassured by NBA pledges to subject Disney World staff to additional testing. “That’s good,” he said. “Honestly at first, the measures planned for them were nonsense.”
Fournier also has sympathy with players who have raised concerns that the league’s restart could draw attention away from the nationwide protest movement against racism and police brutality following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd during his arrest by police in Minneapolis on May 25. “I understand those who don’t feel like playing because it could divert attention from this issue,” Fournier said. “But I believe we should use the restart of the season as an opportunity to be heard. “The whole world is going to watch us. I think the majority of players will come and we will all use this platform, the NBA, to get a big message out. It could be remarkable.”
But DeRozan is more likely to opt in with the Spurs. Among the likely free agents, there aren’t any five-alarm guys, but I do think Evan Fournier has a bit of a warning flag attached. He’s coming off a career year at 27 that featured shooting percentages far above his career norms, so he’s likely to regress. That would have a rebuilding Knicks team buying into a declining commodity. I have him projected at a $12.5 million value next season and likely to go further downward from there, and he’s going to get way more than that if he chooses free agency. (Fournier has a player option for $17.1 million.) He’s not a bad player, but he’s the wrong one for a team like the Knicks.
Storyline: DeMar DeRozan Free Agency
Orlando Magic guard Markelle Fultz is confident that the momentum NBA players have built in the fight for social justice can continue as the league looks to restart next month. “I think as long as we’re safe, this is something that we all need,” Fultz said of returning to play during a Monday conference call with reporters. “Basketball is a big part of a lot of people’s lives. Not just ours, but our families, people that just watch it. So I feel as though there’s two ways to this path of the NBA returning. But I feel as though we can make it the best of both worlds, as long as we’re doing everything that we can do for not only ourselves but standing up for what’s right in this world.”
Once the Orlando operation is up and running, the league and the NBPA will decide what to do about the eight teams that aren’t taking part (Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Detroit, Atlanta, Minnesota, Cleveland, Golden State). All those players face the prospect of going nearly six months without facing NBA opponents, and sources say there is significant support from most of those teams for the possibility of a secondary campus site where they would train, compete and even play televised games in much the same way they plan to in Orlando.
Shams Charania: Sources: Travel dates for 22 NBA teams to Orlando: – July 7: Nets, Nuggets, Magic, Suns, Jazz, Wizards – July 8: Celtics, Mavericks, Clippers, Grizzlies, Heat, Pelicans, Thunder, Kings – July 9: Rockets, Pacers, Lakers, Bucks, 76ers, Trail Blazers, Spurs, Raptors
Storyline: NBA Schedule
“You don’t reach that level of excellence and not have some part of your personality that is extreme,” Armstrong said. “For my whole life, that was just normal. If you’re going to be the best, there’s a certain something that pushes you over the top. When you get to the NBA, everyone has talent, everyone can score, everyone’s a good athlete. What separates the good players from the great players? Well, there’s something extreme about your personality. It’s a little different than everyone else’s. Whether you’re a Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, what have you, these are highly competitive people.”
Josh Robbins: Here, Steve Clifford comments on the platform the resumption of the NBA season can offer to advocate for social justice. (Video courtesy of the Orlando Magic.) pic.twitter.com/sZXDv8Qi7M


Magic CEO confident Orlando bubble idea is safe

Orlando Magic CEO Alex Martins told the Orlando Sentinel on Friday the NBA restart committee feels confident in the league’s safety plans. “We had a number of guiding principles as we had discussions about the restart and how we would restart, and the No. 1 guiding principle for us, for the league overall, is the health and safety of our players, coaches and staff that will be on the campus at Disney,” Martins said. “We have consulted with some of the top medical experts in the country, epidemiologists from Columbia University and Johns Hopkins, and others, [including] a former surgeon general [Vivek Murthy].
This rumor is part of a storyline: 3027 more rumors
In addition, the Atlanta Hawks, Miami Heat, Sacramento Kings, Orlando Magic, Denver Nuggets, Washington Wizards, Golden State Warriors, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks and Utah Jazz are all recognizing Juneteenth in some fashion. The Wizards and Washington Mystics are expected to walk from the Capital One Arena in Washington to the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on Friday morning. The Knicks joined forces with the New York Rangers to host an MLK youth panel on Thursday with former Knicks star Allan Houston and general manager Scott Perry.
When you guys get to Orlando, there will only be a short window before the playoffs, but because the Western Conference standings are so tight, how high do you think the Rockets can climb? Austin Rivers: We’re hoping to obviously try to get — here’s the thing. There’s no more homecourt advantage, right? So no one cares about homecourt advantage anymore. So that goes out the window. That’s a big deal. So with that being gone, that’s no longer the focus. So now it’s about who you want to match up with. We play Denver right now. I think the key is to try to just get the best seed to see who you match up with best. Maybe a couple of seeds ahead. But regardless, you’re playing the Lakers or Clippers second round, so it’s gotta be a dog fight one way or the other. It’s going to be tough and that’s it. Obviously, we have to beat the first round too, and that’s gonna be a good series. We gotta beat Utah or possibly Dallas. So regardless, I think at this point, because homecourt advantage is out, I think it’s just more so about us getting in a good rhythm rather than who we’re playing before the playoffs.

Becky Hammon on Knicks' radar?

Those expected to be interviewed include potential front-runner Tom Thibodeau (due to his connection to Rose), Kenny Atkinson, Mike Woodson, interim head coach Mike Miller, 76ers assistant Ime Udoka, Bulls assistant Chris Fleming, and Magic assistant Pat Delany. Meanwhile, Spurs assistant Beckey Hammon was described to Begley by a source as “a name to keep an eye on.”
So far towards this election, Trump only has four NBA donors, all members of ownership groups. The highest of those donations is $5,600 from Orlando Magic chairman Dan DeVos, a name that might sound familiar as Betsy Devos, Dan’s sister-in-law, is Trump’s Secretary of Education. Other NBA donations for Trump thus far are $2,800 Indiana Pacers vice-chairman James Morris, $200 from Houston Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta and $318.75 from Los Angeles Lakers part-owner James Buss. In total, Trump has raised $8,918.75 from NBA donors.
Clifford believes part of the perception is Thibodeau’s fiery demeanor on the sidelines. “The misconception is how personable he is,’’ Clifford told The Post from Orlando, Fla., where he is gearing up for the NBA’s restart. “Guys love him. It’s not going to be every single player, but his relationship with players is a strength. “The biggest thing he helped me with was player development,’’ Clifford added. “If you go back to Larry Johnson, [Latrell Sprewell], Allan [Houston], Marcus [Camby], he had a close working relationship with all those guys. In Houston, it was Tracy [McGrady], Yao [Ming].’’
Clifford believes part of the perception is Thibodeau’s fiery demeanor on the sidelines. “The misconception is how personable he is,’’ Clifford told The Post from Orlando, Fla., where he is gearing up for the NBA’s restart. “Guys love him. It’s not going to be every single player, but his relationship with players is a strength. “The biggest thing he helped me with was player development,’’ Clifford added. “If you go back to Larry Johnson, [Latrell Sprewell], Allan [Houston], Marcus [Camby], he had a close working relationship with all those guys. In Houston, it was Tracy [McGrady], Yao [Ming].’’
After Friday’s NBA players’ group call revealed just how adamant a faction of the league is against resuming the season in Orlando next month, members of the Los Angeles Lakers insist that ample time remains to get their team on the same page. “[There’s] no divide,” one Lakers player told ESPN. “Still have some time to figure things out as a league and as a team,” another Lakers player told ESPN.