New Album & The Beginning of Basketball Season

Steve Williams

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Ramona and Kendrick. Two of basketball’s smartest sportscasters :oops:

last time there was gold found in California it was the gold rush in 1852. JR hasn’t played since 2018. The only gold he’s got is the fillings in his teeth
 
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Steve Williams

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Steve Williams

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....and here we go.....

Adam Silver: On track but coronavirus spread may stop NBA


http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=29390274

With coronavirus cases on the rise in the United States and some teams recently closing their facilities due to positive cases, NBA commissioner Adam Silver remains "pretty confident" about the league's plan to safely resume play but admits that a spread in the NBA community could bring the league to a halt again.

During an appearance on TIME 100 Talks, Silver was asked if there is any chance the NBA doesn't go to Orlando, Florida, as planned due to the surge in coronavirus cases or if it is full steam ahead to resume play at the end of July.

"Never full steam ahead no matter what," Silver told TIME. "One thing we are learning about this virus is much [is] unpredictable, and we and our players together with their union look at the data on a daily basis. If there were something to change that was outside of the scope of what we are playing for, certainly we would revisit our plans.

"We are testing daily. We haven't put a precise number on it, but if we were to see a large number of cases and see spread in our community, that would of course be a cause to stop as well."

Asked what constitutes a significant spread that would shut down the NBA for a second time this season, Silver said he isn't sure and that the league will continue to work with a panel of scientists, doctors and experts.

Three Pelicans players test positive for virus
"We are going to see as we go," Silver said. "Certainly if cases are isolated, that's one thing. A lot of the determination will be our understanding of how our community became infected. That will be part of our judgment in terms of whether we should continue. But certainly if we had a lot of cases, we are going to stop. You cannot run from this virus.

"I am absolutely convinced that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus because there aren't many situations that I am aware of where there is mass testing of asymptomatic employees," Silver added of the NBA's plan to resume play at Walt Disney World Resort. "In some ways, this is maybe a model for how other industries can ultimately open. But I am only going to say we will be responsible and watch what is happening, but the biggest indicator will be if we begin to see a spread in our community."

On Tuesday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Denver Nuggets closed their practice facility starting Saturday after two members of the team's 35-member traveling party to Orlando tested positive for the coronavirus. Denver's franchise star, Nikola Jokic, also previously tested positive for the coronavirus in Serbia, where he was asymptomatic. Nuggets coach Michael Malone told CBS Denver 4 earlier in the month that he had the coronavirus in March, during the league's hiatus.

The Brooklyn Nets reopened their practice facility Tuesday after being closed for several days, sources told Wojnarowski. Brooklyn's DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie recently tested positive for the coronavirus.

Silver and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban remain optimistic about the NBA's plan to resume play safely on a protected campus at Walt Disney World Resort. (The Walt Disney Company owns ESPN.)

"It hasn't really increased at all," Cuban said when asked if concern has increased about resuming the season with cases surging in Florida. "There's obviously risk, but each and every day, the science improves and the medical response has gotten smarter. Look, the number of cases just goes to show you that you need to be quarantined, you need to be safe, you need to be diligent, we need to wear our masks and to take the necessary precautions, and that's exactly what we'll do.

"If the general population in all of these cities, including Dallas, had followed those same precautions and hadn't gotten overly confident that this was behind us, we wouldn't be experiencing what we are today. So I think the bubble will actually make our players safer."

Florida's Department of Health reported more than 6,000 additional cases of the coronavirus on Tuesday, raising the state's total past 152,000 cases. On Saturday, the state had its highest single-day total reported at 9,585 cases.

Silver, though, said the NBA's plan to restart the season in Orlando is designed to protect teams and players from the outside community.

"I'm pretty confident, largely because we are playing on a campus that is confined in that the only way to gain access to that campus is to be part of our protocol where there is regular testing," Silver said. "And if someone were to leave our campus, they would need to test and quarantine in order to return to play. So at least in terms of the model, we are protected from the rate of cases in the broader community.

"I'll say of course when we designed this plan, we were not seeing the kind of increases in cases, frankly not just in Florida and Texas but at least of the last few days, the majority of states in the United States are seeing increases in COVID cases," Silver continued. "... [But] our model was designed for this. Our model was designed to protect us and our players from the cases in the outside community. Maybe at the time we designed it, we didn't think it would be as necessary as it is now, but at least we are preparing for it."

Silver was also asked about the NBA continuing to look into ways to allow players to express views and messages to enhance the fight for social justice, racial equality and the Black Lives Matter movement while in Orlando.


The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are planning to paint Black Lives Matter on the courts used at the Walt Disney World Resort, league sources told ESPN's Zach Lowe and Ramona Shelburne. Silver was asked if the NBA will also allow players to kneel during the national anthem.

"I am not comfortable with the word 'allow,'" Silver said. "I think we have had a rule on our books that goes back to the early '80s that precedes even David Stern's tenure as commissioner that calls for players to stand in a line and attention during the national anthem. I also understand the role of protest, and I think that we'll deal with that situation when it presents itself."
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Lakers GM Rob Pelinka: Orlando bubble will be 'mental test'

http://www.espn.com/video/clip?id=29390706

LOS ANGELES -- Sometimes, when Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka sits with his daughter, Emery, he's reminded just how daunting the NBA's planned restart in Orlando, Florida, really is.

"Have I had nights at dinner where I'll look over and my 10-year-old daughter has tears in her eyes and I ask her why and she says, 'It's because daddy could be gone for 3-and-a-half months'?" Pelinka, who is also the Lakers' general manager, said on a video conference call with reporters Tuesday. "Yes, that stuff is part of this. But I think she understands the bigger picture."

It's the full context that comes with the bigger picture, however, that shows the enormity of the league's attempted undertaking.

The Lakers, in the middle of a pandemic that has already claimed nearly 129,000 lives in the United States, are preparing to fly 2,500 miles away from home to stay in a state where new coronavirus cases have spiked from less than a thousand a day earlier this month to nearly 10,000 on June 27, and set up camp there until mid-October. And they're doing so with a 17-man roster -- including two-way players and the planned addition of JR Smith to replace Avery Bradley, as reported by ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. And that roster is made up of 16 Black men while the country is in the middle of an unprecedented national movement to correct social injustice and racial inequality.

Rating the latest NBA moves: Playoff and play-in implications
It's a lot to take in. And as such, Pelinka said he believes that the Orlando bubble will challenge his players' brains as much as it does their bodies as they attempt to get back into game shape with a weeklong individual training camp that opens Wednesday following a 3-and-a-half month hiatus.

"I think Orlando itself is going to be as much of a mental test as it is a physical test just because of the extraordinary circumstances there," Pelinka said. "I think a team like ours, that has such a strong togetherness component, will have an advantage at that part. This team of guys love being together and love playing together. I think that's the significant part of the [first] 63 games."

The last time anyone saw the Lakers on the court, they were surging. L.A. went 8-2 after the All-Star break, including impressive back-to-back wins against the Milwaukee Bucks and LA Clippers, and held the No. 1 record in the Western Conference at 49-14. With everything that has happened since -- from the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 that prompted Bradley to bow out to be with his family, to the team waiting on Dwight Howard's decision on Orlando as he mourns the death of Melissa Rios, the mother of one of his sons who died from an epileptic seizure in March, Pelinka is trying to steel his team for the stress ahead.

"We have," Pelinka said, "put a ton of thought into the mental part of this journey. It is going to be as much as a physical grind as it's going to be a mental grind. And I think the mental component might even be more paramount. And so, yes ... we have mental wellness people on staff here and we've been working with them on developing a protocol to address some of the concerns that are going to come up from an extended time away from family or an extended time living in a city that's not your home."

Pelinka cited former Lakers coach Phil Jackson's unconventional approach featured in ESPN's The Last Dance -- specifically embracing yoga and meditation -- as ways the current Lakers can tackle the Florida restart.

"Just keeping guys fresh, keeping life interesting," Pelinka said. "Keeping everyone's passions sharpened, I'm sure there will be many, many stories coming out of Orlando about some of the different practices that evolve once we get down there."


Still, the Lakers' GM let it be known that he thinks his group is up for the task. Whether that be leaning on franchise history (Pelinka said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently spoke to players on systematic injustice) or even by cribbing some of Jackson's coaching methods, he says the team is preparing for its future -- as murky as the next few months might seem.

The close bonds the Lakers already have established this season, Pelinka said, will aid them when they are far from home -- whether that be as big a picture as navigating the winds of change in the U.S. or as granular as integrating Smith, Dion Waiters and Markieff Morris (who have combined to play just eight games for the Lakers this season) into the lineup.

"I think that we're in a unique situation where we've had such a strong chemistry, such a strong team chemistry, that I think that platform is going to be seamless in terms of guys jumping on and being part of that identity and chemistry that we already had formed," Pelinka said. "I don't see that changing at all with the new additions, just because it's such a strong identity. "
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
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Manila, Philippines
So here is the 'gold' of Perkins. The one who really struck gold is JR himself, as he gets paid by 2 teams. How lucky can a player get? And btw, he's being handled by the same Rich Paul of Lebron's best buddy fame. Pretty soon, all Lakers will be under Rich Paul. :D

Screenshot_20200702-063747_Chrome.jpg
 

Steve Williams

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Steve Williams

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I am with Shaq on this one as I do expect upsets or even worse one player contracts COVID-19 and the whole reboot is over


Giannis Antetokounmpo believes 2020 title will be 'toughest championship you could ever win'
Reigning Kia MVP expects the season restart in Orlando to present new challenges


Steve Aschburner NBA.com

You can bet your asterisk the 2020 NBA championship is going to be legitimate.

That’s Giannis Antetokounmpo’s view of it. In fact, whichever team snags the Larry O’Brien trophy by early-to-mid October -- whether that’s Antetokounmpo’s Milwaukee Bucks or someone else -- will have survived and accomplished more than possibly any of the 73 champions who came before them.

“I feel like this is going to be the toughest championship you could ever win,” Antetokounmpo told reporters on a Wednesday conference video call after participating in the Bucks’ first day of individual workouts at their training facility in Milwaukee.

“Because circumstances are really tough right now. Whoever wants it more is going to be able to go out there and take it.”

There has been a notion advanced by some -- including Hall of Fame center Shaquille O’Neal -- that the unprecedented, stop-and-start, pass-spring-and-go-directly-to-summer restart of the 2019-20 season (pushing The Finals into autumn), will produce a bogus, flukey, one-off winner.

In May, the legendary big man turned commentator on TNT’s “Inside The NBA” show wondered if this year’s unique set of circumstances might produce an undeserving champion.

“Most of the time you could predict who is going to win a championship,” O’Neal said. “Now what if we come back and a team that wasn’t supposed to win wins. There’s going to be an asterisk behind that championship.”

That’s one way to look at it. Others could argue that surviving the on- and off-court challenges posed by the coronavirus shutdown and the “bubble” return in Orlando, on top of four best-of-seven playoff series, could result in the most rigorous, remarkable title run yet.

Antetokounmpo, whose Milwaukee team again posted the best regular-season record (53-12) prior to the March 11 hiatus, holds that view as he and the Bucks revive their title hopes.

“Like I said before, this is the toughest title,” said the 2019 Kia MVP and favorite to repeat this year. “You go somewhere without your family for three months and you haven’t played basketball for three-and-a-half, four months. Whatever team wants it more has got to be mentally prepared for this situation. And has to go out there and execute.

“Teams got to be in shape. So whoever took care of themselves for these four months we weren’t able to play, [they are] gonna be in a better position. … Whoever wants it more, whoever is mentally prepared for all this, that team is going to come out on top.”

The asterisk talk in NBA circles goes back at least to 1999, when the San Antonio Spurs beat the New York Knicks in The Finals at the end of a lockout-shortened season. That truncated schedule allowed for just 50 games before the playoffs, and San Antonio played a mere 67 games in winning the franchise’s first championship.

The following spring, in a bit of snide gamesmanship, Lakers coach Phil Jackson wondered if the Spurs’ feat needed some sort of qualifier or disclaimer. Hence, the asterisk.

Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was an assistant coach on that San Antonio staff. He believes now what he believed then about trying to assess the worthiness of a championship.

Please, stop.

“I feel like the champion from this experience, from this season, is going to be more worthy and more special than any champion,” Budenholzer said.

Every year is different, he said. Every year seems to favor one team or the other as the playoffs approach, though reality rarely plays out as expected.

This herky-jerky and all too vulnerable restart is unlike anything that has preceded it. One positive test can sideline your star player or group of players – or the other team’s star or group – for a week in the midst of a series.

And that’s just for starters. Antetokounmpo talked about a variety of factors over which he and other NBA players will have little or no control. Any one of which -- isolation in the “bubble,” separation from family and friends, pushing yourself too hard, too soon -- could derail a player, his team or the entire endeavor.

Just shooting and lifting weights Wednesday in the “new normal” of physical distancing, masks and limited coach-and-teammate contact gave the Bucks a taste of precautions and changes to come.

“It’s kind of weird, I’m not gonna lie to you,” Antetokounmpo said. “Training tables are like six feet apart from one another. Coaches are wearing masks. We’ve got to be really careful after we shoot, we’ve got to leave the court and allow the next person to come in and shoot.

“You’re not as close to your teammate as you want to be.”

From all that physical and emotional space since early March, Milwaukee and the other 21 teams that descend on the Walt Disney complex outside Orlando will be sequestered until they are eliminated or a champion is crowned. Distanced from the social issues that animated so many NBA players in June. No fans in the arena, no home or road court experience.

“Now that we don’t have the [home court] advantage anymore, it sucks a little bit,” Antetokounmpo said. “We worked all year to play at home, play with our fans. We tried hard to be at home. … Not being able to have them out there, I think it’s going to be hard to live with.

“But at the end of the day, we won’t have fans, other teams won’t have fans.”

Antetokounmpo became a father in February when his girlfriend Mariah Riddlesprigger gave birth to their son, Liam Charles. Per the bubble regulations, players’ family and friends will not be permitted to join them until after the playoffs’ first round. That might take until late August, which is worse than any extended rodeo or circus road trip in the regular season.

“I’ve traveled though China, traveled through France and stayed for two or three weeks. In the hotel, just playing basketball,” said Antetokounmpo, mentioning youth FIBA tournaments that kept him away from home for long stretches. “Obviously it’s tough. I can’t imagine going there for three months.”

Now add this wrinkle: Seeing your arch nemeses, the guys vying for the same trophy and legacy-enhancer, day after day after day. All these competitive rivals will be holed up in the same place.

Antetokounmpo thinks the early hiccups of performance TV viewers see early, mistakes of timing or rust, will improve rapidly. But seeing James Harden, Anthony Davis, Pascal Siakam off the clock, hanging out, may take some getting used to.

“It’s going to be hard,” he said. “When you go against somebody, you don’t live with them. You don’t want to see them every day. You don’t want to go down and grab lunch or dinner and see them right there in front of you.

“I’ve just got to stay locked in. Mind my business, not say much. Obviously I’m going to see them, but they’re going to see me too. It goes both ways.”

Now mix in all the unforeseen twists and hurdles of the “bubble” project, including random events the league -- however crafty -- won’t have anticipated, and it’s clear why Antetokounmpo and others contend whoever wins in 2020 will be enlarged, not diminished.

Said Budenholzer: “The challenges of this season, y’know, this pandemic, everything that’s happening in our country, the ability for a team to go back and compete and play against the other [21] teams and come out as a champion, in my mind it will be more special and more meaningful.

“They’re all special, they’re all incredible. If you won one, you can say whatever you want about it. That team is happy.”

If anyone wins one this year, the whole league should be happy.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Everything you need to know about the 2019-20 NBA season restart
Clear answers to questions about play-in tournament, new dates and more
From NBA.com Staff

here are the answers to all of our questions

https://www.nba.com/news
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
The NBA’s Reopening Is a Warning Sign for the U.S. Economy
Tyler Cowen

an interesting speculation

(Bloomberg Opinion) -- As a fan of professional basketball and a student of economic game theory, I am becoming increasingly concerned. I fear that the NBA, in particular, may be reflecting a still-hidden trend in the broader economy: People may not actually be so keen to return to work.

The NBA is planning to resume a fragment of its regular season, and then the playoffs, in a custom-tailored “bubble” in Orlando, Florida, on July 30. The games will be played only among the top teams in a single complex, with regular testing and tight regulations governing the entry of outsiders. The league is going to the maximum lengths possible to ensure a safe reopening.

There’s only one problem: An increasing number of players do not seem very interested in being guinea pigs in this experiment. At first the secessions were a trickle. Now they are picking up steam.

Davis Bertrans, arguably the second-best active player on my home team the Washington Wizards, will not play because he doesn’t want to risk injury and endanger his prospects as a free agent next season. That’s an entirely reasonable excuse, and more and more players are finding them.


The Brooklyn Nets may be going into the bubble without the services of DeAndre Jordan and possibly Spencer Dinwiddie, one of their most important players. Both tested positive for Covid-19, and again that seems like a reasonable excuse for not playing. But of course — assuming they stay fine — they should be safe to play by the start of the resumed season. Or at least as safe as any player can be known to be. The net result may be that the Nets are simply a shell of a team.

Portland Trail Blazer veteran Trevor Ariza is not showing up so he can spend time with his son, as part of a custody arrangement. On the Los Angeles Lakers, one of the favorites to win the championship, starting point guard Avery Bradley will not appear for fear of endangering the health of his son, who has respiratory issues.

These players will still be paid, but they are lowering their future market value by expressing less than a full commitment to the team. And it is hard to imagine that many other workplace environments can be made much safer than the planned NBA bubble.

One has to wonder how many other players are planning to drop out, or perhaps hoping that the decision will be made for them: Maybe they will get an injury during training camp, say, or worsening conditions in Florida will require cancellation of the season, or it will become more socially acceptable not to play. In the meantime, the dominant strategy may simply be to wait and root against the resumption of play.

It is also striking who is not complaining — namely, the marginal teams not invited to join the competition in the first place. They’ve simply written the season off.

The ones who want to play most are the superstars, especially on those teams that might win a title. That is typically a small number of squads, usually less than half a dozen (the Lakers, Clippers and Bucks would be three obvious picks this time around). LeBron James in particular wants to win another championship and challenge Michael Jordan as the NBA’s G.O.A.T. A big star who wins a title can probably get more lucrative shoe and endorsement contracts.

You can notice a similar skew toward the winners in other American sports. Minor league baseball recently was cancelled for the year, but the major leagues, which have a much higher profile and a lucrative television contract, are planning to resume in a few weeks.

Now compare the evolution of the NBA bubble with the reopening of U.S. offices and schools. For virtually all American workers, the stakes are much lower than for NBA players. And compared to Orlando, the safety and security precautions will be far less rigorous.

If so many NBA players are pondering non-participation, how keen do you think those workers — none of whom are millionaire professional athletes — are about returning to the office?

The biggest difference with the NBA is simply that the players have to make a simple yes-or-no decision fairly soon. In effect, their hands are being forced, and so the revolt is slowly becoming more visible.

In the normal business world, the superstars — in this case, the CEOs and other leaders — are indeed eager to resume and expand operations. But as with the NBA, the grumblings beneath the surface are real and growing.

How well will business reopenings go? If you wish to track the American economy, professional sports has never been a better place to look.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
This for me was the best read of the day. Does LeBro now have his clutches on Trae Young

Father: Trae Young choosing Klutch not about joining Lakers

Dan Feldman

Hawks star Trae Young switched agencies to Klutch Sports Group. Obviously, that means he’ll leave Atlanta to join fellow Klutch clients LeBron James and Anthony Davis on the Lakers.

Right?

Young’s father, Rayford Young, via Chris Kirschner of The Athletic:


He’s never been a follower. This whole thing with Klutch never had anything to do with going to play with the Lakers one day. They have a lot of people on their roster who aren’t with the Lakers.
“I would ask those fans who are fans of Trae or Atlanta fans to just look at his history. He knows this is a team effort, but he wants to have that statue next to Dominique (Wilkins) one day, man. I’ve told you this before, my son is 6-foot-1, but he thinks he’s the best player on the court no matter if LeBron is on the floor with him. Hopefully, it never backfires on him, but he’s got big balls and is very confident. He just knows what he wants to accomplish. I never think my son is going to join a super team unless they all come to Atlanta. He’s just got too much pride to do that. Maybe that pride will backfire, but who knows. My son has seen it happen here in Oklahoma City with (Kevin Durant). He wasn’t one of those who called him a cupcake, but he’s seen the backlash of something like that happen.”
Those are big words.

They don’t sound totally dissimilar from Davis, who insisted hiring Rich Paul didn’t presage leaving the Pelicans. Of course, Davis requested a trade within months and eventually steered his way to the Lakers. Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry – who initially said that Davis hiring Paul didn’t signal Davis leavinglater admitted the hiring meant just that.

But a big difference: Unlike Davis, who altered a status quo that included repeatedly stating commitment to New Orleans, Young didn’t chang agents. Young stuck with Omar Wilkes, who switched agencies from Octagon for Klutch. (Kirschner more deeply explores the Wilkes-Young relationship.) While – especially in hindsight, but even at the time – Davis looked like he was at the very least preparing to move on, Young didn’t do anything that major.

Another big difference: Davis was just two years from unrestricted free agency when he went to Klutch. Young can’t unilaterally become an unrestricted free agent until 2023, and that’s only if he takes a one-year qualifying offer instead of a max contract – something nobody in his position has ever done. Far more likely, he’ll be locked into Atlanta through 2026.

At that point, who knows where LeBron (who’ll be 41), Davis (who’ll be 33) and the Lakers will be? Before then, the Lakers are short on trade assets outside LeBron and Davis after surrendering so much for Davis.

But to be fair, who knows how the Hawks will perform over the ensuing years? Young is already a star and showing frustration with a team that hasn’t come close to keeping up with his rapid ascension. Outside the most desirable markets, stars tend to be a little more impatient.

Which makes the Kevin Durant comparison interesting. Durant faced massive backlash for leaving the Thunder. He won multiple championships with the Warriors, but it’s unclear how happy he was in Golden State. How does Young – who’s from Oklahoma – internalize all that?

Ultimately, Young will chart his own course. Comparisons to other stars like Davis and Durant can be useful, but they don’t prove anything. Young’s father talking about his son playing for a super team only in Atlanta will inspire Hawks fans.

And, fairly or not, increase resentment if Young leaves.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
I just have wonder what will happen in Orlando if and when that first positive test might surface. Game, set and match as it will be all over. Can an NBA champion be crowned this year as so far every team it seems is testing positive

Milwaukee Bucks close facility after latest round of tests


The Associated Press

(AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks have closed their practice facility following the team’s Friday round of testing for the coronavirus.

Bucks officials confirmed Sunday that they had closed the facility and that they aren’t planning to reopen it before leaving for Florida on Thursday to prepare for the NBA’s resumption of the season at Walt Disney World.

The news of the closing was first reported by ESPN, which said the Bucks closed the facility after receiving results from Friday’s testing.

The Bucks owned an NBA-leading 53-12 record when play was suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Their magic number for clinching the Eastern Conference’s top seed in the playoffs is two as they chase their first NBA title since 1971.

Milwaukee is scheduled to resume play July 31 against the Boston Celtics, its first of eight games to close the regular season.
 
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Steve Williams

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and also the Kings....

The Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings shut down their practice facilities Sunday, sources told ESPN, after receiving the results of a recent round of testing for the coronavirus.

It was not immediately clear if there was more than one positive test on the Bucks, but Milwaukee plans to keep its facility closed for workouts until the team's traveling party departs Thursday for the league's restart in Orlando, Florida, sources said.


One member of Sacramento's traveling party tested positive for COVID-19, a source told ESPN's The Undefeated, and the Kings also plan to keep their practice facility closed through their departure for Orlando on Wednesday.

The Bucks and Kings are among several teams, including the Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, LA Clippersand Brooklyn Nets, that have shut down facilities for workouts in the past week.

Per the league's health and safety guidelines, any player who contracts the coronavirus must quarantine and test negative twice before being medically cleared to make the trip to Orlando.

The Bucks have the NBA's best record at 53-12 heading into the July 30 restart at Walt Disney World. The Kings, at 28-36, are hoping to make the playoffs for the first time since 2006.

The Athletic first reported that the Kings were closing their practice facility.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
Toronto is locked and loaded and ready to defend their title...

Serge Ibaka: 'Locked in' Raptors ready for NBA restart

From the moment he and his teammates reconvened in Florida last week, Toronto Raptors forward Serge Ibaka said everyone was "locked in" and ready to get to work.

"I saw just how everyone is in great shape," Ibaka said on a conference call with reporters Saturday. "They came here in great shape and as soon as we got here everyone was starting to put in work.

"I've been in the league for 11 years. You can see when people's locked in and they are ready mentally, and when they are not.

"So I can tell you right now, mentally, everybody is ready. Everybody is ready."

Ibaka and the Raptors were the one team that was allowed to travel to Florida early because of complications with trying to return to Canada from the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Raptors, who are working out at Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, can shoot individually at their own basket (like players on all teams) until after they enter the Walt Disney World resort bubble and quarantine there before the restart.

How the Raptors are turning Fort Myers into a test for the NBA's bubble
Still, Ibaka said it felt good to be able to get shots up after spending so much time away from the gym.

"It's better than nothing," he said with a smile. "It's helpful. And, also, like I said, just seeing the guys around I think is good, too."

As for the rising case count in Florida, Ibaka said it is something he's worried about -- in part because his daughter lives in Orlando. He said she and those around her are feeling good, but he hopes everyone takes precautions upon entering the bubble.

"Honestly it's really concerning," he said. "Hopefully everybody has to follow the rules, every player, when we get in the bubble in Orlando, we can respect all the notes that they're going to give us. But I have my daughter who lives here in Orlando, and it's kind of scary a little bit. It's something where you have to make sure you look at it."

It's been a strange season, to say the least, for the defending NBA champions. Toronto had barely finished celebrating the title when Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green left in free agency. Then the Raptors went to Japan in the preseason and entered the regular season with few expectations because of Leonard's departure.

But Toronto became one of the NBA's best teams and was the Eastern Conference's second seed, on pace to win 59 games, when the season was suspended March 11. And that's despite every member of the core rotation (except OG Anunoby) missing at least a month because of injury.

"It's been a little bit weird [this season] with everything that's going on," Ibaka said of Toronto's attempt to defend its title. "But one thing we know is that it's over. Whatever happened last season is over, and we've got to try to put our mindset so that it's ready to go for this one.

"We know it's going to be hard, it's going to be a challenge, and everyone is going to come for us because we are the champs, so we have to be ready."

Ibaka, who spent most of his career as a power forward, has fully shifted to center the past two seasons with Toronto, forming an effective 1-2 punch first with Jonas Valanciunas and then with former defensive player of the year Marc Gasol.


After all of the injuries this season -- including hamstring issues for Gasol, who played in only 36 of the Raptors' 64 games -- Ibaka said he's excited to see what the Raptors are capable of now that they have their full assortment of players.

"I can't wait," he said. "I think it's going to be a little weird in the beginning to have everybody at the same time, but I think it's a good thing because we need that. I can't really wait to see how it's going to work out for us having everybody back."

And what's Toronto's ceiling with everyone healthy?

"Everything," he said. "We believe in us. We have the experience. We have the championship mentality already. We have confidence.

"But now it's time to go. Time to go to work, and, like I said, we're ready."
 

jadis

Well-Known Member
Apr 28, 2010
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Manila, Philippines
I just have wonder what will happen in Orlando if and when that first positive test might surface. Game, set and match as it will be all over. Can an NBA champion be crowned this year as so far every team it seems is testing positive

Milwaukee Bucks close facility after latest round of tests


The Associated Press

(AP) -- The Milwaukee Bucks have closed their practice facility following the team’s Friday round of testing for the coronavirus.

Bucks officials confirmed Sunday that they had closed the facility and that they aren’t planning to reopen it before leaving for Florida on Thursday to prepare for the NBA’s resumption of the season at Walt Disney World.

The news of the closing was first reported by ESPN, which said the Bucks closed the facility after receiving results from Friday’s testing.

The Bucks owned an NBA-leading 53-12 record when play was suspended in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Their magic number for clinching the Eastern Conference’s top seed in the playoffs is two as they chase their first NBA title since 1971.

Milwaukee is scheduled to resume play July 31 against the Boston Celtics, its first of eight games to close the regular season.
The league will be like playing against an obstacle course, Steve. Uphill, nervous, and fearing the entry of the virus. I really wonder how the mental attitude of players playing hard basketball and at the same time fearful of the next day next game when test results come in.
 

Steve Williams

Site Founder, Site Owner, Administrator
well in theory everyone coming into the bubble will be negative and if everyone follows the rules there should be no one testing positive but 3 months in that bubble all locked in is going to cause some serious mental as well as physical issues. These are the challenges they face and hopefully no one will stray as Florida is the hot spot of the nation now with new Covid cases
 
Likes: jadis

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