Category: NBA

NBA News

  AP source: NBA owners approve 22-team season restart plan ... UPDATE:  NBPA Approves 22-Team Format To Finish Season – National Basketball Players Association representatives approved the NBA’s 22-team format to complete the 2019-2020 season, the NBPA announced Friday. The NBA and NBPA will work through a number of details in the next week on the resumption in Orlando, but sides are ready to move together toward the July 31 season resumption, sources told ESPN. The NBPA player leadership was informed of a plan to keep 1,600 people in the Orlando bubble at any given time, sources said. Players’ families, likely three members at a time, would be allowed to join players in Orlando after the first-round of the playoffs. In a statement, the NBPA said: “The Board of Player Representatives of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) has approved further negotiations with the NBA on a 22-team return to play scenario to restart the 2019-20 NBA season. Various details remain to be negotiated and the acceptance of the scenario would still require that all parties reach agreement on all issues relevant to resuming play.” As expected, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts informed the union’s members that the starting dates for next season — along with a myriad of items — will be part of the negotiations with the NBA in coming weeks, sources told ESPN. (Adrian Wojnarowski/NBA Insider)

NBA News

NBA may restrict older coaches due to coronavirus  Older Coaches Could Be Sidelined In Return – NBA commissioner Adam Silver said there is a chance that older NBA head coaches won’t be able to be on the bench when the league resumes play on July 31 at the Walt Disney World Resort.  “I think one of the things we know, we’ve learned a lot about the virus since we shut down in March, and the data is demonstrating that for the most part, and there are exceptions, that [it is] healthy young people that are the least vulnerable,” Silver said while speaking on TNT’s “Inside The NBA” Thursday night. “But there are also people involved in this league, particularly some of the coaches, who are obviously older people and we also know people at any age who have underlying conditions are most vulnerable. “So we are going to have to work through protocols that maybe, for example, certain coaches may not be able to be the bench coach. They may have to retain social distancing protocols. And maybe they can be in the front of a room, a locker room or a ballroom with a whiteboard, but when it comes to actual play we’re not going to want them that close to players in order to protect them. So those are all issues that we are continuing to work through.” Silver’s comments received instant pushback from coaches, including New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, who is 65. Gentry told ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, “That doesn’t make sense. How can I coach that way?”  Gentry said he doesn’t think older coaches should be singled out. “Is everybody under 60 in great health?” he asked. In a statement Thursday night, Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle, president of the NBA Coaches Association, said he spoke with Silver, who admitted he might have jumped the gun with his comments. “The health and safety of our coaches is first and foremost. It’s entirely possible that an NBA coach in his 60s or 70s could be healthier than someone in their 30s or 40s,” Carlisle said. “The conversation should never be solely about a person’s age. Adam assured me that we would work through this together to help determine what is both safe and fair for all of our coaches.” In addition to Gentry, San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (71), Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni (69), Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts (62) and Carlisle (60) are the head coaches who are 60 or older and slated to participate in the season’s restart. Several others, Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown (59), LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers (58) and Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford (58), are just under 60. (Tim Bontemps/ESPN) In my opinion, we need to keep all coaches safe, especially those that are more prone to the virus.

NBA News

  The NBA Is Back – It has been nearly three months since the last NBA game was played. They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, and man, there’s a lot to love about every team that’s going to compete for the 2020 NBA championship in Orlando next month. Now that the league’s board of governors has officially approved a return-to-play plan, featuring eight regular-season games, a potential play-in tournament and the postseason, here’s our early guide to all 22 teams and what we’re most excited to watch when basketball tips off again. (Kirk Goldsberry/ESPN)

Eastern Conference: 

Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis dunks, Toronto Raptors: Nick Nurse’s creativity, Boston Celtics: The Jason Tatum leap, Miami Heat: A scorching five-man lineup, Indiana Pacers: The impressive roster development, Philadelphia 76ers: Ben Simmons’ playmaking, Brooklyn Nets: … is there any chance we see Kyrie or KD?, Orlando Magic: Markelle Fultz’s breakout, and Washington Wizards: All the points

Western Conference

Los Angeles Lakers: Another LeBron title push, LA Clippers: Beverley’s edge, Denver Nuggets: The weird offense, Utah Jazz: Gobert’s commanding defense, Oklahoma City Thunder: The crunch-time lineup, Houston Rockets: Is this a last stand?, Dallas Mavericks: Luka’s playoff debut, Memphis Grizzlies: Ja & Jaren, Portland Trail Blazers: Dame time, New Orleans Pelicans: Every Zion move, Sacramento Kings: Fox and Hield, San Antonio Spurs: The streak, and Phoenix Suns: Baynes … from deep

See complete rundown at https://www.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/29263805/the-nba-back-here-wait-watch

NBA News

NBA To Approve Plan For 22-Team Return – The NBA‘s board of governors intends to approve a league proposal on a 22-team format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, sources told ESPN. The conference call and vote is set for 12:30 p.m. ET Thursday, sources said. Commissioner Adam Silver and the league’s advisory/finance committee have shared the broad details of a plan with teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort, sources said. The plan includes 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams, eight regular-season games, a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, and playoffs, sources said. The top 16 teams in the Eastern and Western conferences will be joined by teams currently within six games of eighth place in the two conferences, New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, SacramentoPhoenix and Washington, sources said. The play-in tournament will include the No. 8 and No. 9 teams, if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth, sources said. In that case, the No. 8 seed enters a double-elimination tournament and the No. 9 seed a single-elimination tournament, sources said. Teams will begin training at team sites in July and advance to full training camps in Orlando later that month, sources said. Among the eight teams left out of the Orlando format, several are disappointed and concerned about how a nine-month window between NBA games affects their teams competitively and financially, sources said. For those teams left out of the playoffs, including AtlantaCleveland, Charlotte and Detroit, there has already been dialogue with the league urging mandatory summer training camps and regional fall leagues that could bridge the lengthy gap between seasons, sources told ESPN. Those are ideas many teams consider vital, and there is an expectation that the NBA will raise possible scenarios such as these with the players’ union, sources said. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are negotiating details of the return to play’s safety protocols and competition. The NBA is planning to have uniform, daily testing for the coronavirus within the Disney campus environment, sources told ESPN. ESPN is owned by The Walt Disney Company. If a player tests positive for the virus, the league’s intent would be to remove that player from the team to quarantine and treat individually and continue to test other team members as they play on, sources said. (Adrian Wojnarowski/NBA Insider)

NBA News

Kings Announcer Grant Napear Resigns After BLM Retort – Longtime Sacramento Kings play-by-play announcer Grant Napear has resigned after tweeting “ALL LIVES MATTER” on Sunday in response to a question about Black Lives Matter. “I want to thank the fans for their overwhelming love and support,” Napear said in a statement Tuesday. “I will always remain a part of Kings nation in my heart.” Napear, who has called games for the Kings since 1988, was answering a question from former Kings star DeMarcus Cousins, who asked Napear for his opinion on Black Lives Matter. “Hey!!!! How are you? Thought you forgot about me,” Napear responded. “Haven’t heard from you in years. ALL LIVES MATTER…EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!” Cousins posted that Napear’s response was expected. Former Kings forward Matt Barnes then called Napear a closet racist. Napear later apologized, telling The Sacramento Bee on Monday that he is “not as educated on BLM as I thought I was.” The tweet Sunday came as protests raged across the country following the death of George Floyd. Floyd, a black man, died last week in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. “I had no idea that when I said ‘All Lives Matter’ that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across,” Napear said. He also issued an apology on Twitter, writing in response to another user, “If it came across as dumb I apologize. That was not my intent. That’s how I was raised. It has been ingrained in me since I can remember. I’ve been doing more listening than talking the past few days. I believe the past few days will change this country for the better!”  Napear also was fired Tuesday from Sports 1140 KHTK, where he hosts a radio show with former Kings player Doug Christie. “The timing of Grant’s tweet was particularly insensitive,” Bonneville International, the media company that owns the station, said in a statement Tuesday. “After reviewing the matter carefully, we have made the difficult decision to part ways with Grant.” (ESPN)

NBA News

  Proposed End-Of-Finals Date Is Oct. 12 – As the NBA models a 22-team format for the season’s proposed resumption beginning July 31 in Orlando, Florida, a timeline shared with teams as a last possible date for a Finals Game 7 lands on Oct. 12, sources told ESPN. Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to have a proposal to take to a vote of the NBA’s board of governors on Thursday, sources said. The expectation is that the NBA draft and the opening of free agency would follow in sequential order in October, sources said. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are still discussing details on a format, and there is room for the league to maneuver on the structure of return-to-play ideas. The board of governors requires a three-fourths passage of the 30 teams on a plan, but there is an expectation among owners that they will fall into line and overwhelmingly approve the commissioner’s recommendation, sources said. The league has been advancing on a plan that would include regular-season, play-in and playoff games for the 16 teams currently holding a playoff position and six more teams within six games of the eighth seed in each conference, sources said. Those six teams are New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio, Sacramento and Phoenix in the Western Conference and Washington  in the East. (Adrian Wojnarowski/NBA Insider) 

NCAA News

  Zion Must Answer Duke Eligibility Questions – A Florida state court judge on Tuesday denied New Orleans Pelicans  rookie Zion Williamson‘s request to stay discovery into whether he was eligible under NCAA rules when he played one season at Duke in 2018-19. Florida 11th Circuit Court Judge David Miller ruled that Williamson will be required to answer interrogatories and requests for admissions from attorneys representing Gina Ford and Prime Sports Marketing, who are suing Williamson for $100 million for breaching their marketing agreement. Williamson’s attorneys are expected to file an appeal with Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal, arguing that an earlier federal case in North Carolina involving the same parties and claims has precedence. Williamson’s attorneys have asked a federal judge in that case to void his marketing agreement with Ford and Prime Sports Marketing, claiming it wasn’t valid because Ford wasn’t a registered agent in North Carolina and the contract didn’t include a warning that was required by a state law designed to protect amateur athletes from unscrupulous agents. Ford and Prime Sports Marketing sued Williamson, Creative Artists Agency (CAA) and two of its employees in the Florida court, alleging that CAA interfered with Prime Sports’ deal with Williamson and that he breached their five-year contract. Last month, Ford’s attorneys asked Williamson to admit that his mother and stepfather demanded and received gifts, money and other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas and Nike, and also from people associated with Duke, to influence him to sign with the Blue Devils and to wear Nike or Adidas products. Doug Eaton, one of the Ford’s attorneys argued, “If you’re accepting improper benefits, you are not an eligible student-athlete, and the NCAA can rule retroactively that you are ineligible. It has happened numerous times before. … This is not a set-in-stone determination that he’s an eligible student-athlete, and we have the opportunity to prove that he was not eligible in that time frame, and that’s what we’re going to do.” (Mark Schlabach/ESPN)