• This time of year is usually pretty slow for basketball news, making for some pretty dry “Daily Dish” pieces.  However, this summer we are lucky enough to have a Summer Olympics to help pass the offseason.  In addition, the NBA schedule for the 2016-2017 season was released on Thursday, providing for some exciting matchups to analyze and look forward to.

    Team USA came through against Australia, winning by ten after trailing for a majority of the game.  Carmelo Anthony had to carry the team and give USA the lead with less than eight minutes left in the game.  After scoring 31 points, Carmelo became the all-time leading Olympic scorer for the United States.  Australia has had some solid team through pool play, led by Patty Mills, Andrew Bogut and Matthew Dellavedova.

    I’m keeping the Olympic coverage light in this Dish, as one of our other writers is providing more in depth coverage on a regular basis on the site.

    The main news for this Dish is the release of the new season schedule.  Commissioner Adam Silver reduced the number of back-to-back sets this season, which will hopefully reduce player injuries.  As expected, the NBA made sure to highlight some key matchups to add for premium drama on the biggest days of the season.

    Opening night will take place on October 25th with a double-header on TNT.  Viewers will get to catch the defending champion Cavaliers versus the revamped Knicks in the first game.  The second game of the night will feature the top two teams in the western conference last season as the Warriors battle the Spurs.  Portland will also be hosting the Jazz that evening, but will not be featured in a primetime slot like the other two games.

    With some big name players changing teams in free agency this offseason, there will be added drama when these players face off against their old teams.  Dwyane Wade will return to Miami for the first time in early November.  Kevin Durant will face off against his old team in early November as well, but does not return to Oklahoma City until February.

    Christmas day is one of the biggest days of the NBA season each year and the matchups for the five games on the schedule this season are: Celtics @ Knicks, Warriors @ Cavaliers, Bulls @ Spurs, Timberwolves @ Thunder and Clippers @ Lakers.  The choice of matchups for this marquee day are very interesting and may be a sign of expectations by the league for certain teams this season.

    The Knicks have an opportunity to make some noise in the eastern conference with some big name free agent additions, but will really need to stars to align with all the injury liabilities on the roster.  It is no surprise to see the first finals rematch between the Warriors and Cavaliers on the biggest day of the season.  The game I think is the most intriguing is the Timberwolves @ Thunder matchup.  The Timberwolves are a team that I think could make some serious noise in the western conference playoff picture and the league seems to agree.

    In other big news, Lebron James has signed a three-year deal with the Cavaliers.  Many expected him to continue to ride short term contracts so he had the ability to control his NBA future, so this was an interesting twist to the offseason.

    That will sum up today’s Dish as we look forward to the season opener in a little more than a couple months.  Keep checking back to the site for news on Olympic updates in hopes of a successful run by Team USA.

Fantasy News

  • Jonathan Isaac
    PF, Orlando Magic

    Jonathan Isaac (left knee) has been running on a low-impact treadmill for about two weeks now.

    Isaac went down at the beginning of January with what was thought to be a season-ending injury, involving a posterior lateral corner injury and a medial bone contusion — i.e., a severe sprain and a bone bruise. At that point he was set to be re-evaluated in 8-10 weeks, and while we're well past those timelines, Isaac does appear to be moving along in his recovery. It remains to be seen if he'll be available for Orlando's postseason chase or if the Magic would even bother risking his bright future at this point.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Evan Fournier
    SF, Orlando Magic

    Evan Fournier (right UCL sprain) is fully recovered.

    Fournier was supposed to be looking at an "extended absence" when he first went down in March, slamming the brakes on what was a top-70 season. The fact that he's healthy again will be a huge lift to the Magic, who currently occupy the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. They only need to hold off the Wizards to earn a playoff berth but also have an outside chance at jumping over the Nets to take the seventh spot.

    Source: The Athletic

  • Kevin Durant
    SF, Brooklyn Nets

    Kevin Durant (Achilles) will not return to the court this season, per Anthony Puccio.

    There were whispers that KD might be able to get back on the floor given the extra few months of the season, and especially after he's started to appear in workout videos, but it has been repeatedly speculated that Durant would not return during the 2019-20 season under any circumstance. There's no sense in having Durant shake off the rust in an intense setting, even if he may be capable of contributing right now. Brooklyn's eyes are rightfully on next season as far as serious contention goes.

    Source: Anthony Puccio on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    The Board of Governors has approved the NBA's 22-team format to restart the 2019-20 season.

    The vote was 29-1. It was widely expected that the format would get the go-ahead, even though more than one team didn't fully support the proposed plan, and the NBA has at least settled on what the season will look like once it's able to resume. They have also set the draft lottery for August 25 and the draft for October 15. The biggest hurdles remain anything that has to do with COVID-19, and to this point the league has yet to say anything about those challenges, but there is plenty of forward momentum these days.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Enes Kanter
    C, Boston Celtics

    Sean Deveney reported that "multiple agents say not all players are on board with an NBA return".

    One agent said, "Most of the guys are excited, fired up, they want to get back out there. Those are 95 percent of the conversations I have had". There are players that feel the money is not worth putting themselves and their families at risk. Enes Kanter weighed in on the topic, saying "there are some other team's players out there, that they don't want to play. They're like, 'It's just a game. I'm not going to risk my life". It is likely that the high-profile players will still play, but it looks like some role players may not be willing to take the risk to join their team when the NBA season resumes.

    Source: Heavy.com

  • Derrick Rose
    PG, Detroit Pistons

    The Pistons announced that they plan to reopen team facilities on Thursday, allowing voluntary individual workouts while following all the social-distancing guidelines.

    Although the Pistons' season is likely over as they are not one of the 22 teams that will continue to play if the Board of Governors vote to ratify the plan on Thursday, this will allow players to stay in shape for the 2020-21 season which is expected to start in December.

    Source: James Edwards III

  • Zion Williamson
    PF, New Orleans Pelicans

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the Pelicans, Blazers, Suns, Kings, Spurs and Wizards will be the six non-playoff teams resuming action when the NBA restarts.

    This makes complete sense, as they're the only non-playoff teams that can sniff the postseason. Woj backs up an earlier Shams Charania report about a potential play-in tournament for the final playoff spot in each Conference as well. If the ninth seed trails the eighth seed by more than four games when the league's truncated regular season wraps up, the eighth seed makes the playoffs. If the deficit is under four games, however, the two teams will compete in a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for the ninth.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • LeBron James
    SF, Los Angeles Lakers

    Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the NBA will have an eight-game regular season for the purposes of playoff seeding upon its return while Shams Charania reports that there will be a play-in tournament for the eighth seed.

    This applies to the NBA coming back with 22 teams, as the league's bottom eight are well out of playoff contention and bringing them to Orlando would only negatively affect the league's pursuit for player safety. As for the play-in tournament, Charania describes it as such: "If the ninth seed is more than four games behind the eighth seed, the eighth seed earns the playoff spot; if the ninth seed is four or fewer games behind, then the eighth and ninth seed will enter a play-in tournament that is double-elimination for the eighth seed and single-elimination for ninth." Expect another announcement about the league's format in the coming days.

    Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter

  • Corey Brewer
    SF, Sacramento Kings

    Corey Brewer, a veteran of eight different NBA teams, is still hoping to sign another contract before he calls it a career.

    Brewer, 34, seems to think he has enough in the tank for one final stint in the NBA. “We had some talks with a few teams, but nothing really happened. My agent is still working on it, so we’ll see,” Brewer said. “I feel like I can still help a team and I feel like I have a few good years left. But you never know, man." Brewer has not suited up for an NBA team this season and, with a waning jump shot and increased age, his chances of securing another pact in the NBA are pretty unlikely.

    Source: HoopsHype

  • DeMarcus Cousins
    C, Los Angeles Lakers

    Kings broadcaster Grant Napear stepped down from his position with the Kings on Tuesday after he said 'All Lives Matter..Every Single One!' when asked about his thoughts on the Black Lives Matter movement during a Twitter interaction with former Kings center DeMarcus Cousins.

    This is the first domino to fall in American professional sports in relation to the Black Lives Matter movement, even if it's a relatively insignificant one. Napear said of himself and the interaction, "I’m not as educated on BLM as I thought I was. I had no idea that when I said 'All Lives Matter' that it was counter to what BLM was trying to get across," he said. "I’m in pain. I’m 60 years old and I still have a lot to learn." The Kings will evidently have to find a new play-by-play man for their radio broadcasts to accompany Doug Christie when games resume.

    Source: TMZ