May 22, 2020, 9:13 pmJonathan IsaacPF, Orlando Magic
Jonathan Isaac, who sustained a serious left knee injury in January, said his knee is "feeling strong" and that he has been squatting increasingly more weight recently.
Isaac also said recently that he's open to returning if and when the NBA season is resumed and as long as the Magic organization is on-board with it. He has been running on an anti-gravity treadmill and indicated that his knee feels "110 percent" after more than four months of rehab. Isaac is a huge part of the Magic's future and it remains to be seen whether or not they will take the risk.
Source: John Denton on Twitter
May 22, 2020, 8:59 pmStephen CurryPG, Golden State Warriors
Certain NBA franchises in highly-restricted areas due to COVID-19 are inquiring with league officials about heading straight to the proposed "bubbles" rather than heading to an alternate location to train, completing a quarantine, then going to the bubble and completing a second quarantine period, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
The idea behind this is to avoid quarantining twice, first for a training period and then for again when they reach the bubble. Since players on these teams are (theoretically) already under heavy self-quarantine restrictions, this could potentially come to fruition. It seems like a realistic proposition at this point, although everything is still in a planning stage as far as an NBA return is concerned. Only time will tell and there are rumblings that teams are preparing to recall the majority of their players on or around June 1. It seems like some definitive announcements might finally be somewhat imminent.
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski on Twitter
May 22, 2020, 8:43 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
According to Marc Stein, NBA teams are likely going to be limited to "bring (roughly) 35 players/coaches/staff into a 'campus' environment if the 2019-20 season…resumes in July."
The continuation of the season is looking increasingly likely to happen in July. Those travel parties of 35, notably, have not mentioned the players' families (or anybody's family members, for that matter). There will undoubtedly be further developments as the situation materializes.
Source: Marc Stein on Twitter
May 22, 2020, 8:15 pmDonovan MitchellSG, Utah Jazz
Jerry Sloan, former coach of the Jazz and a member of the Hall-of-Fame (as a coach), passed away at the age of 78 on Friday due to complications in his battle against Parkinson's Disease.
Before his illustrious career on the sidelines as a coach for the Jazz, Sloan had a solid run as a player. He made two All-Star games and was a six-time All-Defensive selection. As a coach, he racked up 1,223 victories and an impressive total of 20 playoff berths. Sloan guided the Jazz to back-to-back NBA Finals appearances in the late 1990s with a roster headlined by Karl Malone and John Stockton. Unfortunately for the Jazz, they were twice beaten by Michael Jordan and the Bulls in their final two titles of the "second three-peat," which is a hot topic of conversation at the moment with the final two episodes of the Jordan documentary "The Last Dance" (where Sloan is featured throughout) airing just last Sunday. Rest in peace, Jerry Sloan.
May 15, 2020, 8:38 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, the league owners and NBA players are "delivering Adam Silver full room to operate, govern and make the decision on resuming play amid [the] pandemic" on Friday.
Earlier in the week, Silver held a conference video call with a plethora of NBA superstars to try to figure out a solution for getting back on the court. It seems as though nobody wants to make definitive choices in fear of a quick negative downturn (i.e. a positive test for COVID-19). After seemingly putting the onus on the players to provide as much input as possible amongst themselves, Silver has once again found himself surrounded with uncertainty. He might be best advised to let other professional sports attempt to return to competition, learn from their ideas and mistakes, and make his move from there.
May 12, 2020, 10:09 pmJayson TatumSF, Boston Celtics
According to Shams Charania, the National Basketball Players Association sent a memo to agents on Tuesday evening indicating that the sense is both the players and people around the league office would like to conclude the 2019-20 season, which is currently postponed.
This comes on the heels of commissioner Adam Silver's video conference with Chris Paul (the president of the NBPA) and multiple other high-profile NBA superstars that occurred earlier Tuesday. During the call, players apparently made it clear that they would like to finish the current season. The memo from the players also announced that Paul, Russell Westbrook, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Lowry and Dwight Powell will be serving on a newly-formed committee that will work alongside the NBA on ways to safely and successfully play games during the current public health predicament posed by the coronavirus. With other leagues like Major League Baseball and NASCAR slowly planning their returns to competitive action, basketball fans can finally start to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Source: Shams Charania on Twitter
May 12, 2020, 8:40 pmChris PaulPG, Oklahoma City Thunder
On Tuesday afternoon, NBA commissioner Adam Silver participated in a video conference call initiated by Players' Association President Chris Paul to discuss the league's next steps as far as a return to play, resulting in a 'united front' by the players to resume the current season.
Other NBA superstars including LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, Russell Westbrook, Anthony Davis, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, and Giannis Antetokounmpo participated in the video call. From what we've gathered recently and what has been reported from the call, the players want to continue the season, which was put on an abrupt pause two months ago due to the COVID-19 outbreak across the globe. The rumblings from around the league aside from the active players, including Shaquille O'Neal, have indicated that it may be best to "scrap" the current season and start strong for the 2020-21 campaign. Silver, for his part, has not explicitly stated a desire to cancel the remainder of the season. He seems quite open to taking the players' input into account, and it seems as though the players resoundingly want to finish what they started. Fans are dearly missing sports after two months without them, and a return of any kind would be celebrated.
Source: Yahoo! Sports
May 8, 2020, 10:35 pmChris PaulPG, Oklahoma City Thunder
According to Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN was able to acquire an audio recording of Adam Silver's call with the NBPA, which included him taking questions from NBPA president Chris Paul and executive director Michele Roberts, and Silver reinforced that the league's return will look much different than people are accustomed to.
As much as 40 percent of the NBA's revenue comes from game nights at arenas, and it's almost certain that fans will not be present whenever the league holds games again (whether it be the continuation of the current season or the beginning of the next one). Silver reiterated that no decision in that respect needs to be made yet and he feels comfortable biding his time and assessing the league's options into the beginning of June. There were also questions regarding the current CBA between the players and the league, as it predictably does not contain anything regarding a pandemic scenario. Also of note, Silver bluntly stated that the NBA would not be "taking tests from needy people" for players and/or personnel. It sounds like Silver is still weighing all of his options. His final statement to the players on the call was simple. "Until there's a vaccine, or some cocktail preventing people from dying from the virus, we are going to be dealing with this collectively," Silver said. "The ultimate issue is how much risk we're all comfortable taking."
Source: Adrian Wojnarowski for ESPN
May 8, 2020, 9:02 pmGiannis AntetokounmpoPF, Milwaukee Bucks
If the Bucks are unable to lock up franchise cornerstone Giannis Antetokounmpo before he hits unrestricted free agency after the 2021 season, the Warriors will reportedly be among his top pursuers, according to a report from the San Francisco Chronicle.
The Bucks have to focus on winning, which luckily they had done a lot of this season prior to the league-wide shutdown. Per the report, if Antetokounmpo loses faith in the team/organization's ability to win a championship, he could very well look for greener pastures as he approaches free agency. No matter what happens, as long as Antetokounmpo stays healthy, he will be receiving a ridiculously large payday; whether it comes by way of a mega-extension with the Bucks or a monster free-agent deal elsewhere.
May 8, 2020, 8:53 pmCJ McCollumSG, Portland Trail Blazers
Blazers star C.J. McCollum is among those who are skeptical of the league's decision to allow teams to reopen facilities in places (states) where it has been deemed ok to do so, with Portland evidently being one of the cities. The Blazers were able to open their facility on Friday.
Some would say McCollum is correct in his assessment that it's very important to exercise caution with the coronavirus situation. “I get the measures [the league is] taking," McCollum said. "Is it really worth it? It’s either safe or it’s not.” He has a point but, nevertheless, the Cavs and Nuggets, along with the Blazers, were able to open up their facilities today for voluntary workouts. The head coaches are not allowed to be present while players are in the gym.
Source: Chris Haynes on Yahoo Sports
May 8, 2020, 8:22 pmZach LaVineSG, Chicago Bulls
According to a report by Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times, there are at least a couple of members of the Bulls who would like the franchise to move on from current head coach Jim Boylen.
This hardly comes as a surprise, as the Bulls have made a number of organizational and front office changes recently. It would make sense to just go ahead and allow new management to select a head coach of their choosing. This is especially true if the reports of Boylen's lack of chemistry with several of his players. Apparently, the Bulls could have a new coach by the time (if) the season resumes. In the report, Cowley indicates that the front office is essentially just waiting until the league makes a decision about the current season before making their own moves.
May 5, 2020, 10:13 pmRJ BarrettSF, New York Knicks
According to Marc Berman of the New York Post, the Knicks and newly minted team president Leon Rose seem to be in good shape if their preference is to hire Tom Thibodeau and move on from current head coach Mike Miller.
Thibodeau, who has not coached since he was fired by the T-Wolves midway through last season, seems likely to be a sought-after commodity this offseason. The Nets are known to be looking for the right fit at head coach to guide their championship push with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant in the fold and the Rockets' Mike D'Antoni will also be available for interviews this offseason, barring an extension with the Rockets. The Knicks would like to avoid question marks as far as the coaching staff is concerned so they can focus on building a contending roster. Only time will tell if Rose believes that Thibodeau is the man for the job.
Source: Marc Berman of the NY Post
May 5, 2020, 9:14 pmDonovan MitchellSG, Utah Jazz
Jazz VP Dennis Lindsey and the rest of the Jazz management seem quite confident that stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell will be able to work through the sizable rift they're currently facing due to Gobert's reckless and childish attitude towards COVID-19. His actions backfired when both tested positive for the virus, subsequently causing sports leagues in the United States to come to a screeching halt.
Given the large contracts of both Gobert and Mitchell, there's reason to believe they will be able to move past their personal differences. According to Lindsey, "They're ready to put this behind them, move forward, [and] act professionally." However, they were differing reports about Mitchell's willingness to reunite with his teammate. There is obviously no sure-fire way to determine if Gobert was actually the reason Mitchell contracted the virus, but the way Gobert was acting (which included lots of sarcastic touching) just prior to the outbreak in the US makes it easy to see why Mitchell had his reservations about Gobert's character. The Jazz roster is very talented and well rounded, so hopefully these two can coexist going forward.
Source: Tim McMahon on Twitter
May 5, 2020, 8:30 pmJoel EmbiidC, Philadelphia Sixers
Sixers GM Elton Brand made headlines Tuesday by indicating that the Sixers are preparing for a potential matchup with the Celtics, the team the Sixers are currently lined up to face if the league decides to jump straight into the playoffs when it resumes, if at all.
Brand added that head coach Brett Brown and the Sixers' coaching staff have done "a deep dive," which evidently includes some preparation for other potential playoff teams should the regular season continue and seeds are altered. As has been the case from the beginning, everything is essentially speculation as far as resuming sports are concerned, regardless of who's mouth it comes out of. For what it's worth, Warriors coach Steve Kerr flat-out stated last week that he doesn't believe the NBA will return to action at all this season. Brand, Brown and the Sixers are apparently operating with more optimism than the Warriors.
May 1, 2020, 10:26 pmLeBron JamesSF, Los Angeles Lakers
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and league executives are discussing plans to start the 2020-2021 season in December, regardless of what unravels as far as the continuation or cancelation of the current season, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.
This idea, per Woj, is completely independent of plans being discussed regarding the current season, which is obviously on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic. Both the NBA Draft lottery and the Combine have been postponed indefinitely, as expected. The plan to begin the 2020-2021 season in December would have the NBA Finals finishing in late July or early August of 2021. The COVID-19 outbreak will be affecting sports leagues for seasons beyond just the current stoppage of competition, that much is certain.