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  • Nets sign veteran F Beasley
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, July 9, 2020

    The Brooklyn Nets signed forward Michael Beasley as a substitute player for the remainder of the 2019-20 season, the team announced Thursday.

    • Financial terms were not disclosed by the team for Beasley, who will have to serve a five-game suspension for violating the league's anti-drug policy last April.

      Beasley, 31, played 26 games (two starts) for the Los Angeles Lakers last season, averaging 7.0 points and 2.3 rebounds, before being traded with Ivica Zubac to the Los Angeles Clippers for Mike Muscala on Feb. 7. The Clippers waived him two days later, and Beasley finished the season playing in China.

      Beasley has played for seven NBA teams in 11 seasons since the Miami Heat selected him with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NBA Draft out of Kansas State. He has averaged 12.4 points and 4.7 rebounds in 609 career games (238 starts).

      Brooklyn (30-34) resides in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and is solidly positioned for one of the conference's eight playoff spots. The Nets have eight games remaining and are a half-game ahead of eighth-place Orlando (30-35) and six ahead of the ninth-place Washington Wizards (24-40).

      --Field Level Media

  • Hawks make Miller first female G League GM
    By Field Level Media / Thursday, July 9, 2020

    The Atlanta Hawks' G League affiliate became the first team in the league to hire a woman as a general manager after promoting Tori Miller to the post with the College Park Skyhawks on Thursday.

    • Miller, who was named the Skyhawks' assistant general manager on July 30, 2019, spent time as a basketball operations intern for the Phoenix Suns before her time in the G League. She began her career in the G League three seasons ago with the Hawks' franchise in Erie, Pa., before the team moved to Atlanta for the 2019-20 season.

      Former Skyhawks general manager Derek Pierce will continue to oversee Atlanta's scouting department in his role as vice president of player personnel for the Hawks, the team announced.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Clippers F Leonard doesn't travel with team to Orlando
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    Los Angeles Clippers star forward Kawhi Leonard didn't travel with the club to Orlando on Wednesday due to a family matter, according to published reports.

    • Leonard, 29, was granted permission by the Clippers to miss the flight. Reports indicate he is expected to arrive in Florida later this week.

      It wasn't immediately known what type of issue the two-time NBA Finals MVP was dealing with.

      The Clippers resume the season on July 30 against the Los Angeles Lakers at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex.

      Leonard, who is in his first season with the team, was averaging 26.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists in 51 games before the coronavirus pandemic interrupted the season.

      The Clippers (44-20) are in second place in the Western Conference and trail the Lakers by 5 1/2 games.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Nets reach deal with veteran G Crawford
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    The Brooklyn Nets agreed to a deal with 40-year-old guard Jamal Crawford, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Wednesday.

    • It would be the ninth team and the 20th NBA season for Crawford, a three-time NBA Sixth Man of the Year who last played with the Phoenix Suns during the 2018-19 campaign.

      The Nets are currently preparing for the league's 22-team restart at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

      Crawford has averaged 14.6 points in 1,326 career games. He ranks eighth all-time with 2,220 made 3-pointers.

      He began his career with the Chicago Bulls (2000-04) and also has played for the New York Knicks (2004-08), Golden State Warriors (2008-09), Atlanta Hawks (2009-11), Portland Trail Blazers (2011-12), Los Angeles Clippers (2012-17), Minnesota Timberwolves (2017-18) and Suns.

      The Nets were also getting close to a deal with veteran forward Michael Beasley, according to Charania. The 31-year-old free agent most recently played with the Guangdong Southern Tigers in China.

      Beasley averaged 7.0 points in 26 games with the Lakers in 2018-19. He has averaged 12.4 points in 609 games with seven teams since the Miami Heat made him the No. 2 overall pick in 2008.

      --Field Level Media

  • Spurs' Mills to donate over $1M to social justice causes
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills announced Wednesday that he will donate his entire salary from the NBA's restart to a trio of social justice causes.

    • "I'm proud to say I'm taking every cent from these eight games that we're playing, which for me will turn out to be $1,017,818 and 54 cents, and donating that directly back to Black Lives Matter Australia, Black Deaths in Custody and to a recent campaign that's called the We Got You campaign -- dedicated to ending racism in sport in Australia," Mills said in a video posted by the Spurs.

      Mills' salary for the 2019-20 season is approximately $12.4 million, per Spotrac.

      The 31-year-old Australian is averaging a career-best 11.7 points to go along with 1.8 assists and 1.6 rebounds in 63 games (one start) this season.

      The Spurs (27-36) reside four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies (32-33) for the eighth and final seed win the Western Conference.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Pelicans' Gentry cleared for NBA restart
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry has been cleared to travel with his team to Florida for the NBA's restart to the season, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday.

    • Gentry, 65, had been one of the league staff members undergoing further scrutiny before play resumes at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando.

      Health officials have stated that people 65 and older are particularly susceptible to severe symptoms if they contract the coronavirus.

      Two other NBA head coaches fall in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's high-risk category: the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich, 71, and the 69-year old Mike D'Antoni of the Houston Rockets.

      While Gentry appears ready to travel, New Orleans will be without associate head coach Jeff Bzdelik and assistant Jamelle McMillan.

      Bzdelik, 67, won't travel after consulting with team physicians, and McMillan will stay back to help care for his newborn son, a team source told ESPN.

      The Pelicans are slated to resume the season on July 30 against the Utah Jazz. New Orleans (28-36) is 3 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies, who currently hold the final Western Conference playoff spot.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pacers' Brogdon proclaims return from COVID-19 for Florida workouts
    By Field Level Media / Wednesday, July 8, 2020

    Two weeks after testing positive for the coronavirus, Indiana Pacers point guard Malcolm Brogdon plans to head to Florida with the team on Thursday.

    • "Thanks to everyone who's asked how I'm feeling. I'm feeling well, and I'm ready for Orlando," Brogdon said in a Twitter post Wednesday morning.

      NBA protocol mandates players produce two negative tests after testing positive. Otherwise, Brogdon would not be permitted to travel with the team Thursday.

      Brogdon, 27, is in his first season with the Pacers and will be asked to pick up his production in the absence of former All-Star Victor Oladipo. Oladipo last week opted out of the 2019-2020 season as a precaution because of the major injury and surgery on his ruptured quadriceps that cost him part of the past two seasons.

      Brogdon, the 2016-17 NBA Rookie of the Year, was traded to the Pacers from the Milwaukee Bucks prior to the season and is averaging 16.3 points, 7.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds per game -- all career highs.

      Brogdon's recent hip injury is not expected to be a factor in his potential return.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Nets' Prince tests positive, will sit out
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 7, 2020

    A fourth Brooklyn Nets player, forward Taurean Prince, has tested positive for COVID-19 and will sit out the NBA's restart later this month near Orlando, ESPN reported Tuesday.

    • The Nets were already without center DeAndre Jordan, guard Spencer Dinwiddie and forward Wilson Chandler, who opted out after positive tests. Forward Kevin Durant (torn Achilles) and guard Kyrie Irving (shoulder) were never expected to play as they continue to recovery from surgeries.

      According to ESPN, the Nets left for Florida on Tuesday evening.

      The Nets, who sit seventh in the Eastern Conference at 30-34, can add four players to the roster to replace the four who have tested positive. Training camps are expected to open next week, with games beginning July 30.

      Brooklyn's first game is against the Orlando Magic, currently a half-game back in eighth in the East, on July 31. The Nets will play seven more games while trying to avoid a play-in for a playoff spot.

      Prince, 26, averaged 12.1 points and six rebounds in 64 games (61 starts) before the regular season was paused in March. In his fourth NBA season and his first with Brooklyn, he has career averages of 11.6 points and 4.3 rebounds.

      --Field Level Media

  • Silver: ‘Significant spread’ of virus could nix season again
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 7, 2020

    NBA commissioner Adam Silver on Tuesday voiced concern that a "significant spread" of the coronavirus could potentially expose a "hole in our bubble" and shut down the season a second time.

    • Silver made the comments during Fortune's virtual "Brainstorm Health" conference.

      Silver expects that players will test positive for the coronavirus but said he's "not sure yet" what the league's threshold will be for having to shut down the season at ESPN's Wide World of Sports campus at Disney World near Orlando.

      "Certainly, if we had any sort of a significant spread at all within our campus, we would be shut down again," Silver said. "It would be concerning if once [the players] sit through our quarantine period, and then were to test positive, we would know that, in essence, there's a hole in our bubble.

      "That our campus is not working in some way."

      The season is set to restart July 30 with a 22-team tournament, with scrimmages slated to begin July 22. Silver postponed the season March 11 after Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz was the first NBA player to test positive for COVID-19.

      Strict protocols -- including quarantines and COVID-19 testing for players and personnel -- will be in place, including contact tracing.

      "We can analyze the virus itself and try to track whether, if there's more than one case, if it's in essence the same virus, the same genetic variation of the virus that has passed from one player to another," Silver said.

      Silver said he's confident enough in the league's protocols that he plans to attend after being tested himself, but added he will "stay far away from players."

      "This should work," he said. "But again, this virus has humbled many, so I am not going to express any higher level of confidence than we are following the protocols and we hope it works as we designed it."

      --Field Level Media

  • 76ers' Embiid 'doesn't trust' players to remain in bubble
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 7, 2020

    All-Star center Joel Embiid wants to play basketball, but the Philadelphia 76ers' big man is no fan of the bubble environment at Walt Disney World Resorts.

    • "I don't ever do anything but play video games," Embiid said as the team returned to the court. "I don't trust those other guys to do the same."

      Embiid is the latest player to voice concern about players following prohibitive rules for the bubble environment created at Disney.

      Portland Trail Blazers All-Star guard Damian Lillard recently said the same about players not following the strict guidelines designed to keep themselves and others healthy.

      "But I'm not gonna let the city down or my teammates, my family. I don't like the idea and I still don't believe in it," Embiid said. "I am going to do the right things. But I don't trust those other guys to do the same. But I've got to do my job."

      Embiid has been impressive in workouts and has a lot to show upon the restart of the 2019-2020 season, coach Brett Brown said. With fellow All-Star Ben Simmons at 100 percent -- Simmons was sidelined when the pandemic began due to a back injury -- Philadelphia could be among the favorites for the Eastern Conference title.

      Embiid said he truly believes the 76ers have a "great chance to win it."

      "There is nobody on our team that has put in more time than Joel Embiid," Brown said last week. "Forget what he has actually done in the gym for a minute, just go to the man hours and consecutive days and the amount of days he has put in over the past few months. I'm proud of him, I respect him. He needed to do it. We understand the impact he can have on our team.

      "... I'm looking for Joel to come in in as good of shape as he's been in since I have coached him. I think the three weeks we have together is an inverted sort of luxury we haven't had. I'm excited for Jo to get back into this and show what he has been doing the last few months."

      --Field Level Media

  • Nuggets name Booth as general manager
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 7, 2020

    The Denver Nuggets promoted Calvin Booth from assistant general manager to the team's vacant GM role on Tuesday.

    • The Nuggets' general manager post was vacated in April when Arturas Karnisovas left to become the Chicago Bulls' new executive vice president of basketball operations.

      "Calvin is one of the brightest basketball minds in our league," Nuggets President of Basketball Operations Tim Connelly said. "We are very fortunate to have him as part of our organization and are extremely excited for his new role."

      Booth, 44, joined the Nuggets as assistant general manager in August 2017. He had spent the previous four seasons in the Minnesota Timberwolves' front office after scouting for the New Orleans Pelicans in 2012-13.

      Booth played for seven different teams in a 10-year career, including two stints with the Washington Wizards, where he crossed over with Connelly, who worked as a scout and then as director of pro personnel. Connelly also worked with Booth while with the Pelicans before joining the Nuggets.

      --Field Level Media

  • Nets G Dinwiddie opts out of NBA restart
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 7, 2020

    Brooklyn Nets standout guard Spencer Dinwiddie will not join his team for the NBA's restart after testing positive again for the coronavirus.

    • Dinwiddie announced the news Tuesday over Twitter with the Nets preparing for the NBA season to resume on July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla.

      "After another positive test yesterday and considering the symptoms, @BrooklynNets, team doctors and I have decided that it would be in the best interest for me and the team that I do not play in Orlando," he wrote. "I will be supporting the guys every step of the way!"

      Dinwiddie, 27, is averaging career bests of 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds in 64 games (49 starts) during his sixth NBA season.

      Dinwiddie's teammate, center DeAndre Jordan, tested positive for COVID-19 and opted out of joining the Nets (30-34), who will also be without forward Wilson Chandler for the restart. Chandler cited a desire to remain with his family while guard Kyrie Irving (shoulder surgery) and forward Kevin Durant (Achilles) also won't participate.

      Brooklyn resides in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and is solidly positioned for one of the conference's eight playoff spots. The Nets have eight games remaining and are a half-game ahead of eighth-place Orlando (30-35) and six ahead of the ninth-place Washington Wizards (24-40).

      --Field Level Media

  • Wizards' Beal (shoulder) opts out of NBA restart
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 7, 2020

    Washington Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal will not participate in the NBA's restart to the season due to a right rotator cuff injury, the team announced Tuesday.

    • Beal's decision against playing was made in consultation with the Wizards' Chief of Athlete Care & Performance Daniel Medina and club orthopedist Dr. Wiemi Douoguih, per the team.

      "Bradley did everything possible to be ready to play, but after closely monitoring his individual workouts we came to the conclusion that it was best for him to sit out the upcoming games in Orlando and avoid the risk of further injury," Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said.

      "Although he was able to play through the majority of the season with the injury, the layoff from March until now did not leave any of us feeling comfortable that he would have enough time to be ready to perform at the extremely high level we are all accustomed to seeing and agreed that not participating in the games in Orlando was the right decision."

      Beal recently expressed his concerns about the restart -- which is to see 22 teams resume play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando -- due to the short preparation period and the increased injury possibility. The two-time All-Star will not travel with the team to Florida and will continue his rehabilitation process over the summer.

      "This was a difficult decision and one that I did not take lightly as the leader of this team," Beal said. "I wanted to help my teammates compete for a playoff spot in Orlando, but also understand that this will be best for all of us in the long term. I appreciate the support of my teammates, the fans and the entire organization and look forward to returning next season to continue the progress we have made."

      Beal's absence will a blow for the Wizards (24-40), who trail the Orlando Magic by 5 1/2 games for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The team is slated to resume play against the Phoenix Suns on July 31.

      Washington will remain without five-time All-Star point guard John Wall (Achilles). Forward Davis Bertans won't be available after opting out of the season restart.

      Beal is averaging career bests of 30.5 points and 6.1 assists in 57 games this season. The scoring average is second behind Houston Rockets' star James Harden (34.4).

      Beal also is averaging 4.2 rebounds and has made 170 3-point baskets.

      Beal has a 21-point career average over eight NBA seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • Lakers' Dwight Howard says he will play when season resumes
    By Field Level Media / Tuesday, July 7, 2020

    Center Dwight Howard said Monday night that he will play for the Los Angeles Lakers when the NBA season resumes later this month.

    • Howard had reportedly been undecided about playing due to several circumstances.

      The mother of his six-year-old son died in March following an epileptic seizure. Howard has also been one of the NBA's most outspoken players about the social responsibilities the league's players have in the aftermath of George Floyd's death.

      Howard said in an interview with CNN's Don Lemon on Monday night that he will play with the Lakers when the season resumes at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando on July 30. Currently in Georgia, Howard said he will donate his salary to help "push this 'Breathe Again' movement."

      "I feel like we have a great opportunity, the Lakers do, to win the title this year," Howard said. "Yes, I will be joining my team in Orlando, but during that time, we will begin a lot of work here in Atlanta and around the nation as far as making sure people don't forget about us and what's going on in our communities."

      Lakers coach Frank Vogel said last week that the team did not plan to replace Howard on the roster.

      "We've been in communication with Dwight the whole way," Vogel said on July 1, the deadline for teams to add veterans with more than three years of NBA experience. "We don't know what the level of participation is yet. He wants to play. We're hopeful he's able to join us. We're hopeful and optimistic that he'll be able to join us in Orlando."

      The Lakers will be without point guard Avery Bradley, who has opted out of playing the remainder of the season to stay with his family and focus on community issues.

      Howard issued a statement to CNN last month that read, "Basketball, or entertainment period, isn't needed at this moment, and will only be a distraction. Sure, it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand a majority of our community don't have. And the smallest distraction for them can start a trickle-down effect that may never stop.

      "Especially with the way the climate is now. I would love nothing more than to win my very first NBA Championship. But the unity of My People would be an even bigger Championship, that's just too beautiful to pass up. What better time than now for us to be focusing on our families?"

      Howard, 34, is averaging 7.5 points and 7.4 rebounds in 19.2 minutes per game for the Lakers this season. He had made two starts in 62 appearances.

      The eight-time All-Star is on his fifth NBA team in the past five seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pelicans' Ingram not convinced season will be completed
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 6, 2020

    New Orleans Pelicans All-Star forward Brandon Ingram isn't convinced the NBA restart will go off without a hitch.

    • The Pelicans are slated to travel to Orlando, Fla., on Wednesday but Ingram isn't sure the season will be completed with the coronavirus pandemic still out of control.

      "I'm not that confident about that," Ingram told reporters on Monday. "It looks like everything is going through with Orlando or whatever. ... New cases are coming up, different things are happening. I'm not very confident, but they've got us going to Orlando on (Wednesday) so we'll see."

      The 22-year-old Ingram is averaging a career-best 24.3 points in 56 games in his first season with the Pelicans.

      Point guard Lonzo Ball also expressed reservations on Monday.

      "I think it's going to be a day-by-day thing," said the 22-year-old Ball, who is averaging seven assists and a career-best 12.4 points in 56 games his first campaign with New Orleans. "Obviously nothing is going to be perfect. This is something that's never been done before. There's still a lot of question marks. Like I said, I think it's going to be day-by-day.

      "As long as we try to (abide) by the rules, I think that's going to help get us through the season. I can't really tell you whether it's going to work or not. I don't know how I feel about it, I'm just happy to see my teammates and at least be out there as a team trying to win for the organization."

      As the Pelicans prepare to travel ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, the status of 65-year-old coach Alvin Gentry still hasn't been firmed up. Because of his age, Gentry is viewed as being in the at-risk group by the NBA due to the coronavirus outbreak running rampant in Florida.

      Associate head coach Chris Finch will likely run the squad if Gentry doesn't travel.

      Another assistant, 67-year-old Jeff Bzdelik, won't be traveling to Orlando.

      The Pelicans are slated to resume the season on July 30 against the Utah Jazz. New Orleans (28-36) is 3 1/2 games behind the eighth-place Memphis Grizzlies, who currently hold the final Western Conference playoff spot.

      The Pelicans also signed free agent guard Sindarius Thornwell for the reminder of the 2019-20 season on Monday.

      Thornwell's signing comes on the same day that the club announced that forward Darius Miller (Achilles) won't travel to Orlando for the resumption of the season.

      The 30-year-old Miller hasn't played this season since rupturing his right Achilles in August. He averages 6.0 points per game in 253 NBA games (28 starts), since joining New Orleans for the 2012-13 campaign in the first of two stints with the franchise.

      "We are extremely encouraged with the progress Darius has made in his recovery process," Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin said in a statement. "The work he has put in both prior to and during these limited mandatory workouts has been remarkable. We look forward to seeing him back at full strength heading into the 2020-21 campaign."

      Thornwell, 25, has a 2.5-point career scoring average in 137 games (18 starts) in two seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers (2017-19). He spent this season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the G League and averaged 9.2 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists in 40 games (26 starts).

      Thornwell was a college star who led South Carolina to the Final Four in 2017.

      --Field Level Media

  • Wizards' Beal still undecided if he'll play in restart
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 6, 2020

    Washington Wizards star shooting guard Bradley Beal is expected to travel with the team to Florida but remains uncertain if he will play once the season restarts.

    • Beal is slated to travel with the club to Orlando on Tuesday, pending the result of a coronavirus test. But the decision on whether or not to play may not come immediately.

      "No final decision," Washington coach Scott Brooks told reporters on Monday. "We are all still day by day."

      Beal recently expressed his concerns about the restart -- which is to see 22 teams resume play at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando -- due to the short preparation period and the increased injury possibility.

      Brooks said that the two-time All-Star is excelling during workouts, while reiterating the decision to play will solely be left to Beal.

      "He's looking great. His physical condition has been pretty good and continues to improve every day, along with our other guys," Brooks said. "We are all getting tested every day and as of right now, he's a go, and we are all going down there ready to compete and get better and play to get in a playoff position. He looks great."

      Not having Beal would be a blow for the Wizards (24-40), who trail the Orlando Magic by 5 1/2 games for the eighth and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. The team is slated to resume play against the Phoenix Suns on July 31.

      Washington will remain without five-time All-Star point guard John Wall (Achilles). Forward Davis Bertans won't be available after opting out of the season restart.

      Beal is averaging career bests of 30.5 points and 6.1 assists in 57 games this season. The scoring average is second behind Houston Rockets' star James Harden (34.4).

      Beal also is averaging 4.2 rebounds and has made 170 3-point baskets.

      Beal has a 21-point career average over eight NBA seasons.

      --Field Level Media

  • 76ers' Scott: NBA jersey plan a 'bad miss'
    By Field Level Media / Monday, July 6, 2020

    Philadelphia 76ers forward Mike Scott said the NBA plan to allow for respectful messaging on the backs of jerseys resulted in a "bad miss."

    • The NBA narrowed a list of acceptable messages and names players could use on the backs of their jerseys but eliminated some phrases and the option to use names of victims. The league said the move came out of respect to the families of the deceased.

      "They gave us some names and phrases to put on the back of jerseys. That was terrible. It was just a bad miss, a bad choice," Scott said Monday. "They didn't give players a chance to voice our opinions on it; they just gave us a list to pick from. So that was bad, that was terrible.

      "I'm all about just doing, instead of saying and posting, or putting something on the back of your jersey. I don't think that's going to stop anything, you know?"

      ESPN reported Friday that the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association had agreed to the following list of 29 suggested messages: Black Lives Matter; Say Their Names; Vote; I Can't Breathe; Justice; Peace; Equality; Freedom; Enough; Power to the People; Justice Now; Say Her Name; Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can); Liberation; See Us; Hear Us; Respect Us; Love Us; Listen; Listen to Us; Stand Up; Ally; Anti-Racist; I Am A Man; Speak Up; How Many More; Group Economics; Education Reform; and Mentor.

      NBA players are scheduled to begin arriving at the Walt Disney World Resort on Tuesday and the league set July 30 as the official restart date of the 2019-20 season delayed by the coronavirus. Play was suspended March 11.

      "You're trying to change your mentality from what's going on and being with your family and making sure you're safe -- racism, (the coronavirus) -- and then turning and switching on to go to Orlando and play basketball. Easier said than done," Scott said. "Most people would probably be like, 'This s--- should be easy. Just think about basketball.'

      "But I don't know, man, it's tough thinking about that after what's gone on these past couple months. I've been dealing with that and just trying to work out every day and get my mind ready for Orlando, but at the same time, how can you not focus on everything else going on?"

      Players who choose to opt out of the NBA season can do so without repercussions, but the league set a deadline of July 1 to inform teams of that decision.

      Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo and Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza are among the players who have opted out. Oladipo said he feared re-injury after missing parts of two seasons with a ruptured quadriceps tendon. Ariza committed to extended visitation rights with his son.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Bucks, Kings close facilities after COVID-19 results
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 5, 2020

    The Milwaukee Bucks and Sacramento Kings closed their practice facilities after receiving coronavirus test results, according to reports Sunday.

    • It wasn't immediately clear whether a Milwaukee player -- or multiple players -- tested positive for COVID-19. ESPN reported the team received the results on Friday.

      The Kings shut down their facility after receiving a positive COVID-19 test within the team's traveling party, according to The Athletic.

      The Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Miami Heat all recently closed their workout venues due to positive COVID-19 tests.

      According to Sunday's reports, the Bucks and Kings won't reopen their facilities before traveling to Orlando, Fla. Sacramento is set to leave Wednesday; Milwaukee is expected to depart on Thursday.

      The NBA-best Bucks (53-12) are scheduled to resume their season on July 31 against the Boston Celtics. The Kings (28-36) are also scheduled to play that day against the San Antonio Spurs.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: NBA distributes protocols for players traveling without team
    By Field Level Media / Sunday, July 5, 2020

    As the NBA begins welcoming teams to ESPN Wide of Sports Complex near Orlando this week for the resumption of the 2019-20 season, the league has reportedly set the protocols for players unable to travel with the rest of their team.

    • Citing a memo sent to teams from the league, ESPN on Sunday reported that players must arrange for their own travel to the Orlando area if a) they miss a scheduled coronavirus test in the two days prior to their team's scheduled departure date, or b) have "extenuating circumstances" previously disclosed to the league.

      According to the memo, ESPN reported that a player can travel on a charter flight at their own expense, travel by car or fly commercial. If the player chooses to fly privately or drive, they must have two negative coronavirus tests before resuming basketball activities. If they fly commercial, they must test negative three consecutive times before rejoining their teammates.

      There are also several players who have already tested positive for COVID-19, and according to ESPN, any players who tested positive in the last week will likely be unable to travel with their teams. Players who do test positive must self-isolate and pass at least two consecutive tests, according to the NBA's health and safety guidelines, ESPN reported.

      The NBA announced last Thursday that 25 players tested positive for the coronavirus in the first eight days of testing. Among the teams with players who have reportedly tested positive are the Los Angeles Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets and Miami Heat.

      The 22 teams taking part in the resumption of the NBA season are scheduled to arrive in Florida between Tuesday and Thursday. Beginning July 22, each team will compete in three inter-squad scrimmages at the ESPN complex before the regular season resumes July 30.

      The NBA suspended its season after Utah center Rudy Gobert tested positive on March 11.

      --Field Level Media

  • NBA releases restart scrimmage schedule
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, July 4, 2020

    The NBA on Saturday released the scrimmage schedule for the upcoming 22-team restart.

    • From July 22-28, each team will compete in three inter-squad scrimmages at the ESPN Wide of Sports Complex near Orlando to prepare for the resumption of the season on July 30.

      There will be three to six scrimmages per day on multiple courts.

      The Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Clippers tip off the action on July 22 at 3 p.m. ET.

      Also playing on the first day are the Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets (3:30 p.m. ET), the New Orleans Pelicans and Brooklyn Nets (7 p.m.) and the Sacramento Kings and Miami Heat (8 p.m.).

      Teams are scheduled to arrive in Florida from July 7-9.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: Clippers G Shamet tests positive for coronavirus
    By Field Level Media / Saturday, July 4, 2020

    Los Angeles Clippers point guard Landry Shamet tested positive for the coronavirus and is unlikely to travel with the team to Florida, The Athletic's Shams Charania reported Saturday.

    • In his second NBA season, the 23-year-old Shamet averaged 9.7 points, 1.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists in 47 games (27 starts) before the 2019-20 season was paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

      He ranks fourth on the team in 3-pointers made with 105, shooting 39.2 percent from behind the arc.

      The Clippers are scheduled to travel to the Orlando area on Wednesday to prepare for the league's 22-team restart on July 31 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. Los Angeles is the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference and considered one of the top contenders for the championship.

      Philadelphia's first-round pick (26th overall) in the 2018 NBA Draft, Shamet was traded to the Clippers in February 2019 in a deal that sent forward Tobias Harris to the 76ers.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Lakers, Pelicans assistants ruled out of 'bubble'
    By Field Level Media / Friday, July 3, 2020

    Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins and New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik won't join their teams in the NBA's Orlando-area "bubble," according to media reports Friday.

    • According to Yahoo Sports, Hollins was "red-flagged" because of existing health worries. Numerous other media outlets corroborated the report about the 66-year-old assistant, whose age puts him at risk for severe issues should he contract the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

      Bzdelik, 67, won't be part of the Pelicans' group heading to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the restart of the NBA season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The New Orleans Times-Picayune confirmed the report, with both outlets adding that the status of Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry, 65, remains uncertain.

      Two other NBA head coaches fall in the CDC's high-risk category: the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich, 71; and the Houston Rockets' Mike D'Antoni, 69.

      NBA coaches union president Rick Carlisle, the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, said Wednesday that the league would not bar staffers from entering the "bubble" based solely on their age.

      Carlisle said, according to ESPN, "We'll see who ends up going, not going, etc. But we were very encouraged to hear that age alone would not be something that would keep you from going to Orlando."

      Lakers coach Frank Vogel had said Thursday that the team had a "fairly miserable experience" attempting to finalize the list for its 36-person traveling roster ahead of the trip to the Orlando area.

      "There are several members of our staff that we're not going to be able to bring into the bubble that, quite frankly, we need in the bubble," Vogel said. "But the environment just doesn't allow us to do that and that's just part of the pandemic life and the situation we're in."

      According to ESPN, Hollins will continue to work with Vogel and the rest of the staff remotely.

      Hollins was an NBA champion for the Portland Trail Blazers in 1976-77, then earned All-Star honors the following year. He played 10 years in the NBA, appearing for five teams.

      He had three stints as head coach of the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies franchise and also spent 1 1/2 years as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. His overall head-coaching record is 262-272.

      Bzdelik was the Denver Nuggets' head coach from 2002-03 to early in the 2004-05 season, amassing a 73-119 record.

      --Field Level Media

  • Reports: Heat end workouts after 2nd positive COVID-19 test
    By Field Level Media / Friday, July 3, 2020

    The Miami Heat closed their practice facility for training after a second player tested positive for the coronavirus, multiple media outlets reported Friday.

    • Derrick Jones Jr. was identified as testing positive last week, but the name of the latest player to contract COVID-19 was not reported.

      According to the Miami Herald, the latest player to test positive was placed in quarantine but is still expected to be ready to join the team for the season's restart. The newspaper also reported that a Heat staff member has tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week.

      The Heat reportedly will not train again in Miami before heading to the Orlando area next week ahead of the resumption of NBA action, but they will continue to test players at their South Florida facility.

      Play is due to begin July 30 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex with 22 teams vying for playoff berths. Miami's first game will be on Aug. 1 against the Denver Nuggets.

      The Heat joined a list of NBA teams that reportedly have shut down practice facilities due to coronavirus cases in the past few weeks, along with the Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers and Brooklyn Nets.

      --Field Level Media

  • Pacers star Oladipo won't play in restarted season
    By Field Level Media / Friday, July 3, 2020

    Indiana Pacers star guard Victor Oladipo will skip the restarted season in the Orlando area, the team confirmed Friday.

    • Oladipo played in just 13 games before the season was interrupted by the coronavirus, missing the first 47 games due to a torn right quad tendon sustained in January 2019. He is concerned about re-injury and also cited a lack of comfort with the restart situation.

      "I really want to play, and as a competitor and teammate this is tearing me apart," Oladipo told The Athletic. "I feel like I'm at a great place in my rehab and getting closer and closer to 100 percent. With all the variables, from how I have to build my five-on-five workload back up, to the increased risk of a soft tissue injury which could delay my rehab, and the unknown exact setup of the bubble, I just can't get my mind to being fully comfortable in playing.

      "I have to be smart and this decision hasn't been easy, but I truly believe continuing on the course I'm on and getting fully healthy for the 2020-21 season is the right decision for me."

      Pacers president of basketball operations Kevin Pritchard said in a statement, "We totally respect and understand Victor's decision to not play in the restart of the NBA's season. The first priority for our players is, and always will be, their health, whether that be physical or mental health.

      "Victor has looked great in workouts, but the timing of the restart and lack of five-on-five activity makes it difficult to for him to commit to playing at the high level he expects with regards to further injury. His future health is the No. 1 priority and we look forward to having him back at full strength for the 2020-21 season.

      "This is not a unique situation for our team, playing without key players like Victor and Jeremy Lamb. This team has shown great resolve in responding to adversity and we fully expect this will be no different. We remain excited about what they can accomplish in Orlando."

      Oladipo recently increased his workout activity to get a better gauge on where he stood health-wise.

      He indicated Wednesday that "longevity" was more important than making a short-term decision.

      "A part of rehab is working your way back and getting yourself to 100 percent, so at the end of the day, going back and turning things up as quickly as we're about to do, and pretty much going to playoff formation and playoff games after eight games, I'm more susceptible to injury than anyone else is," Oladipo said. "So, it's not about now, it's about longevity."

      Oladipo returned from his injury in January. He averaged 13.8 points, 3.2 rebounds, three assists and 0.8 steals in 13 games (10 starts), averaging 25.9 minutes per game.

      During back-to-back All-Star campaigns in 2017-18 and 2018-19, he averaged 21.7 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 2.1 steals in 33.3 minutes.

      In seven NBA seasons, Oladipo has career averages of 17.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.7 steals. He also has played for the Orlando Magic (2013-14 to 2015-16) and the Oklahoma City Thunder (2016-17).

      The Pacers (39-26) are currently tied with Philadelphia for fifth in the Eastern Conference. They are slated to resume the season against the 76ers on Aug. 1.

      --Field Level Media

  • Report: NBA, players agree on jersey messages
    By Field Level Media / Friday, July 3, 2020

    The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association agreed on which social justice messages players can wear on the back of their jerseys when the season starts again later this month, ESPN's The Undefeated reported Friday.

    • The list of acceptable phrases was distributed to the players, who can replace their last names on their jerseys with one of the approved messages. If they initially pass on selecting a choice and change their mind after the first four nights of the season's restart, the message will be added above their name, according to the report.

      The coronavirus pandemic interrupted the season on March 11, and the NBA plans to resume play on July 30, with all games played in the Orlando area.

      Players have been active in social justice issues since the death of George Floyd, a Black man, at the hands of a white police officer in Minneapolis in May. The league and the union agreed last month to include several initiatives to fight systemic racism in the restarted season.

      The Undefeated report revealed a list of 29 acceptable messages for the jerseys. They include Black Lives Matter -- which will be painted on all courts -- Say Their Names, I Can't Breathe, Enough, Power to the People, Justice Now and How Many More.

      Names of Floyd and others who have passed away in police custody or under circumstances invoking racism will not be used.

      --Field Level Media