The NBA and the NBA Players Association apparently are looking to follow up with players as the league’s hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic enters Week 8. NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts will hold a call for players at some point Friday, according to ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. Players reportedly will…NBA Rumors: Adam Silver, Michele Roberts To Hold Call With Players Friday — NESN.com
Wednesday is National Nurses Day and the home of the Boston Red Sox made an awesome gesture to thank the nurses on the front lines. Of course, we’ll never be able to thank them enough for all of their hard work during the coronavirus outbreak. But Fenway Park found a nice way to use its…Red Sox Honor Nurses At Fenway Park For National Nurses Day With Awesome Gesture — NESN.com
Wednesday is National Nurses Day and the home of the Boston Red Sox made an awesome gesture to thank the nurses on the front lines. Of course, we’ll never be able to thank them enough for all of their hard work during the coronavirus outbreak. But Fenway Park found a nice way to use its outfield while baseball is on hold to show some appreciation for the nurses. Check these out: This is great. While we wait for the return of sports, don’t forget about all the healthcare workers vigorously working to keep everyone safe and healthy during this time. More Red Sox:
Kings general manager Bob Blake was easily distracted Wednesday morning. Somebody asked him if he had a chance to gather with friends and neighbors to play beach volleyball during the NHL’s suspension of play because of the coronavirus pandemic. Suddenly, the talk of the recent re-signing of defenseman Kurtis MacDermid, the cross-country drive of forward…Kings GM Rob Blake: ‘At the end of the day, there will be hockey’ — Daily News
Like everyone else in hockey, Blake has been quarantined at home during the pause in play. It’s been eight weeks since the Kings’ last game, a 3-2 victory March 11 over the Ottawa Senators that extended their winning streak to seven games and gave them a 29-35-6 record.
Play was halted the next day.
Like everyone else in hockey, Blake has been preparing for the resumption of play, whether it’s the Kings’ final 12 games of the 2019-20 season in the coming weeks or months or advancing directly to the 2020-21 season without the completion of the current campaign.
“At the end of the day, there will be hockey,” he said.
So, Blake said the Kings’ scouting department has gone about its business as if the draft will be held next month. There was no sense in delaying preparations since it’s going to be held at some point, whether it’s next month or next fall if the resumption of the 2019-20 season is delayed until summer.
Interviews with draft prospects are ongoing via video conference calls rather than in person.
The NHL is expected to announce in the next few days when the draft lottery and the draft will be held, and what formats they will take. The draft was originally scheduled for June 26-27 in Montreal’s Bell Centre, but it’s expected to be held via video conference calls.
“Everyone’s in the same boat,” Blake said of adjusting to the new normal.
Blake also said he recently held meetings with Todd McLellan and the Kings’ coaching staff to review their play to determine what worked and what didn’t. Soon, Blake will take what he learned from the coaches and mesh it with the statistics produced by the Kings’ analytics department.
Players’ interviews, traditionally the final act of any given season, haven’t taken place yet. Blake said he’s remained in contact with the players, including but not limited to the eight or so who have remained in Southern California to self-isolate during the break in the action.
Blake said center Jeff Carter would not be available to play “in the next couple of months” because of a core injury that has sidelined him since Feb. 18. Blake said Carter has been doing rehabilitation work at home and could see a specialist soon.
If play resumes, Blake said he expected rosters would expand by as many five to eight players, giving the Kings a chance to find meaning to as many as 12 otherwise meaningless games. The Kings were seventh in the Pacific Division when play was halted, 14 points out of a playoff spot.
“We will find positives from playing these games,” he said.
‘Above the Waves’ provides a very cursory view of the Warrior’s comeback storyReview: Klay Thompson gives us a peek at his rehab in short film — Chico Enterprise-Record
AP study: MLB average at around $4.4M for 5th year in row Jacksonville Journal Courier Read More: https://ift.tt/2SH2LZjAP study: MLB average at around $4.4M for 5th year in row – Jacksonville Journal Courier — West Central Connected
Houston, Denver and Portland plan to open practice facilities for workouts Friday, but Golden State won’t open until June 1 at the earliest.NBA says teams can reopen their practice facilities Friday; which ones will? —
Even though the NBA targeted Friday for teams to open their practice facilities to a limited number of players at a time, just a few teams – the Houston Rockets, Portland Trail Blazers and Denver Nuggets and maybe another team or two – plan to make their facility available on that day.
“That’s the plan,” Rockets CEO Tad Brown told reporters last week. “We’re certainly expecting it, and we’ll provide the safest possible environment for our guys.”
The Atlanta Hawks plan to open sometime next week, but several teams remain at least a week away, and in the case of the Golden State Warriors, weeks away, from bringing in players for individual workouts as the league deals with coronavirus-related fallout.
The league suspended its season March 11 but would like to resume if conditions allow.
In a memo delivered on Tuesday, the NBA informed teams they could reopen where stay-at-home orders have been eased. In a previous memo, the NBA provided a detailed and extensive 14-page to-do list to ensure safe and clean environments for players. Also, no more than four players at a time can use the practice facility for workouts.
Where teams stand
Atlanta: Hawks GM Travis Schlenk said, “We’re aiming to be open next week.”
Brooklyn: The Nets do not plan to open Friday.
Charlotte: The Hornets don’t have a date set and continue to evaluate the situation.
Chicago: The Bulls will not open Friday with the state under stay-at-home orders until May 30. The team is taking direction from local authorities and the NBA.
Cleveland: The Cavaliers plan to open Friday as long as the NBA continues to approve that date.
Denver: The Nuggets plan to open on Friday. The Nuggets do not anticipate immediate full attendance considering an undisclosed amount of players are currently out-of-state. But the Nuggets plan to adhere to the NBA’s issued guidelines to accommodate any voluntary individual workouts on a case-by-case basis.
Detroit: The Pistons will not open Friday and do not have a date set.
Golden State: The Warriors won’t open until June 1 at the earliest, after the city’s stay-at-home orders end on May 31.
Houston: As Texas slowly re-opens, the Rockets plan to open Friday. “We want to be able to provide them the safest possible environment for them to do that according to all the guidelines set forward by the league and health care professionals involved,” Brown told reporters.
Indiana: The Pacers do not play to open Friday.
Los Angeles Clippers: Team is following local stay-at-home orders until May 15 but has petitioned authorities to have access when state moves to phase 2 of reopening.
Los Angeles Lakers: With Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti extending stay-at-home orders through at least May 15, the Lakers plan to keep their facilities closed until at least those orders are lifted – unless they’re granted an exception from the city.
Miami: Even though Florida moves into its next phase of reopening, Miami-Dade County still has stay-at-home-orders, and the Heat will not open on Friday. It’s possible they open next week
Milwaukee: The Bucks do not plan to open Friday but are looking at a potential day next week.
New Orleans: The Pelicans don’t plan to open any earlier than May 15, when the state’s state-at-home order ends.
New York: The Knicks say they are abiding by NBA and state guidance and will not open Friday.
Oklahoma City: Thunder general manager Sam Presti said, “I wouldn’t say that we’re committed to doing that,” when asked about opening on Friday.
Orlando: As portions of Florida begin to re-open, the Magic will not open on Friday and are working on establishing a firm date. “The Orlando Magic’s foremost priority remains everyone’s health and well-being connected to the game and we will continue to follow the NBA’s guidelines while also continuing to listen to public health experts and observe local governmental directives,” the team said in a statement.
Philadelphia: The Sixers will not open Friday and will revisit the situation in about a week. Besides their own practice facility, they could also use their G League facility in nearby Wilmington, Delaware.
Phoenix: The Suns are planning to open their facility May 16 at the earliest.
Portland: The Blazers plan to open their facility for workouts on Friday.
Sacramento: The Kings will not open Friday.
San Antonio: The Spurs do not plan to open Friday.
Toronto: The city still is under stay-at-home orders, and the Raptors will not open Friday. They don’t have a firm timetable to reopen either.
Utah: Executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey told reporters he wasn’t “at liberty to give the exact date yet” but doesn’t expect it to be Friday.
Washington: The Wizards won’t open Friday.
Boston, Dallas, Memphis and Minnesota have not yet provided details on their plans.
Philadelphia 76ers general manager Elton Brand seems to have his team operating under the assumption the NBA will move on from the remainder of the regular season and instead jump directly into the postseason. It’s why Brand has the Sixers focusing on the Boston Celtics, specifically, amid quarantine. As you may remember, prior to the…Sixers Doing ‘Deep Dive’ On Celtics, Expecting First-Round Playoff Matchup — NESN.com
Canada set an NBA record for most non-American players on opening day rosters this season. There were 16 in all, as well as four more on two-way contracts, meaning they could split time between the NBA and its development league, the G League. Two more Canadians got called up during the year. Read MoreCanadians in the NBA: Nickeil Alexander-Walker — Toronto Sun
Next up: New Orleans Pelicans rookie Nickeil Alexander-Walker.
Alexander-Walker ran the full gamut of experiences in his rookie season in the NBA.
It wasn’t always the preferred experiences, but that’s more the norm for rookies finding their way in the league.
The 17th overall pick in the draft — initially by Brooklyn before a move to Atlanta and then New Orleans before he ever played a game — Alexander-Walker, who arrived in the NBA a year behind his cousin Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, made a huge first impression during Summer League play in Las Vegas, where he finished as the third leading scorer while showing a mature ability to run an offence.
He followed that up with a stellar pre-season for the Pelicans that saw him average 15.4 points per game over five matches while shooting an eye-opening 46.7% from behind the arc.
Those performances had league general managers declaring him the “steal of the draft” in their annual pre-season survey.
But the good times didn’t last. Alexander-Walker opened the regular season right here in his hometown of Toronto and with it came the first real hurdle of his young career.
With an estimated 65 friends and family on hand for the game, Alexander-Walker made just one of 10 attempts from the field as the Pelicans lost the season opener for both teams in overtime.
Alexander-Walker handled the tough night with maturity and class, but it was the beginning of a depletion of his minutes as the season progressed.
He went from playing 15 minutes a night in October to 14 in November and down to 10 in December. He got a bit of a push in January, averaging almost 13 minutes a night but when fellow rookie teammate — and No. 1 overall pick— Zion Williamson finally was healthy enough to make his NBA regular-season debut on Jan. 22, the minutes dried up rather drastically for the Pelicans’ lone Canadian on the roster.
Already in a minutes crunch behind the likes of Lonzo Ball, Jrue Holiday, JJ Redick, Josh Hart, E’Twaun Moore and Frank Jackson in a crowded Pels backcourt, head coach Alvin Gentry seemed less inclined to play a second rookie much at all with Williamson back in the fold.
Through it all, Gentry remained upbeat with Alexander-Walker’s approach. He consistently praised his fearlessness (in terms of taking shots) and his work ethic, but just didn’t seem to find many minutes for the Virginia Tech product.
In February, Alexander-Walker was sent down to the G League with minutes pretty much unavailable for him with the Pelicans.
That stint lasted only a couple of games but, when he did return, it was with a hairline fracture in his wrist and that, combined with the suspension of the season days later, brought his rookie year to a grinding halt.
To Alexander-Walker’s credit, he remained hard-working and upbeat throughout his first-year struggles and that earned him plenty of praise from his veteran teammates.
On his podcast, veteran teammate Redick raved about the young Canadian’s approach.
“We have a rookie, Nickeil Alexander-Walker, who I love,” Redick said. “He basically just does whatever I do, and it’s amazing. Sometimes, I’m just trying to do (work) on my own and he’s like: ‘Hey man, can I come along with you?’”
Alexander-Walker’s wrist is now out of the cast and will not require surgery as was once feared.
But like everyone else, his comeback is on hold until this pandemic gets under control.
The best of Nickell Alexander-Walker’s rookie season:
Oct 28 vs. Golden State: 6-for-11 shooting, 2-for-4 from three, 15 points, nine assists, four rebounds.
Nov. 16 at Miami: 10-of-18 shooting, 6-for-9 from three, 27 points, three assists, four rebounds.
Nov. 17 vs. Golden State: 7-of-18 shooting, 5-for-13 from three, 19 points, four assists, five rebounds
Jan. 8 vs. Chicago: 4-of-8 shooting, 2-for-5 from three, 11 points, six assists, four rebounds
Jan. 16 vs. Utah: 5-fo-11 shooting, 2-for-4 from three, 12 points, three assists, one rebound
It’s safe to say that no one is anywhere close to giving up on this guy — not at 21 years of age and not having shown the glimpses of greatness that this kid already has at the NBA level.
His approach, his work ethic, his entire attitude screams: “I will succeed!”
Opportunity is going to play a role in how soon this happens, or even if it happens in New Orleans. The Pelicans are a young, athletic team loaded at the guard position at the moment. That could change, but if not it just means more time to develop for Alexander-Walker.
His three-point game which was on point through the pre-season and summer league, clearly needs some fine-tuning, as does his ability to protect the basketball. Even for a rookie he was far too turnover-prone in those few moments he was given the rock and told to run the New Orleans offence.
Alexander-Walker, though, has the confidence and the desire to turn those negatives into positives.
He was making just less than $3-million for 2019-20 and will top that mark next season in the second year of his rookie contract. The Pelicans have teams options the following two seasons with a modest bump in 2021-22 and then a larger one up to just more than $5-million in 2022-23 assuming the ’21-22 option is picked up.
The rookie season may not have gone as smoothly as Alexander-Walker might have hoped, but he has given no one any indication that he can’t grow from it.0 Comme
NBA practice facilities have been closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But two Philadelphia stars received permission to use the 76ers’ facility. Both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have been utilizing the Camden, NJ building, according to 76ers general manager Elton Brand. “Ben and others have been given permission to use our facility,” he said,…Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid Given Permission To Use 76ers’ Practice Facility — NESN.com
Things between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert apparently have been a bit strained the last two months, to say the least. The two Jazz teammates tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of Utah’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena on March 11, prompting the NBA to indefinitely suspend the 2019-20 season.…Rudy Gobert, Donovan Mitchell Ready To ‘Move Forward’ After Coronavirus Incident — NESN.com
Things between Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert apparently have been a bit strained the last two months, to say the least. The two Jazz teammates tested positive for the coronavirus ahead of Utah’s matchup with the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena on March 11, prompting the NBA to indefinitely suspend the 2019-20 season. Gobert took plenty of heat after acting carelessly about the virus in the days leading up to his diagnosis, from comments downplaying its severity to playfully touching reporters’ microphones to make a point.
Donovan reportedly was initially “reluctant” to mend fences with Gobert after the two tested positive for the coronavirus, but things appear to have changed.
Jazz general manager Dennis Lindsey says the two “know they need each other to accomplish the goals that we want to accomplish, to be the last team standing in the NBA.”
“I think they both have spoken to this. They’re ready to put this behind them and move forward, act professionally,” Lindsey said Tuesday during a Zoom conference call, per the Salt Lake Tribune’s Andy Larsen. “The night of March (11) was really unprecedented and brought a microscope to our team, and we get it.”
“… We look forward to moving forward. They’ve said their piece to each other. They’ve both visited at the ownership level, at management level, at coaching level, the players level. They’re fulling participating in our Zoom workouts.”
Pedro Martinez is going above and beyond to help the Dominican Republic cope with the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, and he’s not doing it alone. The Hall of Fame pitcher has developed a coalition of more than 40 Major League Baseball players to create the “Step Up to the Plate” fund aimed at supporting…Pedro Martinez Forms Coalition To Help Dominican Republic Amid COVID-19 Outbreak — NESN.com
The Hall of Fame pitcher has developed a coalition of more than 40 Major League Baseball players to create the “Step Up to the Plate” fund aimed at supporting coronavirus relief efforts in the Dominican Republic, according to ESPN’s Marly Rivera. So far, the coalition (run by the Pedro Martinez Foundation) has raised more than $550,000 for items like essential supplies, personal protective equipment, food and more. “The Dominican Republic has always been my home, and right now it truly needs our help,” Martinez said on a video call with ESPN, per Rivera. “Being supported in this effort by so many of my fellow players is an honor. These are people without the most basic needs, and we are blessed to be in a position to help, and it is our duty to do so.” A number of past and present MLB players (all of which hail from the Dominican Republic) have pitched in their efforts, including fellow Red Sox legend David Ortiz. Martinez’s wife, Carolina, is helping lead the charge. “The focus of the help we’re providing will be twofold,” Carolina, who happens to be the director of the Pedro Martinez Foundation, said. “First, we are providing food to needy families, especially to the many that have lost their jobs. Players will be in charge of distributing meal kits in their respective communities. Second, we are providing protective equipment to our medical personnel. As it happened all over the world, the Dominican Republic is short on medical supplies to deal with a pandemic of this magnitude. It’s amazing and humbling to see all these players and artists come together to support our homeland.” Martinez said he’s received MLB commissioner Rob Manfred’s word that the league will help the cause. Read more at: