Danny Ainge Talks To Celtics Players, Staff ‘Every Day’ During COVID-19 Crisis — NESN.com

The COVID-19 crisis currently has millions of Americans — including the Boston Celtics — confined to their homes as the country attempts to limit the spread of the dangerous virus. But that hasn’t stopped Danny Ainge from staying in contact with members of the organization after the NBA indefinitely suspended its season two weeks ago.…

Danny Ainge Talks To Celtics Players, Staff ‘Every Day’ During COVID-19 Crisis — NESN.com

 

he COVID-19 crisis currently has millions of Americans — including the Boston Celtics — confined to their homes as the country attempts to limit the spread of the dangerous virus. But that hasn’t stopped Danny Ainge from staying in contact with members of the organization after the NBA indefinitely suspended its season two weeks ago. In fact, the Celtics president of basketball operations says he’s in contact with players and staff “every day.” “I think they’re doing really well,” he told The Boston Herald’s Steve Bulpett. “I mean, guys have their workouts. They’ve requested stationary bikes and weight and weight vests and bands so they can do all sorts of their workouts that our trainers are giving them. So, yeah, I think everybody’s following all of the rules, staying quarantined, and just keeping to themselves. It feels like, in my conversations with everybody, that they’re all doing well. They all seem pretty upbeat. I’m just trying to keep them motivated.” That said, Ainge’s job during the outbreak certainly hasn’t been easy. With the crisis comes loads of uncertainty, which teams and league officials have had to maneuver day-in and day-out. For Ainge, however, being adaptable is just part of the job description. “You just have to adapt to what is needed at that moment, whereas coaches are going crazy, because they’re used to having and following a schedule. Everything’s laid out in front of them on when they’re going to practice and when they’re going to take a plane to this city. They live on schedules, so it’s completely different for me than it is for them. I’m used to adapting more, and they’re learning about having to adapt under these circumstances.” Now that’s what we call solid leadership.

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/03/danny-ainge-talks-to-celtics-players-staff-every-day-during-covid-19-crisis/

Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby Open To Going Straight To NHL Playoffs — NESN.com

There’s a lot of unknown surrounding what will happen to the rest of the NHL regular season with it being on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak. But two prominent stars wouldn’t mind jumping right into the playoffs if and when the season resumes. Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby joined a video conference call Thursday…

Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby Open To Going Straight To NHL Playoffs — NESN.com

There’s a lot of unknown surrounding what will happen to the rest of the NHL regular season with it being on pause due to the coronavirus outbreak. But two prominent stars wouldn’t mind jumping right into the playoffs if and when the season resumes.

Pittsburgh Penguins forward Sidney Crosby joined a video conference call Thursday and shared how he felt about the current situation. “You try to get in as many games as you can,” he said, via Pens Inside Scoop’s Sam Kasan. I wouldn’t mind starting right at the playoffs. But there are a lot of guys in different situations. The more games you can play the better integrity of it. Get as many games as you can.”

Washington Capitals star Alex Ovechkin believes beginning the playoffs as as soon as possible is the way to go. “For us it is better for playoffs to start right now. We don’t want to play extra games,” he said, per the Washington Post’s Samantha Pell. “I would rather play playoffs right away. Sorry, guys.” Ovechkin’s Capitals would be guaranteed a playoff spot. But it isn’t as easy for teams like the New York Islanders, who were just outside of the playoff picture when the season paused March 12.

Even though no one can tell what the future holds, commissioner Gary Bettman is optimistic a Stanley Cup champion will be crowned this year.

Read more at: https://nesn.com/2020/03/alex-ovechkin-sidney-crosby-open-to-going-straight-to-nhl-playoffs/

LeBron James says ‘no more high-fives’ after coronavirus outbreak — LeBron Wire

LeBron James says ‘no more high-fives’ after coronavirus outbreak — LeBron Wire

ron James and his brand of basketball have become synonymous with many things. Amazing dunks, beautiful passes to open shooters exactly where they need it, chase-down blocks and tough shots to quiet down opposing crowds. But another thing that LeBron’s teams have always been known for is his intricate and expressive handshakes that are individualized to almost every teammate he’s had over the years.

Ever since his first stint in Cleveland, LeBron and several teammates have had special handshakes that he executes down the line before each game. However, the coronavirus pandemic and its ability to spread amongst people is leading to LeBron Handshake Reform. James told the Road Trippin’ podcast that he will no longer do high-fives and that his teammates will have some new handshakes that will presumably include social distancing.

more….

LeBron James says ‘no more high-fives’ after coronavirus outbreak — LeBron Wire

WNBA draft will go on as planned April 17 – virtually — Daily News

The WNBA draft will go on. The league has let its teams know that the 2020 draft will be held, as scheduled, on April 17 – but it will be done virtually, in light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. There will be no players, guests or media in attendance; instead, WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert will…

WNBA draft will go on as planned April 17 – virtually — Daily News

Leafs captain Tavares posts message of support in wake of coronavirus — Toronto Sun

A message of support and encouragement in the wake of the coronavirus came from John Tavares via social media on Wednesday night. Read More

Leafs captain Tavares posts message of support in wake of coronavirus — Toronto Sun.

By Terry Koshan

A message of support and encouragement in the wake of the coronavirus came from John Tavares via social media on Wednesday night.

“To all hockey fans in Toronto & beyond,” the note on Twitter from the Maple Leafs captain started, “let’s all play inside & play for each other.

“With this challenge comes great opportunity to enjoy quality time with family and loved ones. Let’s take care of each other by washing our hands frequently and practicing social distancing.

“To all the healthcare & frontline workers, thank you! Thank you for your courage, determination and hard work to fight this crisis. We are all extremely grateful.

“To Leafs nation, my teammates and I can’t wait until we get the opportunity again to put on our skates, and wear the Maple Leaf on our chest.

“Until then, let’s do everything we can to help each other by staying safe and healthy!”

Tavares’ message was accompanied by a photo of him holding son Jace, who was born last September.

25 Seasons of Raptors: The rise and fall of Vince Carter — Toronto Sun

With the 25th season of Toronto Raptors basketball on hold indefinitely, Postmedia is turning back the clock to examine the preceding 24 years, which culminated with a championship many thought the franchise would never deliver for its loyal fans. Read More

25 Seasons of Raptors: The rise and fall of Vince Carter — Toronto Sun.

The Associated Press source: Betts, Bauer, Stroman go free, even if no games

[ad_1] Ronald Blum, Ap Baseball Writer Updated 7:24 pm CDT, Wednesday, March 25, 2020 NEW YORK (AP) — Mookie Betts and all the players set to be free agents after the 2020 season would still get that chance if there is no baseball this year, part of a broad deal being negotiated by the commissioner’s officer […]

AP source: Betts, Bauer, Stroman go free, even if no games — Hppy NEWS

Ronald Blum, Ap Baseball Writer
Updated

7:24 pm CDT, Wednesday, March 25, 2020

NEW YORK (AP) — Mookie Betts and all the players set to be free agents after the 2020 season would still get that chance if there is no baseball this year, part of a broad deal being negotiated by the commissioner’s officer and the players’ association.

If there’s no season because of the new coronavirus, the agreement would credit major leaguers with the same service time this year that they earned in 2019, a person familiar with the talks told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing.

Trevor Bauer, Marcus Stroman, George Springer, JT Realmuto also would be eligible for free agency, even if the season is canceled.

Betts, the 2018 AL MVP, was acquired by the Dodgers from Boston last month for outfielder Alex Verdugo and two prospects. In a pair of deals at last July’s trade deadline contemplating they would get a top pitcher for 1 1/3 seasons, Cincinnati obtained Bauer from Cleveland and the Mets received Stroman from Toronto.

Service time affects a player’s status for free agency, salary arbitration and the pension plan. The likely service time agreement was first reported by The Athletic.

Major League Baseball and the union would agree to try to play as many regular season games as possible, the person said. They also would agree to explore one-time changes to the postseason, which would create the possibility of expanded playoffs this year.

They would consider multiple schedule options that would take into account player health and safety, economics and ballpark availability. Possible changes might include increased doubleheaders, extending the regular season into October and even November and using neutral sites with warm weather and roofs if needed for the postseason.


“A World Series week would allow for a great trial to open up an avenue of sponsorship,” said agent Scott Boras, a longtime proponent of a neutral-site World Series. “It would give players the ability to be in one place for seven games and lessen the travel after what is going to be a very difficult schedule to get to the World Series.”


If less than a full regular season takes place, a player would receive only a proportional share of his salary.

Management would have the right to delay the amateur draft from its scheduled June 10 start and to shorten it from its current 40 rounds. Teams also could push back the start of the international amateur signing period, which usually is July 2.



As part of a deal, management would advance money that would be given to players on the lower-end of the salary scale.

Opening day was scheduled for Thursday but has been pushed back to mid-May at the earliest due to the new coronavirus. A full service year usually is 172 days, and the season was set to be 186 days long. No matter how many games are played this season, a player on the active roster or injured list for the entire season would receive a full season of service.

Players need six years of big league service to become free agents, and they did not want their eligibility to be pushed back in the event the entire season is canceled. Service time also determines when players become eligible for salary arbitration, which is about 2 years, 120 days.

Formats for the regular season and postseason will be decided later, when it becomes more clear when the season can start. Management already has made proposals for changing the postseason format in 2022, including one plan that would expand the playoffs from 10 teams to 14.

“It is an opportunity probably to be creative or to try some things that people think could stick a little bit or could be kind of a segue to something different down the line,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said. “But it’s certainly probably an opportunity to try some things that you wouldn’t otherwise try in a normal 162-game setting where everything’s kind of going off according to plan.”

___