2019-20 NBA Season Updates
From NBA.com Staff
The NBA has temporarily suspended the 2019-20 season in response to the coronavirus pandemic. That decision was made to safeguard the health and well-being of NBA fans, players, team and arena personnel, media members and the general public. Below is a compilation of the latest official news and reaction from the NBA community.
• Players on healthy habits: Rudy Gobert | Donovan Mitchell | Candice Dupree | Khris Middleton | Gary Payton | Courtney Williams | Marcus Smart | Kevin Love | Paul Gasol | Trae Young | Luka Doncic & Dwight Powell | Damian Lillard | Jaren Jackson Jr. | Al Horford | Jamal Murray | Jayson Tatum | Victor Oladipo | Zach LaVine | Tacko Fall
• An Update on the NBA Store and NBA Experience at Disney Springs
To Our Global Fans: We are working very closely with the appropriate government and health-related authorities to help limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). Based on the current situation in the U.S., and in an abundance of caution to ensure the utmost safety of our employees and customers, the NBA Store in New York will be closed for the time being. Our nbastore.com site remains open to serve our valued customers and fans. Additionally, NBA Experience at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World is currently closed. Please continue to check DisneySprings.com for updates.
The NBA Board of Governors approved a competitive format to restart the 2019-20 season with 22 teams returning to play and a tentative start date of July 31. The NBA and the NBPA are working with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials to establish a rigorous program to prevent and mitigate the risk related to COVID-19, including a regular testing protocol and stringent safety practices. The season restart is also contingent on an agreement with The Walt Disney Company to use Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Florida, as a single site for a campus for all games, practices and housing for the remainder of the season.
In the approved format, the returning teams would each play 8 “seeding games” before beginning a traditional, 16-team, conference-based NBA Playoffs with four rounds and best-of-seven series in each round.
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Justise Winslow, who was set to make his debut with Memphis before the season was suspended, talks about quarantine life, mental health awareness and the uncertainty surrounding the restart of the NBA season.
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The NBA reminded its teams Wednesday that players who are currently outside the U.S. have been cleared to return, though quarantine rules may apply in some areas.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad F. Wolf signed an order last week providing the exemption for professional athletes from rules put in place during the pandemic that would have otherwise barred their entry into the U.S.
A small number of NBA players from foreign countries left for home during the pandemic.
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After gauging interest in a return to action through team-by-team calls with players, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts says the “overwhelming” sentiment has been that players want the 2019-20 season to return.
Roberts spoke with ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne about the calls, which she plans to conduct with all 30 teams in order to provide details to the players — and respond to their feedback — about the NBA’s plans for a return to action.
“It’s time. It’s time,” Roberts told ESPN. “It’s been two and a half months of, ‘What if?’ My players need some level of certainty. I think everybody does.”
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Caron Butler discusses the impact of COVID-19 on young people of color with Celtics forward Jaylen Brown, sports psychologist Dr. Kensa Gunter and Mavericks CEO Cynthia Marshall.
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While the league and the players union negotiate the plans to return, Damian Lillard made clear Tuesday that he is not interested in returning to the floor if the Blazers, currently the No. 9 seed in the West, have no shot at reaching the playoffs.
“If we come back and they’re just like, ‘We’re adding a few games to finish the regular season,’ and they’re throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don’t have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I’m going to be with my team because I’m a part of the team,” Lillard told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports over the phone. “But I’m not going to be participating. I’m telling you that right now. And you can put that in there.”
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NBA legend and Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing is back home and “getting better” after testing positive for COVID-19, according to his son.
“My father is now home and getting better,” Patrick Ewing Jr. wrote in a tweet on Monday. “We’ll continue to watch his symptoms and follow the CDC guidelines. I hope everyone continues to stay safe and protect yourselves and your loved ones.”
Georgetown announced on Friday that Ewing had tested positive and was being treated at a hospital.
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The NBA is in talks with The Walt Disney Company on a single-site scenario for a resumption of play in Central Florida in late July, the clearest sign yet that the league believes the season can continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The National Basketball Players Association is also part of the talks with Disney. Games would be held at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, a massive campus on the Disney property near Orlando.
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Knicks legend and current Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing announced Friday he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. A team statement indicated Ewing is “under care and isolated” at a local hospital, and that he chose to share his diagnosis “to emphasize that this virus can affect anyone.”
I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly. I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. pic.twitter.com/a2fMuhIZyG
— Patrick Ewing (@CoachEwing33) May 22, 2020
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Wizards guard John Wall, in collaboration with the John Wall Family Foundation (JWFF), announced today the launch of the “202 Assist” program. 202 Assist is aimed at providing rent assistance to Ward 8 residents impacted most by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The foundation will work with Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, Lydia’s House and Housing Counseling Services to identify qualifying applicants and disperse rent relief.
“DC has been my second home for 10 years now, and I have always had a strong connection to the community,” Wall said. “After learning how COVID-19 has affected the residents of Ward 8, I felt that I needed to act which is why I have partnered with the city. I hope that others will join me to help those in need during these uncertain times.”
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Houston Rockets guard Russell Westbrook, through his Why Not? Foundation, helped to provide meals to front-line workers at Martin Luther King Jr. Community Hospital in his hometown of Los Angeles.
Last night I helped provide meals to the nurses in the ICU & Covid Units at my hometown hospital, MLK Community Hospital. Extremely humbling to be able to do this and we appreciate all your hard work during this time. Thank you for all that you do! #whynot @WhyNotFdn pic.twitter.com/aRAk0G4D2h
— Russell Westbrook (@russwest44) May 22, 2020
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Milwaukee Bucks guard Pat Connaughton hosted Capture Sports Marketing’s Athletes Doing Good Radiothon on ESPN Wisconsin and raised a total of $205,859 for COVID-19 relief during the 11-hour event. The $205,859 includes a match of all donations from Herb Kohl Philanthropies. The money will be donated to Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin, Second Harvest Foodbank of Southern Wisconsin and Connaughton’s With Us Foundation.
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Cleveland Cavaliers five-time All-Star Kevin Love touches on his first workout since the team’s practice facility reopened, the NBA’s potential return to action, the importance of mental health and much more.
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Hall of Famer Magic Johnson announced that he is offering $100 million in capital to help fund federal loans for minority and women business owners whose businesses have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson is working with MBE Capital Partners to offer the loans to those hurt by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. The loans were funded through Johnson’s EquiTrust Life Insurance Company, of which he is a majority owner, through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program.
“This will allow them to keep their employees and keep their doors open,” Johnson told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Tuesday.
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Jazz guard Mike Conley has donated $200,000 to five communities in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The contribution will address food insecurity, homelessness and remote learning needs.
His donation will be distributed among Utah Food Bank in Salt Lake City; CodeCrew in Memphis, Tenn.; Community Shelter Board and the Columbus Urban League in Columbus, Ohio; the Indianapolis Public Schools Foundation in Indianapolis; and the New Haven Missionary Baptist Church in West Helena, Ark.
“Giving back and helping others is very important to me. The COVID-19 crisis has allowed me to slow down and appreciate who I am and where I am in life,” said Conley. “It has reminded me that I am in this position because of the support and sacrifices of others I’ve encountered all along the way. I wanted to be there for the communities that have been fundamental to my personal growth and are now suffering due to the effects of this pandemic. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them.”
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With graduation season upended by the coronavirus pandemic, LeBron James kicked off a special event — Graduate Together: America Honors the High School Class of 2020 — to celebrate more than 3 million high school seniors across the nation.
James opened the virtual ceremony by commending the senior class for their resilience and hard work.
“You should’ve had a real graduation, I know. You should’ve had an incredible senior year, I know that as well. But you made a sacrifice, and you did it to keep your community safe and healthy,” James said to open the show.
— UNINTERRUPTED (@uninterrupted) May 17, 2020
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Washington Wizards coach Scott Brooks has let his teen daughter give him a buzz-cut — netting $50,000 for a fund that feeds workers involved in dealing with the coronavirus pandemic.
Brooks’ family added $25,000 to the $25,000 originally donated to Feeding the Frontlines.
Brooks had said he would let his kid shave his head if that amount was reached to help provide meals to first responders and healthcare workers in the Washington area.
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The Orlando Magic re-opened their practice facility on Thursday, and center Nikola Vucevic was among the first batch of players to participate in the workouts.
In a video provided by the team, Vucevic is seen going through a socially distanced, individual workout with one of team’s player development coaches, who was wearing gloves and a mask while feeding Vucevic the ball during drills.
“It felt good to be back here and get some work in,” Vucevic said. “I still want you guys to stay safe, be smart and listen to the experts. It’s still a dangerous time for everybody.”
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Wednesday, the Miami Heat announced an effort teaming up with Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department (Animal Services), Ultimate Software and the City of Homestead to host a third Drive-Thru Pet Food Bank. The Heat and Ultimate Software are donating $10,000 in an effort to provide relief for Miami-Dade County’s pet owners during the COVID-19 crisis.
“Pets are a critical part of any family structure,” said Eric Woolworth, President of The HEAT Group’s Business Operations. “For years, we’ve partnered with Miami-Dade County Animal Services to place wonderful pets with quality families. Now, it’s time for us to help these families in a meaningful way through a very difficult time.”
With Miami re-opening its doors Wednesday, 10 of the league’s 30 teams have gone forward with on-court individual workouts — the first permitted sessions since the league ordered teams to close their training facilities as part of the coronavirus pandemic response about two months ago.
Besides the Heat, the other teams that have opened so far are Portland, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Denver, Atlanta, Indiana, Sacramento, Toronto and Utah. More are expected in the coming days; among them, Orlando is close, and the Los Angeles Lakers are targeting Saturday.
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The Golden State Warriors, Santa Cruz Warriors, Golden Guardians and the Warriors Community Foundation have announced a joint-effort COVID-19 Impact Strategy as part of the organization’s ongoing Warriors In The Community effort.
“One of our top priorities as an organization at this time is our COVID-19 relief effort,” said Rick Welts, Warriors President and Chief Operating Officer. “Our COVID-19 Impact Strategy allows us to listen to the needs of Bay Area residents and respond with immediate support, while proactively collaborating with our civic, nonprofit, and corporate partners to design effective solutions moving forward.”
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Former two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash spoke with Ernie Johnson about lessons from the current times, basketball vs. soccer, Kobe Bryant, the Mavericks and Suns, and much more.
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The NBA marked today as the earliest day for teams to reopen practice facilities for player workouts. The Cavaliers and Trail Blazers both opened their facilities today and several other teams will do so next week.
As voluntary workouts begin at NBA facilities, it’s been reported by ESPN that a handful of teams will be able to give coronavirus tests to asymptomatic players. Only teams that are located in cities where coronavirus testing has become readily available for health care workers will be allowed to do so.
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Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm and Skylar Diggins-Smith of the Phoenix Mercury were among the athletes to participate in ‘The Real Heroes Project’ on Wednesday.
The collaborative initiative intends to recognize and celebrate healthcare workers with a combination of social media posts using the hashtag #TheRealHeroes. The following PSA was also unveiled on Wednesday to coincide with National Nurses Day.
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The Miami Heat coach talks with Ernie Johnson about a possible return to action this season, family life during the pandemic, the amazing work being done by many people and much more.
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In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Day, the Warriors Community Foundation and Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) have announced a $250,000 contribution to the Oakland and San Francisco Unified School Districts to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts, which includes a $100,000 contribution from Warriors Head Coach Steve Kerr.
Warriors Community Foundation President Nicole Lacob orchestrated a Foundation match of Kerr’s contribution and with an additional donation from Hewlett Packard Enterprise—the official Warriors and Chase Center partner powering connected experiences for fans—the total of $250,000 will split equally between the two school districts. The funds will be used to purchase hundreds of laptops and internet hotspots for Bay Area youth, to continue physically-distant learning and aid in teacher-student connectivity amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
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The NBA today announced the postponement of NBA Draft Lottery 2020 and NBA Draft Combine 2020, both scheduled to take place later this month in Chicago.
More information on each event will be shared at a later date as the NBA continues to closely monitor the coronavirus pandemic and consult with infectious disease specialists, public health experts and government officials.
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Dikembe Mutombo Foundation to donate meals for the front line health workers
The Dikembe Mutombo Foundation will donate 466 hot meals for the front-line health professionals at Grady Memorial, Piedmont and Phoebe Putney hospitals in Georgia. Mutombo said, “166 of those meals will go to the front-line health workers at Phoebe Putney hospital in southwest Georgia because it is at the center of one of this state’s COVID-19 “hot zones”. I’m from Congo, so I know about “hot zones” and pandemics.”
The NBA Legend and Atlanta resident knows about “hot zones” because his homeland, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been ravaged by several deadly Ebola virus outbreaks in recent history. Unable to send disease fighters to help battle one of the deadliest Ebola outbreaks in history, last June U.S. health officials turned to Mutombo, the basketball hall of famer for help. Regarded as one of the greatest defensive players in NBA history and a well-known philanthropist in his native Congo, Mutombo recorded radio and video spots in three African languages designed to persuade the people in the Congo to take the appropriate safety precautions and get care that might stop the disease’s spread. On March 2nd , Dr. Philip M. Ricks, of the CDC’s Global Disease Detection Operations Center reported to the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation, “some good news about Ebola. No new cases in seven days”. This report was the first time since the beginning of the disease response that no new confirmed cases were reported over a seven-day period.