Jahlil Okafor vs. Karl-Anthony Towns? Lakers to face Timberwolves on Summer League’s opening day

2 Comments

The NBA Draft is less than two weeks away, and just about every credible mock draft (including ours) has Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns going (in some order) to the Timberwolves and the Lakers with the top two selections.

If things go as expected, it could make for an exciting first day of Summer League action in Las Vegas.

Minnesota will face Los Angeles at 5:30 p.m. local time at the Thomas & Mack center on July 10, as part of a six-game slate on the event’s opening day.

Last summer, Andrew Wiggins faced Jabari Parker under similar circumstances. But the league didn’t anticipate the excitement that would surround the matchup, and scheduled it to take place in the much smaller Cox Pavilion, which created an incredibly fun atmosphere that had the building packed to capacity.

The full Las Vegas Summer League schedule is listed below.

NBA Summer League 2015 Game Schedule

All Times listed are PACIFIC

Friday, July 10

Cox Pavilion

3 p.m. – Milwaukee vs. New Orleans (Game 1)

5 p.m. – Atlanta vs. Denver (Game 3)
7 p.m. – D-League Select vs. Houston (Game 5)

Thomas & Mack

3:30 p.m. – Sacramento vs. Toronto (Game 2)

5:30 p.m. – Minnesota vs. L.A. Lakers (Game 4)
7:30 p.m. – Golden State vs. Cleveland (Game 6)

 

Saturday, July 11 

Cox Pavilion

1 p.m. – New Orleans vs. Dallas (Game 7)

3 p.m. – Washington vs. Phoenix (Game 9)

5 p.m. – Boston vs. Portland (Game 11)

7 p.m. – Brooklyn vs. Cleveland (Game 13) 

Thomas & Mack

1:30 p.m. – New York vs. San Antonio (Game 8)

3:30 p.m. – Chicago vs. Minnesota (Game 10)

5:30 p.m. – L.A. Lakers vs. Philadelphia (Game 12)

7:30 p.m. – Miami vs. Utah (Game 14)

 

Sunday, July 12

Cox Pavilion

1 p.m. – Washington vs. D-League Select (Game 15)

3 p.m. – Chicago vs. Toronto (Game 17)

5 p.m. – Sacramento vs. Denver (Game 19)

7 p.m. – Portland vs. Dallas (Game 21)

 

Thomas & Mack

1:30 p.m. – Phoenix vs. Houston (Game 16)

3:30 p.m. – Milwaukee vs. San Antonio (Game 18)

5:30 p.m. – Golden State vs. Atlanta (Game 20)
7:30 p.m. – Philadelphia vs. Boston (Game 22)

 

Monday, July 13

Cox Pavilion

1 p.m. – Cleveland vs. Milwaukee (Game 23)

3 p.m. – D-League Select vs. Atlanta (Game 25)

5 p.m. – Miami vs. Denver (Game 27)

7 p.m. – Toronto vs. Houston (Game 29)

 

Thomas & Mack

1:30 p.m. – New Orleans vs. Brooklyn (Game 24)

3:30 p.m. – Golden State vs. Sacramento (Game 26)

5:30 p.m. – L.A. Lakers vs. New York (Game 28)

7:30 p.m. – Utah vs. Minnesota (Game 30)

 

Tuesday, July 14

Cox Pavilion

12 p.m. – Portland vs. San Antonio (Game 31)

2 p.m. – Brooklyn vs. Chicago (Game 33)
4 p.m. – Miami vs. Boston (Game 35)

 

Thomas & Mack

12:30 p.m. – Washington vs. Dallas (Game 32)

2:30 p.m. – New York vs. Philadelphia (Game 34)
4:30 p.m. – Phoenix vs. Utah (Game 36)

 

Wednesday, July 15

Cox Pavilion

1 p.m. – #24 Seed vs. #9 Seed (Game 37)

3 p.m. – #22 Seed vs. #11 Seed (Game 39)

5 p.m. – #20 Seed vs. #13 Seed (Game 41)

7 p.m. – #18 Seed vs. #15 Seed (Game 43)

 

Thomas & Mack

1:30 p.m. – #23 Seed vs.  #10 Seed (Game 38)

3:30 p.m. – #21 Seed vs. #12 Seed (Game 40)

5:30 p.m. – #19 Seed vs. #14 Seed (Game 42)

7:30 p.m. – #17 Seed vs. #16 Seed (Game 44)

 

Thursday, July 16

Cox Pavilion

1 p.m. – Winner of Game 37 vs. #8 Seed (Game 45)

3 p.m. – Winner of Game 39 vs. #6 Seed (Game 47)

5 p.m. – Winner of Game 41 vs. #4 Seed (Game 49)

7 p.m. – Winner of Game 43 vs. #2 Seed (Game 51)

 

Thomas & Mack

1:30 p.m. – Winner of Game 38 vs. #7 Seed (Game 46)

3:30 p.m. – Winner of Game 40 vs. #5 Seed (Game 48)

5:30 p.m. – Winner of Game 42 vs. #3 Seed (Game 50)

7:30 p.m. – Winner of Game 44 vs. #1 Seed (Game 52)

 

Friday, July 17

Cox Pavilion

1 p.m. – Game 37 Loser vs. Game 38 Loser (Game 53)

3 p.m. – Game 41 Loser vs. Game 42 Loser (Game 55)

5 p.m. – Game 45 Loser vs. Game 46 Loser (Game 57)

7 p.m. – Game 49 Loser vs. Game 50 Loser (Game 59)

 

Thomas & Mack

1:30 p.m. – Game 39 Loser vs. Game 40 Loser (Game 54)

3:30 p.m. – Game 43 Loser vs. Game 44 Loser (Game 56)

5:30 p.m. – Game 47 Loser vs. Game 48 Loser (Game 58)

7:30 p.m. – Game 51 Loser vs. Game 52 Loser (Game 60)

 

Saturday, July 18

Thomas & Mack

1 p.m. – Game 46 Winner vs. Game 51 Winner (Game 61)

3 p.m. – Game 47 Winner vs. Game 50 Winner (Game 62)

5 p.m. – Game 45 Winner vs. Game 52 Winner (Game 63)

7 p.m. – Game 48 Winner vs. Game 49 Winner (Game 64)

 

Sunday, July 19

Thomas & Mack

3 p.m. – Game 61 Winner vs. Game 62 Winner (Game 65)

5 p.m. – Game 63 Winner vs. Game 64 Winner (Game 66)

 

Monday, July 20

Thomas & Mack

6 p.m. – Game 65 Winner vs. Game 66 Winner (Game 67)

Jazz forward Joe Ingles joins Grizzlies huddle, drapes arms over Memphis players (video)

Jazz forward Joe Ingles vs. Grizzlies
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Jazz forward Joe Ingles has no boundaries with huddles.

Ingles invaded the Grizzlies huddle today, even putting his arms around – and some weight on – Dillon Brooks and Grayson Allen. Gorgui Dieng appeared to notice the intruder just before the video cut away:

Beyond the hijinks, Ingles also scored 25 points – including 12 in the fourth quarter – to lead Utah to a 124-115 win.

NBA owners pledge $300M for empowering Black community

NBA Black Lives Matter
Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images
Leave a comment

The NBA put “BLACK LIVES MATTER” on the court and social-justice messages on jerseys. These are visible symbols that can draw attention to the fight for racial justice.

But NBA owners have the power to do more than make symbolic gestures.

NBA owners will do more.

NBA release:

The NBA Board of Governors announced today that it will contribute $300 million in initial funding to establish the first-ever NBA Foundation dedicated to creating greater economic empowerment in the Black community.  The Foundation is being launched in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association.

Over the next 10 years, the 30 NBA team owners will collectively contribute $30 million annually to establish a new, leaguewide charitable foundation.  Through its mission to drive economic empowerment for Black communities through employment and career advancement, the NBA Foundation will seek to increase access and support for high school, college-aged and career-ready Black men and women, and assist national and local organizations that provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development in NBA markets and communities across the United States and Canada.  As a public charity, the Foundation will also aim to work strategically with marketing and media partners to develop additional programming and funding sources that deepen the NBA family’s commitment to racial equality and social justice.

The Foundation will focus on three critical employment transition points: obtaining a first job, securing employment following high school or college, and career advancement once employed.  Through contributions, the NBA Foundation will enhance and grow the work of national and local organizations dedicated to education and employment, including through investment in youth employment and internship programs, STEM fields, job shadows and apprenticeships, development pathways outside of traditional higher education, career placement, professional mentorship, networking and specific partnerships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

“On behalf of the NBA Board of Governors, I am thrilled to announce the creation of the NBA Foundation,” said NBA Board of Governors Chairman and Toronto Raptors Governor Larry Tanenbaum.  “All NBA team governors recognize our unique position to effect change and we are committed to supporting and empowering young Black men and women in each of our team markets as well as communities across the U.S. and Canada.”

“The creation of this foundation is an important step in developing more opportunities for the Black community,” said NBPA President Chris Paul.  “I am proud of our league and our players for their commitment to this long-term fight for equality and justice, and I know we will continue to find ways to keep pushing for meaningful institutional change.”

The Foundation will work directly with all 30 teams, their affiliated charitable organizations and the NBPA to support national organizations and their local affiliates as well as local grassroots organizations to facilitate sustainable programming and create change in team markets.

“Given the resources and incredible platform of the NBA, we have the power to ideate, implement and support substantive policies that reflect the core principles of equality and justice we embrace,” said NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts.  “This Foundation will provide a framework for us to stay committed and accountable to these principles.”

“We are dedicated to using the collective resources of the 30 teams, the players and the league to drive meaningful economic opportunities for Black Americans,” said NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.  “We believe that through focused programs in our team markets and nationally, together with clear and specific performance measures, we can advance our shared goals of creating substantial economic mobility within the Black community.”

The 30 NBA teams will be members of the NBA Foundation with its eight Board of Directors comprised of representatives from the NBA Board of Governors (four board seats), players and executives from the NBPA (three board seats) and the league office (one board seat).  The Foundation’s board will oversee all business affairs and provide strategic direction with respect to programming and grantmaking.

This is great.

Trail Blazers reportedly tried recently to get Trevor Ariza to join them in bubble

Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza
Alika Jenner/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Trevor Ariza opted-out of playing for Portland in the NBA’s restart so he could spend time with his son. Due to a custody case, he had a limited window to visit and he chose family over basketball.

However, as his custody window shifted and Portland started to look at a deeper playoff run — and maybe a matchup with the Lakers in the first round — some Trail Blazers players tried to get Ariza to come to the bubble after all. If Zion Williamson and others could leave the bubble for family emergencies, why couldn’t Ariza be let in, the players asked?

That plan didn’t work out, reports Chris Hayes of Yahoo Sports.

But because his visitation period had been amended with a conclusion date now near the start of August, there was some optimism among the players that Ariza might be allowed into the bubble to further strengthen their chances of a deep playoff run. If the Trail Blazers were to snag the final playoff spot, they would face LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in the first round and a pesky Ariza would have been useful guarding James.

The possibility was explored, but sources said the Trail Blazers had to have previously applied for a hardship waiver or a late-arrival form for Ariza to be considered for entry into the bubble. Even if those steps were taken, the league would have likely denied the request because Ariza chose to opt out, wasn’t included on the restart roster, and didn’t arrive with his team on July 9.

The league put together strict rules about who could and couldn’t be inside the bubble — rules agreed to by the players’ union. Those rules are working at keeping the virus out. The league was not going to bend the rules for Portland now.

Ariza chose time with his son and wanted it bad enough to give up between $1.1 million and $1.8 million in salary (depending on how far the Trail Blazers got). Nobody should knock that choice; it was his to make, and picking family is never the wrong option.

Ariza is under contract for $12.8 million with Portland next season, but only $1.8 million of that salary guaranteed next season. If Portland wants to reduce payroll, they can buy Ariza out and make him a free agent at age 35. There would be suitors, Ariza has proven to be a helpful glue guy on good teams.

That glue just can’t help Portland this season.

No positive COVID-19 tests from 343 players in NBA bubble last week

NBA COVID-19 tests
Getty Images
Leave a comment

As has happened the past few weeks, Wednesday the NBA and NBPA announced that there were no positive tests among the 343 players tested for COVID-19 in the past week at the league’s restart campus in Orlando.

The NBA has had no positive tests from players inside the bubble.

The NBA’s plan for a restart began with testing players in their home markets before they arrived in Orlando (a number of players tested positive, and were quarantined/treated in those markets). Once teams arrived in Orlando, players were quarantined and tested again. The goal was to keep the virus outside of the bubble.

That has worked through one week of games.

The league did send a memo to teams reminding them players and staff need to wear a mask while on the NBA campus (when they were not practicing or playing games). The goal is to contain any outbreak, should the virus get into the bubble. That outbreak has yet to happen.

At least so far. There are about two months of games remaining on the NBA campus, family members will arrive next month, and there are still other ways the virus could penetrate the bubble. The league isn’t celebrating victory yet.

But so far, so good.