Jared Dudley

Jared Dudley: NBA will allow players to leave ‘bubble

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver has used “campus” – rather than the more popular term, “bubble” – for the setting of a resumed season.

That seemed designed to alleviate concerns about harsh restrictions on players.

But maybe “bubble” is just inaccurate.

Lakers forward Jared Dudley sure made it sound that way.

Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times:

Kyle Goon of Southern California News Group:

Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic:

Silver also told the Board of Governors last week that he does not expect a “medical bubble” — but an environment in which people can re-enter and undergo retesting.

Maybe Dudley has an accurate understanding of the NBA’s plan. Maybe he doesn’t.

This is why it was foolish for the union to poll players, even informally, with a simple yes-no question about resuming the season. Everyone has different ideas about how it’d work.

The version Dudley described sounds alarming. Coronavirus is highly contagious. If a single player contracts it, he could spread it to other players. It’s not enough to simply say that player could no longer play.

Perhaps, players could be “allowed” to leave but face multi-day isolation and testing periods upon return. That way, someone who contracts coronavirus outside the bubble would be more likely to be detected before spreading it inside the bubble. It’s unclear how that’d work with games ongoing, though.

The NBA wants everyone to get comfortable with some positive tests within the centralized location. But the league must also prevent coronavirus from spreading enough to undermine the whole operation.

Owners, executives reportedly support pushing start of next season to December

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It’s been a wish of fans for ages: Why not start the season in December and run it into the summer?

Those fans may get their wish — whether or not the NBA returns to play this season.

There is support for this idea among owners and executives, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who added there was a lengthy discussion of it among the owners on Friday’s Board of Governor’s call.

The idea of pushing back the season was something Atlanta Hawks CEO Steve Koonin pitched from the stage at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in March — just days before the league was shut down following Rudy Gobert‘s positive test for the coronavirus. Koonin’s idea was to stop having the first third of the NBA season compete head-to-head with the NFL.

The coronavirus-forced stoppage in play brings two more reasons to push back the start of next season.

First, it gives more time for the NBA to complete this season, still a primary goal of NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and the owners. They want to crown a champion, but the league may need to play into September to do that.

Second, as Wojnarowski mentioned, it makes it more likely there are fans in arenas for NBA games next season. That may or may not happen in December, but the longer the league can delay the start of next season, the more games fans will be able to attend.

This shift also comes with challenges. At the top of the list, 22 of the regional sports networks that carry NBA teams also carry a local MLB team, and games would overlap from April into June or July. There are questions about how good ratings will be in the summer. The NBA season would no longer line up with either the college or European seasons, which could complicate matters for players wanting to test the draft waters. There are other hurdles to clear, as well.

However, if the ratings are good, the league may be willing to try this schedule for a couple of years and see if it works.

Some players have pushed back on this plan new schedule saying they like having their summers off (especially players with families, so that dad and the kids are both off at the same time). However, if it means more money, players will listen, Jared Dudley said.

 

Will players be out of shape when games eventually resume? Will it hurt playoffs?

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Not only has the NBA suspended play, but also teams’ practice facilities have been closed in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus (so far, 14 players or people in basketball operations have tested positive for the virus).

No games, no team facilities to work out in, even local gyms are closed, which leaves players to work out and stay in shape on their own. Maybe they can do workouts at home or in a facility they can access, but even with that a lot of players are going to lose their conditioning (and eat more, just sitting around the house).

That could mean out of shape players and a really rough playoffs — not the rested, elite playoffs Matt Barnes predictedAnthony Tolliver told Bleacher Report.

“They actually might be the worst,” said Memphis Grizzlies veteran forward Anthony Tolliver of potential playoffs this season. “If it was just two weeks and we’re back, yes. But if it’s two-and-a-half, three months, which is what it’s looking like, it’s going to be like the start of the season. This is all assuming we play again this season. How it goes in the world and the country will decide that.”

Out of shape players returning for the playoffs also increases the risk of injury.

The Lakers’ Jared Dudley echoed that idea and suggested it would be very difficult to restart the season, he said to FOX Sports Radio this week. (Hat tip Hoopsrumors.com)

“Once I heard the news of no more practice facilities, if that goes for a month or month-and-a-half to two months, I find it almost impossible to then have a season because now you’re telling a professional athlete, ‘For 60-to-80 days you’ve done no training,’” Dudley said.

There is a growing pessimism in some quarters of the league that there will be a season, but for the league finding a way to crown a champion — and get those games televised — remains a priority.

Everything remains up in the air as the number of cases of coronavirus in the United States continues to climb and we wait to see if the measures taken in the past week can slow the spread (and how fast).

Until then, players are left to keep themselves in shape, and we know that will have mixed results.

Report: NBA orders teams to close practice, training facilities indefinitely

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While the NBA remains shut down due to the coronavirus, with seven players having tested positive,  NBA teams have been able to keep their practice and training facilities open to players. That meant players could come in and work out in limited numbers at a time, in what the league called a “one player, one coach, one basket” rule.

Now, even that is closed.

A memo sent to teams Sunday instructed them to close their practice and training facilities, a story broken by Tim Bontemps of ESPN and confirmed by the Associated Press.

The NBA sent out a memo Thursday afternoon stating that, starting Friday, all 30 NBA teams must close their practice and training facilities to players and staff until further notice, sources told ESPN…

Now, though, players are both not allowed to use team facilities nor, as laid out in a memo sent out by the league Sunday night, work out at any non-team practice or training facilities — essentially leaving players no choice but to attempt to work out at home as they, and the league, try to figure out what the next steps will be.

The NBA told the AP it updated the guidelines “in light of the rapidly-developing coronavirus situation, and consistent with evolving advice from health experts regarding how to promote individual and public health while minimizing the spread of the virus.”

Players would usually turn to public gyms — a 24-Hour Fitness with a basketball court, for example — to get their workout in, but those have been closed as well. That leaves players working out at home or in a private facility they have access to, something that will happen with mixed results.

Whenever the NBA does return to action, there will need to be some kind of notice and mini-training camp for players to ramp back up. The Lakers’ Jared Dudley mentioned this on Twitter.

Ramping up is also one of the reasons the NBA wants to have a handful of regular season games upon return, so players do not jump cold into the intensity of a playoff game.

“I’m optimistic by nature, and I want to believe that we’re going to be able to salvage at least some portions of this season,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Wednesday in an interview on ESPN. Whether his optimism proves justified is anybody’s guess.

Mock NBA expansion draft: Warriors, Clippers, Lakers, Suns, Kings

Mock NBA expansion draft
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The NBA season is on hiatus. NBC Sports is not – even if we have to venture into fantasy.

We’re holding a mock NBA expansion draft. Keith Smith is setting protected lists for existing teams. Kurt Helin and Dan Feldman will run two new teams as this project culminates in an expansion draft.

Current teams can protect up to eight players. Each team must make at least one player available. If selected, restricted free agents become unrestricted free agents. Pending options can be decided before or after the expansion draft at the discretion of the option-holder. Anyone selected in the expansion draft can’t return to his prior team for one year. Players entering unrestricted free agency and players on two-way contracts are essentially ignored.

We’re unveiling protected/unprotected lists by division (here is the Atlantic Division and the Central Division). Players are listed with their 2020-21 salary. Up now, the Pacific:

Golden State Warriors

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 5

Ineligible – 0

Analysis: The Warriors have their core together with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins. Ky Bowman, Marquese Chriss, Damion Lee and Eric Paschall provide value on minimum contracts. That’s all the Warriors need to protect.

Golden State wouldn’t mind seeing Kevon Looney or Jordan Poole selected to get the salaries off the cap sheet. The rest of the players are ones the Warriors won’t lose any sleep over if they’re drafted.

L.A. Clippers

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 2

Ineligible – 4

Analysis: L.A. has its main guys with four starters under contract. They aren’t being exposed here. The other three players are key bench contributors on good contracts. And Kabengele and Mann were just drafted. Easy decisions across the board for the Clippers.

L.A. could lose Green as a free agent. The Clippers also bet he does undrafted and could return. Rodney McGruder makes too much money for his role.

Los Angeles Lakers

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 2

Ineligible – 5

Analysis: The Lakers and Anthony Davis will work out that he’ll opt out before the expansion draft, which makes him ineligible. The rest of the players are role players that Los Angeles would rather keep around LeBron James than risk losing.

Los Angeles won’t be upset to see Quinn Cook or Rajon Rondo selected. They’re both replacement-level players for the Lakers at this point.

Phoenix Suns

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 5

Ineligible – 1

Analysis: Phoenix keeps it simple and protects all the guys who are part of its core. The Suns could have left Dario Saric unprotected, but by protecting Saric, they keep the flexibility to re-sign him as a restricted free agent. The rest are all easy decisions.

Of the unprotected players, none of have established themselves as NBA rotation players. If any are selected, Phoenix won’t lose any sleep over it.

Sacramento Kings

Protected – 8

Unprotected – 2

Ineligible – 4

Analysis: The Kings will protect their five starters and three key reserves. Cory Joseph is a decision-point, but considering De’Aaron Fox’s injury issues, Joseph is too valuable to let walk away.

Sacramento won’t mind if Jabari Parker is selected, but they aren’t going to pay anyone to do it. Justin James has been an interesting prospect, but the Kings won’t stress if he gets selected.