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Gregg Popovich had reservations, sees bubble as safest place to be

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Gregg Popovich fondly remembers his freshman year at the United States Air Force Academy, even though as a first-year cadet he was extremely limited in where he could go and what activities were allowed.

Lockdown at Walt Disney World, he said, reminded him of those days.

“But two days, anybody can do that,” the San Antonio coach said Saturday.

He made it through that freshman year with ease, made it through the two days of in-room Disney quarantine as well, and now the longest-tenured and oldest active coach in the league is free to roam within the NBA bubble in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. That doesn’t mean he didn’t have reservations about being part of the NBA restart, given the ongoing issues of racial strife, social inequality, and the coronavirus pandemic.

“If you’re thinking person, you’re going to look at all sides of a situation,” Popovich said. “And, especially being 71 years old, I thought, ‘Is this where I want to spend a lot of my time, doing this, under these circumstances?”‘

The answer was yes, and Popovich was running his first practice in more than four months Saturday as the Spurs began getting ready for a playoff push. When the season resumes July 30, San Antonio will be 12th in the Western Conference – only a half-game from ninth, where the Spurs would have to be and within four games of the No. 8 spot to force their way into a play-in series.

“I honestly do believe – it’s not just being a loyal soldier of the NBA, I’ve done my share of criticizing here and there when I thought it was necessary – I don’t know where else you would be as safe as we are right now,” Gregg Popovich said.

LeBron James completely agrees with that sentiment.

Like the Spurs, the Los Angeles Lakers – the West leaders, with James leading the way back into title contention after six consecutive years of not even making the playoffs – took to the Disney practice courts for the first time Saturday. And James said the notion of not being part of the restart “‘never crossed my mind.”

“This beautiful game of basketball, that brings so many people together, that brings happiness, that brings joy to the households, to so many families … I’m happy to be a part of the biggest sports in the world,” James said. “And I’m happy to have a platform where not only people will gain joy from the way I play the game, from the way our team plays the game, but also from what I’m able to do off the floor as well.”

And on the health standpoint, James, like Popovich, raved about what NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and many others teamed together to make happen at Disney.

“They took all precautionary reasons, measures to make sure that we as a league are as safe as we can be,” James said. “Obviously, in anything that you do, there can be things that could happen, but we will cross that line if it happens.”

But Popovich’s age called into question whether he should be at the restart.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people 65 and over can be more vulnerable to the virus. The NBA has three head coaches who have celebrated that birthday; New Orleans’ Alvin Gentry, 65; Houston’s Mike D’Antoni, 69, and Popovich. Pelicans assistant Jeff Bzdelik, 67, and Los Angeles Lakers’ assistant Lionel Hollins, 66, are not at Disney for the restart.

“We have special guidelines and special things that we have to abide by,” Spurs forward Rudy Gay said. “I think going into this bubble, everybody has to take the proper precautions and do their own part … not just our team, but other teams. It’s definitely serious. It’s a serious issue. But we vow to do the right thing.”

Popovich points to rising virus numbers in Texas as proof that on the NBA campus, where players and coaches will be tested daily and exposure to the outside world is basically cut off, his health shouldn’t be more at risk.

And to him, this is much more than basketball. The NBA restart will be about raising awareness on social issues and combating racism, and Gregg Popovich wants to be a big part of that conversation.

“If this bubble works, I’m safer here than I would be in Texas,” Popovich said. “And since the decision was made to do this to start the season again, under these circumstances, with all the precautions, what a great opportunity.”

Spurs’ Patty Mills says he’ll donate remaining salary ($1,017,818.54) to fight racism

Spurs guard Patty Mills
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Patty Mills will play in the NBA restart, and the San Antonio guard said Wednesday that the reason why he’s decided to participate is so he can give just over $1 million of his salary to causes in his native Australia devoted to fighting racism.

The exact amount, Mills said, for the Spurs’ eight remaining regular-season, or seeding, games will be $1,017,818.54. He will split that money between three causes – Black Lives Matter Australia, another group that deals with the problem of Blacks dying when in custody, and to the newly formed We Got You campaign that he helped organize to address the issues of racism within Australian sport.

“So, I’m playing in Orlando because I don’t want to leave any money on the table that could be going directly to Black communities,” Mills said.

Mills isn’t the only player that has announced he will be donating his salary for the eight games to charity. Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard revealed earlier this week that he will give the remainder of his salary for the season to a charitable initiative he started called Breathe Again, which was designed to fight hatred and racism.

Mills is the longest currently tenured player on the Spurs.

“He’s a guy that I think everybody looks to for motivation and stuff like that,” Spurs teammate Trey Lyles said Wednesday, not long after Mills made his announcement. “I think along with his actions and his words backing up his actions … he’s definitely been somebody that I think not only the team but the league realizes is a community leader and somebody that’s always caring for other people.”

This is not the first time Mills has tried to shine a light on race-related issues this season.

Mills – an Australian whose mother is Aboriginal and whose father is from the Torres Strait Islands – and the Spurs hosted a celebration of Indigenous people back in January, which he hoped helped educate people on the importance of recognizing the value of other cultures.

“Australia is a great country. America is a great country,” Mills said. “We all have issues and different aspects. But the point of it is, is being able to come together to be able to work together.”

The Spurs leave for the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida on Thursday, when they will be among the final eight arrivals of the 22 teams that will be participating in the NBA restart. The season has been halted by the coronavirus pandemic since March 11.

Mills was to have earned about $12.5 million this season, had the season not been interrupted and some games been canceled because of the pandemic.

NBA schedule 2020: Dates, times, matchups for restart in Orlando

NBA schedule 2020
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The NBA schedule release for 2020 is out.

Well, the revised, 22-teams on the Orlando campus playing “seeding games” schedule is out. Players will have been there for three weeks (for a mini training camp) by the time gams tip-off on July 30.

And the NBA is leaning right into its biggest stars.

Opening night has two games. First, it’s Zion Williamson and the Pelicans against the Jazz; then it’s the matchup everyone wants in the West — Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers vs. LeBron James and the Lakers. The next day, July 31, we get a battle at the top of the East, the Celtics vs. the Bucks.

Here are a few more notes on the NBA schedule release 2020:

• These “seeding games” count toward the regular-season standings and the stats count toward regular-season statistics.
• The Pelicans got their easy schedule back. New Orleans had the easiest schedule remaining in the NBA before the interruption, and it is the only team whose opponents have a cumulative win/loss of under .500.
• The most difficult schedule (based on opponent winning percentage) belongs to the defending champion Toronto Raptors.
• Each of the three courts used for games will be sanitized between games, meaning it is at least four hours between games on a court (once warmup time is factored in).
• Games will start as early as 12:30 Eastern on weekdays, 1 p.m. Eastern on the weekends.
• Games will start as late as 9 p.m. Eastern, and those will mostly involve West Coast teams.
• Each team has one back-to-back.
• The times and national broadcasts for games on Aug 12 and 13 are not set. They are flexible, allowing the most important games for seeding to be nationally televised.

NBA schedule 2020 for Orlando restart. (All times ET)

July 30, Opening Night

Utah Jazz vs. New Orleans Pelicans 6:30 p.m (TNT)
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Los Angeles Lakers 9 p.m. (TNT)

July 31

Orlando Magic vs. Brooklyn Nets 2:30 p.m.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Portland Trail Blazers 4 p.m. (NBA TV)
Phoenix Suns vs. Washington Wizards 4 p.m.
Boston Celtics vs. Milwaukee Bucks 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Sacramento Kings vs. San Antonio Spurs 8 p.m.
Houston Rockets vs. Dallas Mavericks 9 p.m. (ESPN)

Aug. 1

Miami Heat vs. Denver Nuggets, 1 p.m. (ESPN)
Utah Jazz vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 3:30 p.m. (ESPN)
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 6 p.m. (ESPN)
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Toronto Raptors, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Aug. 2

Washington Wizards vs. Brooklyn Nets, 2 p.m.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Boston Celtics, 3:30 p.m. (ABC)
San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 4 p.m.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns, 6 p.m.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Houston Rockets, 8 p.m. (ABC)
Sacramento Kings vs. Orlando Magic, 9 p.m.

Aug. 3

Toronto Raptors vs. Miami Heat, 1:30 p.m.
Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 4 p.m.
Indiana Pacers vs. Washington Wizards, 4 p.m.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
San Antonio Spurs vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 8 p.m.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

Aug. 4

Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 1:30 p.m.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Sacramento Kings, 2:30 p.m.
Phoenix Suns vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 4 p.m.
Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers, 6 p.m.
Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat, 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 9 p.m. (TNT)

Aug. 5

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Utah Jazz, 2:30 p.m.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Washington Wizards, 4 p.m
Denver Nuggets vs. San Antonio Spurs, 4 p.m.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Toronto Raptors vs. Orlando Magic, 8 p.m.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

Aug. 6

New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings, 1:30 p.m.
Indiana Pacers vs. Phoenix Suns, 4 p.m.
Miami Heat vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 4 p.m. (TNT)
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks, 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Denver Nuggets, 8 p.m.
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets, 9 p.m. (TNT)

Aug. 7

Utah Jazz vs. San Antonio Spurs, 1 p.m.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 4 p.m.
Sacramento Kings vs. Brooklyn Nets, 5 p.m.
Orlando Magic vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
Washington Wizards vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 8 p.m.
Boston Celtics vs. Toronto Raptors, 9 p.m. (TNT)

Aug. 8

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 1 p.m. (TNT)
Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets, 3:30 p.m. (TNT)
Los Angeles Lakers vs. Indiana Pacers, 6 p.m. (TNT)
Phoenix Suns vs. Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Dallas Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. (ESPN)

Aug. 9

Washington Wizards vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 12:30 p.m.
Memphis Grizzlies vs. Toronto Raptors, 2 p.m.
San Antonio Spurs vs. New Orleans Pelicans, 3 p.m. (ABC)
Orlando Magic vs. Boston Celtics, 5 p.m.
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Portland Trail Blazers, 6:30 p.m.
Houston Rockets vs. Sacramento Kings, 8 p.m.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Los Angeles Clippers, 9 p.m.

Aug. 10

Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Phoenix Suns, 2:30 p.m.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Utah Jazz, 3 p.m.
Toronto Raptors vs. Milwaukee Bucks, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Indiana Pacers vs. Miami Heat, 8 p.m.
Denver Nuggets vs. Los Angeles Lakers, 9 p.m. (TNT)

Aug. 11

Brooklyn Nets vs. Orlando Magic, 1 p.m.
Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs, 2 p.m.
Phoenix Suns vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 4:30 p.m.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Dallas Mavericks, 5 p.m.
Boston Celtics vs. Memphis Grizzlies, 6:30 p.m. (TNT)
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Sacramento Kings, 9 p.m. (TNT)
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Washington Wizards, 9 p.m.

Aug. 12

Indiana Pacers vs. Houston Rockets, 4 p.m.
Toronto Raptors vs. Philadelphia 76ers, 6:30 p.m. (ESPN)
Miami Heat vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Denver Nuggets, 9 p.m. (ESPN)

Aug. 13

Washington Wizards vs. Boston Celtics
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Orlando Magic
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Memphis Grizzlies
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns
San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz
Sacramento Kings vs. Los Angeles Lakers
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets

Aug. 14

Denver Nuggets vs. Toronto Raptors
Philadelphia 76ers vs. Houston Rockets
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Miami Heat vs. Indiana Pacers

Schedule by team for Orlando

Boston Celtics

vs. Milwaukee Bucks on Friday, July 31 (6:30 p.m., ESPN)
vs. Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, August 2 (3:30 p.m., ABC)
vs. Miami Heat on Tuesday, August 4 (6:30 p.m. ET, TNT)
vs. Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, August 5 (9 p.m., ESPN)
vs. Toronto Raptors on Friday, August 7 (9 p.m. ET, TNT)
vs. Orlando Magic on Sunday, August 9 (5 p.m.)
vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday, August 11 (6:30 p.m., TNT)
vs. Washington Wizards on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Brooklyn Nets

vs. Orlando Magic on Friday, July 31 (2:30 p.m.)
vs. Washington Wizards on Sunday, August 2 (2 p.m.)
vs. Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, August 4 (1:30 p.m., NBA TV)
vs. Boston Celtics on Wednesday, August 5 (9 p.m., ESPN)
vs. Sacramento Kings on Friday, August 7 (5 p.m.)
vs. LA Clippers on Sunday, August 9 (9 p.m., NBA TV)
vs. Orlando Magic on Tuesday, August 11 (1 p.m.)
vs. Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Dallas Mavericks

vs. Houston Rockets on Friday, July 31 (9 p.m., ESPN)
vs. Phoenix Suns on Sunday, August 2 (9 p.m.)
vs. Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, August 4 (2:30 p.m.)
vs. LA Clippers on Thursday, August 6 (6:30 p.m, TNT)
vs. Milwaukee Bucks on Saturday, August 8 (8:30 p.m., ESPN)
vs. Utah Jazz on Monday, August 10 (3 p.m., NBA TV)
vs. Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, August 11 (5 p.m.)
vs. Phoenix Suns on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Denver Nuggets

vs. Miami Heat on Saturday, August 1 (1 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, August 3 (4 p.m., NBA TV)
vs. San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday, August 5 (4 p.m.)
vs. Portland Trail Blazers on Thursday, August 6 (8 p.m.)
vs. Utah Jazz on Saturday, August 8 (3:30 p.m., TNT)
vs. Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, August 10 (9 p.m, TNT)
vs. LA Clippers on Wednesday, August 12 (9 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Toronto Raptors on Friday, August 14 (TBD)

Houston Rockets

vs. Dallas Mavericks on Friday, July 31 (9 p.m., ESPN)
vs. Milwaukee Bucks on Sunday, August 2 (8:30 p.m., ABC)
vs. Portland Trail Blazers on Tuesday, August 4 (9 p.m., TNT)
vs. Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, August 6 (9 p.m., TNT)
vs. Sacramento Kings on Sunday, August 9 (8 p.m.)
vs. San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday, August 11 (2 p.m., NBA TV)
vs. Indiana Pacers on Wednesday, August 12 (4 p.m., NBA TV)
vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, August 14 (TBD)

Indiana Pacers

vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday, August 1 (7 p.m.)
vs. Washington Wizards on Monday, August 3 (4 p.m.)
vs. Orlando Magic on Tuesday, August 4 (6 p.m.)
vs. Phoenix Suns on Thursday, August 6 (4 p.m.)
vs. Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, August 8 (6 p.m., TNT)
vs. Miami Heat on Monday, August 10 (8 p.m.)
vs. Houston Rockets on Wednesday, August 12 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Miami Heat on Friday, August 14 (TBD)

LA Clippers

vs. Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, July 30 (9 p.m, TNT)
vs. New Orleans Pelicans on Saturday, August 1 (6 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, August 4 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, August 6 (6:30 pm, TNT)
vs. Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday, August 8 (1 p.m. ET, TNT)
vs. Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, August 9 (9 p.m. ET, NBA TV)
vs. Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, August 12 (9 p.m. ET, ESPN)
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, August 14 (TBD)

Los Angeles Lakers

vs. LA Clippers on Thursday, July 30 (9 p.m, TNT)
vs. Toronto Raptors on Saturday, August 1 (8:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Utah Jazz on Monday, August 3 (9:00 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, August 5 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Houston Rockets on Thursday, August 6 (9 p.m, TNT)
vs. Indiana Pacers on Saturday, August 8 (6 p.m, TNT)
vs. Denver Nuggets on Monday, August 10 (9 p.m, TNT)
vs. Sacramento Kings on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Memphis Grizzlies

vs. Portland Trail Blazers on Friday, July 31 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, August 2 (4 p.m.)
vs. New Orleans Pelicans on Monday, August 3 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Utah Jazz on Wednesday, August 5 (2:30 p.m.)
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday, August 7 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Toronto Raptors on Sunday, August 9 (2 p.m.)
vs. Boston Celtics on Tuesday, August 11 (6:30 p.m, TNT)
vs. Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Miami Heat

vs. Denver Nuggets on Saturday, August 1 (1 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Toronto Raptors on Monday, August 3 (1:30 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Boston Celtics on Tuesday, August 4 (6:30 p.m, TNT)
vs. Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, August 6 (4 p.m, TNT)
vs. Phoenix Suns on Saturday, August 8 (7:30 p.m)
vs. Indiana Pacers on Monday, August 10 (8 p.m.)
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, August 12 (8 p.m.)
vs. Indiana Pacers on Friday, August 14 (TBD)

Milwaukee Bucks

vs. Boston Celtics on Friday, July 31 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Houston Rockets on Sunday, August 2 (8:30 p.m, ABC)
vs. Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, August 4 (1:30 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Miami Heat on Thursday, August 6 (4 p.m, TNT)
vs. Dallas Mavericks on Saturday, August 8 (8:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Toronto Raptors on Monday, August 10 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Washington Wizards on Tuesday, August 11 (9 p.m)
vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

New Orleans Pelicans

vs. Utah Jazz on Thursday, July 30 (6:30 p.m, TNT)
vs. LA Clippers on Saturday, August 1 (6 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Monday, August 3 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Sacramento Kings on Thursday, August 6 (1:30 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Washington Wizards on Friday, August 7 (8 p.m.)
vs. San Antonio Spurs on Sunday, August 9 (3 p.m, ABC)
vs. Sacramento Kings on Tuesday, August 11 (9 p.m, TNT)
vs. Orlando Magic on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Oklahoma City Thunder

vs. Utah Jazz on Saturday, August 1 (3:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Denver Nuggets on Monday, August 3 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday, August 5 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, August 7 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Washington Wizards on Sunday, August 9 (12:30 p.m.)
vs. Phoenix Suns on Monday, August 10 (2:30 p.m.)
vs. Miami Heat on Wednesday, August 12 (8 p.m.)
vs. LA Clippers on Friday, August 14 (TBD)

Orlando Magic

vs. Brooklyn Nets on Friday, July 31 (2:30 p.m.)
vs. Sacramento Kings on Sunday, August 2 (6 p.m.)
vs. Indiana Pacers on Tuesday, August 4 (6 p.m.)
vs. Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, August 5 (8 p.m.)
vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Friday, August 7 (6:30 p.m, TNT)
vs. Boston Celtics on Sunday, August 9 (5 p.m.)
vs. Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday, August 11 (1 p.m.)
vs. New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Philadelphia 76ers

vs. Indiana Pacers on Saturday, August 1 (7 p.m.)
vs. San Antonio Spurs on Monday, August 3 (8 p.m.)
vs. Washington Wizards on Wednesday, August 5 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Orlando Magic on Friday, August 7 (6:30 p.m, TNT)
vs. Portland Trail Blazers on Sunday, August 9 (6:30 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Phoenix Suns on Tuesday, August 11 (4:30 p.m.)
vs. Toronto Raptors on Wednesday, August 12 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Houston Rockets on Friday, August 14 (TBD)

Phoenix Suns

vs. Washington Wizards on Friday, July 31 (4 p.m.)
vs. Dallas Mavericks on Sunday, August 2 (9 p.m.)
vs. LA Clippers on Tuesday, August 4 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Indiana Pacers on Thursday, August 6 (4 p.m.)
vs. Miami Heat on Saturday, August 8 (7:30 p.m.)
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on Monday, August 10 (2:30 p.m.)
vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday, August 11 (4:30 p.m.)
vs. Dallas Mavericks on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Portland Trail Blazers

vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Friday, July 31 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Boston Celtics on Sunday, August 2 (3:30 p.m, ABC)
vs. Houston Rockets on Tuesday, August 4 (9 p.m, TNT)
vs. Denver Nuggets on Thursday, August 6 (8 p.m.)
vs. LA Clippers on Saturday, August 8 (1 p.m, TNT)
vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, August 9 (6:30 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, August 11 (5 p.m.)
vs. Brooklyn Nets on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Sacramento Kings

vs. San Antonio Spurs on Friday, July 31 (8 p.m.)
vs. Orlando Magic on Sunday, August 2 (6 p.m.)
vs. Dallas Mavericks on Tuesday, August 4 (2:30 p.m.)
vs. New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, August 6 (1:30 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Brooklyn Nets on Friday, August 7 (5 p.m.)
vs. Houston Rockets on Sunday, August 9 (8 p.m.)
vs. New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, August 11 (9 p.m., TNT)
vs. Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

San Antonio Spurs

vs. Sacramento Kings on Friday, July 31 (8 p.m.)
vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, August 2 (4 p.m.)
vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Monday, August 3 (8 p.m.)
vs. Denver Nuggets on Wednesday, August 5 (4 p.m.)
vs. Utah Jazz on Friday, August 7 (1 p.m.)
vs. New Orleans Pelicans on Sunday, August 9 (3 p.m, ABC)
vs. Houston Rockets on Tuesday, August 11 (2 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Utah Jazz on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Toronto Raptors

vs. Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday, August 1 (8 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Miami Heat on Monday, August 3 (1:30 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. Orlando Magic on Wednesday, August 5 (8 p.m.)
vs. Boston Celtics on Friday, August 7 (9 p.m, TNT)
vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday, August 9 (2 p.m.)
vs. Milwaukee Bucks on Monday, August 10 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, August 12 (6:30 p.m, ESPN)
vs. Denver Nuggets on Friday, August 14 (TBD)

Utah Jazz

vs. New Orleans Pelicans on Thursday, July 30 (6:30, TNT)
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday, August 1 (3:30, ESPN)
vs. Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, August 3 (9 p.m., ESPN)
vs. Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday, August 5 (2:30 p.m.)
vs. San Antonio Spurs on Friday, August 7 (1 p.m.)
vs. Denver Nuggets on Saturday, August 8 (3:30 p.m, TNT)
vs. Dallas Mavericks on Monday, August 10 (3 p.m., NBA TV)
vs. San Antonio Spurs on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

Washington Wizards

vs. Phoenix Suns on Friday, July 31 (4 p.m.)
vs. Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, August 2 (2 p.m.)
vs. Indiana Pacers on Monday, August 3 (4 p.m.)
vs. Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, August 5 (4 p.m, NBA TV)
vs. New Orleans Pelicans on Friday, August 7 (8 p.m.)
vs. Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday, August 9 (12:30 p.m.)
vs. Milwaukee Bucks on Tuesday, August 11 (9 p.m.)
vs. Boston Celtics on Thursday, August 13 (TBD)

NBA Orlando restart: What players can expect as they arrive at the bubble

NBA bubble
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Today we start to find out if the NBA can build a bubble on its Walt Disney World campus and play out the end of the season, crowning a champion.

For the next three days, Tuesday through Thursday, teams will be arriving in Orlando and will be taken to the Disney property and the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. There are 113-pages of protocols and regulations laid out by the league — not all of them popular with players, expect some fatigue as the restart wears on — to create this bubble.

Here’s what players can expect, starting today:

ARRIVAL

• Teams will board charter flights from their home market to the Orlando airport, where after they land and go through security they will directly board a chartered bus that will bring them to the Walt Disney World complex. Team arrival dates are:

Tuesday: Brooklyn, Denver, Orlando (no flight), Phoenix, Utah, Washington
Wednesday: Boston, Dallas, L.A. Clippers, Memphis, Miami, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Sacramento
Thursday: Toronto (from Florida), Houston, Indiana, L.A. Lakers, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, Portland, San Antonio

• When they check-in at the hotel, each player will be given a “MagicBand” — a rubber bracelet with a chip that serves as a room key (and wallet, if needed) throughout the hotel. The NBA also will use it to check players in for coronavirus testing.

• Soon after they arrive, players will be tested for the coronavirus. After taking the test (and awaiting results), players must quarantine in their hotel rooms for 24-48 hours until they pass two tests 24 hours apart — they may not be in physical contact with team members, and they will only eat room service meals. Portland’s CJ McCollum had wine shipped from Oregon to his room in Orlando just to pass these 48 hours.

• Once cleared by the initial tests, players will be tested daily for the virus, at least at first, according to NBA Commissioner Adam Silver. The NBA’s operations handbook for the restart says players will be tested” regularly.”

• What hotel teams will stay at was determined by seeding. Here is the list of which teams are staying at what hotel.

-Grand Destino: Milwaukee, L.A. Lakers, Toronto, L.A. Clippers, Boston, Denver, Utah, Miami
-Grand Floridian: Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Houston, Indiana, Dallas, Brooklyn, Memphis, Orlando
-Yacht Club: Portland, Sacramento, New Orleans, San Antonio, Phoenix, Washington

If a lower seed team advances to the conference semi-finals, they likely will be asked to move to the Grand Destino from their hotel (Disney wants to free up those hotels for other guests to the resort).

• All team and league staff — including coaches — will be required to wear a “proximity alarm” that will notify the wearer if he or she spends more than five seconds within six feet of another person who also has the band. The idea is to remind people to social distance. Players will have the option of wearing the alarm band.

• Players also will be given the option to wear the Oura smart ring, which tracks the wearer’s temperature, breathing, and heart rate. The makers says could help indicate if a player has some of the early symptoms of COVID-19 before they realize it, but players are skeptical of wearable technology from the league in general. We will see how many players take the league up on their offer.

LIFE INSIDE THE BUBBLE

• Everyone — players, team staff, Disney employees, probably even Mickey Mouse — will be required to wear a facemask, except when eating, at a workout or practice, in their room, or if they are swimming or doing something more than six feet away from another person (laying out by the pool with nobody around).

• Food will be prepared on site by Disney chefs. Each team has the chance to work with a “culinary team” to design a healthy menu that fits the dietary needs of players. A number of players have private chefs, and they can prepare meals off-site then have those brought into the players.

• Games inside the NBA bubble will take place at one of three facilities:
1)The HP Field House will be the primary game court.
2)The Arena will have a game broadcast court plus has a couple of side practice courts.
3) The Visa Center has a court that can be used for game broadcasts, but this will primarily be a practice facility.
• All three areans have weight and training areas for teams to get in additional work.

• Team hotels will have amenities for players and staff, such as pools, bicycles (there are bike paths), players-only lounge area (with televisions and gaming areas). The hotel will have barbers, manicures and spa services, and more. There also will be movie screenings, some DJ sets, bowling, and other games such as ping pong — just don’t play doubles. Seriously.

• There will be golf available, but no caddies.

• Players can leave the bubble whenever they want. If this is an excused exit for a family emergency — Gordon Hayward and several other players have wives/partners with babies due during the bubble — and players are tested daily while outside the bubble, they face only a four-day quarantine upon return. However, if a player just chooses to leave the bubble without an approved reason, he faces a 14-day quarantine upon his return and will have to have two negative tests. Also, the player will not be paid for any games missed.

• Any team staff that violates the rules of the NBA bubble or leaves the bubble without prior approval will be removed and cannot return to the Disney campus.

WHAT HAPPENS IF/WHEN A PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE

• The NBA has made it clear: Games are not going to stop for a few positive tests

• If a player tests positive inside the NBA bubble, he is immediately be moved to “isolation housing” off the Disney property. That player will spend at least 14 days outside the bubble and must pass two coronavirus tests a day apart.

• Anyone the infected player came in contact with will face increased testing and will be monitored.

• Teams and the league will more closely monitor and test anyone who was in close proximity to that player between tests.

Sean Marks denies rumor of Nets trying to poach Spurs coach Gregg Popovich

Former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich
Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images
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The Nets are reportedly seeking a blue-chip coach as they hope to enter championship contention. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of the greatest coach’s of all-time, a five-time champion.

Brooklyn’s coach must get along with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Durant and especially Irving have appeared fond of Popovich.

Nets owner Joe Tsai has the deep pockets to give a raise to Popovich, who’s reportedly already the NBA’s highest-paid coach.

Brooklyn general manager Sean Marks played and worked for Popovich in San Antonio.

The Spurs will likely have their lengthy playoff streak end. Of their two biggest stars, LaMarcus Aldridge keeps talking about returning to the Trail Blazers and DeMar DeRozan is reportedly unhappy in San Antonio.

Could all that circumstantial evidence add up to the Nets hiring Popovich?

Gerald Brown on “Let’s Get Technical:”

There’s a story going around that the owner of the Brooklyn Nets is looking to make a Godfather offer to Gregg Popovich. And when I say the Godfather, it’s something he can’t refuse. Hearing this story – and it’s probably going to circulate a little bit more in the days to come – I’m not really buying it at all.

It’s telling that the person who sent the rumor mainstream did so with the caveat that he doesn’t believe it.

Marks threw even more cold water on the rumor.

Marks on “Benigno and Roberts” on WFAN:

Pop has a job. So, I will say that. And, obviously, we all know he’s an amazing, amazing coach, and to be quite frank, an even better leader. So, I will let Pop continue to coach for the Spurs, and he owes it to them and they owe it to him. I’m sure he’s quite happy there.

That’s a strong denial. If he believed Popovich might come to Brooklyn, Marks probably wouldn’t say Popovich “owes it” to the Spurs to keep coaching them. That wouldn’t cover for a possible move while things are worked out privately. That backs Popovich into a corner.

Popovich is 71 and appears quite comfortable in San Antonio. For all the speculation on why Popovich could join the Nets, there are also strong reasons it wouldn’t make sense.