The “delete eight” may soon be getting back to work.
A plan for the eight teams with the worst records in the NBA, the ones not invited to Orlando for the NBA’s restart — Golden State, Minnesota, Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Chicago, and Charlotte — is coming together and could be approved next week, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
Much like the Orlando version, it would start with teams working out in their facilities, then moving to a couple of hubs for some scrimmages.
The proposal under discussion — which has not yet been approved by the league or the players union — would include:
▪ A week of practice at individual teams’ home facilities, starting the second week of August.
▪ Possibly two weeks of group workouts hosted by two teams not in the restart. Those cities have not yet been finalized. Teams traveling would likely be contingent on the players union approving teams scrimmaging each other.
The eight teams outside the NBA bubble have been asking to host training camps and some scrimmage games. They are concerned — rightfully so — that going from March to December without meaningful games would put the development of their young players and cultures behind (especially since the other 22 teams had training camps and played at least eight “seeding” games).
The concern, particularly from the players’ union, has been doing this while keeping the players healthy and safe. Michelle Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, reportedly has insistent that players be protected by similar protocols to the ones in Orlando.
“Unless we could replicate in every way the protocol that’s been established for Orlando, I’d be – I’m being tame now – suspicious,” Roberts said a conference call with reporters last month. “I think there are conversations that could be had if there’s anything we can do with the other eight teams. I know there are some players, particularly young players, that seem concerned they’re not getting enough [opportunities]… never say never, but there’s a standard. It’s a standard that’s got to be met.”
Having a couple of different “bubbles” (or whatever term of art the league wants to use) that are smaller both keeps the costs down for teams and will be easier to administer than what the league is doing in Orlando. Exactly what this setting would look like for the other teams remains to be seen.
But it looks like something is coming together.
— Ahmed🇸🇴/Justice for Breonna & Elijah (@big_business_) July 24, 2020
Internet sleuths on Reddit tracked the image down to a strip club in Atlanta. Not exactly the best way to avoid getting the coronavirus, mask or no. Now Lou Williams is now under investigation by the NBA for his activities outside the NBA’s Orlando campus, with the findings possibly impacting how long Williams is in quarantine. Shams Charania of The Athletic broke the story.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) July 25, 2020
Williams owned up to being in the club to NBA investigators, reports Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.
Sources told ESPN that Williams has been interviewed by NBA security about his whereabouts while he was away from campus, and told them he did go to the Magic City gentleman’s club for a short time on Thursday night
— Ramona Shelburne (@ramonashelburne) July 25, 2020
Williams had been given permission to leave the NBA’s restart bubble in Orlando for personal reasons, and he posted on Instagram about attending a memorial service for a family member.
It’s what else did Lou Williams do while outside the NBA campus that has him under investigation. Williams told investigators he went to the club to pick up dinner after the viewing, Shelburne reported.
“He’s back [in Orlando], I can tell you that,” Clippers’ coach Doc Rivers said before his team’s scrimmage against the Wizards Saturday. “Those [pictures] obviously got out and it’s something we didn’t enjoy seeing.”
They will enjoy it less if Williams now has to stay in quarantine for a couple of weeks.
If a player leaves the bubble for an approved personal reason — the birth of a child, sick family member, and attending a memorial service qualifies — and has a negative coronavirus test every day he is outside the bubble, the player is quarantined in his hotel room for four days upon his return. That’s where Zion Williamson is right now. Williams reportedly was tested and was negative while outside the Orlando campus.
However, leave without permission or do things outside the stated purpose of the trip — visiting a gentlemen’s club, for example — and players can be quarantined for 10 days. In Williams’ case, that would have him back during the seeding games (he will need time to get his conditioning up before the playoffs start). That length of quarantine is the reason the Lakers’ Alex Caruso said he did not attend his sister’s wedding in Texas recently.
Nothing is definitive, it is up to the NBA’s infectious disease specialist to make the call. But things do not look good for the Clippers Sixth Man.
Feel free to ignore the rumors about the Knicks’ and Nets’ interest in Zach LaVine. It’s not that the New York teams wouldn’t be interested if the 25-point-a-game wing became available, it’s that the new Bulls front office is figuring out what direction it wants to go and LaVine (with two years left on his contract) may be part of that future. Chicago has no plans to trade LaVine.
The Bull who could be available in a trade? Thaddeus Young.
That according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
In fact, according to executives from two other teams, Thad Young, not LaVine, is the player considered most readily available. That’s largely based on Young’s displeasure with his role and usage last season, his team-friendly deal that carries only a partial guarantee in 2021-22 and his dependability and professionalism.
Young, 32, is a rock-solid 13-year NBA veteran who gave the Bulls nearly 25 minutes and 10.3 points a game, while shooing 35.3% from three. He gets his points without needing plays run for him. More importantly, he’s a quality defender who can disrupt passing lanes with his 7’1″ wingspan. A number of teams could use him at the four to stretch the floor and give them quality minutes every night.
Young has two years, $27.7 million left on his contract, a very reasonable number for the production. That makes him very tradeable.
All this will depend on what direction the new front office of Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley decide to take the franchise. If Jim Boylen is out as coach, Young may want to stay and play for the new head man, getting a role he likes better. If Boylen stays (which feels more and more likely, it saves money in down economic times for the league and lets the new front office save the “change the coach” card for after another down year) Young will want out.
Look for Young’s name to come up in trade talk as we move into the offseason.
The Knicks did their due diligence and brought in 11 people to interview for the job — and the contract negotiations played out in public a little — but the next coach of the New York Knicks was always destined to be Tom Thibodeau.
Now the deal is in place, Thibodeau and the Knicks are nearing agreement on a five-year contract, a story broken by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
The New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau are finalizing a five-year deal to make him the franchise’s next coach, sources tell ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 25, 2020
Knicks president Leon Rose and agent Spencer Breecker of CAA Sports are working to complete contractual terms and a signed agreement is expected in the near future, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/77EnJuf436
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 25, 2020
The hesitation from James Dolan and New York that led to the Jason Kidd rumors in the last 48 hours always seemed to be a contract negotiation tactic. In the wake of the coronavirus impact, owners are looking to pay less and on shorter deals — they want to save money. Thibodeau had options — it’s expected the Rockets will be looking for a new coach after the restart and Thibodeau’s name had come up — and New York always was going to have to give him the five years expected for a coach of his status.
The Knicks are betting they can make this fit work. However, to make it possible for any coach to win the Knicks front office is going to have to bring in a lot more talent.
At his previous stops, Thibodeau has shown to be a win-now coach who leans on veterans and a short rotation. That’s not where the Knicks are right now as a franchise. New York is rebuilding around a core young players — particularly Mitchell Robinson and RJ Barrett, plus this year’s pick — who can be a long-lasting foundation for winning in the future. While Thibodeau coached the youngest MVP in league history in Derrick Rose, and helped grow Jimmy Butler into a franchise player, his player development resume is spotty. He also tends to just run guys into the ground with excessive minutes and hard practices. Thibodeau says he has grown and will bring a broader perspective to his next job.
The Knicks also believe they are well positioned to trade for a star when one becomes available. They need to follow the Lakers’ model of recent years: Stockpile and develop good young players, try to win with them, but if the right trade comes along — Anthony Davis for the Lakers — send the youth out for a proven winner. To make that work, Thibodeau needs to build a player-development program in New York, something that has never been a strong suit for the franchise.
The Knicks have a lot of work to do, but they have their man in Tom Thibodeau now.
In yesterday’s scrimmage, Grizzlies center Jonas Valanciunas got the last laugh. And the laugh before that. And the laugh before that.
Valanciunas caught the ball wide open behind the arc. In the paint, Embiid just waved off Valanciunas – an improved outside shooter – rather than closing out.
Valanciunas nailed a 3-pointer.
And waved back at Embiid.
And then blocked Embiid on the other end.