Pro sports teams in New York now allowed to hold training camps

Normal life in and out of sports has been largely put on hold during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s the New York Post reporting some New York state-wide news:

Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s push to get professional sports going again in New York took another step forward Sunday.

Cuomo said during a press conference at Jones Beach Theater in Wantagh that as of Sunday, professional sports leagues can begin holding training camps in New York, as leagues work on their plans to resume play amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“Starting today, all the New York professional sports leagues will be able to begin training camps,” Cuomo said.

Such re-openings need to be done carefully and methodically. Of course, pro sports teams know this, and have been preparing and planning for a while now.

Knicks reportedly hiring Frank Zanin as assistant GM

Here’s the New York Post with some Knicks news:

Leon Rose’s latest addition likely would have earned Kobe Bryant’s approval.

One day after the new Knicks president brought aboard longtime Jazz executive Walt Perrin as the assistant general manager in charge of college scouting, Rose continued his front office makeover by adding former Nets assistant general manager Frank Zanin, who will have the same title with the Knicks, focusing on pro personnel.

Zanin, who has spent the past four seasons as an advance scout for the Thunder, was endorsed by Bryant for the Nets’ GM job in 2016. Zanin and Bryant first became acquainted playing basketball in the Philadelphia-area, where Zanin’s career began as a scout for the 76ers.

And here’s New York Newsday:

Zanin most recently served as a scout for the Thunder, a role he held the last four years. Prior to that, he served a variety of roles for the Nets, joining Billy King, who he had worked for with the 76ers, as a pro personnel scout and then earning promotions to director of player procurement and then assistant general manager…

During his time with the Nets, Zanin was credited with playing a role in signing Mirza Teletovic and re-signing Deron Williams, who coincidentally was drafted by the Jazz when Perrin pushed for the Jazz to trade up to get him.

Spencer Dinwiddie asking fans to buy his next team-signing decision

Here’s the Detroit Free Press summarizing the latest tech-inspired creativity from Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie:

Since the Detroit Pistons traded him during the 2016 offseason, Spencer Dinwiddie has established himself as one of the NBA’s best point guards and most creative thinkers.

In his Twitter bio, he describes himself as a “tech guy with a jumper,” and some of his recent ideas have supported that. In September, he attempted to convert his three-year, $34 million contract extension with the Nets into a digital investment. The NBA rejected his plan, citing collective bargaining agreement rules.

Dinwiddie’s latest idea is also likely a violation of CBA rules, but that won’t stop him from trying. On Friday, Dinwiddie announced a GoFundMe with a $24,632,600 goal — the rough value of 2625.8 bitcoin. If met, he will allow fans to choose where he signs his next contract. If he falls short of that goal, he’ll donate the money to charity.

Nets swingman Joe Harris is now recovered from sprained ankle

Here’s Virginia.edu reporting on Nets swingman Joe Harris, who says he suffered a serious sprained ankle just before NBA play was put on hold back in mid March due to the coronavirus pandemic:

Brooklyn’s final game last month was a road win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Harris, a 6-foot-6 swingman, scored 12 points in the Nets’ 104-102 victory, but severely sprained his left ankle at Staples Center that night.

“So I was going to be out a month, no matter what, and then [the NBA shutdown] went down literally the next day,” Harris said. “I wasn’t even with the team. I flew back to New York with one of our trainers, and we were supposed to play at Golden State [on March 12]. The rest of the team was in San Francisco, and they just had to pack up their stuff and leave from there.”

His ankle has healed, Harris said, but he still reports to the Nets’ practice facility to work on his mobility and stability.

“The only loophole that I have right now is that the NBA allowed guys that were in the midst of rehab go into the facility and work with the trainer, so I’ve been able to do that for the last few weeks,” Harris said. “But when I go in, I have to wear a mask and gloves the entire time, and only you and the trainer are allowed in there.”

The Nets were 30-34 this season, which may or may not resume. They’re 7th in the East. Sometime this month, more information on how 2019-20 may resolve should be known.

Some insight on NBA draft prospect Cole Anthony

Here’s the New York Post reporting on 2020 NBA draft prospect Cole Anthony, with insight from trainer Chris Brickley:

While the knee injury is considered a negative to some, Brickley termed it “a pivotal moment.” Anthony returned on Feb. 1 after a six-week absence.

“Ninety percent of projected lottery picks, with the team not doing well, they’re not going to come back,” Brickley said. “That spoke volumes. He came back the first few games, took charges and sacrificed his body. It was a testament to his toughness and how much he cares.”

Brickley started training Anthony when he was 16 and playing for Archbishop Molloy in Queens. Anthony transferred to basketball factory Oak Hill Academy, where in 2018-19 he averaged a triple double (18.5 points, 10.2 rebounds, 10.2 assists).

Though he logged UNC numbers of 18.5 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists per game, he shot an inefficient 38 percent. Criticism also surfaced about him not being a good enough playmaker who makes teammates better.

The big draft news lately is that both the draft lottery and combine, which were to take place later this month, have been postponed. It remains to be seen if the actual draft will take place in late June as per usual.

Memphis forward Precious Achiuwa to enter 2020 NBA draft

Here’s ESPN.com reporting on a top prospect for the next NBA draft:

Memphis freshman forward Precious Achiuwa is entering the 2020 NBA draft, he told ESPN on Friday…

Achiuwa, the No. 12 prospect in the ESPN Top 100, emerged as one of the most productive freshmen in college basketball, winning American Athletic Conference Player of the Year and Freshman of the Year honors.

He averaged 15.8 points, 10.8 rebounds, 1.9 blocks and 1.1 steals for the Tigers, establishing himself as one of the most versatile defenders in the country.

Achiuwa is listed at 6-foot-9, 225 lbs, and was born in Queens, New York.

The draft is scheduled for its usual time — late June — though the NBA may issue some scheduling updates in May that could change just about anything as far as 2020 events are concerned.

Spencer Dinwiddie onto Team Nigeria?

Here’s some interesting international basketball news, via the New York Post:

Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie is planning to acquire a Nigerian passport to play for Nigeria in the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo, according to The Athletic.

Dinwiddie, who was not among the 44 players who were announced as finalists for spots on Team USA, can be eligible to play for Nigeria if he is successful in his quest for a passport. He confirm The Athletic’s report with a simple reply on his Twitter page.

“Well now y’all know lol,” Dinwiddie tweeted.

Dinwiddie had a good season for the Nets in 2019-20, and for many weeks was considered a contender to make the All-Star team.

Veteran forward Trevor Booker announces retirement from NBA

Forward Trevor Booker has announced his retirement from the NBA, calling it a career by tweeting out the news in video format Tuesday evening.

He played in the league between 2010-18, and wasn’t on a squad last season or the currently-suspended one.

Overall, Booker averaged 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds per game, spending the most time on the Wizards, and also playing for the Jazz, Nets, Sixers and Pacers.

Booker has famously been involved in business, for years. Fans can expect to keep hearing his name on that front.

Nets need consistency from Taurean Prince

Here’s the New York Post with some words on Nets forward Taurean Prince:

Prince found himself pulled from the starting lineup by Atkinson in the deposed coach’s final game, and was still used as reserve by interim coach Jacque Vaughn until the season was shut down.

“I’m a grown man, it’s fine,” Prince had said. “Do I want to come off the bench? Completely not. But do I want to do whatever it takes to help the team get to where we ultimately want to go? Any day of the week.”

But how can the Nets best use Prince to get where they want to go when — or if — play resumes? Or next season when Kevin Durant returns?

Prince averaged 12.1 points and a career-high six rebounds, but his 37.6 shooting percentage was the worst of his career and lowest of any Nets rotation player. And after inking Prince to a two-year, $29 million extension in October that kicks in next season, the Nets need a more consistent Prince.

The NBA season is currently on hold, and it’s unclear if we’ll get more action anytime soon.

Stan Van Gundy discusses Nets and Knicks coaching jobs

Here’s the New York Post reporting what veteran coach Stan Van Gundy has to say about coaching opportunities with the two teams:

Both the Knicks and the Nets have head coaching vacancies. And between the two open spots, Stan Van Gundy – a big-name coach on the market – says the more attractive gig is the one in Brooklyn.

And it’s not even close.

“Of the two the Nets are the better job. There’s no question about that right now,” Van Gundy said on ESPN Radio. “The organization has been more stable. They’ve won more games. They have more talent.”

The Knicks will be spending this offseason figuring out which young players to hang onto, while chasing free agents. The Nets already have a crop of stars, and must figure out what the supporting cast should look like.