nba basketball news rumors





NBA Rumors

The daily league-wide NBA rumors page

By InsideHoops.com

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Boston Celtics (@celtics) on


TODAY'S NBA RUMORS AND TOP STORIES

Updated Monday, June 1, 2020 at 4:22 a.m. ET

NBA commissioner Adam Silver sent an internal memo to NBA office employees on Sunday, offering thoughts of frustration and sadness after watching the protests around the country over the weekend. Silver, in a memo obtained by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, said his league shares "the outrage" and offered "sincere condolences to families and friends" of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor. ESPN.com

"I am heartened by the many members of the NBA and WNBA family -- players, coaches, legends, team owners and executives at all levels -- speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change," Silver wrote. "Together, with our teams and players, we will continue our efforts." ESPN.com

If the Knicks decide on Tom Thibodeau as their next head coach, he will have plenty of time to construct a solid staff. But the former Knicks assistant may not need much time. Members of Thibodeau’s past staffs in Chicago and Minnesota are likely eager to join him in New York to revive the dead Knicks, according to sources. NY Post

While interim coach Mike Miller probably will be retained in some fashion, Thibodeau is likely to go after two former assistants on his ’Wolves staff — brothers Andy Greer, a former Knicks assistant coach, and Larry Greer, now a Suns assistant. Andy Greer and Thibodeau go back to their Knicks days. Greer, a Brockport State graduate, was a Knicks assistant from 2001-2003 and was by Thibs’ side in Chicago and Minnesota as essentially a defensive coordinator. NY Post

That 22-team scenario would exclude the Nets from any type of play-in format to make the 16-team main event. They’d be solidified at No. 7 in the East — which they earned with a 30-34 clip. Most likely, according to sources, the six extra teams would compete with the two No. 8 seeds from each conference in an eight-team single-elimination tournament. The top two finishers would advance to the playoffs with the Nets awaiting. NY Post

The six extra teams would be invited on the basis of being within six games of the eighth seed on March 11. The Pelicans and Zion Williamson, the Blazers and Carmelo Anthony, Kings, Spurs, Suns and Wizards would all gain entry to Orlando. The 20-team format is less friendly to the Nets’ chances of advancing. NY Post

The season reopener is expected to be July 31 — and that’s 13 months since his Achilles surgery. NY Post

NBA star J.R. Smith beat the living daylights out of a man who allegedly smashed his car window during the wild protests in L.A. ... and TMZ Sports has the video. You can see ... the 6'6", 225-pounder unleashed a barrage of violent kicks on the man -- landing several times in the head. When the guy finally stands up on his feet, Smith delivered a final punishing overhand right to the guy's dome. TMZ.com



NBA RUMORS FROM SUNDAY, MAY 31, 2020

Charlotte Hornets owner and Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan joined the chorus of athletes, coaches and executives expressing their grief and outrage over the death of George Floyd. "I am deeply saddened, truly pained and plain angry," Jordan said in a statement Sunday. "...I stand with those who are calling out the ingrained racism and violence toward people of color in our country. We have had enough." ESPN.com

"I don't have the answers, but our collective voices show strength and the inability to be divided by others," Jordan said. "We must listen to each other, show compassion and empathy and never turn our backs on senseless brutality. We need to continue peaceful expressions against injustice and demand accountability. Our unified voice needs to put pressure on our leaders to change our laws, or else we need to use our vote to create systemic change. Every one of us needs to be part of the solution, and we must work together to ensure justice for all." ESPN.com

Michael Jordan wore a special pair of modified Air Jordan 1s to support his left foot after a freak injury during his 2nd NBA season -- and now, those game-worn kicks are hitting the auction block... and they're expected to fetch around $500,000!!! Remember, MJ broke his left foot during the 3rd game of the 1985-86 season for the Chicago Bulls ... an injury that sidelined him for 6 weeks and almost ended his career. TMZ.com

Boston Celtics guard Jaylen Brown led a peaceful protest march through Atlanta on Saturday night. Brown, who streamed part of the march live via his Instagram account and also posted videos of speeches to his page, said during the livestream that he had driven 15 hours from Boston in order to protest in Atlanta, which is about a 20-minute drive southeast of his native Marietta, Georgia. ESPN.com

"I drove 15 hours to get to Georgia, my community," [Jaylen] Brown said. "This is a peaceful protest. Being a celebrity, being an NBA player, don't exclude me from no conversations at all. First and foremost, I'm a black man and I'm a member of this community. ... We're raising awareness for some of the injustices that we've been seeing. It's not OK. "As a young person, you've got to listen to our perspective. Our voices need to be heard. I'm 23 years old. I don't know all of the answers. But I feel how everybody else is feeling, for sure. No question." ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2020

As the NBA's board of governors met Friday afternoon to assess options for how to restart the season, the league's general managers have expressed their preference to go straight to the playoffs. In a survey of all 30 general managers, which was viewed by ESPN, 16 said they would prefer the league come back with just the typical 16 playoff teams, with the teams and seedings based on the standings when the season was suspended March 12. ESPN.com

In addition to preferring a return with just playoff teams, there also was a slight preference to keep the traditional playoff format, which received 16 votes. An option to reseed the 16 playoff teams regardless of conferences received 14 votes. ESPN.com

There were also several questions about what a potential "playoff-plus" model might look like, in terms of how many teams would be involved and how it would be formatted. A play-in tournament for the seventh and eighth spots in each conference -- with the top six advancing directly to the playoffs -- received the most votes with 13. A play-in tournament for the eighth spot in each conference received nine votes, while a group-stage format got eight votes. ESPN.com

The NBA hasn’t worked all the kinks out yet, but a return to date of July 31 is circled on the calendar. In a world turned upside down by a global pandemic, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all for anyone, but it is a sign that our lives are at least beginning to get back to something resembling normalcy. Of course when the game does return and the ball goes up, it will still be different from how we last left it. Toronto Sun

The NBA will play their games within the locked community of Disney World in Orlando, Fla. if this does go ahead. They will do so without fans in the stands though the games will be available for viewing. As for those of us that make our livings reporting on all things NBA the opportunity to do that will almost certainly be curtailed. Toronto Sun



NBA RUMORS FROM FRIDAY, MAY 29, 2020

The NBA is planning a Thursday vote of the league's board of governors -- with owners expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver's recommendation on a format to restart the season in Orlando, Florida, sources tell ESPN. The NBA has been examining several plans for a return to play, but numerous members of the board of governors tell ESPN that there's growing support for a plan to bring 22 teams to Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in July. ESPN.com

This format would likely include regular-season and play-in games to compete for playoff berths in both the Eastern and Western Conferences, sources said. The NBA needs a three-fourths majority of owners to approve a return-to-play plan, and an overwhelming majority of owners expressed a desire to do precisely that on both a board of governors call on Friday and later in interviews with ESPN. ESPN.com

Even in the middle of a pandemic, when nobody is playing, Bradley Beal's name still emerged in trade rumors. The New York Daily News last week reported that the Brooklyn Nets have had "internal discussions" about pursuing the 26-year-old Wizards guard, who signed a two-year, $72 million extension in October. ESPN.com

"It's not the first time I've heard this kind of talk," Beal told ESPN. "It's interesting. To me, I look at it as a sign of respect, that I've been doing good things and guys want to play with me. "That's an unbelievable feeling. When you hear that Kyrie [Irving] and KD [Kevin Durant] want you, s---, that's amazing. At the same time, you don't know how much there is to it, or how easy it would be to do. And I've put down roots in D.C. I've dedicated myself to this town, this community. I love it here, and it would feel great to know I could grind out winning here instead of jumping to another team." ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM THURSDAY, MAY 28, 2020

Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard believes a play-in tournament for teams on the outside of the playoff picture "would be perfect" as the NBA considers options for how it could restart its season. The Blazers were 3½ games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference when the NBA season was suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic on March 11. ESPN.com

NBA commissioner Adam Silver will continue discussing plans with the NBA's board of governors during a virtual meeting Friday, sources told Wojnarowski. The plans revolve around a return to action in a possible bubble scenario at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. (ESPN is owned by the Walt Disney Co.) ESPN.com

When asked what he would need to feel secure in a bubble environment, Lillard made it clear that he would support any scenario in which the league deemed it safe enough to play. "If they say we're gonna go do it, I'm prepared to go do it," Lillard said. ESPN.com

Count the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as the latest institution to have its best-laid plans felled by the coronavirus. Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the board of the governors for the Hall, told ESPN on Wednesday that enshrinement ceremonies for the Class of 2020, one of the most star-studded lineups ever that includes Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Kobe Bryant, will be moved to spring of 2021. ESPN.com

NBA Media Ventures is being sued by a landlord who alleges the league has failed to pay $1.25 million in rent on its store on New York's Fifth Avenue during the coronavirus pandemic. The suit was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New York by a plaintiff identified as 535-545 Fee LLC, which has leased the retail space to NBA Media Ventures LLC for its NBA Store since November 2014. ESPN.com

The rent at the store is $7.5 million per year, or $625,000 per month, the suit says, and NBA Media Ventures did not pay rent for April and May, when the store was closed. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM WEDNESDAY, MAY 27, 2020

Knicks rookie president Leon Rose made it official Wednesday with his front-office shakeup in announcing the hirings of three “experienced basketball executives” – Walt Perrin, Frank Zanin and Brock Aller. Rose also confirmed Scott Perry signed an extension for next season to remain as GM. “We have assembled a diverse front office comprised of highly regarded and experienced basketball executives who have influenced some of the most successful players and organizations in the league,” Rose said in a statement. “These additions will complement the structure we already have in place and assist us in acquiring talent and developing strategies to build a team our fans can be proud of.” NY Post

Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban has suggested a plan to the NBA league office that would include all 30 NBA teams playing five to seven regular-season games before a play-in tournament to determine the final two playoff seeds, he told ESPN on Tuesday. Cuban considers it a must for all 30 teams to participate in the resumption of the NBA season, tentatively planned to take place at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, because of the financial impact of fulfilling local television contracts. ESPN.com

In Cuban's proposal, the top 10 teams from each conference would qualify for the postseason and be reseeded based on record. There would be two play-in matchups -- either single games or a best-of-three series -- pitting seeds 17 vs. 20 and 18 vs. 19. The winners would advance to play the 15th and 16th seeds for the final spots in the playoff bracket. ESPN.com

Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard says he won't compete in a restarted NBA season if Portland does not have a legitimate shot to make the playoffs. "If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm going to be with my team because I'm a part of the team," Lillard told Yahoo Sports on Tuesday. "But I'm not going to be participating. I'm telling you that right now." ESPN.com

The Detroit Pistons are opening a search to hire a general manager to work with senior adviser Ed Stefanski, sources told ESPN. Detroit plans to begin contacting potential candidates to start an interview process this week, sources said. ESPN.com

Washington Wizards point guard John Wall declared himself fully recovered after two surgeries that sidelined him for the past 1½ years and said he is "itching" to get back on the court next season. Speaking on a video call Tuesday to discuss his "202 Assist" program to help pay rent for people in the nation's capital affected by the coronavirus pandemic, Wall said he is "still taking my time at the rehab" and working to get himself "in the best shape possible." ESPN.com

"I'm 110%," the five-time All-Star [John Wall] said. "I'm healthy." He has not played in an NBA game since December 2018. Surgery for bone spurs in his left heel ended that season; while he was working his way back, he tore his left Achilles tendon and needed another operation in 2019. ESPN.com

New Jersey lifted restrictions Tuesday on professional sports in the state, setting the stage for the New York Giants and Jets to host training camps at their facilities this summer. The New Jersey Devils, New York Red Bulls and Sky Blue FC also reside in the state. They can immediately begin training and even have games, according to Gov. Phil Murphy. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM TUESDAY, MAY 26, 2020

This summer, Silver might finally get his chance to see how this format works. On Monday, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that there’s a “good chance” the NBA jumps straight to the postseason when it resumes play. “If that is the case, it opens up the possibility of something Adam Silver has long wanted, which is to seed 1 through 16 in the postseason and go that route,” Windhorst said on “Get Up.” “There's no excuse for traveling or anything like that. It would have to pass an owner vote. That means a bunch of Eastern Conference owners would have to agree with it. But if there’s way to make this interesting and spice this up and potentially test this theory, you’re never going to get a better opportunity.” Times-Picayune

Georgetown Hoyas men's basketball coach Patrick Ewing is recovering at home after a weekend stay at the hospital with the coronavirus, he told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. On Monday, Patrick Ewing Jr. tweeted that his father's coronavirus symptoms are being watched and that he is "now home and getting better." It was announced Friday that the elder Ewing had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated at a hospital. ESPN.com

Europe's top two club basketball competitions have been terminated this season without naming any winners because of the coronavirus pandemic, organisers EuroLeague Basketball said on Monday. "Having explored every possible option, the Executive Board has made the decision to cancel the 2019-20 EuroLeague and EuroCup," the organising body said in a statement. ESPN.com/Reuters

Cleveland Cavaliers big man Andre Drummond left a big tip for a waitress at a Florida restaurant on Sunday. Kassandra Diaz, a server at Che Restaurant in Delray Beach, said she didn't know who the customer was until she saw that he had left a $1,000 tip on a $164 check. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM MONDAY, MAY 25, 2020

Professional sports returning to New York took a step forward Sunday afternoon, with the announcement by Gov. Andrew Cuomo that teams can begin holding training camps immediately. The Nets were the first team to take advantage, announcing they will open their practice facility in Brooklyn on Tuesday for voluntary workouts while adhering to the protocols listed by the NBA and working with local government officials and health authorities. Now it’s up to the others — and their respective leagues — to begin the road back to action from the coronavirus pandemic. NY Post

Under the NBA guidelines for opening facilities in accordance with local governments that were set on May 8, no more than four players are allowed to work out together at one time and no coaches are allowed to participate. Scrimmages are also prohibited. Several Nets have remained in the area and will be available to participate in these workouts. NY Post

Ex-NBA player Kermit Washington just got denied HARD -- with a judge rejecting his request for early prison release over fears he could catch the 'rona. As we previously reported, the 68-year-old former NBA All-Star is serving 6 years in prison for running a bogus charity scheme in which he stole around $1 MILLION that was supposed to help starving and HIV positive children in Africa. TMZ.com



NBA RUMORS FROM SUNDAY, MAY 24, 2020

On Saturday, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass officially confirmed what has been reported for weeks: the league is working with the Walt Disney Company on a plan that would allow the league to resume play in July. “The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing,” Bass said in a statement. “Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place.” Deseret News In North Carolina, agents who wish to represent athletes in marketing or contract negotiations are required to register with the state before they make contact with anyone who has amateur status. It is a relatively cheap and easy process. It costs $200 to submit an application, a paltry sum for those who are getting a cut of six- and seven-figure deals. The legal drama between Zion Williamson and Gina Ford, a marketing representative for Prime Sports, has brought this law, which is called the Uniform Athlete Agents Act, into focus. New Orleans Times-Picayune

Earlier this week, lawyers for Zion Williamson asked a federal judge in North Carolina to declare an agreement between the former Duke star and Prime Sports void because Ford was not registered as an agent in the state while she was in contact with Williamson’s camp. Court documents show Ford was texting with Williamson’s mother, Sharonda Sampson, as early as January 2019, while Williamson was involved in ACC play. New Orleans Times-Picayune



NBA RUMORS FROM SATURDAY, MAY 23, 2020

The NBA has entered into exploratory conversations with the Walt Disney Company about restarting the remainder of its season at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, in late July, NBA spokesperson Mike Bass said Saturday. "The NBA, in conjunction with the National Basketball Players Association, is engaged in exploratory conversations with The Walt Disney Company about restarting the 2019-20 NBA season in late July at Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Florida as a single site for an NBA campus for games, practices and housing," Bass said. "Our priority continues to be the health and safety of all involved, and we are working with public health experts and government officials on a comprehensive set of guidelines to ensure that appropriate medical protocols and protections are in place." ESPN.com

It remains unclear whether the NBA will play the remainder of its regular season or proceed directly to the playoffs. But the 220-acre ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, with its three arenas and ample hotel accommodations, would allow the league to restart play while limiting outside exposures. ESPN.com

Jerry Sloan, a player known as "The Original Bull" in Chicago before becoming a legendary head coach of the Utah Jazz, died Friday. He was 78. Many in the NBA community took to social media to pay tribute to Sloan, who retired in 2011 as the longest-tenured head coach with one franchise in any major professional sport. "Jerry Sloan was among the NBA's most respected and admired legends," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement on Friday. "He was the first coach to win 1,000 games with the same organization, which came to embody the qualities that made Jerry a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer: persistence, discipline, drive and selflessness." ESPN.com

The Jazz announced that Sloan died from complications from Parkinson's disease and Lewy body dementia, which he had revealed diagnoses for in April 2016. "Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss," the team said in a statement. "We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise. "... Like [John] Stockton and [Karl] Malone as players, Jerry Sloan epitomized the organization. He will be greatly missed. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Tammy, the entire Sloan family and all who knew and loved him." ESPN.com

Among marketplaces where governmental restrictions are keeping practice facilities shuttered, teams are asking the NBA whether players can bypass returns to those cities and report directly to the league's proposed campus environment for the start of training camps, sources told ESPN. Most teams in regions still adhering to stay-at-home policies amid the coronavirus pandemic have an abundance of players who left their marketplace during the shutdown and would need to quarantine for an extended period -- perhaps as many as 14 days -- prior to joining workouts in team facilities. Teams want to avoid having to quarantine significant portions of their rosters twice --- once upon returning to more restrictive markets, and again, at the bubble site. ESPN.com

In anticipation of the league's expectation of restarting the season, the NBA has told those teams that it plans to work with them on solutions that possibly include redirecting some teams directly to campus/bubble sites instead of team facilities to hold training camps, sources said. The NBA has a board of governors call set for next Friday, which is expected to provide additional details for teams on a timetable and plan to proceed with the season. Teams are expecting the league to instruct them to start recalling players to their team's markets around June 1, sources told ESPN. ESPN.com

Some teams have considered setting up temporary training camps at interim stops prior to arriving at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, where Eastern Conference teams expect they'll be stationed to complete the season, sources said. Twenty-one of the league's practice facilities are open for voluntary workouts but most players on the Knicks and Nets haven't returned to the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, New York. In most instances, front-office executives said, they're unable to get players to return to their markets to start preparing for the season's resumption without the commissioner announcing that the season will be resumed. ESPN.com

Georgetown coach Patrick Ewing has tested positive for the coronavirus, the school announced Friday. The Hall of Famer is under care and isolated at a local hospital. "I want to share that I have tested positive for COVID-19. This virus is serious and should not be taken lightly," Ewing said in a statement. "I want to encourage everyone to stay safe and take care of yourselves and your loved ones. Now more than ever, I want to thank the health care workers and everyone on the front lines. I'll be fine, and we will all get through this." ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM FRIDAY, MAY 22, 2020

The Utah Jazz have issued the following statement and background information in response to the passing of NBA and Jazz legend Jerry Sloan earlier this morning due to complications from Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia at the age of 78: From the Utah Jazz: “Jerry Sloan will always be synonymous with the Utah Jazz. He will forever be a part of the Utah Jazz organization and we join his family, friends and fans in mourning his loss. We are so thankful for what he accomplished here in Utah and the decades of dedication, loyalty and tenacity he brought to our franchise. Inside Hoops

A 2009 inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Sloan spent 23 seasons as the head coach of the Jazz (1988-2011), finishing his career with the third most wins in NBA history (1,221-803), sixth best winning percentage (.603) all-time (min. 500 wins), two NBA Finals appearances (1997 and 1998) and seven division titles. He also guided the Jazz to 16 consecutive winning seasons and thirteen 50-win seasons. Sloan’s teams made 20 trips to the NBA Playoffs (19 with Utah: 1989-2003, ’07-10) and his 98 playoff wins are the sixth most in NBA history. Inside Hoops

According to people with knowledge of the NBA’s thinking, there is plenty of confidence that the league will return to play to finish the 2019-20 season. The mechanics of that return — the when, the where and the how — are still fluid. One person with knowledge of the situation told The Times that a mid-July timetable for a return might be too early, though things could certainly change as new and better information about the pandemic becomes available. More concrete information is expected around June 1. LA Times

The most likely scenario has teams returning this summer in Orlando, Fla., using the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex as a base for games with the resort’s hotels housing teams, league officials, broadcasters and media in a soft bubble — one where people would be strongly encouraged to remain on campus instead of being forced to quarantine. LA Times

A single location housing the NBA might be the preferred route for some, though there are other options under consideration. A secondary location (or more) could still happen, with Las Vegas, using a plan from MGM Resorts, an NBA partner, as a possibility. Houston is also reportedly being considered as a hosting site. LA Times

The Bulls continued organizational decisions on Thursday, as source confirmed that assistant coach Nate Loenser had his contract picked up for the 2020-21 season. New executive vice president of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas has been very aggressive in the revamping of the Bulls. Chicago Sun-Times



NBA RUMORS FROM THURSDAY, MAY 21, 2020

Lakers forward Jared Dudley says it's a "misconception" that the NBA would resume its season in a bubble location that is so closely monitored that players would be restricted from exiting the premises until all the games are finished. "You will be allowed to leave," Dudley said Wednesday on a video conference call with reporters, citing conversations he has been privy to with NBA commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts. "Now just because you leave, if we're going to give you that leeway, if you come back with corona, you can't play." ESPN.com

With the league's hiatus in response to the coronavirus outbreak nearing the two-and-a-half-month mark, the NBA is considering a two-site format to return to play in Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, and in Las Vegas, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe. Dudley said there will be rigorous testing inside the bubble, which Silver has likened to a "campus" environment with the primary places players will spend their time, including hotels, gymnasiums and dining areas, Wojnarowski reported. ESPN.com

NBA teams are expecting the league office will issue guidelines around June 1 that will allow franchises to start recalling players who've left their markets as a first step toward a formal ramp-up for the season's resumption, sources told ESPN. Teams expect a similar timeline from the league on when they'll be allowed to expand individual workouts already underway with in-market players to include more team personnel, sources said. ESPN.com

Barring an unforeseen turn of events, many NBA owners, executives and National Basketball Players Association elders believe commissioner Adam Silver will green-light the return to play in June -- with games expected to resume sometime before the end of July, sources said. The NBA is still considering a two-site format for the return of the season, including Orlando's Walt Disney World and Las Vegas, sources said. ESPN.com

New Orleans Pelicans rookie Zion Williamson's lawyers have asked a federal judge in North Carolina to void his marketing agreement with Gina Ford and Prime Sports Marketing, who sued him for $100 million in damages for breaching their contract. In a motion filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Williamson's attorneys restated their argument that the NBA star's marketing agreement wasn't valid because Ford wasn't a registered agent in North Carolina, and the contract didn't include a warning that was required by a state law designed to protect amateur athletes from unscrupulous agents. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM WEDNESDAY, MAY 20, 2020

Former Chicago Bulls forward Horace Grant has fired back at claims Michael Jordan made about him during "The Last Dance" documentary series on ESPN. In a radio interview with Kap and Co. on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday, Grant said it "is a downright, outright, completely lie" that he leaked much of the information in Sam Smith's famous "The Jordan Rules" book, as Jordan alleged during the documentary. ESPN.com

"Lie, lie, lie. ... If MJ had a grudge with me, let's settle this like men," Horace Grant said during the interview. "Let's talk about it. Or we can settle it another way. But yet and still, he goes out and puts this lie out that I was the source behind [the book]. Sam and I have always been great friends. We're still great friends. But the sanctity of that locker room, I would never put anything personal out there. The mere fact that Sam Smith was an investigative reporter. That he had to have two sources, two, to write a book, I guess. Why would MJ just point me out?" ESPN.com

Bojan Bogdanovic underwent successful surgery on his right wrist on Tuesday, the Utah Jazz announced. He is not expected to return should the 2019-20 season resume. The Utah Jazz forward had been playing through discomfort after rupturing the scapholunate ligament in his wrist early this season. Team doctors monitored the situation during the season, but Bogdanovic was still experiencing discomfort after NBA play was suspended in March. Through consultations with specialists, the decision for surgery was made. Deseret News



NBA RUMORS FROM TUESDAY, MAY 19, 2020

The New York Knicks are set to hire Walt Perrin as assistant general manager, league sources confirmed to ESPN. Perrin is the latest hire to Knicks president Leon Rose's front office. Perrin currently serves as the vice president of player personnel for the Utah Jazz. Perrin, who has worked for the Jazz for the past 19 years, was one of the franchise's longest-tenured staff members. Perrin will work with Scott Perry, whom the Knicks retained as general manager for the 2019-20 season. ESPN.com

It’s going to be awhile before the owner of the New York Knicks and Rangers recovers from the coronavirus, according to a Wall Street report. Revenue for the newly formed Madison Square Garden Sports Corp. will fall by 35 percent in the year ending June 30, 2021, to a projected $456 million, according to a Jefferies analyst report published Monday. The revenue drop will come as fan attendance falls in the first half of the 2020-21 season by 80 percent before rebounding somewhat to around 50 percent of its normal capacity in the second half, Jefferies said. NY Post

In what promises to be a difficult loss to a Western Conference playoff contender, Utah Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic will undergo season-ending surgery on his wrist, sources told ESPN. Bogdanovic will undergo surgery on Tuesday to repair the scapholunate ligament in his right wrist, sources said. ESPN.com

These are just a few of the precautions the Pelicans are taking at their practice facility, which reopened Monday for voluntary individual workouts. David Griffin, the Pelicans’ executive vice president of basketball operations, said seven players worked out. There were three players in the first group and four players in the second group. Both groups spent two hours in the building. The rules the NBA has put in place about reopening practice facilities are so restrictive, Griffin said he believes some of the players who are social distancing outside of the greater New Orleans area are better positioned to keep their skills sharp than the ones here. New Orleans Times-Picayune

7. 16. 27. 44. 52. Those are the numbers that Gilbert Arenas claims won him more than $300,000 last week in the California lottery!!! $309,694 to be exact. The former NBA superstar claims he hit all numbers (but missed on the Mega number) to cash in on the 2nd place prize on the May 12 Mega Millions draw. TMZ.com



NBA RUMORS FROM MONDAY, MAY 18, 2020

In the finale of the 10-part documentary series focusing on the last season of the Chicago Bulls' dynasty that ended in a sixth championship before the team dismantled, Michael Jordan said he would've been willing to sign a one-year contract to do it again. "If you asked all the guys who won in '98 ... 'We'll give you a one-year contract to try for a seventh,' you think they would've signed? Yes, they would've signed," Jordan said. "Would I have signed for one year? Yes, I would've signed for one year. I've been signing one-year contracts up to that." ESPN.com

The groundwork for the season was laid before it started, with general manager Jerry Krause telling Phil Jackson that the 1997-98 season would be his last as the Bulls' head coach. It was, therefore, dubbed "The Last Dance" by Jackson, and the team played the season under the belief that it would break up at the end. Jackson's fate was made public by Krause, Scottie Pippen missed the beginning of the season while rehabbing a late-summer surgery that was in part a protest of his contract, and rumors of another Jordan retirement hovered over every game. ESPN.com

Jordan then said he would've signed another contract to chase a seventh title. "Would Phil have done it? Yes," he continued. "Now, Pip, you would've had to do some convincing. But if Phil was going to be there, if Dennis was going to be there, if MJ was going to be there, to win our seventh? Pip is not going to miss out on that." ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2020

Spencer 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. "I’m simply creating this GoFundMe as my commitment to my previous tweets," he wrote. "As of now 2625.8 BTC is roughly equivalent to $24,632,630 USD. If we hit the target then I will allow the fan base to determine my next team decision and sign a one year contract at that destination. If we do not hit the target goal then I will be donating 100% of this campaign to charity. Fan engagement comes in all shapes and sizes, lets have fun folks!" Detroit Free Press



NBA RUMORS FROM SATURDAY, MAY 16, 2020

The National Basketball Players Association has temporarily suspended its search for a successor to executive director Michele Roberts until there is more certainty on the future of the NBA season, league sources told Yahoo Sports. With the union in good hands, Roberts, who has two years remaining on her contract, will continue to lead the NBPA through the coronavirus crisis, which caused the NBA to suspend the season on March 11. Critical decisions and negotiations lie ahead that could drastically affect the players’ earnings in the next CBA in the wake of the pandemic. Yahoo Sports

A week after NBA commissioner Adam Silver told players to prepare for what could be the "single greatest challenge of all of our lives," the president of the players' association, Chris Paul, has affirmed publicly -- and adamantly -- that players want a return to competition. The Oklahoma City Thunder guard, in an interview with Rachel Nichols that aired Friday on ESPN's The Jump, said the issues inherent are complex but worth navigating. "A lot of hard conversations that have to be made, a lot of hard decisions," Paul said. "But with the team around us, I think ultimately we'll get to where we want to. Obviously we want to play. Oh man, we want to play. We want to play bad. And I think that's a consensus for the guys around the league. We want it to be, obviously, as safe as possible. But the biggest thing is, we miss the game." ESPN.com

On the board of governors call Tuesday, the league and owners also spent part of the discussion on the issue of fans returning to arenas next season, sources said. The NBA is studying how teams could get creative, if necessary, with 15% to 20% capacity in buildings. Most teams are modeling ways to get fans into premium seating arrangements if social-distancing protocol limits -- or prohibits -- fans in arenas. And one team is already investing in research showing how requiring fans to wear masks and limiting attendance of those in vulnerable age groups and with preexisting conditions could lower game-night risks to something closer to the flu than COVID-19, sources said. That's a long way off right now, and there's no telling when and how fans could return. Silver sold that message to the players a week ago, and he'll be selling it again as negotiations with the union take shape. ESPN.com

As the nation reels from the coronavirus pandemic, Los Angeles Lakers center Dwight Howard is mourning the loss of Melissa Rios, the mother of his 6-year-old son David, he told reporters Friday. Rios, 31, died of an epileptic seizure on March 27 at her home in Calabasas, California. "I've had some things happen in my personal life that has been difficult to really handle," Howard said on a video conference call. "My son's mom, she had passed away a month and a half ago and it's extremely difficult for me to try to understand how to talk to my son, who's 6 years old, just about the whole situation." ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM FRIDAY, MAY 15, 2020

Coach Jim Boylen still seems to be calling the shots. He’s still keeping in contact with his players and the Bulls’ new front office, and he’s still making decisions on the coaching staff. Boylen won’t retain assistant coach/player-development coach Shawn Respert when his contract is up at the end of the season, but it was obvious weeks ago that Respert was looking for a new career path long before the season was shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic. Chicago Sun-Times

The University of Florida is open to hosting events involving professional sports teams looking for a way to play during the coronavirus pandemic, athletic director Scott Stricklin said in a statement Thursday. After Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Wednesday that all professional sports teams are welcome in the state for practicing and playing, Stricklin reached out to discuss the facilities in Gainesville, Florida. ESPN.com

Khloe Kardashian and Tristan Thompson are threatening to take a woman to court for continuing to claim Tristan's the father of her child -- and they say DNA proves he's not. The lawyer for the co-parenting exes -- pit bull attorney Marty Singer -- fired off a cease-and-desist letter to Kimberly Alexander, saying ... "We demand that you immediately stop defaming them with malicious defamatory lies and specious fabrications" about the paternity of her child. TMZ.com



NBA RUMORS FROM THURSDAY, MAY 14, 2020

The NCAA announced Wednesday that it has extended indefinitely the deadline for college basketball players to withdraw from the NBA draft and retain their college eligibility amid the coronavirus pandemic. The deadline was June 3, but Dan Gavitt, the NCAA's senior vice president of basketball, said in a statement that it will be extended "with the health and well-being of our student-athletes in mind, along with their ability to make the most informed decisions during this uncertain time." ESPN.com

While the NBA is still holding out hope it can salvage some semblance of a conclusion to the 2019-20 campaign, a longstanding pro-am basketball league in L.A. was left with no choice but to cancel its season. The Drew League, whose legendary summer runs have hosted the likes of Kevin Durant, James Harden, LeBron James and the late Kobe Bryant in the past, announced Wednesday it canceled its upcoming season because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic. ESPN.com

While he said missing the Drew League means his community will miss out on "normalcy" this summer, Smiley knows that abiding by a new normal -- with handwashing, face coverings and social distancing a must -- will make for brighter days ahead. "The community is going to miss it," he said. "We've already been getting bombarded with calls from players, coaches, fans. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM WEDNESDAY, MAY 13, 2020

Participants on a board of governors call Tuesday with NBA commissioner Adam Silver left the virtual meeting feeling increasingly positive about the league's momentum toward a resumption of play this season, sources told ESPN. Owners and executives on the call were encouraged about the league's progress toward minimizing health risk upon a return and the league office's positive conversations with the National Basketball Players Association about the players' desire to eventually restart the season, sources said. ESPN.com

As for the format in a return to play, there still is no decision on the form that would take with the 30 NBA teams, sources said. The league hasn't worked through the details on whether all 30 teams would return or whether regular-season games would be played or if perhaps there would be a play-in tournament to give more teams a chance to make the 16-team playoff field, sources said. ESPN.com

Asked about the bubble-isolation plan on the call, Silver described it as a "campus environment," sources said. He has talked about one or two locations for players, and the focus continues to be on Orlando's Walt Disney World Resort and Las Vegas, sources said. ESPN.com

The Knicks could break their six-season playoff drought after all in a post-coronavirus restart scenario — but it would come with an asterisk. According to a source, one of the many plans of an NBA restart is having additional teams not mathematically eliminated from the playoffs stage a short play-in tournament in July to advance to an expanded playoff. One instance is teams ranked nine through 12 in each conference staging a four-team single-elimination tournament. The winner of that event gets the right to play the current No. 8 seed to get the final spot inside the formal 16-team playoff. NY Post

NBA players association representatives are beginning to poll players as to whether they would want to try to finish out the season that was paused due to coronavirus. The yes-or-no text-message responses are being kept confidential by the union, according to ESPN, which reported the development Tuesday. It comes days after commissioner Adam Silver spoke with players and association brass during a conference call, in which he indicated a decision to restart the season might not come until June. NY Post

Players already have agreed to a 25 percent reduction in their salaries, that will kick in beginning with their May 15 paychecks. The funds will be held in escrow until the league determines how many games are ultimately lost. NY Post



NBA RUMORS FROM TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2020

The National Basketball Players Association started polling its membership Tuesday about how individuals stand on a return to play this season, sources told ESPN. NBPA regional representatives -- including Tim McCormick and Frank Brickowski -- were among the union officials polling players with a "yes or no" question on their current desire to return to play this season amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to sources. ESPN.com

Adam Silver told players that no decision was needed to be made in the month of May, and that a one- or two-site setup for teams was among the likely of scenarios -- possibly in Orlando or Las Vegas, according to audio of the call reviewed by ESPN. ESPN.com

The NBA has reached an agreement with the National Basketball Players Association to extend until September the 60-day window that preserves the league's right to terminate the collective bargaining agreement in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, sources told ESPN. For now, the extension staves off the NBA's ability to trigger the nuclear option to its economic crisis -- terminating the CBA under the force majeure event provision, which it could've done within two months of the March 11 shutdown of the league. ESPN.com

NBA commissioner Adam Silver described a stark financial landscape for the league during a Friday conference call with the NBPA membership, starting to lay out the league's gloomy financial forecast of owners and arena operators suffering losses from not only the NBA shutdown, but the loss of concerts and events in those empty buildings. "This CBA was not built for an extended pandemic," Silver told the NBPA membership, according to audio obtained by ESPN. "There's not a mechanism in it that works to properly accept a cap when you've got so much uncertainty; when our revenue could be $10 billion or it could be $6 billion. Or less." ESPN.com

The NBA's current CBA extends through the 2023-24 season, with a mutual opt-out available after the 2022-23 season. This extension allows the league and union to continue trying to resume the 2019-20 season this summer, salvaging some regular-season games, carrying out the playoffs and recouping some lost revenue. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM MONDAY, MAY 11, 2020

Michael Jordan's winning mentality and competitiveness are almost as legendary as the feats he accomplished on a basketball court while becoming a Hall of Fame player for the Chicago Bulls. Those exploits were well documented on Sunday night during Episodes 7 and 8 "The Last Dance" docuseries. "My mentality was to go out and win at any cost," Jordan said. "If you don't want to live that regimented mentality, then you don't need to be alongside of me because I'm going to ridicule you until you get on the same level with me. And if you don't get on the same level then it's going to be hell for you." Jordan's ability to push teammates to a higher level has been well-chronicled throughout his career. But the honesty that Jordan and many former teammates used to describe his tactics were one of the most interesting takeaways from the episodes. ESPN.com

Attorneys representing Zion Williamson's former marketing representative and her company have asked the New Orleans Pelicans star to admit that his mother and stepfather demanded and received gifts, money and other benefits from persons acting on behalf of Adidas and Nike and also from people associated with Duke to influence him to sign with the Blue Devils and to wear Nike or Adidas products. Williamson, who played one season at Duke before becoming the No. 1 pick in the 2019 NBA draft, sued Gina Ford and Prime Sports in June in an attempt to terminate his marketing agreement with her company. Williamson's attorney's claimed the contract was in violation of North Carolina's Uniform Athlete Agents Act because Prime Sports is not certified by the NBA Players Association nor a registered athlete agent in North Carolina or Florida. ESPN.com

Alex Antetokounmpo, the youngest brother of NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, plans to skip college and play professionally in Europe to prepare for the NBA. Alex Antetokounmpo, who graduated from Dominican High School in Wisconsin, told EuroHoops.net of his plans Saturday. He had reportedly received offers to play at DePaul, Ohio and Green Bay. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM SATURDAY, MAY 9, 2020

NBA commissioner Adam Silver prepared players for a potentially grim landscape amid the coronavirus pandemic, suggesting there are no guarantees when fans could fully return to NBA arenas next season. Silver said that 40% of the league's revenue comes from money built around game nights in arenas. "This could turn out to be the single greatest challenge of all our lives," Silver told the players. ESPN.com

Silver said returning to play this season at one or two potential sites -- including Orlando and Las Vegas -- made the most sense, and that no decision on the league season needed to be made before June. "There's no point in adding risk for flying all of you city to city if there's not going to be fans," Silver said. "We think it would be safer to be in a single location, or two locations, to start." ESPN.com

Silver expressed a desire that the NBA complete its season with a traditional playoff structure that includes seven-game series in each round of the playoffs, but he left open the possibility of play-in tournaments to accommodate more teams in resumption of a shortened season. Silver also told players that the start of next season could be pushed until December, regardless of whether this season was completed or not. ESPN.com

In municipalities where coronavirus testing has become readily available to at-risk health care workers, NBA teams opening facilities for voluntary workouts will be allowed to administer tests to asymptomatic players and staff, sources told ESPN. The Orlando Magic have been approved and plan to administer testing to players prior to a Tuesday reopening, and the LA Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers are among the teams expected to be allowed to conduct coronavirus tests of all players and staff members entering facilities for individual workouts -- regardless of whether they are experiencing symptoms. ESPN.com

The NBA recently informed teams of a "limited exception" to guidelines that forbid the testing of asymptomatic individuals in this preliminary phase of players returning to practice facilities. Essentially, the NBA will approve a written authorization from a local health authority that confirms a "robust testing program in place for at-risk health care workers" in the team's community, sources said. ESPN.com

While admitting he has to “keep adapting as time goes on,” Knicks coaching candidate Tom Thibodeau defended some of the criticisms leveled at him, including overplaying his star players and draining them come playoff time. In an appearance on ESPN this week, Thibodeau shot down critics of his taskmaster ways not being current enough. The Post reported Thibodeau will be sought by Leon Rose if the new Knicks team president doesn’t keep interim coach Mike Miller. Multiple insiders believe Thibodeau is the favorite. The Post also reported this week the Nets and Rockets should have strong interest in him. NY Post



NBA RUMORS FROM FRIDAY, MAY 8, 2020

NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo's social media accounts were hacked Thursday afternoon, prompting an investigation by the Milwaukee Bucks. A series of expletive tweets were posted from Antetokounmpo's Twitter account; his agent, Alex Saratsis, told ESPN that Antetokounmpo was not responsible for them. The tweets have since been removed. ESPN.com

Taking the high road, Patrick Ewing called Charles Oakley “one of my best teammates.’’ The Georgetown coach was not about to get into a spitting match with the outspoken Oakley, who signaled out Ewing’s reluctance to pass out of the double-team for their 1993 playoff heartbreaker in an interview with The Post. NY Post

It wasn’t the first time Oakley has gone after Ewing. In February, Oakley told the KnicksFan podcast Ewing was “a difficult teammate.’’ “I have nothing to say about what Charles has to say,” Ewing said when asked about Oakley’s criticism on the Good Show Thursday. “He’s one of my best teammates. We went into a lot of wars and a lot of wars against the Bulls. So everyone is entitled to their own opinion.” NY Post

Houston Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni would have no reservations about being on the sideline if the NBA season resumes, despite his age increasing the risk of severe illness or death from the coronavirus, sources told ESPN. D'Antoni, who turns 69 on Friday, is the league's second-oldest head coach behind San Antonio's Gregg Popovich, who is 71. ESPN.com

While the first wave of NBA teams prepare to reopen facilities for individual workouts on Friday, several team officials say the psychological effects of returning to organized activities during a global pandemic must be considered for players and staffers around the league -- especially those who already have a heightened concern about germs. Several general managers and athletic trainers pointed to a number of players -- though they say it's not a large percentage -- who they would describe as "germophobes." These team officials say there are several executives and other league staffers in the same position. ESPN.com

"I'm one of them," one veteran front-office executive for a team in postseason contention told ESPN. Said one Eastern Conference general manager: "I'm not a germophobe, and I'm afraid." Several team officials said there are players and staffers on their respective teams who fit that "germophobe" description, though none felt comfortable sharing their identities -- and none faulted them for being extremely cautious on that front.



NBA RUMORS FROM THURSDAY, MAY 7, 2020

The Lakers will not be among the first wave of NBA teams that reopen their facilities for individual workouts on May 8, Frank Vogel said, but L.A.'s head coach is just fine with that. "There's a competitive balance element to this that I personally am not really all that concerned about," Vogel said on a video conference call with reporters on Wednesday. "I think we're still a long way away from returning to play." ESPN.com

The Lakers were 49-14 when the league shut down, with 19 regular-season games remaining on the schedule. They clinched a playoff berth, setting up their first postseason appearance as a franchise since 2013. Vogel said that in between binge-watching TV services -- "I've finished Netflix and Amazon Prime and Hulu, and now I'm starting Disney+," he cracked -- and scoping out "The Last Dance" docuseries on Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls on Sunday nights on ESPN, he has reviewed Lakers games from this season and has liked what he has seen. ESPN.com

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts will host a call for all players on Friday, sources told ESPN. That's the same day the league has permitted teams to reopen practice facilities for voluntary, social-distanced workouts in areas where that has been permitted by local public health officials, in accordance with the detailed safety protocols that the NBA shared with teams from guidance from public health officials, the CDC and infectious disease specialists. ESPN.com

Three teams -- the Portland Trail Blazers, Denver Nuggets and Cleveland Cavaliers -- have told ESPN they plan to reopen Friday, while several other teams said they hope to open next week. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM WEDNESDAY, MAY 6, 2020

Utah Jazz executive vice president of basketball operations Dennis Lindsey expressed optimism about the continued partnership of franchise cornerstones Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in the wake of their rift following their positive tests for the coronavirus. Gobert and Mitchell did not speak to each other for a month after Gobert's positive test on March 11 triggered the suspension of the NBA season. Mitchell, who tested positive the next day, has acknowledged that he was upset with Gobert, who publicly apologized for careless behavior before he was aware that he was infected with the coronavirus. ESPN.com

Mitchell has not publicly commented about his relationship with Gobert since acknowledging that "it took a while for me to cool off" during a March 16 appearance on ABC's "Good Morning America." ESPN.com

Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley admits he's still "really, really sad" about the fact that his longtime friendship with Michael Jordan deteriorated years ago because of critical comments Barkley made about the way Jordan ran the then Charlotte Bobcats franchise. But Barkley doesn't sound optimistic about a reconciliation. "The guy was like a brother to me for, shoot, 20-something years," Barkley said on Tuesday's Waddle and Silvy Show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago. "At least 20-something years. And I do, I feel sadness. But to me he's still the greatest basketball player ever. I wish him nothing but the best. But, there's nothing I can do about it, brother." ESPN.com

"The thing that bothered me the most about that whole thing, I don't think that I said anything that bad," Barkley said. "I'm pretty sure I said, 'As much as I love Michael, until he stops hiring them kiss-asses, and his best friends, he's never going to be successful as a general manager.' And I remember pretty much verbatim I said that. And the thing that really pissed me off about it later is Phil Jackson said the exact same thing." ESPN.com

Barkley: "Joel Embiid hates me because I call him lazy. Which, No. 1, I'm like, 'Dude, you got to get in shape to play basketball.' They don't make him practice. It's like, well, he's got bad legs. That's not how you get your legs better. You work out and get your legs better. Get him in the pool or something like that. But he's a great kid, but I'm like, 'Yo, man. You got to get in shape to play basketball.' So I'm going to do my job no matter what." ESPN.com

Patrick Ewing says some scumbag actually broke into his home and STOLE his 1992 Olympic gold medal -- the one from the Dream Team -- but he never talked the burglary ... until now!! “My house got broken into in New York at one point and they stole my medals," Ewing said Tuesday on "The Dan Patrick Show." TMZ.com

Metta World Peace is no more ... the former NBA superstar says he's changed his name again -- this time to Metta Sandiford-Artest. The ex-Lakers forward, formerly known as Ron Artest, revealed the latest moniker swap on "Inside the Green Room with Danny Green" this week ... saying the newest change was to honor his wife, Maya Sandiford. TMZ.com



NBA RUMORS FROM TUESDAY, MAY 5, 2020

Steve Ballmer completed his purchase of The Forum from Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corp. for $400 million on Monday, clearing the way for the LA Clippers to build their new arena nearby in Inglewood. Ballmer's CAPSS LLC completed the cash purchase and a newlyormed Forum Entertainment LLC will continue to operate The Forum as a premier live music venue. This clears existing litigation that had been standing in the way of Ballmer building a new state-of-the-art, 18,000-seat home for his team. The resolution of outstanding litigation was a condition of the sale, league sources said. ESPN.com

News broke over the weekend suggesting that Kevin Durant might return to the Brooklyn Nets if the NBA is able to resume its season. The source was Nets GM Sean Marks, who spoke to Newshub in New Zealand and didn't totally rule out the idea. So might it happen? “That still seems like something that is unrealistic,” Durant’s agent, Rich Kleiman, told this reporter while discussing his latest venture, a sports business newsletter for fans called TheBoardroom.tv. “I haven’t talked to Kevin in depth about anything like that because there remains so much uncertainty about the season in general,” Kleiman said. Forbes.com

A majority of sports fans surveyed by ESPN said they are in favor of watching televised sports without fans rather than waiting for sports to resume only when fans can be in attendance. The ESPN Coronavirus Lockdown Fan Study surveyed 1,004 sports fans aged 18 or older, and 65% were in favor of sports returning even if fans can't be in the stands. That approval number grew to 76% when participants were asked if they support the return of sports without fans in the stands if players were kept in hotels and their contact with others was closely monitored. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM MONDAY, MAY 4, 2020

ESPN aired Episodes 5 and 6 of "The Last Dance" on Sunday, and the documentary series dove into everything from Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant meeting in the 1998 All-Star Game to the birth of Nike's Air Jordan brand, to the 1992 and 1993 Finals, to stories behind the Dream Team and Jordan's ascension into the most recognizable athlete in the world. Players across the league went to Twitter to show their love for Kobe, reminisce about Jordan's debut signature sneaker and look back at the time when everyone wanted to "Be Like Mike." ESPN.com

Michael Jordan's shrug has become one of the most iconic images in NBA history. It happened after hitting six first-half three-pointers in Game 1 of the 1992 NBA Finals against Clyde Drexler and the Western Conference Champion Portland Trail Blazers... Michael Jordan was shrugging towards Magic Johnson, who was covering the Finals for NBC at the time. The greatest point guard in Lakers history, who was covering the games as a sideline reporter for NBC at the time of the 1992 Finals, revealed that he and Jordan had played cards at Jordan's house the night before Game 1. NBC Sports Chicago

Nets general manager Sean Marks left the door open slightly for Kevin Durant to return to the court should the NBA season resume after shutting down on March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic. “That’s a $110 million question,” Marks told Newshub of his native New Zealand. “In all seriousness, we’ve tried not to talk about his timeline a lot.” The Nets have shed little light on Durant’s progress since the season was put on hold. Marks preached caution and not wanting to push a player to come back if he is not 100 percent ready. But the pandemic has given Durant nearly two additional months of recovery time from surgery to repair the ruptured Achilles tendon he suffered during last June’s NBA Finals. Marks was already seeing improvement in his superstar in waiting. NY Post

The Suns (26-39) played their last game March 10, the day before league commissioner Adam Silver suspended the season after Utah Jazz all-star center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the virus. The NBA informed teams last week that as numerous state and local governments make “modifications of stay-at-home orders and other restrictions on non-essential business activity beginning”, the league plans to “modify its guidance regarding the use of team practice facilities and player training.” This will allow “safe and controlled environments for players to train in states that allow them to do so,” and “create a process for identifying safe training options for players located in other states.” Arizona Republic



NBA RUMORS FROM SATURDAY, MAY 2, 2020

As the NBA seeks solutions to return to action during the coronavirus pandemic, teams are weighing scenarios for potential games with only essential personnel present. Perhaps a key factor in such decisions, beyond titles or responsibilities, is the health and age of those staffers, NBA general managers told ESPN. One NBA general manager, speaking on the condition of anonymity, pointed to the age of the team's head coach and others on the staff and said he would feel uneasy about those coaches being present for games, given the factors that place some people at a higher risk for serious issues because of the virus. ESPN.com

"I don't want to put them in harm's way," the general manager said. Another general manager echoed the point regarding team staffers who might be at a high risk because of underlying health conditions or their age. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that adults over 65 are at a higher risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19. ESPN.com



NBA RUMORS FROM FRIDAY, MAY 1, 2020

The NBA has postponed the draft lottery and draft combine, the league announced Friday. Both events had been set to take place in Chicago, with the lottery scheduled for May 19 and the combine May 21-24. Sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski that the NBA held off on pushing back the June 25 draft during a board of governors conference call Friday, though the sources expect that will eventually happen. ESPN.com

For a time, Las Vegas was the most popular idea for a proposed resumption of the NBA season: a bubble city of teams grinding out the playoffs within a quarantine of connected casino hotels and arenas. As time has passed, those talking with NBA commissioner Adam Silver find him still needing to be convinced Vegas is the best idea. For some of the league's most influential veteran star players, that's a reassuring notion because they're concerned about some younger teammates struggling with the patience required to properly fortify a bubble environment in Vegas. ESPN.com

Across the league, an overwhelming majority of high-level officials remain encouraged and optimistic that basketball will return this season. Still, the pathway remains cluttered. If Silver has learned anything about the coronavirus' impact on his league, it's how the pandemic is forcing leaders to probe contingencies on top of contingencies, rethinking everything and reevaluating it all again. ESPN.com

For now, the NBA is still sorting out possible venues. The MGM Grand has been one of several suitors pitching a plan to host the league -- and perhaps the WNBA, too -- within three adjacent hotels, sources said. Some are proposing pod ideas spread across different regions. Team practice facilities have been discussed. The possibility of Disney World in Orlando, where there are basketball facilities and hotels, has gained momentum. ESPN.com

The Leon Rose era will begin with a familiar face: The Knicks have decided to retain Scott Perry as general manager. They confirmed that Perry will remain with a statement from Rose, the new team president. “Scott is a well-respected basketball executive who I have known for more than 20 years, and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him as we look to build a winning team in New York," Rose said. While the season remains in limbo right now because of the coronavirus pandemic, the Knicks needed to make a decision on Perry because of a mutual option set to trigger on May 1. NY Newsday

Mark McNamara, the 6-foot-11 center who etched his name into the Cal men's basketball record books during his two seasons there before moving on to an eight-year NBA career, died Monday of heart failure. He was 60. McNamara had been dealing with heart issues and other health problems for several years. ESPN.com

LeBron James has news he can’t keep under his hat. So he revealed the title and logo of his new Space Jam take on his lid, as seen in a Twitter post. Space Jam A New Legacy is the title of the forthcoming James vehicle. Don Cheadle and Sonequa Martin-Green join James in the live action-animation hybrid, which has a July 16, 2021 tentative release date. Deadline.com



NBA RUMORS FROM THURSDAY, APRIL 30, 2020

Scott Perry will remain the general manager of the New York Knicks after agreeing to a one-year deal, league sources confirmed to ESPN on Wednesday. "Scott is a well-respected basketball executive who I have known for more than 20 years," Knicks president Leon Rose said in a statement. "And I look forward to continuing to work closely with him as we build a winning team in New York." ESPN.com

Kendall Jenner has a special quarantine pal -- NBA superstar Devin Booker -- and they just social distanced in the back of his Maybach together for a quick road trip to Sedona! TMZ Sports has footage of the two during a quick bathroom break at a rest stop near the Arizona city ... and it's not like they were trying to keep a low profile. TMZ.com



NBA RUMORS FROM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 29, 2020

The NBA informed teams on Tuesday that 205 players have filed as early-entry candidates for the 2020 NBA draft, including 163 from colleges and other educational institutions and 42 international players. The deadline for underclassmen and international players to submit paperwork to the league office making themselves eligible for the draft was Sunday night. ESPN.com

This number is down from the previous two years, when 233 (2019) and 236 (2018) early entrants declared, a sign that the uncertainty surrounding the pre-draft process caused by the coronavirus pandemic might have led players uncertain about their draft stock to err on the side of caution. NBA front offices have been preparing to make decisions about prospects without access to workouts, a scouting combine or pro days, due to the limitations likely to be in place because of the risks associated with COVID-19, particularly commercial travel. ESPN.com

The NBA draft is currently slated for June 25 but could be pushed back in the wake of the pandemic. ESPN reported earlier this month that NBA teams have encouraged the league office to postpone the date of the draft from June 25 to no sooner than Aug. 1. It is difficult to envision a scenario in which a draft occurs while the possibility of playing regular-season and playoff games is still in place. ESPN.com

As the NBA continues to try to find ways to salvage the end of its season as the world deals with the coronavirus pandemic, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr acknowledged that his team is operating as if its season is over. "It feels like the offseason," Kerr said during a video conference call in conjunction with the University of San Francisco on Tuesday. "And, in fact, we had a Zoom call, Bob Myers and I got on a Zoom with our players, our whole roster last week. And it was just a chance to check in, but it was also a chance for Bob to update the players on his contact with the league and the latest news, but it also kind of felt like our annual team exit meeting. Our coaching staff and I have been undergoing staff evaluations, offseason plans, so we are absolutely in offseason mode right now." ESPN.com

Daishen Nix, UCLA’s top recruit and the country’s top high school point guard, will forgo college basketball to become the latest high school player to join the NBA’s pro developmental program. Nix, a 6-foot-5 guard from Las Vegas Trinity Prep ranked No. 11 nationally by 247 Sports, will join Fresno’s Jalen Green and Virginia’s Isaiah Todd on the NBA G League’s select team. LA Times

The league offers high school graduates the opportunity to essentially have a year-long paid apprenticeship in a professional environment, complete with access to facilities, coaches, trainers and player development experts. One of the sites being considered as home base for the select team is the Mamba Sports Academy in Thousand Oaks. LA Times

The select team won’t compete against G League teams in games that count in the league’s standings, though they will play a schedule of exhibitions, potentially including games against international teams. LA Times


MORE NBA RUMORS PAGE STORIES

Also read our basketball blog, which is where most of our live breaking news updates appear during the day. And see basketball rumors from recent days.




ABOUT OUR NBA RUMORS PAGE

The InsideHoops.com NBA rumors page, featuring the hottest NBA news and rumors stories in the league from around the web, running since the 2000-01 season, generally has one main update each morning and another each afternoon or early evening. As special pro basketball events approach, updates are more frequent. If you're a hardcore NBA fan, media member, etc. you should bookmark this NBA rumors page and load it at least once per day. There is no reason to spend big chunks of your day waiting for hot NBA trade rumors and other rumor-related stories to slowly roll out on social media. Just bookmark this page, hit it once or twice per day, and you'll see every important or entertaining NBA rumor story that matters.