Morning Coffee

Morning Coffee – Thu, May 28

Pack your bags, we’re moving to Florida.

NBA news: League planning for families in Orlando; Kobe Bryant’s HOF class enshrinement postponed to 2021 – Deseret News

Discussions have been centered around when family members could arrive at Walt Disney Resort in relation to when players arrive and when play resumes.

Players are expected to arrive in Orlando in mid-to-late July, although no official date has been announced, and no schedule for games or a format have been decided.

It is expected that a limited number of family members would begin to arrive after the first wave of teams has left Orlando to return home, whether that’s after a handful of regular season games, or the first round of playoff games.

Additionally, the NBA informed teams on Wednesday that players who are currently residing internationally will be granted clearance to re-enter the United States, regardless of travel restrictions.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is set to have a conference call with league general managers on Thursday and then the NBA board of governors on Friday. Though those meetings will surely deal with the planning process for resuming the season, according to multiple reports it’s not expected that the meetings will result in a final decision as far as format or schedule are concerned.

Basketball Hall of Fame Event Will Be Pushed to 2021, Colangelo Says – The New York Times

“But that’s what I expect will be the outcome,” he said in a telephone interview.

Bryant, who died at 41 in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26, was voted into the Hall in April, as were his N.B.A. contemporaries Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett and the 10-time W.N.B.A. All-Star Tamika Catchings.

The enshrinement weekend was originally scheduled for Aug. 28-30, and Colangelo had proposed Oct. 10-12 as an alternative in case fears over the pandemic lingered. But Colangelo said it had become clear to him that neither weekend would be feasible.

“We had October as our backup date, and that’s not that far away,” Colangelo said. “There are too many other things that could cause that to be a problem. So we’re better off deferring until the first quarter of next year.”

A $23 million renovation of the Hall of Hame in Springfield, Mass., is still scheduled to be completed by July 1, and Colangelo was hoping that the enshrinement weekend would double as a sort of grand reopening for the building. But those plans have been scuttled.

“We were going to bust out with this incredible class,” Colangelo said. “But we you have to adjust. That’s life.”

Colangelo said there would still be separate ceremonies — on separate weekends — for the Class of 2020 and the Class of 2021.

“Whenever we do it, predicated on world circumstances, we’re not going to shortchange anyone,” Colangelo said. “We want this to be very special for these inductees.”

Time Machine All-Stars: Five Centers Who Would Have Dominated 2020 – The Ringer

Hakeem Olajuwon
Career (1,238 games, 1984-2002): 21.8 points, 11.1 rebounds, 2.5 assists, 1.7 steals, 3.1 blocks per game, 51.2% FG, 20.2% 3FG, 71.2% FT

In the book Basketball: A Love Story, Olajuwon describes the first time he saw an NBA game. He was already in America, having come over from Nigeria to enroll at the University of Houston, and he went to a Rockets game. He went home elated—not because of all the skill, pageantry, and aerial artistry he just witnessed, but because even as an undergraduate just barely getting his feet wet in the game, he wasn’t too impressed with the future competition.

“I see people, they drive to the basket, I say, ‘I must be missing something. How come that shot isn’t blocked?’” he recalled. “I see opportunities that should be rejected, but it scores. The next day, the reporters ask me, ‘You were at the Rockets game, what do you think?’ I told them, ‘I think I could block four shots I saw.’”

He was right then; he blocked four or more shots four times in his first six NBA games, led the league in blocks three times, and still tops the all-time leaderboard in swats nearly 20 years after his retirement. Needless to say, Hakeem could hang. I think he’d do just fine now, too.

Hakeem likely could’ve become a passable 3-point shooter with enough commitment. Olajuwon had an excellent midrange game, with incredible touch on those turnarounds and fadeaways out of the block, and shot a crisp 50 percent between 16 feet and the arc during the 1998-99 season, his final healthy run before the wheels started to come off. Even if a contemporary Dream never stretched all the way out, though, we already know the best way to unleash him as a menace in a modern offense. You just do what Rudy Tomjanovich and Co. did in 1994 and ’95: Surround him with shooters in a four-out set, and watch as he kicked the ball out of double-teams to open cutters and perimeter marksmen, or used that absolutely lethal face-up game to decimate overmatched defenders.

Like, for instance, David Robinson.

Raptors’ VanVleet: ‘We knew we had a good chance’ to defend title – Sportsnet.ca

“It’s part of the reason that everybody wants to get back, at least from our camp,” VanVleet told Rachel Nichols on ESPN’s The Jump on Wednesday.

“We knew we had a good chance, as good a chance as anybody, from obviously what we did last year, and then to come back after losing Kawhi and Danny to have the team that we had this year. We were just basically trying to get through the regular season to kind of see where we’re at for playoffs.”

With reports surfacing each day about what a return to play for the NBA could look like, it seems promising that there could be some sort of basketball being played this summer.

“I think we were really excited to go into [the] post-season and now I think we’re starting to get back excited to kind of say, ‘Hey we still have the same group, our chances are good, everybody’s well-rested,’” VanVleet said. “So whatever basketball looks like when we get back, I think we’ll have a good chance.”

But getting everything aligned to bring basketball back is easier said than done. The NBA is reportedly working to develop its own multi-phase medical/safety protocols, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, with an early projection of resuming play in late July or early August. But a lot of details remain unclear at this point.

Despite the challenges, VanVleet said, for the most part, everyone wants to be back playing.

“I think a lot of guys want to get back out there,” he said. “I do think that there is some serious concern, just regarding health and logistics and how everything will look, and guys being away from their families. I think those are all real things, but at the end of the day this is what we do and this is who we are.”

Necessity of return plan may lead NBA to exciting, long-lasting ideas – Sportsnet.ca

In that sense, basketball fans are blessed to live in interesting times as the COVID-19 pandemic represents a wrinkle in time that shouldn’t be wasted on the dull and conventional.

“Never let a crisis go to waste” is a quote that has long been attributed to Winston Churchill although the exact origins are a bit fuzzy. It sounds like something that the revered British prime minister would have said, the point being that even in dark and uncertain times there are opportunities to do big and transformative things.

I have no idea if NBA commissioner Adam Silver is a history buff, but he has proven himself willing to innovate. He’s reformed the draft lottery and has entertained a range of possibilities to tweak the league further.

Ideas like a 78-game regular season (down from 82), play-in tournaments for the final playoff seeds and an in-season tournament — an idea borrowed from European soccer and basketball — were all concepts that Silver was exploring in advance of the NBA’s 75th anniversary season in 2021-22.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything and is requiring the NBA to remake itself on the fly, coming up with one-off solutions to what Silver described as “the fight of our lives.”

Until recently, most of the league’s internal discussions — those that have bubbled into the public sphere at least — have focused on if, when and how the league will safely resume competition and the reported $900-million revenue shortfall it would reportedly be dealing with if it can’t or doesn’t.

But as one league insider told me last week, momentum has shifted.

There is a tacit acknowledgement that play will resume; the league office conceded Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando is the almost certain venue to gather multiple teams at a neutral site for fan-less games and the timing seems to be firming up too, with mid-July — give or take a week or two — as the target date.

2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Toronto Raptors | Hoops Rumors

Guaranteed Salary

Kyle Lowry ($30,500,000)
Pascal Siakam ($27,285,000) 1
Norman Powell ($10,865,952)
Patrick McCaw ($4,000,000)
OG Anunoby ($3,872,215)
Matt Thomas ($725,000) — Partial guarantee. Non-guaranteed portion noted below.
Total: $77,248,167
Player Options

Stanley Johnson ($3,804,150)
Total: $3,804,150
Team Options

None
Non-Guaranteed Salary

Terence Davis ($1,517,981) 2
Dewan Hernandez ($1,517,981) 3
Matt Thomas ($792,981)
Paul Watson (two-way)
Total: $3,828,943

Raptors’ Siakam relives The Shot: It felt fast, but slow at the same time – Sportsnet.ca

Pascal Siakam had a front-row seat to watch Leonard paint his masterpiece.

“I was on the floor just looking at the ball bounce and bounce,” Siakam told Ernie Johnson during Wednesday night’s #NBATogether, a Twitter livestream put together by the NBA. “I don’t know how many times, like you said maybe 12 times and go in.”

Thinking about the play again now, other details emerge for Siakam.

He remembers knowing Leonard was going to take the shot even if no one on the Raptors knew exactly how he’d pull the trigger as the Philadelphia 76ers threw the kitchen sink at him. He remembers setting the screen, creating a half-step of space between Leonard and Ben Simmons. He remembers Leonard’s long strides to the baseline, Joel Embiid and Simmons chasing him. He remembers the doubts.

“[I was just like], oh man, I don’t know how he’s going to do this,” Siakam said. “Is he going to be able to get the shot up?”

Leonard got the shot up. In part, at least, because of the little hesitation he did before releasing, Siakam thinks.

And once it was in the air, Siakam did what everyone else did: he waited, and waited, and waited, and waited until the fourth bounce finished and history was allowed to continue.

“I was just like you guys. I was watching it bounce. If you look at me I’m like … every time the ball bounces, I’m bouncing myself, looking at it.”

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