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Jazz center Rudy Gobert, who recorded the NBA s first positive test for COVID-19, still hasn t fully recovered from the virus. Gobert, whose test results sparked the league-wide shutdown, describes his symptoms in an interview with L Equip (translation provided by BasketUSA). The taste has returned, but the smell is still not 100%, Gobert said. I can smell the smells, but not from afar. I spoke to specialists, who told me that it could take up to a year. Gobert is eager to start playing again, saying he hasn t been part of a five-on-five game since the hiatus began. He has been boxing, swimming and running in the mountains, but had a physical reaction last month that he said felt like ants in my toes. Gobert also talked about shouldering the blame for the shutdown. The NBA was waiting for a first case to stop the championship, it fell on me! he said. I became the image of the coronavirus for the Americans, the domino that triggered the end of the season, but it was not I who brought the virus to the United States.  There s more from the Northwest Division:The Jazz will bring a fully healthy team to Orlando, except for Bojan Bogdanovic, who had surgery on his right wrist last month, coach Quin Snyder tells Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune. Snyder also expressed support for his players who are advocating for social justice, such as Donovan Mitchell and Jordan Clarkson.Nuggets guard Monte Morris has used the frustration of sliding in the 2017 draft as incentive to prove he belongs in the NBA, writes Steve Kosmider of the Athletic. Morris was projected as a first-rounder in some circles, but went to Denver with the 51st pick and had to work his way up from a two-way contract. “I was really mad about it,” Morris recalled. “Guys I dominated in college on multiple occasions were getting picked ahead of me. I got hurt during the draft process. I pulled my quad at the Laker workout, which was like my third workout. I still had about 15 workouts to go. I feel like if I had did them I would have moved up. I only worked out for three teams so that may have hurt me, but I still think my resume, doing what I did at Iowa State, should have had me going higher.”James Johnson is certain to exercise his $16MM option and remain with the Timberwolves next season, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Johnson provides a veteran presence on a young team and is a vocal leader in the locker room. The Kings have little to say about a TMZ report that Jabari Parker was playing tennis without a mask Saturday at a park in Chicago, writes Ali Thanawalla of NBC Sports. Parker revealed Wednesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19.“We are aware of the report and are gathering additional information, the team said in a prepared statement. We have no further comment at this time. Parker told Ben Stinar of The Big Lead that he has completed his in-house quarantine and was social distancing during the tennis game (Twitter link). Many Kings players have returned to Sacramento to train, but Parker has stayed in his hometown of Chicago, and there s no official word on when he will join the team, according to Thanawalla. He has appeared in just one game since being acquired from the Hawks at the trade deadline.There s more Kings news to pass along:Buddy Hield expects to be fine by Monday after testing positive this week, but he ll have to wait before resuming basketball activities, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Under NBA guidelines, any player with COVID-19 must stop training for two weeks from the date of the first positive test or the resolution of viral symptoms. Hield said his positive test was last week, while teammate Alex Len tested positive on Tuesday.The Kings got a bad break in their Orlando schedule, Thanawalla observes in a separate story. Seven of the eight games were on their original slate, but a contest against the Pacers has been replaced by another showdown with the Lakers, who have the West s best record and have already beaten Sacramento twice. However, that game is the season finale, so L.A. may have already wrapped up the No. 1 seed.Jason Jones of the Athletic offers a game-by-game analysis of Sacramento s schedule as the franchise tries to secure a playoff berth for the first time since 2006. The Kings are three and a half games behind Memphis for the eighth spot and will need to finish ninth and within four games of the eighth spot to qualify for a play-in tournament. The NBA might allow players to replace their names with personalized statements on the back of their jerseys when the season resumes, writes Marc J. Spears of ESPN. The statements can involve social justice, social causes or charities. We re just trying to continue to shed light on the different social justice issues that guys around our league continue to talk about day in and day out, said Thunder guard Chris Paul, who serves as president of the National Basketball Players Association. People are saying that social justice will be off of everybody s mind in Orlando. With these jerseys, it doesn t go away. Jerseys can feature messages such as Black Lives Matter or I Can t Breathe or possibly the names of people who were killed by police, such as George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, Spears adds. The NBA and its players union announced this week that the fight against systemic racism will be part of the focus of the restart. Numerous players had expressed concern that resuming the season would take away from their social justice crusade.Paul, who hasn t decided what his message will be, said many players have expressed support for the idea, including some who aren t Black. Suggestions will be provided for players who want to participate and are looking for a cause. The guys I talked to were definitely excited, he said. The reason I m passionate and excited about it is that it gives a voice to the voiceless. It also gives guys a chance to shine a light on something they are passionate about. Otherwise, they may not have been given a chance to express themselves. JUNE 28: Hall has been added to the roster as a substitute player, filling one of the Thunder s 17 roster spots for the summer, the team announced in a press release.JUNE 25: Having promoted Luguentz Dort to their 15-man roster, the Thunder intend to sign guard Devon Hall to fill their newly-opened two-way contract slot, reports Erik Horne of The Athletic (via Twitter).Hall, who was on a two-way deal with the Thunder early in the 2019/20 season, was waived back in December, but remained with the team s G League affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue. In 30 total NBAGL games (31.4 MPG) this season, he averaged 15.6 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.1 APG on .455/.360/.860 shooting.Typically, teams aren t allowed to sign players to two-way contracts any later than January 15. However, given the unusual circumstances surrounding the interrupted 2019/20 season and the NBA s return-to-play plan, the league is permitting the 22 clubs going to Orlando this summer to fill both of their two-way contract slots this summer for depth purposes.Hall s familiarity with the organization makes him a good fit as an insurance policy for the Thunder, who will be able to sign him anytime after noon on Saturday. He ll get a rest-of-season two-way deal and will become an unrestricted free agent at season s end. JUNE 28: Noah s new deal covers the rest of the season and is non-guaranteed for 2020/21, tweets Jovah Buha of The Athletic.JUNE 20: The Clippers intend to sign veteran center Joakim Noah to a rest-of-season contract once the NBA opens its transaction window next week, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (via Twitter).Noah had been just three days into a 10-day deal with the Clippers when the NBA suspended its season on March 11. However, active 10-day contracts, including Noah s, will expire on June 23, per Charania. All other active 10-day deals belonged to players on teams that won t be participating in the league s resumed season this summer.News that the Clippers plan to retain Noah doesn t come as a major surprise. When he first signed with the club in March, the agreement was reported as an opportunity for a 10-day audition that was expected to be followed by a rest-of-season commitment. More recently, Noah spoke as if he would be part of Los Angeles roster when play resumed.A former Defensive Player of the Year, Noah appeared in 42 games for the Grizzlies during the 2018/19 season, averaging 7.1 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.1 APG in 16.5 minutes per contest. The big man reportedly had a workout lined up with the Clippers last September, but was forced to cancel it after suffering an injury. He sat out most of the 19/20 campaign, eventually joining the Clips once he got healthy.Once the Clippers officially re-sign Noah, they ll have a full roster, with 15 players on standard contracts and two on two-way deals. In order to make any additional changes, they ll likely have to waive someone, though they d also be eligible to sign a substitute player if one of their current players chose not to participate in the restart. New Orleans presented a very strong bid to be part of the NBA s restart before Orlando was chosen to host the whole thing, according to Christopher Dodson of Forbes. Sources with the team and local government tell Dodson that New Orleans was hoping to be among several participants in a multi-city plan.“As the NBA looked to re-open, they did their due diligence and research on best potential in-market planning and what could cities and arenas pull off safely, said Pelicans Senior VP of Communications Greg Bensel. So in many markets with city and state restrictions it was going to be impossible, hence the bubble concept.”New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the effort was a bid to help save our tourism and promote that New Orleans was back and ready for business in a tweet that was taken down about an hour after it was posted, adds Christian Clark of s more from the Southwest Division:The Pelicans deserve the soft schedule they received for the eight games in Orlando, argues Rod Walker of New Orleans will play just two games against teams with winning records, but Walker points out that the Pelicans had the easiest remaining schedule before the hiatus and would have faced just three winning teams the Jazz, Clippers and Sixers over their final 18 games.Despite suffering a calf injury that will likely end his season, Courtney Lee plans to accompany the Mavericks to Walt Disney World, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Lee provides a veteran presence in the locker room and could be valuable to the team even if he doesn t play. Because Willie Cauley-Stein opted not to play in Orlando, Dallas won t need to create an opening to add Trey Burke, so Lee may remain on the roster (Twitter link).The Rockets will use their second training camp to fully incorporate Robert Covington into their style of play, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Covington was acquired shortly before the trade deadline in early February and played just 14 games for Houston before the hiatus. Pistons owner Tom Gores is confident that new general manager Troy Weaver is the right choice to work with coach Dwane Casey, writes Rod Beard of The Detroit News. Ed Stefanski has been running the front office while Detroit has been without a GM for the past two years, and Gores envisions them all operating together.“There’ll be a nice divide-and-conquer coming in and again that s why I trust Troy to come in as someone smart enough to leverage resources,” Gores said. “At a high level, we’ll work all this out in the detail. Really, Troy and Ed and Dwane will work on a day-to-day basis with each other, and Troy will have normal — and even higher than normal — GM responsibilities and he’s got a lot to learn. He’s going to get on the ground and know each player well and connect with (Casey) and so on and then as it bubbles up to ownership, (vice chairman) Arn (Tellem) and I — if there s big decisions that need to be made — we’ll all gather.”The management team will face two chances to set the direction for the future this fall with the draft, where the Pistons have a shot at a high lottery pick, and free agency, where the team could have as much as $30MM in cap space.There s more from Detroit:Weaver made his first move with the Pistons this week, signing former first-round pick Justin Patton to a deal that s non-guaranteed for next season. Weaver also took a chance on Patton last summer when he was in the Thunder s front office, points out Omar Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Injuries have limited Patton to just nine NBA games, but he remains an intriguing center prospect at age 23.The Pistons used about half of their remaining non-taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Patton, tweets John Hollinger of The Athletic. That means they can offer a similar contract to another player before the NBA s transaction window closes Tuesday night, if they so choose.Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk developed into an important offensive weapon after moving into the starting lineup and appears to be part of the rebuilding process, writes Lauren Williams of MLive. “Physically, right away you can see the things that he brings to the table, but I think he grew this year and sort of his mental approach, and also just his confidence that he can impact the game in more ways than just shooting,” Blake Griffin said. “I think next year will be a big year for him. He’s put in a lot of work and I feel like he’s taking that step.” Several cities are being considered as possible hosts for the eight teams that weren t invited to Orlando, reports Sam Amick of The Athletic. Participants in a league conference call this week mentioned Las Vegas and Houston, which were both eyed as potential sites for the 22-team field before Orlando was chosen. Amick states that some of the eight teams involved have expressed interest in hosting the event, citing the Timberwolves as a possibility.Sources tell Amick that the Cavaliers, Pistons and Hawks have been the strongest advocates to the league about setting up some type of eight-team arrangement so their players can have the benefit of competition before next season begins. However, the Knicks have been reluctant because they have so many potential free agents who may refuse to participate. He suggests New York would be more willing to get involved if it could use G League players to fill its roster.We have more from around the basketball world:The NBA isn t doubting its decision to bring the restart to Walt Disney World, even though coronavirus cases are rising sharply in Florida, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He spoke with several league and team officials who expressed confidence in the plan for a bubble environment. Mannix adds that the league might eventually reconsider its policy of not testing some Disney employees, noting that the guidelines issued last week can still be changed.Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA president Chris Paul are both calling on teams to increase diversity in their coaching and front office hires, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. The league currently has just 11 Black head coaches, nine female assistants and nine Black general managers. “There is no doubt there is more we can do internally, the league and our teams and in terms of our hiring practices,” Silver said on a conference call Friday. “The league needs to do a good job, in particular, when it comes to hiring African Americans at every level in the league. It’s something we have been focused on with our teams.”John Hollinger of The Athletic assesses each team s schedule for Orlando, finding that the Pelicans have the easiest slate and the Heat have the most challenging. Six of New Orleans eight games will be against teams with losing records. JUNE 27: The signing is official, the Sixers announced on Twitter.JUNE 26: The Sixers have reached an agreement to sign free agent swingman Ryan Broekhoff, agent Andy Shiffman tells Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).Broekhoff, who will turn 30 in August, signed with the Mavericks in the summer of 2018 and spent a season-and-a-half with the club, averaging 4.0 PPG and 1.8 RPG with a strong .403 3PT% in 59 total games (10.7 MPG). He was waived in February when Dallas signed Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.Since becoming a free agent, Broekhoff who spent the first few years of his career with Besiktas in Turkey and Lokomotiv Kuban in Russia has drawn interest from multiple international teams, including Anadolu Efes. However, it appears the veteran sharpshooter was prioritizing a potential return to the NBA, and now has the opportunity to join a playoff team for the summer restart.The 76ers currently have 15 players on standard contracts and one on a two-way deal. Because Broekhoff has just two years of NBA experience, he can be signed into the team s empty two-way slot, as noted by Rich Hofmann of The Athletic and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links) Sixers forward Tobias Harris admits chemistry issues have held the team back, relays Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia. Harris made the comments in an interview Friday with ESPN s First Take, suggesting that injuries have played a role in a disappointing 39-26 record. I’ll just say, and I’ll keep it real, we haven’t had the best chemistry throughout the whole year, Harris said. It took us a while to kind of get everyone together, we battled injuries from the start to the end. And right now, if we’re the sleeper, then we’re the sleeper. Truth be told, how we’re viewed, that’s someone else’s opinion, but I know when I look my guys in the eye and we have conversations, we have one goal in mind, and that’s to go out there and play and win a championship. That’s the only view that matters to me. What people have to say about our team, I get it, because we haven’t met our expectations so far this year. But we have a new opportunity in Orlando to go out and just play ball, and really scratch a new surface of what we can accomplish. Harris also addressed the decision to restart the season in Orlando, saying he s concerned about the rising coronavirus rate but is ready to join his teammates if the NBA can provide a safe environment.There s more from the Atlantic Division:Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose tells Mike Breen of MSG Network (video link) that he understands the long-suffering nature of his fan base. “No one deserves a winner more than Knicks fans, Rose said. I know it’s been tough but my pledge is — we’re going to work tirelessly, we’re going to do business, we’re going to be prudent and we’re going to be in play in every aspect — the draft, trades, free agency. And we’re going to build this the right way to bring you a winner.” Rose also commented on the team s head coaching search, saying he wants to find someone who can develop young talent and will work closely with the front office.Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston looks at whether the Celtics schedule for the eight games in Orlando will help them move up to the second spot in the East and questions how much it matters with all games being played at a neutral site.With their signing of Tyler Johnson this week, the Nets finally got their hands on a player that they offered $50MM over four years in 2016. Billy Reinhardt of NetsDaily examines what has gone wrong for Johnson since the Heat elected to match that offer sheet.

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