Celtics swingman Jaylen Brown wasn’t sure about playing in Orlando until he was sure that messages regarding social justice would be welcome, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. Brown also indicated other teammates felt the same way and they are embracing the platform.“The ability and the option to play for something bigger than yourself, a lot of guys would sign up for that 10 times out of 10,” Brown said.
- A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston explores the three-year Boston tenure of Gordon Hayward, who originally signing a deal to join the Celtics in July of 2017. “I can’t believe it’s been three years already, to be honest,” Hayward told reporters in a conference call. “A lot has happened for me, for my family.”
Celtics forward Gordon Hayward told reporters today, including Tim Bontemps of ESPN, that he intends to leave the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus for the birth of his fourth child in September, assuming his team is still alive in the playoffs at the time.
“I’m for sure going to be with her,” Hayward said of his wife Robyn. “… “It’s a pretty easy decision for me on that. I’ve been at the birth of every one of my children and I think there are more important things in life. So we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
Players who receive permission to leave the Orlando campus for a family situation will be required to quarantine for four days upon returning, as Bontemps notes. That hinges on the player being gone for fewer than seven days and testing negative for COVID-19 each day that he’s away. Unexcused absences would require a quarantine period of at least 10 days upon returning to the NBA’s Disney campus — that shouldn’t apply to Hayward, but he could still miss at least a couple games.
The exact due date for Hayward’s child is unclear, but based on the NBA’s tentative schedule, the conference semifinals will take place during the first half of September, with the conference finals taking place during the second half of the month. In other words, Boston – currently the No. 3 seed in the East – is in good position to be playing into September.
According to Jared Weiss of The Athletic, Celtics big man Vincent Poirier and his partner Assouan are due to have their first child on September 17. Poirier told The Athletic that, like Hayward, he plans to leave the campus to attend the birth, so depending on the timing – and Boston’s performance – the team could be down a couple players in September.
- 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.
- The Celtics will not renew the contract of advance scout Gary Schmidt, Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald tweets. Schmidt had scouted for Boston since the 2014/15 season.
The Pelicans and rookie star Zion Williamson will face the Jazz on July 30 at 6:30 p.m. ET in the first game of the NBA’s restart, the league announced on Friday.
There will be 88 “seeding” games from July 30 to August 14 prior to the postseason.
The Clippers will square off against the Lakers in the second game on July 30 at 9 p.m. ET. The first two games will be broadcast by TNT.
It will get very busy the next day with six games scheduled, highlighted by Celtics vs. Bucks and Rockets vs. Mavericks. There will be a maximum of seven games per day, with start times ranging from 12-9 p.m.
At the conclusion of the seeding games, the seven teams in each conference with the highest combined winning percentages across regular-season games and seeding games will be the first through seventh seeds for the conference playoffs. If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage (regular-season games and seeding games) in a conference is more than four games ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then the team with the eighth-best winning percentage would be the No. 8 seed.
If the team with the eighth-best combined winning percentage in a conference is four games or fewer ahead of the team with the ninth-best combined winning percentage in the same conference, then those two teams would compete in a play-in tournament to determine the No. 8 playoff seed in the conference. The play-in tournament will be double elimination for the eighth-place team and single elimination for the ninth-place team.
Much of the intrigue regarding the seeding games concerns the final Western Conference spot. The Grizzlies, currently eighth, hold a 3 1/2-game lead over the Trail Blazers, Pelicans and Kings, a four-game lead over the Spurs and a six-game advantage on the Suns.
Memphis will face the Blazers, Spurs, Pelicans, Jazz, Thunder, Raptors, Celtics and Bucks during the seeding round. Among the Grizzlies’ pursuers, the Pelicans appear to have the weakest schedule. After opening against the Jazz, they’ll face the Clippers, Grizzlies, Kings (twice), Wizards, Spurs and Magic.
The Nets and Magic need only to hold off the Wizards in the East to claim the final two spots in their conference. Washington trails Brooklyn by six games and Orlando by 5 1/2 games.
Most veterans who have player options in their contracts for the 2020/21 season will have an October 17 deadline to either exercise or decline that option. That Saturday represents the second-last day of the 2019/20 league year under the NBA’s new calendar, meaning it would coincide in a normal year with June 29, the usual player option decision deadline.
However, according to ESPN’s Bobby Marks, some of the players who have to make option decisions for 2020/21 have slightly earlier deadlines. For instance, if the Spurs don’t make the postseason, DeMar DeRozan will be required to make his decision within seven days of the team’s last game, per Marks.
The full list of player options for ’20/21 can be found on our free agents page, but here are the options which must be exercised or declined before October 17, according to Marks:
- October 6
- Nicolas Batum, Hornets ($27,130,434)
- October 9
- Mike Conley, Jazz ($34,502,132)
- October 11
- October 13
- DeMar DeRozan, Spurs ($27,739,975)
- Note: This deadline would be moved to seven days after the Spurs’ last game if they don’t make the playoffs.
- DeMar DeRozan, Spurs ($27,739,975)
- October 14
- October 15
The rest of this season’s player option decisions must be made by October 17, a deadline that applies to nearly every team option for 2020/21 as well. The only team options with earlier decision dates are minimum-salary ones for Deonte Burton (Thunder) and Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk (Pistons), which are due by October 15, per Marks.
The 34th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Mason spent his first two professional seasons with the Kings before being waived by Sacramento last July. In his first year under contract with Milwaukee, he appeared in just six games for the Bucks, spending most of the season with the Wisconsin Herd.
In 23 games for Milwaukee’s G League affiliate this season, Mason averaged a league-leading 26.4 PPG to go along with 5.0 APG and 3.4 RPG in 31.5 minutes per contest. He also posted an impressive .504/.425/.815 shooting line, and helped lead the Herd to a league-best 33-10 record. The team was 18-5 in games Mason played.
Mason’s two-way contract is reportedly set to expire at season’s end, so the Bucks will have to sign him to a new deal if they hope to keep him beyond 2019/20.
As part of the revised Collective Bargaining Agreement terms that the NBA and NBPA have agreed to, a series of option decision deadlines, salary guarantee dates, and other offseason dates and deadlines have been pushed back.
We don’t yet have a full list that outlines how every date and deadline will be adjusted, but in cases where a deadline fell slightly before or after the start of the 2020/21 league year, those dates have been pushed back to coincide with the new start date for the league year, which will begin on October 19 rather than July 1.
For instance, as Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets, player option decisions for Gordon Hayward (Celtics), DeMar DeRozan (Spurs), Mike Conley (Jazz), and Andre Drummond (Cavaliers) will now be due on October 17 instead of June 29. Lakers big man Anthony Davis will have to decide on his 2020/21 player option by October 14, one day after a potential NBA Finals Game 7, Charania adds.
[RELATED: Re-Examining NBA Player Options For 2020/21]
Meanwhile, the salary guarantee date for four Knicks veterans – Reggie Bullock, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, and Elfrid Payton – who currently have $1MM partial guarantees for 2020/21 will be October 17 at 3:00pm eastern time, rather than on June 28, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.
Additionally, as Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press (Twitter link) reported over the weekend, traded player exceptions that were set to expire in early July will have their expiry dates moved to corresponding dates in October. For example, since the free agency moratorium will now expire on October 23 instead of July 6, the Warriors‘ $17.2MM TPE that would have expired on July 7 will instead do so on October 24.
[RELATED: Outstanding NBA Trade Exceptions]
There are other deadlines that figure to be closely tied to the new league year as well. For instance, the deadline to tender a qualifying offer to a potential restricted free agent will likely be on October 17 rather than June 29.
Some date adjustments may be trickier to determine and will require further clarification. For instance, some players had been scheduled to receive full or partial guarantees if they remained under contract through August 1. That date may simply be shifted to November 19, one month after the ’20/21 league year begins. But the NBA has proposed opening training camps for next season on November 10, complicating that timeline.
Celtics forward Jayson Tatum is not thinking of sitting out the remainder of season due to concerns over a contract extension, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports. According to another report earlier this week, Tatum had expressed some reluctance about playing this summer because of an elevated risk of injury, which could potentially impact his ability to reach a max rookie scale extension this offseason. Tatum does have some concerns about contracting the novel coronavirus in the Orlando bubble and the league’s plans on addressing the issue, according to Blakely, but it’s not worrisome enough for the 22-year-old to sit out.
- While some NBA players believe that playing again this season might take the focus away from social justice reforms, Celtics center Enes Kanter believes it would be far more effective to get the point across while playing. He made those comments on The Enes Kanter Show podcast (hat tip to Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston). “The whole world is going to be focusing on you, right? You can make a huge difference,” he said. “All the microphones will be on your face, so you can get your message out. Whatever you want to talk about, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ freedom, justice, democracy. Whatever you want to talk about, the whole world will be listening to you.”