Boston Celtics forward Gordon Hayward said he will exit the NBA's bubble in Florida for the birth of his next child if his team is still playing at that stage of the league's revised season. 

Hayward's wife is due to give birth to the couple's fourth child in September. The NBA's current plans for its restart have the Eastern Conference semi-finals beginning no later than August 30 and the conference finals starting by September 15. 

At the time of the NBA's stoppage on March 11 due to the coronavirus outbreak, Boston occupied the third seed in the East, three games behind the first-place Toronto Raptors in the Atlantic Division.  

"There'll be a time if and when we're down [in Orlando] and she's going to have the baby, I'm for sure going to be with her," Hayward said of his wife, Robyn. "We'll have to cross that bridge when we get there." 

The NBA has put in stipulations for players who have received permission to leave the Walt Disney World Resort complex. If a player is gone for less than seven days and continues to test negatively for COVID-19, he would be required to quarantine for four days after returning. 

"I know the NBA has a protocol for that type of thing, and hopefully I can do the quarantining and testing the appropriate amount of time and then be back with the boys," he said.  

Hayward was in the midst of his best season with the Celtics at the time of the league's shutdown. The former Utah Jazz star is averaging 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds and 4.1 assists per game while shooting 39.2 percent from three-point range in 2019-20.  

The 30-year-old added that the time off has been beneficial for him physically, but admitted that he still deals with occasional pain in his left foot. Hayward fractured his left ankle in the 2017-18 season opener, his first game as a Celtic after leaving the Jazz to sign a four-year max contract. 

"Everything is definitely a lot better. There is no doubt about that," said Hayward. "For sure, I'm feeling great, it's just the foot still is a little sore. It is what it is." 

 

San Antonio Spurs star DeMar DeRozan expressed his displeasure with the rules the NBA has put in place for the resumption of the season following the coronavirus-enforced break.

The NBA is set to resume via a 22-team format at Orlando's Disney World complex on July 30 after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed due to the COVID-19 crisis in March.

The league included a 113-page health and safety handbook as part of its restart plan later this month in Orlando. It covers a wide array of topics such as social distancing outside of games and practices to prohibiting doubles in ping-pong (table tennis).

"The ping-pong this is ridiculous, to be honest," Spurs guard DeRozan said on Thursday. "Guys can't do this, but we can do this and battle over each other? That part just don't make no sense to me.

"I got through 10 lines of the handbook and just put it down because it became so frustrating and overwhelming at times, because you just never thought you'd be in a situation of something like this. So it's hard to process."

Another area of concern for DeRozan specifically is the mental well-being of the players.

DeRozan has been a vocal advocate for players' mental health and the isolated nature of the bubble could be a challenge for players from a mental standpoint.

"It's tough. You're taking guys that have been with their families every single day for the last few months and all of a sudden, separating everybody into this one confined space and taking away a lot of the joyful things we do outside of basketball that we won't be able to do," the four-time All-Star said. "It'll be something for every single player when it comes to mental health."

DeRozan is not the first player to voice his feelings over the NBA's restart plan.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard jokingly said on Wednesday that some players will break rules in the league's handbook, despite warnings or restrictions.

Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal said during a videoconference call that living in the bubble will be challenging for players used to having few rules on the road.

San Antonio head to Orlando in 12th place in the Western Conference, four games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the final playoff spot.

Anthony Davis believes the Los Angeles Lakers have a higher chance of winning the NBA championship thanks to the coronavirus-enforced break.

The NBA season is set to resume on July 30 after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with LeBron James' Lakers headlining the league's comeback against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30 after the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz on the same day.

The Lakers topped the Western Conference with a 49-14 record prior to the COVID-19 crisis and All-Star Davis feels the storied Los Angeles franchise are primed to claim their first NBA ring since 2010.

"Actually, I think our chances are higher just because we're all rested and we're all ready to go," Davis told reporters via a videoconference call on Thursday.

"If anything, our chances got higher and it's going to be about just who wants it more."

Davis added: "It's been good for me to kind of let some of them lingering injuries I had towards the time when the NBA stopped to kind of recover and heal and get back into the best version of myself.

"I feel 100 per cent healthy. Well, I don't feel, I am [100 per cent healthy]. I feel like I'm ready. Ready to go."

The Lakers had gone 8-2 after the All-Star break, with James and team-mate Davis leading the way.

Davis was averaging 26.7 points, 9.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2.4 blocks and 1.5 steals per game prior to the postponement.

Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said: "[When] you're on the floor, you have an opportunity to grow and your team has an opportunity to grow.

"When we get to Orlando, it'll be the next step in that process and his journey in this season as a Laker. We look forward to seeing – hopefully the best is yet to come."

LeBron James and Anthony Davis are back in practice ahead of the NBA restart.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell discussed his relationship with team-mate and fellow All-Star Rudy Gobert in a Zoom conference call on Thursday and said the two are fine now after there was friction in the wake of the coronavirus situation. 

The NBA shut down its season after Gobert became the first player to test positive for COVID-19 on March 11.

That also led to strife in the Jazz locker room because Gobert just days earlier mocked the league's media distancing protocols by breathing and touching microphones at the podium during his media session.

Gobert had also reportedly been careless during interactions with team-mates and Donovan tested positive the following day. The team-mates did not speak to each other for a month after the tests.

"Right now, we're good," Mitchell said. "We're going out there ready to hoop. I think the biggest thing that kind of sucked was that it took away from guys on the team, took away from what the guys on the team were trying to do.

"I think that'll be really a part of the focus, is just us gelling as a team because obviously, Rudy and I had COVID and whatever happened, happened, but now we're ready to hoop and focused on the team as a whole because we're not really trying to keep attention away from what everybody's got going on."

The Jazz are fourth in the Western Conference as the NBA season gets set to resume in Orlando, Florida on July 30.

Mitchell led Utah with 24.2 points per game when the season was paused, while Gobert averaged 15.1 points and ranked fourth in the league with 13.7 rebounds and sixth with 2.0 blocks.

Nine additional NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus, the league announced in a statement on Monday.

The NBA has not released the names of the most recent cases.  

Since the NBA began its round of testing on June 23, a total of 25 players have been found to have COVID-19 out of the 344 that were tested. The league also said that 10 of a possible 884 team staff members have been found to have the virus.  

The league statement said that anyone associated with the NBA who has tested positive for coronavirus will be quarantined "until they satisfy public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and have been cleared by a physician."

The announcement of the additional cases comes four weeks before the NBA is scheduled to resume its season with 22 teams in Orlando, Florida.

Most of the teams' 35-person travelling parties are scheduled to arrive in Orlando within the next week for training camp.  

Several marquee players have been among those in the league who have had COVID-19 or are currently dealing with the illness.  

Some of the most notable names previously to have tested positive are Nikola Jokic and coach Mike Malone of the Denver Nuggets, the Indiana Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon, the Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie, Buddy Hield and Jabari Parker of the Sacramento Kings, and Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz. 

Gobert, whose positive test was the first in the NBA and halted the season on March 11, said last week he still has not fully recovered from the illness and continues to suffer from a diminished sense of smell.

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown said no one has worked harder than Joel Embiid as he hailed the All-Star ahead of the NBA's return.

The 2019-20 NBA season is set to restart via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the campaign was halted due to COVID-19 in March.

Embiid's fitness has always been a topic of discussion and all eyes will be on the three-time All-Star center when the NBA returns following the coronavirus pandemic.

Philadelphia will recommence against Eastern Conference rivals the Indiana Pacers, who share identical 39-26 records to be fifth and sixth respectively, on August 1.

And Brown had high praise for Embiid's training and conditioning midweek.

"Let's start with the respect and applause I give him for putting in time. There is nobody on our team that has put in more time than Joel Embiid," Brown told reporters on Wednesday.

"Forget what he has actually done in the gym for a minute, just go to the man hours and consecutive days and the amount of days he has put in over the past few months. I'm proud of him, I respect him. He needed to do it. We understand the impact he can have on our team."

Embiid had been averaging 23.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 3.1 assists per game this season.

"We've got a three-week runway to deliver him to the regular season," Brown said. "I'm looking for Joel to come in in as good of shape as he's been in since I have coached him.

"I think the three weeks we have together is an inverted sort of luxury we haven't had. I'm excited for Jo to get back into this and show what he has been doing the last few months."

The 76ers – 14 games behind the Eastern Conference and NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12) – are also set to be boosted by the return of fellow All-Star Ben Simmons.

Simmons has been sidelined since February due to a back injury, but Brown added: "He's good to go. He's put in a tremendous amount of work for me to be able to confidently say that.

"As you search for silver linings with this pandemic and the way things have shaped up, it would be hard-pressed for me to find something more obvious than this: It's enabled Ben to reclaim his health. He's good to go, and we look forward to watching him with what I'm told is effectively 100 per cent health."

Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo believes the 2020 NBA title will be the "toughest championship you could ever win" due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2019-20 NBA season is set to return via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the campaign was halted due to COVID-19 in March.

Eastern Conference leaders Milwaukee boasted a league-best 53-12 record prior to the postponement, ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference.

As teams prepare to be based in an Orlando bubble, reigning MVP Antetokounmpo insisted this season's championship should not come with an asterisk.

"I feel like a lot of people say that there's gonna be a star next to this championship," Antetokounmpo said.

"I feel like, at the end of the day, this is gonna be the toughest championship you could ever win – because the circumstances are really, really tough right now. So whoever wants it more is going to be able to go out there and take it."

Antetokounmpo added: "Everybody has concerns about their health. Nobody wants to put themselves in risk out there, but at the end of the day, that's what the NBA chose, and we're gonna resume the games, and we've all gotta do our job.

"And my job is to play basketball and go out there and support my team-mates and represent the city. But for sure, I think me, my team-mates, my family – especially my mum – everybody has concerns about our health, and my health."

The Bucks will return to action against the Boston Celtics on July 31 as Milwaukee eye their first championship since 1971.

"I feel like the champion from this experience, from this season, I think is going to be more worthy and probably more special than any [other] champion," Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said.

Antetokounmpo was averaging 29.6 points, 13.7 rebounds and 5.8 assists per game prior to the NBA's suspension.

"I want to be one of the best players to ever play the game," four-time All-Star Antetokounmpo said. "I did the best job I could do trying to stay ready and trying to have my team ready for this journey that we're about to go on to leave and play games.

"But as I said, whoever wants it more, whoever is mentally prepared for all this, what's going on in Orlando, that's the team that's gonna come out on top."

The Denver Nuggets expect to have All-Star center Nikola Jokic at their disposal for the NBA's restart, head coach Michael Malone said.

Jokic remains in his native Serbia having reportedly tested positive for coronavirus as the NBA plans to resume after the 2019-20 season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league is set to return via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30, with the New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers in action on the first day back.

Denver are scheduled to resume their campaign against the Miami Heat in the Orlando bubble on August 1 and the Nuggets expect Jokic to return to the United States in time.

"Nikola feels great," Malone told reporters via a Zoom call on Wednesday. "We are working on getting him back here.

"Next Tuesday we depart for Orlando; the hope and expectation is that Nikola Jokic will be with us on that plane.

"From everything that I have heard and talked to him, he feels great, he feels fine and is excited to get back."

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, Jokic was averaging 20.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game for the Nuggets.

The Nuggets were third in the Western Conference with a 43-22 record, behind leaders the Lakers (49-14) and the Clippers (44-20).

Denver, meanwhile, opted to close down their practice facility following COVID-19 cases.

"We have closed down the facility," Malone confirmed. "We felt it was the right thing to do. Today was supposed to be the first day of Phase 3 where all our players were required to be back in the gym and we are allowed to work with them albeit just 1-on-0.

"We have put the safety of our team ahead of this Phase 3. There is a chance we can open the gym up before we leave, depending upon results in the coming days. I am not going to get into who tested but we have had multiple people in our travel party test positive."

Amid the unprecedented situation, Malone feels this season's NBA championship will be the toughest ever contested.

"There has been this ongoing dialogue and conversation that whoever wins it this year, there will be an asterisk by their name and I don't buy that at all," Malone later added.

"If you are able to go into a bubble and be isolated from your friends and family, to have no home-court advantage, to have a league interruption of four months and you are able to spend 90 days and come out of there a champion, I think this will be the toughest championship ever won. There is no asterisk."

Los Angeles Lakers vice-president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka believes the NBA restart in the Orlando bubble will be a "mental test".

The NBA season is set to resume on July 30 after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with LeBron James' Lakers headlining the league's comeback against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30 after the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz on the same day.

The Lakers topped the Western Conference with a 49-14 record prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

"I think Orlando itself is going to be as much of a mental test as it is a physical test just because of the extraordinary circumstances there," Pelinka said on a video conference call on Tuesday.

"I think a team like ours, that has such a strong togetherness component, will have an advantage at that part. This team of guys love being together and love playing together. I think that's the significant part of the [first] 63 games."

Pelinka, whose Lakers will be without Avery Bradley after he opted out of the restart, added: "We have put a ton of thought into the mental part of this journey. It is going to be as much as a physical grind as it's going to be a mental grind.

"And I think the mental component might even be more paramount. And so, yes ... we have mental wellness people on staff here and we've been working with them on developing a protocol to address some of the concerns that are going to come up from an extended time away from family or an extended time living in a city that's not your home."

The Lakers had gone 8-2 after the All-Star break, with James and team-mate Anthony Davis leading the way for the storied Los Angeles franchise, who have not won a championship since 2010.

"I think that we're in a unique situation where we've had such a strong chemistry, such a strong team chemistry, that I think that platform is going to be seamless in terms of guys jumping on and being part of that identity and chemistry that we already had formed," Pelinka said.

"I don't see that changing at all with the new additions, just because it's such a strong identity."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver conceded the league's planned restart could be scrapped due to coronavirus cases.

The 2019-20 NBA season is set to return via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the campaign was halted due to COVID-19 in March.

However, there are concerns after Brooklyn Nets pair DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for coronavirus – the duo will sit out the team's campaign.

"Never full steam ahead no matter what," Silver told TIME 100 Talks when asked if the league does not go ahead. "One thing we are learning about this virus is much [is] unpredictable, and we and our players together with their union look at the data on a daily basis.

"If there were something to change that was outside of the scope of what we are playing for, certainly we would revisit our plans.

"We are testing daily. We haven't put a precise number on it, but if we were to see a large number of cases and see spread in our community, that would of course be a cause to stop as well."

Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans are scheduled to face the Utah Jazz in the first game back on July 30, with LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers also in action against the Los Angeles Clippers on the same day.

Silver added: "We are going to see as we go. Certainly if cases are isolated, that's one thing. A lot of the determination will be our understanding of how our community became infected. That will be part of our judgment in terms of whether we should continue. But certainly if we had a lot of cases, we are going to stop. You cannot run from this virus.

"I am absolutely convinced that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus because there aren't many situations that I am aware of where there is mass testing of asymptomatic employees.

"In some ways, this is maybe a model for how other industries can ultimately open. But I am only going to say we will be responsible and watch what is happening, but the biggest indicator will be if we begin to see a spread in our community."

Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan announced on Monday he has tested positive for coronavirus and will not join the team in Orlando when the NBA resumes its season in late July. 

Jordan's revelation came hours after team-mate Spencer Dinwiddie told The Athletic he tested positive for COVID-19. The point guard said he has yet to determine whether he will take part in the restart. 

"Found out last night and confirmed again today that I've tested positive for Covid while being back in [the Brooklyn] market. As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season," Jordan wrote on Twitter. 

The 31-year-old was a key reserve for the Nets prior to the NBA's suspension of the season in March and leads the team in rebounding at 10.0 per game.  

Dinwiddie, who also said he contracted the virus while working out in New York and added that he has experienced symptoms such as a fever and chest tightness, is averaging career highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game. His scoring average ranks second among Brooklyn players behind only Kyrie Irving, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in early March. 

The Nets also announced during the stoppage that star forward Kevin Durant will not return this season as he continues to rehab a torn Achilles tendon he suffered with the Golden State Warriors during the 2019 NBA Finals. The two-time Finals MVP was also one of four Nets players to test positive for COVID-19 in April, though he has since been declared symptom-free. 

In addition to Durant, Irving, Jordan and possibly Dinwiddie, Brooklyn will be without Wilson Chandler after the veteran forward told ESPN on Sunday he will not play in Orlando due to health and family reasons.

The Nets will enter the resumption holding the number seven seed in the Eastern Conference and are six games ahead of the ninth-placed Washington Wizards.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie announced on Monday he has tested positive for coronavirus and is uncertain to join the team in Orlando for next month's restart of the NBA season.

Dinwiddie confirmed his diagnosis in an interview with The Athletic and added that he has experienced symptoms related to COVID-19.

Per NBA medical protocols that have been established during the restart plan, he will be put into quarantine for at least 10 days and must pass at least two retests before being permitted to rejoin the Nets.

"Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive," he said. "Given that I have experienced symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, it is unclear on whether or not I'll be able to participate in Orlando."

Dinwiddie had planned on playing when the Nets resume their season July 31 at the Walt Disney World Complex and said he initially tested negative for the virus after returning to New York to take part in workouts.

"I was ready and prepared to rejoin my team-mates as we were to be an early entry team in the resumed season," Dinwiddie said. "I flew private to return to New York, passed multiple COVID-19 tests over my first several days in New York and was able to participate in a couple of practices within the first week."

Prior to the season's stoppage on March 11, Dinwiddie was averaging career highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game to help the Nets maintain a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite injuries to stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Brooklyn enter the restart seventh in the East and six games ahead of the ninth-placed Washington Wizards.

Neither Durant nor Irving are expected to return this season, and ESPN reported on Sunday that veteran forward Wilson Chandler informed the Nets he will not take part in the restart due to health and family reasons.

It is unclear if Dinwiddie is one of the 16 unidentified players the NBA announced last week were positive for COVID-19 during preliminary testing for the season's resumption. Other players who have either revealed they tested positive or reportedly done so include Denver Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokic, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. and three Sacramento Kings – Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len.

Brooklyn Nets veteran Wilson Chandler has opted to sit out the NBA's season restart, prioritising the health of his family amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA has been suspended since March, but the 2019-20 campaign is scheduled to resume at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida next month.

Brooklyn are set to return to action against the Orlando Magic on July 31, however, Nets forward Chandler will not be involved.

"As difficult as it will be to not be with my team-mates, the health and wellbeing of my family has to come first," Chandler told ESPN on Sunday.

"Thank you to the Nets organisation for understanding and supporting me in this decision, and I will be watching and rooting for our team in Orlando."

The Nets were seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 30-34 record prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Chandler, who joined the Nets at the start of the season, had been averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game for Brooklyn in 2019-20.

The season will officially resume on July 30, with the New Orleans Pelicans playing the Utah Jazz and LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers taking on Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers.

The NBA officially revealed its schedule for the resumption of the 2019-20 season following the coronavirus-enforced break and opening night features a star rookie and a marquee matchup. 

Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans will face the Utah Jazz at the Disney World complex near Orlando, Florida on July 30 in the first game of the resumed season, which will consist of a 22-team format.

The second game of the nationally televised doubleheader has LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers facing Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers.  

The opening game will come more than four months after the season was paused on March 11 after Utah's Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for COVID-19.

On Friday, the league officially completed talks with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) on the terms for restarting the season, paving the way for the 88-game schedule of what are being called seeding games between 22 teams to be released. 

"We're coming back because sports matter in our society," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. "They bring people together when they need it most."

Each team will play eight "seeding" games that will take place in a 16-day span before ending on August 14.

The league will then begin a typical playoff format with the NBA Finals set to begin September 30 and ending no later than October 13. 

Excluding the opening night of the restart, there will be between four to seven games each day spread across three different courts. 

Games will start as early as 13:00 (local time) on weekdays, 12:30 on weekends and ending with 21:00 starts.  

Several players have opted out of the restart plan with reasons related to the coronavirus, while others – including the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic, Sacramento Kings team-mates Jabari Parker and Alex Len and the Indiana Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon have tested positive.  

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