NBA

NBA releases schedule for season restart in Orlando

By Sports Desk June 26, 2020

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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    Dwight Howard has confirmed he will play for the Los Angeles Lakers when the NBA season resumes later this month.

    The 2019-20 campaign will recommence on July 30 with a 22-team tournament in Orlando, Florida following the coronavirus-enforced break.

    Last month, Lakers center Howard said the return of basketball would "only be a distraction" from the fight against social and racial injustice in the wake of protests across the world following the death of George Floyd in May.

    Howard's agent admitted he was unsure if the eight-time All-Star would take part in the Orlando tournament, yet the Lakers center now intends to finish the campaign and donate the remainder of his salary to the 'Breathe Again' campaign.

    "Yes, I will be joining my team in Orlando," Howard told CNN.

    "I have a contractual obligation to my team-mates, to my fans, the Lakers, the organisation and everyone, but at the same time, I also have an obligation to my family and to my community.

    "We will be getting a lot of work done here in Atlanta and around the nation as far as making sure people don't forget about us and what's going on in our communities."

    On the importance of donating his salary, Howard added: "During my time in the bubble, I will use that time to talk about Breathe Again, and I'm going to use my salary - all the money, the paychecks that I'll be getting from going down in the bubble - to help push this Breathe Again [initiative], push our movement and just make sure that people don't forget about what's going on in our society."

    The 49-14 Lakers have already confirmed their spot in the NBA post-season and have the best record in the Western Conference.

    Howard, the first overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft, is yet to win a championship ring.

  • 'Let me borrow $5' - LeBron congratulates Mahomes on record-setting contract extension 'Let me borrow $5' - LeBron congratulates Mahomes on record-setting contract extension

    Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James congratulated Kansas City Chiefs quarterback and reigning NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes on his record-setting contract extension.

    Mahomes will remain in Kansas City through the 2031 season after signing a mammoth new deal reportedly worth up to $503million, including $477m in guaranteed mechanisms.

    The contract is the largest in North American professional sports history, surpassing the 12-year, $426.5m deal Mike Trout signed with MLB franchise the Los Angeles Angels in 2019. 

    Mahomes – the 2018 NFL MVP – had two years remaining on the rookie contract he signed after being taken by Kansas City with the 10th overall pick of the 2017 draft. 

    James, who has won three NBA championships and four MVP awards, used social media to congratulate the 24-year-old star.

    "Congrats brother!!!! Let me borrow $5," James wrote in an Instagram story on Monday.

    After sitting behind veteran Alex Smith as a rookie in 2017, Mahomes took the NFL by storm the following year in his first season as a starter.

    The Texas Tech product threw for 5,097 yards and 50 touchdowns, tied for the second-most in a single season in league history, while leading the Chiefs to a 12-4 record and earning NFL MVP honours. He joined Peyton Manning (2013) as the only players with 5,000 passing yards and 50 touchdown passes in a season.  

    Mahomes followed up by leading the Chiefs to their first NFL championship in 50 years with a 31-20 come-from-behind victory over the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl LIV in February.

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  • Coronavirus: NBA releases scrimmage schedule before season restart Coronavirus: NBA releases scrimmage schedule before season restart

    The NBA announced the schedule for scrimmage games to take place before the season restarts following the coronavirus-enforced break.

    Basketball came to a halt in the United States and Canada due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March, but the 2019-20 NBA campaign is set to resume on July 30.

    Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with the Los Angeles 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.

    Prior to the NBA returning, all 22 teams in Orlando will play three inter-squad scrimmages between July 22 and July 28.

    Kawhi Leonard's Clippers will play the Orlando Magic on July 22, with the Washington Wizards-Denver Nuggets, Pelicans-Brooklyn Nets and Sacramento Kings-Miami Heat scrimmages also taking place that day.

    The Milwaukee Bucks led the NBA with a 53-12 record prior to the coronavirus crisis, ahead of the Lakers (49-14), defending champions the Toronto Raptors (46-18) and Clippers.

     

    Scrimmage schedule:

    Wednesday, July 22

    Orlando Magic v Los Angeles Clippers
    Washington Wizards v Denver Nuggets
    New Orleans Pelicans v Brooklyn Nets
    Sacramento Kings v Miami Heat

    Thursday, July 23

    San Antonio Spurs v Milwaukee Bucks
    Portland Trail Blazers v Indiana Pacers
    Dallas Mavericks v Los Angeles Lakers
    Phoenix Suns v Utah Jazz

    Friday, July 24

    Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers
    Oklahoma City Thunder v Boston Celtics
    Houston Rockets v Toronto Raptors

    Saturday, July 25

    Los Angeles Lakers v Orlando Magic
    Milwaukee Bucks v Sacramento Kings
    Miami Heat v Utah Jazz
    Brooklyn Nets v San Antonio Spurs
    Los Angeles Clippers v Washington Wizards
    Denver Nuggets v New Orleans Pelicans

    Sunday, July 26

    Philadelphia 76ers v Oklahoma City Thunder
    Phoenix Suns v Boston Celtics
    Indiana Pacers v Dallas Mavericks
    Portland Trail Blazers v Toronto Raptors
    Houston Rockets v Memphis Grizzlies

    Monday, July 27

    Washington Wizards v Los Angeles Lakers
    Sacramento Kings v Los Angeles Clippers
    Utah Jazz v Brooklyn Nets
    Orlando Magic v Denver Nuggets
    New Orleans Pelicans v Milwaukee Bucks

    Tuesdays, July 28 

    Memphis Grizzlies v Miami Heat
    Toronto Raptors v Phoenix Suns
    San Antonio Spurs v Indiana Pacers
    Oklahoma City Thunder v Portland Trail Blazers
    Boston Celtics v Houston Rockets
    Dallas Mavericks v Philadelphia 76ers

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