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Sunday, March 29, 2020

Stories by Darryn Albert:

Report: Giants open to signing Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig

Yasiel Puig was Public Enemy No. 1 in San Francisco at one point, but now the tides may be shifting.

Jon Heyman of MLB Network reported this week that the Giants are one of the teams “willing to consider” signing the divisive outfielder and that the belief is Puig will sign this month.

Of course, Puig, who hit .267 with 24 home runs and 84 RBIs in 2019, played six seasons with the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. During his time there, he was also involved in a number of bench-clearing incidents with the Giants.

Still, former Dodgers general manager Farhan Zaidi is now head of baseball operations in San Francisco and is thus acquainted with the ex-All-Star Puig. While a more bizarre pairing may be on the table for him as well, a return to the NL West does seem to be quite possible for Puig.

ESPN’s Bulls ‘The Last Dance’ documentary unlikely to get early release

Chicago Bulls logo

Those holding out hope for an expedited release of ESPN’s upcoming Chicago Bulls documentary are probably out of luck.

In an interview this week with Front Row, Burke Magnus, the executive vice president of programming acquisitions and scheduling for the network, indicated that an early release for “The Last Dance” is unlikely.

“Overall, any original content project that we can conceivably move up, we are obviously considering that, including films,” said Magnus. “I know some have asked about ‘The Last Dance’ and the reality is that the production of that film has not yet been completed, so we are limited there at the moment. Obviously, you can’t air it until it’s done.”

Rumors of an early release for the documentary, which is set to give an in-depth look at the 1997-98 Bulls season, began swirling in recent days amid the coronavirus pandemic. Notably, ESPN began advertising the documentary as “coming soon” instead of the June 2020 release date previously announced.

While excited viewers may have to sit tight for a bit longer, rest assured there is still plenty of newfound sports content for those at home in quarantine.

Adam Silver says eight NBA teams have already been tested in full for coronavirus

Adam Silver

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is providing an interesting update on the league’s ongoing efforts to test for the coronavirus.

In an interview Wednesday with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols, Silver said that eight teams have already been tested in full for the disease in addition to other players exhibiting symptoms. He also responded to those criticizing how NBA teams have gotten a significant chunk of such scarce tests by saying that the league has simply been following the recommendations of health officials.

Players from three teams (the Utah Jazz, Detroit Pistons, and Brooklyn Nets) are confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus. The Oklahoma City Thunder announced on Wednesday that all their players and staff had tested negative for the disease, while other teams such as the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly awaiting the results of their own tests.

Indeed, criticism has abounded ever since the Jazz used up nearly 60 of the available local COVID-19 tests, but one can see how that decision made sense.

Drake self-isolating after partying with Kevin Durant

World-famous rapper and Toronto Raptors ambassador Drake is taking precautionary steps after recently hanging out with Kevin Durant.

Sara Nathan of Page Six reported on Wednesday that the four-time Grammy winner is self-isolating in his Toronto mansion after he partied with Durant in West Hollywood, Calif. last week. The Brooklyn Nets star confirmed Tuesday that he was one of four players on the team to test positive for the coronavirus.

The Nets played the Lakers in Los Angeles on Mar. 10, and while Durant is still recovering from an Achilles tear, he was in attendance for the road game.

Earlier this week, Drake posted a video of his apparent home basketball court to Instagram and wrote “My life for the next however long” in the caption.

The “Marvin’s Room” singer is particularly tight with Durant, so it makes perfect sense for him to exercise caution, especially since they were together so close to Durant’s diagnosis.

Great Roger Mayweather moment goes viral after his passing

Roger Mayweather, an iconic trainer and personality in the sport of boxing, died on Tuesday, and now he is being remembered as the character he was.

After Mayweather’s passing at the age of 58 following years of declining health, a great moment of his went viral on Twitter. Mayweather was working the corner for his nephew, Floyd Mayweather Jr., in a 2005 bout against Arturo Gatti, when he suddenly turned to the camera during the one-sided affair and said, “I told y’all he’s gonna get his a– whooped … on HBO!”

Here is the video, but beware of the foul language:

Formerly a two-weight world champion as a fighter, Roger went on to become the trainer for Floyd Jr. from 2000 to 2012, helping oversee his rise to all-time greatness. Roger is also widely seen as the original “Black Mamba” and had another infamous moment in 2006 when he entered the ring to confront Zab Judah in the middle of a fight that he was working.

The news of Roger’s passing comes just days after the death of Floyd Jr’s ex-girlfriend as well.

Lakers to undergo coronavirus testing, self-quarantine after recently playing Nets

Lakers logo

With four players on the Brooklyn Nets testing positive for the coronavirus, there is concern now about the team that they played most recently.

Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times reported on Tuesday that Los Angeles Lakers players will be tested for the disease on Wednesday and have a 14-day period of self-quarantine. The Lakers played the Nets on Mar. 10 in their final game before the suspension of the NBA season on Mar. 11.

Kevin Durant, one of the Brooklyn players who tested positive, was on the Nets bench for that game in Los Angeles in what was one of the few road games that he attended this season, per Frank Isola of ESPN.

With the majority of the Nets who tested positive said to be asymptomatic, it is obvious why caution and unease is at a peak right now around the league and around the world.

Aaron Boone thinks Judge, Stanton could be ready to go whenever season starts

Aaron Boone

The pushback of the 2020 MLB season is giving a few injured New York Yankees some very welcome time to recover.

Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Monday on MLB Network Radio that he thinks both Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton (plus righty James Paxton) could all be healthy and ready to go whenever Opening Day does occur.

Judge is recovering from a stress fracture in his right rib, Stanton continues to progress from a Grade 1 right calf strain, and Paxton recently had surgery to remove a cyst from his spine.

Unfortunately, the start of the 2020 campaign has now been delayed further, so while the extra recovery time is a plus, it is a huge question mark right now when the sport as a whole will even be back.

Kevin Durant’s agent: ‘Not realistic’ to expect return in summer

Kevin Durant

The indefinite suspension of the NBA season has seemingly opened the door for Kevin Durant to potentially return at some point when play resumes, but Rich Kleiman is not optimistic about it.

Appearing Monday on ESPN’s “Golic and Wingo,” Kleiman, Durant’s agent and manager, threw some cold water on the idea of a summer return for the former NBA MVP.

“Honestly, [it’s] not very realistic from my standpoint, and not even spoken about,” said Kleiman. “It feels like [Durant playing in 2019-20] clearly was not something that was in the cards prior to all this. And now, I think just like the rest of the world, it’s hard to take anything more than day by day.

“I think Kevin is going to figure out the space he needs to be in to continue to rehab during this time,” Kleiman added. “But even that is hard to answer at this point, with the new kind of rules that were put in place last night.”

Kleiman was referring to the recommendation issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday that events or gatherings for the next eight weeks should have no more than 50 people. That would obviously impact the timeline along which the NBA might be able to resume play.

In context though, some interpreted Kleiman’s response as indicating that too much is up in the air right now to go by anything beyond a day-to-day basis.

Durant ruptured his right Achilles on Jun. 10 in an NBA Finals game as a member of the Golden State Warriors before signing with the Brooklyn Nets in July. He still appears to be affecting team business off the court, but we may not see him actually playing again for a while longer, the opportunity to even play notwithstanding.