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Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Basketball

Spencer Dinwiddie tests positive for coronavirus, unsure about playing

Spencer Dinwiddie

The Brooklyn Nets may be losing yet another player ahead of the scheduled resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season.

On Monday, Spencer Dinwiddie told Shams Charania of The Athletic that he has tested positive for the coronavirus. The Nets guard said he has been experiencing symptoms that include fever and chest tightness, and he is unsure if he will be able to play in Orlando.

“Over the past few months, I have been diligent about protecting myself and others from COVID-19 by following all designated protocol and quarantining,” Dinwiddie told Charania. “I was ready and prepared to rejoin my teammates as we were to be an early entry team in the resumed season. 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 practices within the first week.

“Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter into the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive. 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 said he will now remain in self-quarantine for 14 days before being reevaluated. He has a month to get cleared before the resumption of the season on July 30, but that will likely depend upon his symptoms and whether or not he has enough time to prepare to play in games.

Dinwiddie has improved dramatically over his past few seasons in Brooklyn. The 27-year-old is averaging 20.6 points, 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds per game, all of which are career highs.

The Nets are already without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, and another one of their players opted out of the resumed season over the weekend. Brooklyn is currently the No. 7 seed in the Eastern Conference and should be able to reach the postseason, but they are extremely shorthanded. Losing Dinwiddie would be another major blow.

Report: Lakers to sign JR Smith for rest of season

JR Smith

JR Smith has been mentioned as the most likely replacement for the Los Angeles Lakers after Avery Bradley opted out of the resumed season, and the two sides are expected to come to an agreement this week.

Smith is expected finalize a rest-of-season contract with the Lakers prior to Tuesday night’s deadline for transactions, Marc Stein of the New York Times reports.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirmed the report, adding that the a contract is expected to get done on Monday.

Smith was teammates with LeBron James for four seasons in Cleveland, and the two are longtime friends. The Lakers have shown interest in Smith at various points this season and worked him out earlier this month, so he immediately made sense as someone who can help fill the void left by Bradley’s departure. Smith was also spotted hanging out with LeBron and Anthony Davis at one point last month.

Smith, 24, has not played in the NBA this season. He appeared in only 11 games for the Cavaliers last year before reaching a buyout agreement with them. Smith averaged 6.7 points per game last season and is a career 37.3 percent 3-point shooter.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Former Bucks center Larry Sanders eyeing NBA comeback

Larry Sanders Bucks

Larry Sanders was something of a one-hit wonder in the NBA, but that chapter of his life may not be fully complete just yet.

In an interview this weekend with TMZ Sports, the former Milwaukee Bucks center, now 31 years old, said that he was eyeing a return to the NBA.

“I think with things shifting a bit, me still young, I feel like I’m still in the prime stage, I can definitely contribute,” said Sanders. “I would just love to contribute to a team and help them win and give my knowledge, give my defensive presence and just be able to play basketball.”

“And then cope with life the way I cope with life,” he added. “That’s ideal for me. That sounds like heaven to me … I want to play defense and I want to run the floor, that’s what I do. I feel like I have a lot of wisdom. I have a lot of knowledge. I have a lot to bring to a team, and I think if there’s a situation out there where they want Larry Sanders, I think that it will definitely happen.”

Sanders, the former first-round pick, played for the Bucks from 2010 to 2015 and looked very much like an up-and-coming stalwart big man, particularly as a shot-blocker and inside presence. His play tailed off however after he got a four-year, $44 million extension from Milwaukee in 2013. The Bucks finally bought Sanders out less than two years later following multiple suspensions for marijuana use and questions over his continued desire to play basketball. He was also very open about the time about his struggles with mental health.

Sanders did briefly sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers very late in the 2016-17 season, but the experiment failed for multiple reasons. He played in the BIG3 last year though and looked fairly decent, so Sanders is clearly looking to parlay that strong showing into another chance in the NBA.

Wilson Chandler to sit out resumed NBA season, indicates coronavirus is reason

Brooklyn Nets

Brooklyn Nets forward Wilson Chandler has informed the team he will not be taking part in the resumption of the season in Orlando, and it sounds like he is the first player in the NBA to back out due to coronavirus concerns.

Chandler told ESPN’s Malika Andrews on Sunday that he has made the difficult decision to not join his teammates in Orlando. The 33-year-old cited “the health and well being of my family” as the reason.

Chandler appeared in 35 games and made three starts for Brooklyn this season. He averaged 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. The Nets are currently in seventh place in the Eastern Conference and have a strong chance of making the playoffs, but they are extremely shorthanded with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant both out. The loss of Chandler will hurt their depth even further.

Several NBA players have now opted out of the resumed season in Orlando for a variety of reasons. The NBA announced this week that 16 of 302 players who were tested for COVID-19 tested positive.

Hawks owner Tony Ressler honors Vince Carter with full-page ad

Vince Carter will never be best remembered for his tenure with the Atlanta Hawks, but the franchise went out of its way to pay tribute to him after he announced his retirement.

Carter was honored by Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler with a full-page ad in Sunday’s edition of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Carter spent the last two years of his iconic career with the Hawks. While he wasn’t a huge contributor to the stat sheet, averaging just five points per game off the bench this season, he clearly helped the team’s young players immensely. Just ask Trae Young what the experience of sharing a locker room with Carter meant to him.

This is a neat gesture by Ressler and the Hawks. It’s not every day you get to say farewell to a future Hall of Famer, even if they didn’t make their name with your franchise.

Report: Andre Drummond, Cavs have mutual interest in extension

Andre Drummond

Andre Drummond was openly unhappy after the Detroit Pistons traded him to the Cleveland Cavaliers back in February, but that seemingly had more to do with the way his former team handled the situation than anything else. Now that Drummond has spent a few months as a member of the Cavs, he may be enjoying himself enough to stick around for the long haul.

Drummond announced earlier this week that he will exercise his $28.75 million option for the 2020-21 season, which was expected given all the uncertainty surrounding sports at the moment. However, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com reports that Drummond and the Cavs have both shown interest in working out a long-term contract extension.

One potential complication could arise if the Cavaliers find themselves in position to draft former Memphis star center James Wiseman. As Fedor notes, Cleveland may prefer having more flexibility for the future rather than give Drummond a max contract extension if they’re drafting his eventual replacement. Drummond and Wiseman also share the same agent, which could potentially make the situation even more complicated.

Drummond is still just 26, and the Cavs haven’t seen a whole lot of him. He appeared in eight games for Cleveland before the season was suspended, averaging 17.5 points and 11.1 rebounds per game. Drummond will be able to sign an extension with the Cavs in October, but it may make more sense for them to see how things play out next season.

While the Cavs have just 19 wins this season and won 19 games all of last year, Drummond seemed more bothered by the way the Pistons handled the trade than he was about being sent to a struggling franchise. Depending upon how the market shakes out with all the financial uncertainty surrounding sports leagues, Drummond may find that he wants to remain in Cleveland more than the Cavs want him to stick around.

Dwyane Wade trolls Jayson Tatum over new haircut

Jayson Tatum

Jayson Tatum has been complimented for years now as having arguably the best hairline in the NBA, but the Boston Celtics star is rocking a new look in advance of the resumption of the season. Let’s just say the feedback has not been overwhelmingly positive.

Tatum let his hair grow out after the NBA season was postponed, and the 22-year-old is now rocking some serious curls. Dwyane Wade was among the many who commented on Tatum’s hairstyle.

It didn’t stop there, but at least Tatum has a sense of humor about it. The former Duke star tweeted on Saturday about how people are trolling him. You can see some of the most popular responses below:

Tatum’s hairline has been a topic of discussion on multiple occasions — usually when his peers are talking about how much they envy it. It doesn’t seem like his new look is going to draw the same praise. At least it’s nowhere near as bad as Shaq’s hairline was after he lost a bet to D-Wade.