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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Basketball

Josh Hart had wine fridge delivered to Orlando hotel room

Josh Hart

Josh Hart is doing his best to live the good life while in the Orlando bubble.

The New Orleans Pelicans guard told reporters on Sunday that he had a wine fridge delivered to his hotel room, per Will Guillory of The Athletic. Hart added that the fridge can hold around 15 bottles.

The 25-year-old Hart is staying at the Yacht Club Resort in the Disney World complex with the rest of the Pelicans, who will resume play 3.5 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the No. 8 seed in the West. We have already seen other NBA players make creative upgrades to their respective rooms as well.

It seems the Pelicans specifically are making the most of their time in bubble. One of Hart’s teammates engaged in some similar exploits this weekend too.

FC Barcelona executive denies reports of Pau Gasol talks

Pau Gasol’s FC Barcelona homecoming may not be happening after all.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, Joan Blade, an executive board member of the Spanish basketball club, denied recent reports that the six-time NBA All-Star is in talks to return to the team.

“There has been and will be no negotiation for Pau Gasol,” said Blade, according to a rough translation.

The 40-year-old Gasol was said this week to be in advanced negotiations to return to FC Barcelona, the team with which he first began his professional basketball career in 1998. Blade’s comments indicate however that Gasol is not even a consideration for the club right now.

Gasol’s playing career is winding down, and while he could still play for Spain in the 2021 Olympics, perhaps another homecoming is more likely now.

Russell Westbrook offended by low Bleacher Report ranking

Russell Westbrook

Russell Westbrook has averaged a triple-double in three of the last four NBA seasons, but that was clearly not enough for the good folks at Bleacher Report.

The sports site released a piece on Saturday ranking the top 100 players in the league from the 2019-20 NBA season. In it, Westbrook, the Houston Rockets guard, was ranked No. 22. Some point guards that ranked ahead of Westbrook were Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, and Chris Paul. Khris Middleton and Jayson Tatum also controversially came in at No. 10 and No. 11, respectively.

In an Instagram comment, Westbrook appeared offended by his low ranking and responded by laughing hysterically. Take a look:

Westbrook’s assist and rebound stats have been down slightly during his first season with the Rockets. But he has developed a more efficient style (posting a career-high 47.4 percent shooting) while still ranking seventh in the league with 27.5 points per game. Westbrook is also shooting fewer threes and is helping cultivate winning basketball next to James Harden.

Many around the NBA think that the former MVP Westbrook is disrespected, and this low ranking will certainly provide further fuel for that narrative.

Mike D’Antoni makes flight to Orlando with Rockets

Mike D'Antoni

Mike D’Antoni is traveling to be part of the NBA bubble in Orlando.

There were questions about whether D’Antoni would be cleared for the bubble due to his age (69) putting him in a higher risk category for the coronavirus. But ESPN’s Tim MacMahon says D’Antoni was on the team’s flight and set to continue coaching his Houston Rockets.

D’Antoni is part of a few NBA head coaches in the higher risk age group, along with Gregg Popovich (71) and Alvin Gentry (65). Gentry was cleared to join his Pelicans in the bubble. Assistant coaches Jeff Bzdelik (67) and Lionel Hollins (66) opted out of coaching in the bubble.

D’Antoni’s Rockets are tied with the Oklahoma City Thunder for fifth in the East at 40-24.

Video: Meyers Leonard tries to outdo JJ Redick in shotgun beer challenge

Meyers Leonard

Shotgunning beers may be the new trend inside the NBA bubble.

On Sunday, JJ Redick posted a video on social media of himself shotgunning a beer. Redick initiated the challenge on Saturday, saying he would shotgun the beer if he got 10,000 retweets. Redick hit the mark and then did the beer chug.

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard decided to get in on the act too. He posted a video of himself shotgunning a beer from inside his hotel room in Disney World.

Leonard slammed that beer in no time. He still expressed some disappointment with himself over his procedure.

His results were excellent no matter what he says.

Leonard has done this before, also with a Coors Light.

Leonard appears to have a promotional relationship with Coors Light and has tweeted an ad for them in the past.

Leonard is in his first season with Miami after being acquired from Portland in the Jimmy Butler deal last year. He is averaging 6.1 points and 5.1 rebounds per game this season for the Heat. Miami is fourth in the East with a 41-24 record entering the resumed season.

JR Smith says he was told to stop exposing bubble hotel complaints on Instagram

JR Smith

JR Smith says he was told to stop airing complaints about the hotel situation at the NBA bubble in Orlando.

Smith, who signed with the Los Angeles Lakers for the NBA’s resumed season in Orlando, arrived at his Disney World hotel on Thursday. He began an Instagram Live streaming session where he took his followers on a tour of his room.

The 34-year-old guard complained about not having a blanket in his hotel room, and later complained that the blanket was too small. He complained about the snacks in the room, which included candy bars and chips, saying that wasn’t the type of food to give high-level athletes.

Of the entire bubble situation, he said “this s— a— but it’s hoop, though.”

Then he said “they mad at me … exposing too much” just before ending his stream.

Teams will be staying at one of three Disney World hotels for the duration of their time competing in the NBA’s resumed season. The Lakers are staying at the Gran Destino Tower, which is a new resort, but not up to the standards of Smith or another Lakers player.

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.

Zion Williamson spent quarantine relearning fundamentals

Zion Williamson

Zion Williamson apparently spent the quarantine period taking a page out of the book of another former No. 1 overall pick in Tim Duncan.

The New Orleans Pelicans rookie told reporters this week that he relearned his fundamentals during the time off, adding that he was working with his stepfather, Lee Anderson, when he wasn’t rehabbing with team staffers.

“It just felt like I was 5 years old again,” he said, per ESPN’s Andrew Lopez. “Just went back to square one, tried to get my body where it needs to be, get my fundamentals back to square one and start from there. So yeah, it was just like starting over at 5 again. It was a great process to learn it all over.”

Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry also sounded pleased about Williamson’s work.

“His stepfather did a fantastic job of working him out every day, of making him be in good conditioning when we got him back,” said Gentry. “He’s made a lot of strides in his shooting, I think. Although we weren’t together, he did a lot to improve his game.”

Williamson, who just turned 20, ascended to stardom primarily because of his elite physical profile and athleticism. He averaged 23.6 points and 6.8 rebounds per game in 19 appearances before the season was suspended.

The ex-Duke star will be a featured attraction when play resumes in Orlando, and others on the team also sound very excited to see what he has to offer.