Jontay Porter has yet to make his NBA debut, but it could be forthcoming.
Max Baker of the Columbia Missourian reported this week that the former Missouri star will be joining the Memphis Grizzlies in Orlando for the NBA’s resumption of the season. Baker does note though that it remains to be seen if Porter will be healthy enough to actually play.
The 20-year-old Porter went undrafted in 2019 after a series of devastating injuries, including an ACL and MCL tear in Oct. 2018 followed by a re-tear of the same ACL in March 2019. The brother of Denver Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr, he signed a multi-year deal with the Grizzlies with a team option for 2020-21 just before play was suspended this past March.
Porter is a versatile scoring big whose debut in the NBA will be an intriguing sight. But Memphis is fighting to hold onto the No. 8 seed in the West and will have a fairly difficult schedule in Orlando, so those considerations could factor into the decision on whether or not to ultimately play him.
- Jontay Porter
JR Smith wants you to know that he is not quite the JR Smith you remember.
The veteran swingman took to Instagram on Tuesday to post a message about growth. Smith agreed to a rest-of-season contract with the Los Angeles Lakers earlier this week to replace Avery Bradley on their roster for Orlando.
“Don’t assume you know me by what you heard,” the message read. “I grow daily. Your messenger might have outdated information!” Smith also tagged his location as “L.A. California.”
Smith’s former Cleveland Cavaliers teammate LeBron James, whom he will be reuniting with on the Lakers, commented on Smith’s post, writing, “Facts!!!”
Smith, now 34, has gained a reputation over the years as something of a knucklehead. Many people’s lasting memory of him is how he forgot the score at the end of regulation in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals, helping cost his team the win and eventually the series. The ex-Sixth Man of the Year winner was also in the news again recently for beating up a man who had vandalized his vehicle.
Orlando will mark Smith’s first NBA action since Nov. 2018, as he had been exiled by the Cavs before being officially waived that next summer. He does sound ready though to turn over a new leaf now that he is with the Lakers.
- JR Smith
Marv Albert is a familiar voice for NBA fans when he calls national TV games, but he won’t be broadcasting during the NBA’s restarted season in Orlando.
The New York Post’s Andrew Marchand reported on Tuesday that Albert will not be a part of the NBA’s bubble due to concerns related to the coronavirus. Albert is 79, which puts him in an age group that is considered to be at a higher risk for adverse consequences if they get the virus.
Albert told Marchand he was excited about participating until he saw the cases in Florida rise, which gave him second thoughts.
Marchand says that 86-year-old Hubie Brown, who is part of ESPN’s game broadcasts, will also likely not be a part of the bubble.
Kevin Harlan, Ian Eagle and Brian Anderson are Turner’s other NBA play-by-play voices. Harlan is regarded as the No. 2 announcer behind Albert. National announcers are expected to be on-site to broadcast the games during the restarted season, which begins in July.
- Marv Albert
NBA players will have to make a number of sacrifices when they resume the season in Orlando, one of which is that they will not be permitted to have contact with their wives or significant others for roughly a month after the games tip off. Stephen A. Smith believes that is going to be a major problem.
Smith had an animated rant on ESPN’s “First Take” Tuesday in which he expressed doubt that players will adhere to all the rules in Orlando. Why? Smith is convinced they cannot go that long without sex.
— First Take (@FirstTake) June 30, 2020
“Do we really think the recreational activities, what these guys are accustomed to, are going to be compromised for three months?” Smith said. “You really think people are going to be without their wives or without their woman? You really think they’re honoring a bubble for three months?”
Smith said he believes that is one of the main reasons NBA players would have preferred to resume the season in Las Vegas, as they would have been staying at casino resorts and the security may not have been as tight.
It’s unclear how exactly the NBA plans to police the “rules” of the bubble, but we know professional athletes are accustomed to having their freedom. Living in a campus environment at Walt Disney World will be challenging, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver remains very confident in the league’s plan.
DeAndre Jordan will not be joining his Brooklyn Nets in Orlando.
Jordan announced on Twitter Monday that he has tested positive for COVID-19. He says that positive test occurred upon returning to New York to prepare for the Orlando restart. Jordan says that he will not be going to Orlando for the resumed NBA season.
Found out last night and confirmed again today that I’ve tested positive for Covid while being back in market. As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season.
— DeAndre Jordan (@DeAndre) June 30, 2020
The list of players who will not be joining the Nets in Orlando is growing.
In addition to Jordan, Wilson Chandler said Sunday he would not be going due to the virus. Kevin Durant (Achilles tendon) and Kyrie Irving (shoulder) already were not playing as they recover from injuries. On top of that, Spencer Dinwiddie said Monday that that he tested positive for the virus and was unsure about playing next month.
At 30-34, the Nets enter the resumed season seventh in the East. They will likely turn to center Jarrett Allen for more of a contribution with Jordan out, and they will also sign a player, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
- DeAndre Jordan
LeBron James and Joakim Noah are not exactly BFFs, and now we are getting yet another testament to that much.
In a lengthy and insightful piece on the free agent summer of 2010 that led to LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh signing with the Miami Heat, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst addressed Noah’s attempts to recruit James to the Chicago Bulls. Despite his already “acrimonious” relationship with James, Noah called The King early on during the free agent period. James never returned his call.
The piece also discusses how Chicago’s pursuit of the three stars was hurt by the fact that they only had the cap space to sign two of them and could not find a trade partner to help them clear room for the third. Then-franchise star Derrick Rose’s lack of active involvement in the recruiting process was also cited as a factor in why the team ultimately failed.
The Bulls and the Heat would go on to develop a big rivalry in the early part of the decade, but the bad blood between James and Noah ran way deeper. Noah infamously ragged on the city of Cleveland during James’ first stint there, and the two would regularly get into spats on the court even years later.
Now that James is on the Los Angeles Lakers and Noah has signed a rest-of-the-year deal with the rival LA Clippers, we might actually be treated to another helping of the age-old beef when the NBA resumes in Orlando.
The Portland Trail Blazers appear to have a roster replacement for Trevor Ariza.
Ariza informed the team last week that he would not be joining them in Orlando for the restart due to a family matter. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the team plans to sign Jaylen Adams as a replacement.
The Portland Trail Blazers plan to sign guard Jaylen Adams as a substitute player to replace Trevor Ariza, sources tell ESPN. Adams was the G-League's MVP runner-up with Wisconsin. #Bonnies
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 30, 2020
Adams, 24, played at St. Bonaventure from 2014-2018 and was he co-Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year as a senior. He was signed to a two-way contract by the Atlanta Hawks after going undrafted. He averaged 3.2 points in 12.6 minutes per game over 3 contests in 2018-2019 for Atlanta. He averaged 21.5 points per game with the G League’s Wisconsin Herd this season.