NEW YORK (AP) -- Acknowledging that no option would have been risk-free during a pandemic, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Friday that the concern shared by the league and its players surrounding next month's restart of the season is rising as coronavirus cases in Florida keep climbing.
That said, the league and the National Basketball Players Association is moving forward - finalizing the deal that will bring the NBA game back and see teams start arriving at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida in less than two weeks.
Many of the details of the agreement were already known, such as how ''stringent health and safety protocols'' would be in place for the 22 teams that will be participating, that no fans will be present and that games will be held in three different arenas at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex.
NEW YORK (AP) - Zion Williamson is about to get another chance at opening night.
Injury kept him out of New Orleans' appearance in the first game of this NBA season when the Pelicans started the year at Toronto, but now the big-name rookie will be in position to be on center stage at Disney when play resumes - against the team that was the first to find itself in the middle of the NBA's coronavirus situation.
New Orleans will be in the first game of the resumed NBA season on July 30, taking on Utah at the Disney World complex near Orlando, Florida in the opener of a doubleheader. And just as the initial first night of this season-like-none-other did, the second game of nationally televised twinbill will pit the Los Angeles Lakers against the Los Angeles Clippers.
The Jazz were a logical story line for the first game back, after Utah's All-Star center Rudy Gobert was the first player in the league to test positive for the coronavirus - a development that forced the league to suspend the season on March 11. More than four and a half months will have passed between game nights in the NBA, but the league officially completed talks Friday with the National Basketball Players Association on the terms for restarting the season and therefore could release the 88-game slate of what are being called seeding games.
NEW YORK (AP) - Chaos reigned at the NHL draft lottery, with the No. 1 pick still up for grabs in a second lottery drawing among the eight teams that lose in the qualifying round of the playoffs - if play resumes.
As part of the NHL's 24-team playoff format if it resumes, 16 teams will play each other in best-of-five series to move on - and the losers of those matchups now have a major consolation prize looming: equal 12.5% odds of landing Alexis Lafreniere.
The league's bottom seven teams that had their seasons ended when play was paused March 12 will be off for nine months or more if the start of 2020-21 is delayed until December or January.
The league-worst Detroit Red Wings dropped to fourth, the Los Angeles Kings got the second pick and the Senators ended up with Nos. 3 and 5 because of the 2018 Erik Karlsson trade with San Jose. The drama was down to the Kings or a still-to-be-determined team, and deputy commissioner Bill Daly unveiled a card with the NHL logo on it at No. 1.
He is among 11 major leaguers whose prorated pay for the abbreviated 60-game season amounts to less than the $286,500 advance already received by the 32-year-old left-hander.
After opening day was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Major League Baseball and the players' association agreed March 26 to a deal that called for teams to advance $170 million in salaries over the first 60 days of the season.
Others who won't get paychecks because of lower prorated salaries are Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Jimmy Nelson and New York Yankees reliever Jonathan Holder ($277,778 each), Pittsburgh infielder Erik Gonzalez and Minnesota pitcher Matt Wisler ($268,519 apiece), Philadelphia catcher Andrew Knapp ($262,943), Chicago Cubs pitcher Jharel Cotton ($237,037), pitchers Collin McHugh of Boston, Ross Stripling of the Dodgers and Jesse Hahn of Kansas City ($222,222 each) and Milwaukee pitcher Freddy Peralta ($575,200).
MIAMI (AP) - Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross pledged an additional $13 million over four years to his anti-racism RISE initiative, the organization said Friday.
The Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality was established five years ago to promote unity and combat systemic racism. RISE says it has helped 12,000 students, athletes, coaches and staff at all levels to help champion social justice and improve race relations.
Ross has now committed $30 million to RISE.
RISE says that over the next four years it will continue to work with such organizations as NASCAR, PGA of America, the United States Tennis Association, USA Track and Field. the National Lacrosse League and the Professional Women's Hockey Players Association.
CROMWELL, Conn. (AP) - Phil Mickelson shot a 7-under 63 to take a one-shot lead into the weekend at the Travelers Championship.
The two-time major champion - ad two-time winner of this tournament - was at 13-under 127 while playing for the first time since turning 50 this month.
Two more players withdrew because of the coronavirus Friday - Denny McCarthy for a positive test, and Bud Cauley, who tested negative, but decided to pull out after playing alongside McCarthy on Thursday. There have been seven COVID-19-related withdrawals.
First-round leader Mackenzie Hughes followed an opening 60 with a 68 to drop into a second-place tie with 23-year-old Will Gordon, who led most of the day after shooting an early 62.
NEW YORK (AP) - The Los Angeles Sparks will be without Chiney Ogwumike and Kristi Toliver for the WNBA season so they can focus on their health.
Ogwumike, the No. 1 pick by the Connecticut Sun in 2014 has missed two seasons to deal with injuries and with the shortened schedule felt that it would be smart to take care of her health. She missed the 2015 with a knee injury and 2017 because of an Achilles tendon injury. Both were suffered while she played overseas.
Toliver, who signed with the team in the offseason as a free agent, was a member of the 2016 Sparks squad that won a WNBA title. She also helped Washington win the championship last season, She said she will use the time to get mentally and physically healthy for the 2021 season and ''find new ways to make a positive impact in my community,''
The WNBA is set to begin a shortened 22-game season next month in Florida at the IMG Academy after postponing the original start date of May 15 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Players will be housed at IMG and team practices will be held there while games will be held on two courts at Feld Entertainment Center, - a short 20-minute bus ride away.
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