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How to watch Bulls' Zach LaVine in players-only NBA 2K20 tournament

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USA Today

How to watch Bulls' Zach LaVine in players-only NBA 2K20 tournament

Friday night, 2K, the NBA and ESPN are teaming up to broadcast a players-only 2K20 tournament. And in case you missed it, Zach LaVine is set to participate

Here's a refresher on the bracket, courtesy of the NBA. LaVine enters play a No. 7 seed and will face the No. 10 seeded Deandre Ayton of the Phoenix Suns in the first round:

The LaVine-Ayton bout is scheduled to tip at 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2, with the winner facing the victor of Trae Young vs. Harrison Barnes (8:30 p.m. CT) in the second round. Let's break it all down.

The Rules

This is not a 1-on-1 tournament, despite the seeding structure being based on individual overall rating.

Before the tournament begins, each player must compile a pool of eight current NBA teams for them to choose from — each of which can only be used once. That introduces an interesting conundrum: Players won't be afforded the opportunity to exclusively play as themselves or the team that employs them. In fact, it's likely that on at least a handful occasions, players will be playing against  themselves and real-life teammates.

So far, only Kevin Durant and Derrick Jones Jr.'s team pools are publicly known. Durant will choose between the Brooklyn Nets, Chicago Bulls, Dallas Mavericks, Golden State Warriors (spicy), Houston Rockets (spicier), LA Clippers, Oklahoma City Thunder (would this count as bringing a ring to OKC?) and Utah Jazz. Jones will decide between the Boston Celtics, Brooklyn Nets, Dallas Mavericks, LA Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Milwaukee Bucks and Philadelphia 76ers.

Durant vs. Jones is the first matchup scheduled, set to tip at 6:30 p.m. CT after a 30-minute preshow beginning at 6 p.m. All matchups will be conducted online on the Xbox One. 

The tournament will be decided over the next week, with the finals slated for April 11. The winner will receive $100,000 to donate to the charity of their choice. 

LaVine's Chances

Without knowing the teams each player will use, it's hard to pin down LaVine's hopes against Ayton with too much certainty.

What we do know is LaVine has been slowly dipping his toe into the gaming waters for some time now. In March, he participated in an online Call of Duty Modern Warfare tournament hosted by SLAM to exciting results:

Content warning: Explicit language


LaVine also recently told Sam Smith of Bulls.com that he's making his own Twitch account to try and expand his following in the space. As for his 2K skills, specifically, we'll have to wait and see. For what it's worth, Coby White seems skeptical:


What we know about Ayton... He doesn't like to lose. Let's see if LaVine can incite this type of rage Friday:

Further, Young, Devin Booker and myriad others enter this tournament notorious gamers. It should make for an entertaining showcase.

How to Watch

All times via ESPN:

Preshow: 6 p.m. CT on ESPN

Friday night's matchups: 

(1) Kevin Durant vs. (16) Derrick Jones Jr — 6:30 p.m. CT on ESPN

(7) Zach LaVine vs. (10) Deandre Ayton — 7:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2

(2) Trae Young vs. (15) Harrison Barnes — 8:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2

(3) Hassan Whiteside vs. (14) Patrick Beverly — 9:30 p.m. CT on ESPN2

Re-airs: ESPN3, in video form

Additionally, each matchup will stream on the ESPN app, NBA.com, the NBA App, and the NBA and 2K's Twitter, Twitch, YouTube and Facebook feeds.

Future Schedule

Remainder of the first round: Sunday, April 5 — 11 - 3 p.m. CT

Quarterfinals: Tuesday, April 7 — 6 - 10 p.m. CT

Semifinals and finals: Saturday April 11 — TBD

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Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr, Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin offer solutions to US racial inequity

Steve Kerr joined Gregg Popovich, Anquan Boldin, Demario Davis and Andrew McCutchen to co-author an op-ed offering concrete solutions to address some of the problems raised by protesters across the country.

To achieve a more equitable justice system for people of color, the op-ed says police need to be held accountable for their actions.

“When these killings occur, we tweet, we write letters, we make videos demanding accountability,” Kerr et al. said. “We protest and we vow to change hearts and minds so that our young men can run through the streets without fear.

“And soon after, we see another officer kill a black person, usually a man, and usually without consequence. Where, we wonder, is the ‘accountability’ allegedly so important when it comes to arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating young people of color?”

The problem, Kerr et al. say, is that police supervisors simply don’t have the power to take away a bad officer’s badge.

“Among the greatest obstacles to cleaning up our police departments are police union contracts, which hamstring officials’ ability to fire officers who engage in bad and even deadly behavior,” Kerr et al. said. “Those contracts, nearly always negotiated behind closed doors, have clauses that determine how misbehavior may be disciplined. Many contracts prevent departments from investigating reports made by anonymous civilians. They allow officers accused of serious misconduct to review the complaint and the evidence before making statements to investigators, ensuring that they can craft their story to best explain whatever the evidence will show...

“In the rare case that a department pursues disciplinary action, many contracts require arbitration, which almost always results in reduced sanctions. In a survey of data compiled from 37 police departments in 2017, The Washington Post found that of 1,881 officers fired since 2006, 451 appealed and received their jobs back — nearly 25%.”

RELATED: Mitchell Trubisky breaks social media silence to support George Floyd protests

The op-ed says these contracts are renegotiated every few years, so if you’d like them to change it’s not hopeless.

“In Philadelphia, for example, the mayor renegotiates the police union contract next year. In Minneapolis, it is renegotiated every three years and is in negotiations now. We must demand that our elected officials remove terms explicitly designed to protect officers from investigation and discipline if we are going to have accountability and safety.”

The second suggestion the op-ed makes is doing away with “qualified immunity” for cops, which protects them “from legal liability for even the most outrageous conduct,” unless a legal precedent has been set with “basically identical facts.”

They elaborate by saying “qualified immunity” can be used to protect cops from wide-ranging accusations.

“One court, for example, found an officer had qualified immunity after he let his dog maul a homeless man,” Kerr et al. said. “In another case, officers who tried to steal $225,000 while on the job received immunity.”

Again, the heart of the matter for Kerr, Popovich, Boldin, Davis and McCutchen is accountability.

“Citizens face consequences for breaking the law and harming others; our government should make sure officers are no different.”

RELATED: Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts calls black leaders 'you people,' apologizes

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Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Bulls easily on your device.

NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

NBCA, Adam Silver speak out following George Floyd’s death and recent protests

The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA hereafter) and commissioner Adam Silver recently joined the chorus of voices speaking out in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death.

A statement from the NBCA, signed by 33 coaches and almost 180 assistant coaches, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports:

 

The statement pinpoints “police brutality, racial profiling and the weaponization of racism” as “shameful, inhuman and intolerable.”

And their call for “positive change” will reportedly be followed by some action. The NBCA has also formed a “committee on racial injustice and reform to pursue solutions within NBA cities”  Wojnarowski reports, which will be comprised of at least Gregg Popovich, Steve Kerr, Lloyd Pierce, David Fizdale, Stan Van Gundy, Doc Rivers, JB Bickerstaff and Quin Snyder.

Already, many in the NBA community have acted to protest systemic racism and police brutality in the wake of Floyd’s death. Stephen Jackson, Karl-Anthony Towns and Josh Okogie demonstrated with many in Minneapolis. Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours from Boston to lead a peaceful march in Atlanta that also featured Malcolm Brogdon. Lonnie Walker aided in clean-up efforts after a night of protests in San Antonio. The list goes on from there.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver wrote in an internal memo to NBA employees obtained by ESPN that he was “heartened” by those “speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change.” Silver also called for introspection and promised the NBA will “continue its efforts to promote inclusion and bridge divides through collective action, civic engagement, candid dialogue and support for organizations working towards justice and equality.” He expressed condolences to the Floyd family, outrage over the wrongful deaths of Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery and an obligation to not ignore the issues of “racism, police brutality and racial injustice.”

As of this writing, 26 of 30 NBA teams have issued statements on Floyd’s passing, either as entities or through organization spokespeople, ranging from executives to coaches. Hopefully, the words of many lead to action — and that action to appreciable change.

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