Damian Lillard

In The Loop: Hollywood Brown's uphill workouts, NBA 2K announces cover athlete

In The Loop: Hollywood Brown's uphill workouts, NBA 2K announces cover athlete

First up in our look around the sports world, Baltimore Ravens receiver Hollywood Brown is at it again with his insane workouts. He’s doing full out sprints up hill, making his way up on one leg, I mean c'mon this should make your legs burn just watching!

Next up, say hello to your NBA 2K21 cover athlete Trail Blazers' Damian Lillard. NBA 2K announced the news earlier today and if your wondering how Lillard is celebrating? Working out obviously, the grind never stops.

Lastly, prepare yourself for a cuteness overload. When he’s not scoring goals, Colorado Avalanche forward Gabriel Landeskog's other favorite hobby is playing the trombone using his little girl. I must say, this is very innovative!

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Report: 'Several dozen' NBA players have reservations about playing, could have opt-out

Report: 'Several dozen' NBA players have reservations about playing, could have opt-out

The NBA seemingly has all its ducks in a row to restart the 2019-20 season at Disney World in Orlando, FL next month, but a new report could throw a wrench into those plans when it comes to player and personnel safety.

The league is heading to a central location in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but some players are skeptical that idea and the other provisions planned will be enough. Many players have families to consider in all of this, in addition to their own health and livelihoods. And some are wary of returning to work amid the nationwide unrest over social injustice.

According to ESPN, "several dozen" players have reservations about going and recently held a call to talk about it. The conversation is likely to lead to an opt-out clause for players who don't want to go. They would forfeit a prorated portion of their salaries, but otherwise would not be further penalized.

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This may not seem like major news in the NBA's plan to return, but it could certainly become a front-page story depending on which players plan to object. The idea of opting out has been a central topic in Major League Baseball's effort to resume play with some big names in the sport voicing their concerns.

Cy Young-winner Blake Snell of the Rays, for instance, said he wouldn't take the risk of getting COVID-19 on a lower salary. Ryan Zimmerman and Sean Doolittle of the Nationals are worried about how their families could be affected. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw criticized an early plan that would have put teams in a central quarantine location.

Damian Lillard of the Blazers is the most prominent player to suggest he wouldn't want to play under the new format, though that was before the Blazers were included with a path to the playoffs. But all it would take is a few big stars to speak up and the NBA could have a real problem on their hands.

Allowing players to opt-out is really the only way to make it work. But that idea could sound very different in practice, depending on the players who choose that path.

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Report: NBA considering play-in possibilities for fringe playoff teams, progressing on plan to allow families

Report: NBA considering play-in possibilities for fringe playoff teams, progressing on plan to allow families

An outline of what the NBA and the NBPA have been discussing in relation to crowning a 2019-20 champion was released in a report by ESPN's Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday.

The report was quite expansive and extremely detailed, but there were two main takeaways: Some players want family with them when play resumes, and a plan to return 20-24 teams with play-in possibilities is being considered. Below is a breakdown of what's being discussed.

Disney: A place for family

Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., has emerged as the leading site for an NBA return. The proposed plan is to construct a "bubble environment" for which teams are able to safely complete practices and games, all while coming in minimal contact with the outside world. 

A number of players have expressed their desire to have family members accompany them in the bubble during this time, according to Shelburne and Wojnarowski's report, "especially those on contending teams who anticipate lengthy stays in the playoffs."

The NBA and NBPA are progressing on a plan that would allow a limited number of family members.

"Family members would be subjected to the same safety and coronavirus testing protocols as everyone else living in the NBA's biosphere," the report states.

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Playoffs Plus

While the idea of bringing back all 30 NBA teams to resume the season is still on the table, it's unlikely the NBA decides lands on that decision. The league is mulling over a "playoffs plus" option that would include 20-24 teams, with more teams from the Western Conference than the Eastern Conference. This option automatically includes teams occupying the Nos. 1 through 8 seeds in their respective conferences, as could include play-in possibilities for fringe teams vying for the postseason like New Orleans, Portland, San Antonio and Sacramento.

This might be the most interesting segment of news, as it's been a mystery which teams would be included in a potential restart. The level of competition in the Western Conference compared to the Eastern Conference has the NBA/NBPA seriously considering bringing back more teams from one conference than the other. Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard recently spoke with Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes and expressed issues with some of the rumors surrounding the NBA's method of returning to play. 

"If we come back and they're just like, 'We're adding a few games to finish the regular season,' and they're throwing us out there for meaningless games and we don't have a true opportunity to get into the playoffs, I'm not going to be participating," Lillard said.

Lack of equity between conferences seems to be an issue though, as the Wizards are 5.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Orlando Magic, but weren't named in any play-in situations even though they occupy the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference.

Quick Hitters

  • Regardless of travel restrictions administered in various countries, players overseas will be granted clearance to re-enter the United States.
  • It is expected that teams would start to arrive in Orlando in mid-July, but those timetables are still being discussed.
  • The league currently has no expectation that a decision on a finalized plan will come from commissioner Adam Silver's call Friday with the NBA's board of governors.

 

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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