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Report: NBA has growing concern over COVID-19 spike in Florida

Report: NBA has growing concern over COVID-19 spike in Florida

As positive COVID-19 cases in the state of Florida continue to spike, ESPN has reported that there is concern among NBA personnel about the season resuming in Orlando.

Florida, which saw a single-day record of over 4,000 coronavirus cases on Saturday, will be the host state when the league returns to action in July. Though the 22 teams will live in a bubble in Orlando, there is a rising level of worry throughout the league as the situation in Florida continues to worsen, according to ESPN's Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe.

ESPN reported that in a recent call that featured commissioner Adam Silver, he stated that the league will continue to move forward with their plans, but the seriousness of the recent COVID-19 spike is not something that can be ignored. Additionally, ESPN stated that a virtual town hall this week led to some players expressing concern about the fact that employees at the Disney World resort will be in and out of the bubble.

With teams set to report to Orlando in early July (7-9), besides the Toronto Raptors who will report during Phase 1 of the plan in June, the NBA has already released a detailed agenda of what the bubble situation will entail. Not only will teams be limited to the area of the resort and arenas, but constant testing will be done to ensure that any potential COVID-19 cases do not derail the season. Additionally, as players report to their individual team sites the last week of June, testing will be done there.

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As for non-team personnel, the league has made sure to make interactions between players and the Orlando staff as safe as possible. Masks and social distancing will be required, and workers will not rotate between the three hotels. However, there is still some worry due to the fact that workers will head back-and-forth between the bubble and their homes in other areas, where surges have been more intense than Orlando.

"Everything that we know about Disney -- and we've read over the years -- is that you don't realize how many thousands of people work there, right? That's the magic behind it all -- the amount of staff and the amount of services that they provide. And they're in and out of the bubble," an athletic trainer told ESPN. 

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NBPA executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN that with the way Florida handled the reopening of the state, the current problems have not come as much of a surprise. The league has worked tirelessly to put measures in place to limit the travel of players, and if need be, will do the same for workers.

"While we take some solace in knowing our players will not travel commercially to get to Orlando, that access to the campus is severely limited and, of course, all of the other health and safety protocols in place, the numbers will keep our attention," Roberts said. "If necessary to add further restrictions respecting those third parties having access to the campus, we will seek to implement them."

Despite the current surge that has impacted numerous other leagues as well, the league is still moving forward with the return to play plan. There is concern, but also confidence that basketball will be able to be played in the coming months. Like everyone else, they will continue to monitor the situation on a day-to-day basis.

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NBA draft lottery 2020 to be held virtually amid coronavirus pandemic

NBA draft lottery 2020 to be held virtually amid coronavirus pandemic

The NBA offseason arrives later this week and will speed up soon not long after with the Aug. 20 draft lottery, which will be held virtually this year.

The news it is being held virtually, which was first reported by the Athletic, was a fairly obvious expectation. All 14 teams participating will do so remotely via a video feed. That's the way many events are being held amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Wizards have the ninth-best odds in this year's lottery. That gives them a 4.5 percent chance at the No. 1 overall pick and a 20.2 chance to select in the top four.

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The top eight teams in the lottery are the Warriors, Cavs, Timberwolves, Hawks, Pistons, Knicks, Bulls and Hornets. The Warriors, Cavs and Timberwolves are tied for the best odds to get the No. 1 pick.

There is no consensus top player in this draft. Mock drafts have rotated through a few players at the top. The big names include James Wiseman, Anthony Edwards and LaMelo Ball.

The Wizards will need some luck to move up and have a chance to get one of them.

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Michael Jordan competes in White Marlin Open in Ocean City for second consecutive year

Michael Jordan competes in White Marlin Open in Ocean City for second consecutive year

Michael Jordan has proven time and time again that no opponent is too challenging for him.

Even in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and Hurricane Isaias, Jordan’s love for competition prevailed as he was spotted in Ocean City, Md. this past weekend competing in the White Marlin Open, a deep-sea fishing competition, for the second consecutive year. 

If basketball, football, baseball and golf weren’t enough, the six-time NBA champion has now become a regular competitor in the world’s largest billfish tournament. After he entered the competition in 2019, he was the weekend’s star even without the winning catch.

In the weeks leading up to the 2020 competition, rumors began to circulate about whether the sports icon would appear on the eastern shore again. When his plane was spotted at Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport last week and his boat Catch 23 was registered, excitement began to grow from fans and fellow anglers.

In the competition’s 47th year, Jordan’s boat was spotted as one of 433 to enter the competition. His is an 80-foot Viking, which displays the print matching his Air Jordan 3 sneakers that he wore during the 1998 NBA All-Star game.

The tournament features competitions in fishing for tuna, dolphins, blue marlins, wahoos, sharks and white marlins. Due to the effects of the hurricane, the competition spanned from Aug. 3-9, an extension from its normal five days. This year, the White Marlin Open set a record for the most money ever awarded with a collective $6.8 million distributed to the winners.

The top $1.85 million prize went to Brandon Golueke from Ocean City for a 97-pound white marlin. The fish was the third largest white marlin in competition history.

While Jordan and his Catch 23 crew were unable to bring home the top prize again this year, he has proven he has a promising future in angling. Back in June, his boat brought in a 442.3-pound marlin on the second day of the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament in Morehead City, N.C., which earned fifth place that day and ninth place in the tournament overall. 

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