Cuban, Doncic, Powell donate $500K to healthcare workers

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that proprietor Mark Cuban, guard Luka Dončić and center Dwight Powell have teamed up with the Dallas Mavericks Foundation to donate $500,000 to the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and Parkland Hospital. Funds will be allocated to support childcare for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response effort during this unprecedented time.

“We can’t thank our healthcare workers enough for putting their patients’ well-being before their own,” said Cuban. “I am thankful to Luka and Dwight as we partner up to support healthcare workers who are doing everything they can to keep our community healthy.”

“We are deeply grateful to the entire Dallas Mavericks organization, and especially to Mark, Dwight and Luka, for their incredible generosity in providing emergency childcare funding benefitting the frontline healthcare workers of UT Southwestern and Parkland,” said Daniel K. Podolsky, MD, president of UT Southwestern. “This will alleviate a tremendous burden faced by so many nurses, physicians, lab technicians and other care team members working nonstop on our COVID-19 response. Having support for childcare will be one less thing they have to worry about.”

UT Southwestern and Parkland frontline caregiving staff include inpatient intensivists, advanced practice practitioners, physicians, nurses, phlebotomists, sonographers, radiology technicians, transporters, lab technicians and pharmacists. Additionally, support staff includes front desk staff, medical assistants and janitorial staff who are critical to the functioning of an urgent care environment. Allocation of the funds to individual staff will be made as expeditiously as possible.

“Thank you to our amazing healthcare workers,” said Dončić. “They are sacrificing so much to care for others, and I am honored to help.”

“We are extremely grateful for the amazing bravery shown by our health professionals during this difficult time,” said Powell. “We feel it’s our duty to do whatever we can to support their efforts. We continue to practice social distancing and good hygiene, while hoping this fund helps prevent families from further hardship as a result of their sacrifice.”





Philadelphia 76ers: ‘Three individuals have received positive test results for COVID-19’

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that three members of their organization have tested positive for COVID-19. The team did not announce who the three people were that tested positive for the coronavirus.

At this point, seven players have tested positive for the coronavirus, including the Detroit Pistons’ Christian Wood, who played against the 76ers on March 11, which was the day the NBA decided to suspend the season.

Also, on February 20, the 76ers played against the Brooklyn Nets, who had four players test positive for COVID-19, including Kevin Durant.

Here is a statement from the 76ers on the announcement that three members of their organization have tested positive for the coronavirus:

“The Philadelphia 76ers, in consultation with medical experts and the NBA, received the recommendation that certain individuals from the organization, including players, coaches and specific basketball operations support staff, be tested for COVID-19. The tests were secured and processed privately.

“Three individuals have received positive test results for COVID-19. All other tests results are currently negative. We have reported this information to state and local health authorities as required.

“Pursuant to CDC guidelines, the individuals are in self-isolation and will be monitored closely by medical professionals.

“The health of our players, staff, fans and community is paramount, and we continue to be guided by medical experts at this time.

“We extend our gratitude and appreciation to the public health and medical communities for their tireless efforts during these challenging times, as well as to our fans and partners for their support.”


Devin Booker donates $100,000 to COVID-19 relief

Given the unprecedented and constantly-evolving situation surrounding the effects of COVID-19 on our community and beyond, Devin Booker, in partnership with Phoenix Suns Charities, will raise money through livestreaming on Twitch to support non-profits that best serve the needs of the most vulnerable in the community. An avid gamer and NBA All-Star, Booker pledged $100,000 to tip off the giving campaign on Twitch and Phoenix Suns Charities will match that initial donation.

Funds will benefit non-profits like the Arizona Food Bank Network, which is providing hunger-relief for children, families and seniors, the Foundation for Senior Living, which provides affordable housing, meals and caregiver support to seniors, and Banner Health Foundation to support community testing, including potential new approaches such as drive-through clinics. As the enormous impact of COVID-19 continues to evolve, Booker and the Phoenix Suns Charities Board of Directors will continue to coordinate with public health experts, local officials and other community partners to determine where support is needed most.

“With countless people around the globe turning to streaming to get their mind off things, I thought this was the perfect opportunity to bring people together, raise awareness and help those in need at the same time,” said Booker. “These are trying times that transcend basketball and I would like to call on everyone to be good teammates as we deal with this challenge together.”

Additional donations can be made through Devin’s Twitch Channel:

The new social giving campaign is an extension of Booker’s Starting Five initiative and adds to the bench of non-profits he has directly supported. Last year, Booker made an unprecedented $2.5 million dollar commitment to Phoenix Suns Charities by pledging to donate $500,000 annually for five years.  Through the Devin Booker Starting Five initiative, Special Olympics Arizona, Ability 360, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, UMOM New Day Centers and Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center became the first recipients of the Starting Five grants last November and received $100,000 each to better the lives of children and families in Arizona.

The NBA has temporarily suspended its season in response to COVID-19 and Commissioner Adam Silver advised in his recent letter to all NBA fans that this hiatus will last at least 30 days and that the intent is to resume the season, if and when it becomes safe for all concerned.

Mavericks to pay hourly employees during league shut down

In a lovely gesture, the Dallas Mavericks will pay hourly employees who work game nights at American Airlines Arena, which is the home of the team.

According to NBA commissioner Adam Silver, the league will be shut down for at least 30 days because of the coronavirus.

Here is a statement from the Mavericks on their decision to pay hourly employees:

“The Dallas Mavericks issued the following statement today regarding the continued payment of hourly staff who work Mavericks’ game nights at American Airlines Center:

“In light of the postponement of the NBA season, it is of utmost importance to Dallas Mavericks’ management and ownership that we do what we can to minimize the adverse financial impact that will be felt by staff who would otherwise be working our games at American Airlines Center. As such, the organization, along with American Airlines Center leadership, is currently making arrangements to ensure that scheduled event staff will receive payment for the six home games that were to take place during the 30-day NBA hiatus. As part of its mission to provide financial piece of mind, Mavericks jersey sponsor Chime, the leader in U.S. challenger banking, has also allocated funds to support this effort.

“Staff includes security, police, parking attendants, housekeeping, in-arena entertainers, and guest services staff, among others. It is our hope that this will allow our valued team members to satisfy their economic needs during this unprecedented time.

“In addition, the Mavericks and Chime share a commitment to their local communities and are working with our current nonprofit partners to identify support and service opportunities throughout North Texas during this time.”

Philadelphia 76ers statement on suspension of NBA season

After Utah Jazz C Rudy Gobert’s positive test for COVID-19(coronavirus), the NBA announced that they had suspended the season on Wednesday. At this point, there is no timetable on when the season will resume.

In a statement released on Thursday, the Philadelphia 76ers put their support behind the league’s decision to suspend the season:

“The Philadelphia 76ers are supportive of the NBA’s decision to suspend the season. The health and well-being of our fans, players, staff members, partners, and communities are of the utmost importance, and we remain in close communication with the NBA, public health, state and local officials in charting a path forward.

“As we navigate the coming weeks, we recognize that our staff members are family and the heartbeat of the organization. As such, we are committed to assisting our arena associates through this period.

“In this time of need, we need to band together and take care of people,” Managing Partner Josh Harris stated. “Our teams, our cities, and the leagues in which we operate are a family, and we are committed to looking out for one another.”

“The 76ers also extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to the many talented doctors, nurses, medical professionals, and emergency services personnel who are working tirelessly to address this matter of public health.

“We will provide further updates as soon as possible.”

NBA suspends season after player tests positive for coronavirus

On Wednesday, the NBA announced that it was suspending its season due to the coronavirus. According to reports, Utah Jazz C Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19(coronavirus).

Before the decision to suspend the season, the league was reportedly looking at playing games without fans, but Gobert’s reported positive test changes things.

Here is a statement from the NBA:

The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to the tip-off of tonight’s game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. At that time, tonight’s game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena.

The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shayok scores 26 points in Blue Coats’ win

The Delaware Blue Coats (22-21), the NBA G League affiliate of the Philadelphia 76ers, defeated the Maine Red Claws (28-14), 113-92, on Wednesday afternoon at 76ers Fieldhouse. The Blue Coats swiped 15 steals and held the Red Claws to a season-low 92 points, including just 12 points in the second quarter.

76ers two-way contract player Marial Shayok scored 26 points (9-15 fg, 3-6 3fg, 3-3 ft) for the second-consecutive contest, adding seven rebounds and three steals in 24 minutes for the Blue Coats. Delaware’s Jared Brownridge was a game-high plus-38 in tallying 26 points (8-13 fg, 4-9 3fg, 2-2 ft), four assists and a career-high four steals in 23 minutes of action.

Norvel Pelle, on assignment from the 76ers, nearly registered a double-double with 12 points (5-7 fg, 1-2 ft), eight rebounds and three blocked shots in 21 minutes for the Blue Coats. Zhaire Smith, also on assignment from Philadelphia, added 10 points (3-6 fg, 2-3 3fg, 1-1 ft) and a pair of assists in a game-high 37 minutes.

The Blue Coats led 53-44 at halftime and outscored Maine 52-31 in the second and third quarters combined. Delaware, which led by as many as 34 points in the victory, totaled 24 points on the fast break.

Yante Maten paced the Red Claws with a double-double performance of 23 points (9-18 fg, 1-5 3fg, 3-5 ft) and 12 rebounds, adding four steals in 30 minutes of work. Boston Celtics two-way contract player Tacko Fall secured a double-double of his own with 12 points (6-12 fg) and 14 rebounds in 21 minutes off the bench for the Red Claws. Justin Bibbs posted 17 points (8-13 fg, 1-3 3fg) in 33 minutes as a starter for Maine.

The Blue Coats host the Long Island Nets on Saturday at 7 p.m. at 76ers Fieldhouse.

Bickerstaff: ‘I can’t tell you how excited I am for this opportunity to lead the Cavaliers’

The Cleveland Cavaliers and Head Coach J.B. Bickerstaff have agreed on a multi-year contract, the team announced today. Bickerstaff, 41, was named the Cavaliers coach on an interim basis after John Beilein resigned back in February.

“We are very fortunate to have someone of J.B.’s caliber and basketball pedigree lead our franchise as head coach,” said Altman. “His wealth of experience, coupled with the respect he has garnered around the NBA and with this team, has made for a seamless transition from associate head coach to head coach. The amount of grit and determination instilled in our players, from both an accountability and attention to detail standpoint over this short period of time, has been met with admiration, respect and overall excitement throughout our entire locker room. We have already observed the impact he has made on our players through his first 10 games as head coach and we are looking forward to seeing just how far he can effectively drive our developing culture and lead this franchise into the future.”

Bickerstaff, who entered the season as the Cavaliers’ associate head coach, was named the 23rd head coach in franchise history on Feb. 19. Since taking over the helm, the Cavs have a 5-5 record (.500, tied for sixth-best in East), which include consecutive season series sweeps over the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs. Under Bickerstaff, the Cavs have recorded three wins against above .500 teams (Miami, Philadelphia and Denver) and are averaging 111.4 points and 26.4 assists (eighth-best in NBA). The Wine & Gold also have the fifth-highest field goal percentage in the NBA since the All-Star break (.480).

“I can’t tell you how excited I am for this opportunity to lead the Cavaliers and our promising and enthusiastic group of players that has been assembled here in Cleveland,” said Bickerstaff. “I want to thank Dan Gilbert and Koby Altman for having the trust and faith in my ability to coach this team, but also allowing me the freedom and endless resources to assist in creating a sustainable culture of winning and professional growth. Our players have done a phenomenal job of maintaining a high level of professionalism and growing maturity, of which I have been very appreciative. I also take great pride and consider it an honor and privilege to live and coach in this community with my family, in front of this fan base and for this franchise. It has truly been a blessing and I look forward to the journey ahead.”

Before coming to Cleveland, Bickerstaff was the head coach of the Memphis Grizzlies for the 2018-19 season after serving as the interim head coach for the final 63 games of the 2017-18 Grizzlies campaign. Under Bickerstaff last season, Memphis recorded the third-best scoring defense in the NBA, holding opponents to 106.1 points per game. The Grizzlies also held an NBA-high 10 opponents under 90 points last season and went undefeated in those games. Memphis limited 17 opponents to under 40 percent shooting last season, which was tied with Utah for the second-most in the NBA.

Prior to his stint with Memphis, Bickerstaff spent five seasons (2011-16) with the Houston Rockets, where he was elevated to interim head coach early in the 2015-16 season and guided the Rockets to a 37-34 finish to close the season with a postseason berth. Bickerstaff’s additional experience includes four seasons (2007-11) with the Minnesota Timberwolves as an assistant coach and three seasons (2004-07) with the Charlotte Bobcats under his father and current Cavaliers Senior Basketball Advisor, Bernie Bickerstaff. The youngest assistant coach in the NBA at age 25 when he began with the Bobcats in 2004-05, Bickerstaff followed in the footsteps of his father, who was the youngest assistant coach when he joined the NBA at 29 years old in 1973.


Clippers’ GM on Noah: ‘His experience, acumen and toughness fit well in our locker room’

The L.A. Clippers have officially signed free agent Joakim Noah, the team announced today.

“Joakim is a relentless competitor and a proven winner,” said Frank. “His experience, acumen and toughness fit well in our locker room.”

The 35-year-old Noah is a two-time NBA All-Star (2013, 2014) and former NBA Defensive Player of the Year (2014), appeared in 42 games last season for the Memphis Grizzlies, averaging 7.1 points, 2.1 assists, and 5.7 rebounds. The 6’11”, 230-pound center holds career averages of 8.8 points, 2.8 assists, and 9.1 rebounds in 667 appearances across 12 NBA seasons with the Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, and Grizzlies.

Before being selected by Chicago with the ninth overall pick in the 2007 NBA Draft, Noah played three collegiate seasons at the University of Florida, leading the Gators to back-to-back NCAA Championships in 2006 and 2007.

It appears that’s an “Arms Race” between the Lakers and Clippers. We’ll find out who will have enough come playoff time.

Wizards’ Beal on loss to Heat: ‘We just got stagnant’

Early in the fourth quarter, the Washington Wizards(23-40) took an eight-point lead(83-75) against the Miami Heat(41-23) on Sunday. At that time, with Jimmy Butler sidelined with a foot injury(left the game in the third quarter), it appeared that Washington had a decent shot of winning the game.

However, behind the shooting of Duncan Robinson(23 points, 7-11 from three-point land), Kendrick Nunn(18 points), and the all-around play of Bam Adebayo(27 points, 14 rebounds, 6 assists), the Heat were able to overcome the loss of Butler and defeat the Wizards 100-89 at Capital One Arena.

With the victory, Miami captures its first road victory since February 1(defeated Magic in Orlando), and the Wizards continue to fall in the standings. 

Washington struggled shooting the ball in the fourth quarter, including the second-leading scorer in the NBA, Bradley Beal(23 points), who was 0-9 from the field in the fourth quarter. According to Beal, the offense got stagnant, and Miami’s defense got the job done.

“We just got stagnant. We’ve got to keep moving. I feel like, a lot of times, we were just kind of just watching me. We can’t get caught up in doing that,” Beal said. “They took away all my drives, everything pretty much toward the paint. They wanted to kind of force me to shoot jumpers all night.”

Washington’s playoffs hopes continue to fade. The Wizards are now 5.5 games behind the Magic for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference with only 19 games to play, 

On a positive note, Scott Brooks has this team competing on a nightly basis, which is a credit to him and the players, and while they are not winning consistently, this team is fighting. Hopefully, that continues the rest of the way.