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NBA COVID tracker: Knicks’ Julius Randle, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue in health and safety protocols



With the omicron variant running rampant, NBA rosters are in flux. Among the many players to enter the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols recently are New York Knicks forward Julius Randle, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum and Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green. In related news, since Dec. 26, tighter protocols — stricter mask requirements, increased testing — have been in effect. These rules will be in place until Jan. 8. 

Another change: Some players can now clear health and safety protocols and return to play as soon as five days after testing positive, provided that they are asymptomatic, vaccinated and likely not contagious (i.e. their cycle threshold is above 30).

Between the tweaked return-to-play policy and the new rule mandating teams to use hardship exceptions when multiple players are in protocols, the NBA is aiming to avoid postponing games. Despite this, Thursday’s scheduled game between the Golden State Warriors and Denver Nuggets was postponed because Denver did not have the required eight players. 

There have been 11 postponements this season:

  • Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets (originally scheduled for Dec. 30)
  • Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs (Dec. 29)
  • Brooklyn Nets at Portland Trail Blazers (Dec. 23)
  • Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls (Dec. 22)
  • Washington Wizards at Brooklyn Nets (Dec. 21)
  • Orlando Magic at Toronto Raptors (Dec. 20)
  • New Orleans Pelicans at Philadelphia 76ers (Dec. 19)
  • Denver Nuggets at Brooklyn Nets (Dec. 19)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers at Atlanta Hawks (Dec. 19)
  • Chicago Bulls at Toronto Raptors (Dec. 16)
  • Detroit Pistons at Chicago Bulls (Dec. 14)

Seven coaches are in health and safety protocols: Tyronn Lue (Los Angeles Clippers), Doc Rivers (Philadelphia), Michael Malone (Denver), Mark Daigneault (Oklahoma City Thunder), Monty Williams (Phoenix Suns), Chauncey Billups (Portland), and Billy Donovan (Chicago). Three more coaches — Rick Carlisle (Indiana Pacers) and Alvin Gentry (Sacramento Kings) and Frank Vogel (Los Angeles Lakers) — cleared protocols in December.  

The Raptors, who played two recent home games at 50% capacity, can allow no more than 1,000 people to enter Scotiabank Arena as of Dec. 31, per a provincial mandate. The team expects the limit to be in place for the next three weeks. While limited-capacity arenas were commonplace for most of 2020-21, this is the only instance of capped attendance this season. 


Below is a regularly updated, team-by-team list of players in health and safety protocols, along with the date (or, in some cases, the approximate date) they entered:

Players in health and safety protocols

Atlanta Hawks

  • Malcolm Hill (Dec. 31)
  • Bogdan Bogdanovic (Dec. 28)
  • Gorgui Dieng (Dec. 28)
  • Malik Ellison (Dec. 28)
  • Delon Wright (Dec. 27)
  • Jalen Johnson (Dec. 26)
  • John Collins (Dec. 26)
  • Onyeka Okongwu (Dec. 25)
  • Sharife Cooper (Dec. 23)
  • Kevin Huerter (Dec. 22)
  • Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Dec. 22)
  • Danilo Gallinari (Dec. 21)

Boston Celtics

  • Jayson Tatum (Dec. 27)
  • Dennis Schroder (Dec. 25)
  • Bruno Fernando (Dec. 24)
  • Aaron Nesmith (Dec. 24)
  • Enes Kanter Freedom (Dec. 23)

Brooklyn Nets

  • Kessler Edwards (Dec. 23)

Charlotte Hornets

  • Scottie Lewis (Dec. 27)
  • Miles Bridges (Dec. 26)
  • PJ Washington (Dec. 26)

Chicago Bulls

  • Marko Simonovic (Dec. 29)
  • Ersan Ilyasova (Dec. 28)
  • Lonzo Ball (Dec. 26)
  • Tony Bradley (Dec. 26)
  • Alfonzo McKinnie (Dec. 26)

Cleveland Cavaliers

  • Darius Garland (Dec. 28)
  • Cedi Osman (Dec. 25)

Dallas Mavericks

  • Isaiah Thomas (Dec. 30)
  • Brandon Knight (Dec. 29)
  • Boban Marjanovic (Dec. 29)
  • JaQuori McLaughlin (Dec. 23)
  • Luka Doncic (Dec. 22)
  • Trey Burke (Dec. 22)
  • Tim Hardaway Jr. (Dec. 21)
  • Maxi Kleber (Dec. 20)

Denver Nuggets

  • Jeff Green (Dec. 30)
  • Bones Hyland (Dec. 30)
  • Zeke Nnaji (Dec. 30)

Detroit Pistons

  • Josh Jackson (Dec. 26)
  • Cory Joseph (Dec. 26)
  • Trey Lyles (Dec. 25)
  • Killian Hayes (Dec. 23)
  • Saben Lee (Dec. 23)
  • Rodney McGruder (Dec. 23)
  • Isaiah Stewart (Dec. 23)
  • Cade Cunningham (Dec. 22)

Golden State Warriors

  • James Wiseman (Dec. 29)
  • Draymond Green (Dec. 26)
  • Damion Lee (Dec. 22)

Houston Rockets

  • DeJon Jarreau (Dec. 30)
  • Jae’Sean Tate (Dec. 27)
  • D.J. Augustin (Dec. 26)
  • Garrison Mathews (Dec. 26)

Indiana Pacers

  • Kelan Martin (Dec. 31)
  • Malcolm Brogdon (Dec. 30)
  • Chris Duarte (Dec. 30)
  • Isaiah Jackson (Dec. 30)
  • Jeremy Lamb (Dec. 29)

Los Angeles Clippers

  • Ivica Zubac (Dec. 30)
  • Brandon Boston Jr. (Dec. 29)
  • Moses Wright (Dec. 27)
  • Jay Scrubb (Dec. 26)

Los Angeles Lakers

Memphis Grizzlies

  • Shaq Buchanan (Dec. 31)
  • Xavier Tillman (Dec. 30)
  • John Konchar (Dec. 28)
  • Dillon Brooks (Dec. 26)
  • De’Anthony Melton (Dec. 26)
  • Jarrett Culver (Dec. 23)

Miami Heat

  • Marcus Garrett (Dec. 30)
  • Duncan Robinson (Dec. 30)
  • Max Strus (Dec. 29)
  • P.J. Tucker (Dec. 29)
  • Gabe Vincent (Dec. 29)
  • Zylan Cheatham (Dec. 29)  
  • Udonis Haslem (Dec. 28)
  • Kyle Lowry (Dec. 25)

Milwaukee Bucks

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • D’Angelo Russell (Dec. 25)
  • Karl-Anthony Towns (Dec. 23)
  • McKinley Wright IV (Dec. 23)

New Orleans Pelicans

  • Jonas Valanciunas (Dec. 31)
  • Jose Alvarado (Dec. 25)
  • Nickeil Alexander-Walker (Dec. 23)
  • Naji Marshall (Dec. 23)

New York Knicks

  • Julius Randle (Dec. 30)
  • Wayne Selden (Dec. 28)
  • Jericho Sims (Dec. 25)
  • Nerlens Noel (Dec. 22)

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Josh Giddey (Dec. 28)
  • Aleksej Pokusevski (Dec. 27)
  • Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Dec. 27)
  • Aaron Wiggins (Dec. 27)
  • Darius Bazley (Dec. 26)

Orlando Magic

  • Robin Lopez (Dec. 30)
  • Hassani Gravett (Dec. 28)
  • Chuma Okeke (Dec. 26)
  • Mychal Mulder (Dec. 22)

Philadelphia 76ers

  • Tyler Johnson (Dec. 30)
  • Myles Powell (Dec. 30)
  • Danny Green (Dec. 22)

Phoenix Suns

  • JaVale McGee (Dec. 30)
  • Abdel Nader (Dec. 29)
  • Deandre Ayton (Dec. 27)
  • Jae Crowder (Dec. 26)

Portland Trail Blazers

  • Anfernee Simons (Dec. 30)
  • Brandon Williams (Dec. 30)
  • Jusuf Nurkic (Dec. 26)
  • Cody Zeller (Dec. 26)
  • Robert Covington (Dec. 25)
  • Keljin Blevins (Dec. 25)
  • Trendon Watford (Dec. 24)

Sacramento Kings

San Antonio Spurs

  • Devontae Cacok (Dec. 29)
  • Dejounte Murray (Dec. 26)

Toronto Raptors

  • Isaac Bonga (Dec. 25)
  • Justin Champagnie (Dec. 25)

Washington Wizards

  • Brad Wanamaker (Dec. 31)
  • Spencer Dinwiddie (Dec. 30)
  • Rui Hachimura (Dec. 28)
  • Montrezl Harrell (Dec. 28)
  • Thomas Bryant (Dec. 27)
  • Anthony Gill (Dec. 27)
  • Aaron Holiday (Dec. 27)
  • Raul Neto (Dec. 26)
  • Bradley Beal (Dec. 23)

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Pac-12 football: Can Lincoln Riley and Dan Lanning make immediate impacts?



High-profile Pac-12 programs USC and Oregon both have new head coaches. How they do are among RJ Young’s key storylines to watch.

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Cleaning Manchester United’s transfer mess starts with Cristiano Ronaldo exit; the next steps will be tougher



At last Manchester United appear to be seeing the reality of their situation. A sweeping of the decks at Old Trafford might be the only way to eventually restore some star power to this fading icon and that starts with the A-lister who shone brightest the last time this club were at the top of the European game.

Manchester United sources Monday night were publicly insistent that Cristiano Ronaldo is not for sale and is expected to see out the final year of his contract. In particular, they insisted that reports United would look to terminate that deal were incorrect. By Tuesday morning, that stance has gotten somewhat softer and the five-time Ballon d’Or winner could indeed be allowed to leave.

The question, of course, is where to? Of the possible Champions League contenders that he wants to join, only Chelsea took a long look at him and they have concluded otherwise. Atletico Madrid’s fans are campaigning against his signature while Barcelona president Joan Laporta did not deny that his club had been offered (and rejected) the chance to sign the 37-year-old before picking the younger model in Robert Lewandowski and then activating the fourth “lever.”


Indeed, CBS Sports understands that the only offers currently on the table for Ronaldo come from Saudi Arabia, where two leading clubs have made plain their willingness to take the Portugal international on increased wages despite his own reticence. Ronaldo, the current Champions League record scorer, feels he has unfinished business in that competition and will want to be playing at the highest level before this winter’s World Cup in Qatar. One of the two Saudi clubs interested in his services has told CBS Sports that their offer would still be on the table for Ronaldo in January, but that may be too late for Erik ten Hag’s new start.

Ronaldo could be well be unshiftable in the closing days of the transfer window. The worry for United ought to be how many others in their squad are of the same status.

It was instructive to see former Manchester United defender Gary Neville apply RAG status to the club’s financial business in the years since their guiding light, Sir Alex Ferguson, retired. Of 33 signings made over the past nine years, two got the green light from the pundit, seven were amber and the rest were the sort of unqualified disappointments that constituted red status. To which one had two immediate reactions. First of all, surely something deeper than red is required? After all, Daley Blind wasn’t great but he was hardly an Alexis Sanchez-style blow up your wage bill, rob minutes from talented youngsters and end up paying his wages just for him to go away disaster.

Then when your eyes moved from the mass of inadequate recruitment to the supposed successes, you cannot help but feel the bar might be too low. Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave United a great first season but didn’t even make it to the end of a deeply disappointing second while Bruno Fernandes‘ form has fallen off a cliff since Ronaldo, implausibly an amber on Neville’s list, arrived.

Many of these players that Neville was so unimpressed by make up the rump of ten Hag’s squad now. There are plenty, the Phil Joneses, Eric Baillys and even Anthony Martials (at least until his preseason revival) who seem bound to see out their contract until the bitter end, but also foundational pieces of the squad that finished sixth. United are swimming in center backs who are above the aforementioned two in the depth chart, but who would throw a stack of money at them to pay the sizable wages of Victor Lindelof or Raphael Varane


A year ago, the suggestion that United might struggle to find a buyer for Fernandes would have been laughed out of the conversation. Why would they want to, for starters? But then the 27-year-old is redolent of a playing squad that comes to Old Trafford for atrophy rather than silverware. Fred might be in the same boat. Both show often enough that club scouts were not wrong to see talent in them. However, without a defined tactical structure to sit within, Fernandes in particular seems to indulge his worst tendencies. Last season, the Portugal international ranked third for intercepted passes, sixth for those that went out of bounds (only Joao Cancelo beat him in both categories, but the Manchester City full back also completed more than 1,000 more than his compatriot’s 1,524). 

The most convincing case for a Fernandes sale — not something his club have shown any indication of considering — is that managers might still have time to deprogram his Unitedness before it is too late. One might make the same case for the faltering Marcus Rashford, who was linked with Paris Saint-Germain earlier this month. It is fair to say that revelations of dialogue between his agent and the Ligue 1 champions did not emanate from the Parc des Princes.  It would appear that ten Hag is too late to do the same where David de Gea is concerned. He simply cannot pass the football to the standard required by most modern clubs.

Ederson, Alisson and even Aaron Ramsdale have enhanced their side’s attacking capabilities with searing passes that don’t just keep possession at their teammate’s feet, but create opportunities in the blink of an eye. Where those goalkeepers speed the game, De Gea slows it down. What passes he has made so far this season have been either knocking the ball short to a center back or punting the ball aimlessly up the field. It took 180 minutes for him to successfully complete a pass into the opposition half, a goal kick thumped in the direction of Anthony Elanga when United were 4-0 down at Brentford.

Passes made by De Gea and Ramsdale this season. Note how frequently Ramsdale is able to pick out team mates high up the pitch, quickly moving Arsenal into attacking positions

Ten Hag has said — in reference to his team as a whole — that he is confident they can adapt to his demands because they did so in preseason. Speaking after his horror show at the Gtec Community Stadium, De Gea offered a clear explanation for why he will find things more difficult. “It’s too easy to play in preseason when you play for nothing,” he said. “When you play in the games that matters is when you need bravery and to be more consistent and to be proper players. That wasn’t the case today. We need to stick together and we have a lot to learn under a new manager.”

Liverpool didn’t exactly gameplan for De Gea when they were losing 4-0 in Bangkok. Brentford did with Christian Norgaard revealing after the match they had gone man-to-man from goal kicks; in theory, United should have had a spare player in De Gea. The reality is he was as effective a means of the hosts scoring goals as getting Ivan Toney isolated against Lisandro Martinez. Jurgen Klopp will surely look to repeat the trick.


What can United do about it bar hope De Gea gets better with the ball at his feet? The overlap in a Venn diagram of “clubs who can match £375,000-a-week salaries” and “clubs who will tolerate a goalkeeper who cannot pass progressively” is miniscule. Look down the squad list at Old Trafford and there are more players like the Spaniard than unlike him — those who have been rather left behind by the modern game, at least in part because of the antiquated football operations at the club, and who would curry next to no suitors.

It is why United are instead forced to cash in on talented youngsters such as James Garner, the £15 million they hope to get for him is a fair sight more than they could get for plenty of the established internationals in their team. The cash reserves are not as bountiful as they once were at Old Trafford; to adapt a Josh Kroenke phrase, this is a team with a Champions League wage bill on a Europa Conference League budget.

Arsenal, last season’s early crisis club, at least offer some sense of how United can get out of this mess and it takes them back to the Ronaldo case. North London was not short of similar players; aging stars whose output didn’t match their salary and whose conduct did not always impress Mikel Arteta. Arsenal director Edu Gaspar simply paid them to go away. 

“Try to avoid one more year with the problem inside, in the dressing room, expensive, not performing,” the Brazilian technical director said last month. “Clean, take it out. Even, I’m sorry, if you have to pay. To leave is better. Because that guy is sometimes also blocking someone.

“I know it hurts, I know it’s strange when I go to the board and say, ‘Sometimes it’s better to pay a player to leave than maintain them.’ But I consider it an investment. Sometimes people say, ‘It’s expensive.’ I say, ‘No, it’s investment.’ But someone will pay if you sell? No, guys — if the player is above 26, 27 and not performing, big salary, no chance.”


It is not an approach without its pitfalls. Right now Arsenal want a fee for Hector Bellerin, but why would Real Betis pay it when history suggests that the Gunners are more likely to rip up his deal than keep him around for the final year of his contract. And, of course, no player will terminate their contract unless they know there is another club waiting for them. The reality, though, is that the richest Premier League clubs have few other options in the current financial climate across the rest of the game.

That same reality that Arsenal faced in January 2021 when they began paying players to play elsewhere now looms large for United. They might have accepted that they don’t want their players, but the following realization might be even tougher for them. No one else wants them either.

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NBA Insider Reveals The Opening Night Schedule



(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


We are now just about two months away from the new NBA season.

It might feel like ages away right now but it’ll be here before you know it and soon you’ll be watching your favorite team thrive or crash yet again.


While much of the upcoming NBA schedule is still a mystery, we do know the teams that will be squaring off against each other on Opening Night 2022.

The Philadelphia 76ers will face off against the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers will take on the Golden State Warriors on October 18.

That is quite the opening night, featuring the two teams that made it to the last Finals and two teams that are desperate to have a season that is better and stronger than what came before.



An Exciting Tip-Off

The Warriors will be getting their championship rings just moments before they go toe-to-toe with the Lakers.

Any betting person would put their money on the Warriors over the Lakers, but many eyes will be paying close attention to LA as they attempt to rebound from a truly abysmal season.

Meanwhile, the 76ers and Celtics will be a fascinating matchup.

The Celtics are coming off of a fantastic season, one that got them all the way to the Finals.


And the 76ers are doubling down on the roster they had last year, with a few new improvements.

Some inside the team, including James Harden, swear that this will be the season that sees them making it all the way through the playoffs.

It’ll be hard to gather a lot of information about any team based only on what we see during opening night.

But it’ll give NBA fans just a small taste of what’s to come.

The post NBA Insider Reveals The Opening Night Schedule appeared first on The Cold Wire.


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