If you were following the latest NBA news this past week or so, you couldn’t be blamed for feeling more optimistic than ever that the season will be back on track sooner than later. After a messy initial joining of battle between the owners and players union, we saw commissioner Adam Silver get momentum moving from the league’s POV to a Las Vegas/Orlando solution and a council of star players reaffirming their desire to continue to play when the circumstances are deemed “safe”. With broad agreements in place that the season will finish in some fashion, all that’s left is hashing out the logistics.
Except, well, the logistics seem pretty daunting even as sections of the nation take their first tentative steps away from stricter regulations. Assuming some sprint of regular season play is deemed necessary for warmup/TV revenue purposes, you’re going to have to find a way to convince players, coaches, and training staffs to hole up in the Most Magical Place on Earth for two or more months. Add on top of them the likely inclusion of close family and on top of THAT all the support staff needed to maintain living conditions. The total numbers of those involved grow in leaps and bounds pretty quickly, and that doesn’t account for the countless deliveries of supplies that’ll be needed to sustain this group.
Fine, maybe they can do all that and can also horde enough tests (of which the capacity to produce grows by the day) to do intensive checks on everyone. What if a player does contract it? Do you put the festivities on hold again? Wait a few days to see if any teammates/opponents develop it and continue on without that player? What are the repercussions if the Bucks get bounced in round two because Giannis is out with Covid-19? Talk about an asterisk, right?
I bring all this up not to be a Debbie Downer (you already know I am that naturally), but to face the fact that any machination to erect an isolation zone to get back to play will be fraught with problems. The NBA may have the muscle to make it happen and keep the complaints to a minimum. We’re flying blind either way.
Where Giannis Antetokounmpo’s game goes from here (CBS Sports)
Huge miss by me last week not including this article (though regular MMMR readers will be used to the by now), but this is a pretty good critical evaluation of Giannis Antetokounmpo’s skillset in the present and directions it could take in the future.
As would be expected with an article of this type, there are some frank critiques made in hashing out just how far Giannis can go. I personally accept the points as part of the ideation needed to understand Antetokounmpo’s place in basketball’s hierarchy. He’s come so far in such a short amount of time, and edging forward necessitates the honing of the rough spots made more glaring because of the polish elsewhere in his game.
This will be the other interesting front to watch in the unfolding fallout of the pandemic on sports. The relationship between Silver and players since he began his tenure has been uncharacteristically (for a sports league) congenial. Helped in large part by a gravy train that looked set to roll forward for at least another five or six years under the current TV deal, there wasn’t a ton of need to quibble between the two sides. A jump in cap space in 2016 bloating cap sheets was the only real direct point of confrontation when it came to doling out the money pie, and even those deals are coming off the books this summer.
That tranquility can’t possibly hold up when finances take a 40+% hit in a best-case scenario. Everyone is going in to any discussions with eyes wide open, and everyone is on-board with tackling the here and now first. After the 2020 playoffs ends, though, the real wrangling shall begin.
Now, to be fair, the Warriors of Monta Ellis’s time in ‘The Bay’ weren’t the cutting edge, light years ahead, greatest organization to have ever been formed in the entirety of recorded human history, but it is that also-ran quality to the franchise of that era that must have made getting traded to the Bucks after being told he wasn’t on the block that much more painful.
Milwaukee Bucks’ social engagement still on par with regular season (Sports Pro Media)
It doesn’t get much more Inside Baseball than an interview about social media within a marketing new organ, but little details like the future for the ‘BucksPlay’ initiative are somewhat interesting.
Keeping engaged with the team while basketball isn’t played could, in theory, be difficult. No new highlights, no new pre- and post-game pressers to broadcast, and no Jim Paschke-led interviews to watch. Instead of going dormant, though, the team has crafted an off-the-court series of content pieces diving into the minutea of professional sports and the lives of its participants.
2020/21 Salary Cap Preview: Milwaukee Bucks (HoopsRumors)
Hey, the salary cap! Remember that thing? Me neither.
How these values shake out once a stop-gap solution to this season is figured out remains to be seen, but this simply drove home how critical it feels that the Bucks capitalize on the moment and drive this thing home ASAP. Guys are getting older, the Khris deal will get heftier, and flexibility in future construction garners higher premiums with every league year.
At least we’ll be paying Larry Sanders from now until eternity, though.
Throwing cold water on Giannis Antetokounmpo-to-Warriors rumors (MSN.com - I know)
You’re rightfully asking yourself how we live on a timeline where MSN.com is running articles about Giannis free agency rumors while also wondering why I chose to include it on the MMMR.
Well, here are a few screenshots of stories that have run elsewhere around the internet in the past 48 hours. We have to take every drop of sanity wherever it can be found.
The Social Media Section
Trouble in paradise? Might be time the Kings swoop in for a FA coup of their own
...hard pass for me, personally
Happy belated 50th, Ersan!
Welcome back to the internet, Donte. I have no idea where you went, but okay.
Man... Quarantine Giannis is cold as ice
You’ve been on the bus once https://t.co/lsobTPXeaR— Giannis Antetokounmpo (@Giannis_An34) May 12, 2020
Bled too, I guess
Football cool, but peep MCW’s comment
Also, it looks like the Antetokounmpo’s escaped Wisconsin for some beach somewhere???
This week’s Riley content update comes in the form of yet another podcast interview. Sorry!
Site co-managing editor Mitchell Maurer joined me for an hour-plus conversation that started out on a discussion of social media’s role in fandom and ranged all over the place from there. It’s already obvious to Brew Hoop’s readers, but Mitchell is a thoughtful guy when it comes to basketball and this site’s place within the ecosystem. Plus, I got to the bottom of the ‘WhalesLarry’ moniker.