THE defending National Basketball Association champions Toronto Raptors began preparations to resume the 2019–20 season on Monday.
Select players and staff members were headed to Fort Myers, Florida, where they will remain until the NBA campus in Orlando opens in early July.
“In keeping with NBA and team safety protocols, there will be no group workouts during this phase of return to play, and strict protocols have been designed to ensure this initial level of access will take place in a safe, controlled, and healthy way,” the team said in a press release.
Group workouts will not begin until the Raptors report to the Disney World facility for the league’s 22-team restart.
The organization also said there will be no in-person media availabilities during this stage. Access to team hotels and voluntary individual workout facilities will be limited to essential team personnel.
Toronto compiled a 46-18 record and ranked second in the Eastern Conference, 6.5 games behind the Milwaukee Bucks, when the season was suspended in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
KNICKS COACHING JOB
Meanwhile, add Jason Kidd and Mike Brown to the growing list of New York Knicks head-coaching candidates.
The Knicks reportedly received permission to interview the two former head coaches, which would increase the number to 11 under consideration for the post.
The New York Times on Monday first reported that the club had obtained the go-ahead to interview Kidd, who is currently an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Athletic first reported the news that Brown would be interviewed. He is associate head coach of the Golden State Warriors.
Kidd, a Hall-of-Fame player, has a 183-190 record in parts of five seasons as an NBA head coach. He spent one season coaching the Brooklyn Nets (2013-14), compiling a 44-38 record and guiding the club to the second round of the playoffs.
Kidd, 47, jumped to the Milwaukee Bucks and went 139-152 with two playoff appearances, both ending in the first round. He was fired just past the midway point of the 2017-18 season.
Brown, 50, has a 347-216 mark in seven-plus seasons. He guided the Cleveland Cavaliers to the NBA Finals in 2006-07 before they were swept by the San Antonio Spurs.
He won 50 or more games four times with the Cavaliers, including records of 66-16 in 2008-09 and 61-21 in 2009-10. However, he was let go after neither of those 60-win clubs reached the NBA Finals.
Brown took over as coach of the Los Angeles Lakers prior to the 2011–12 season and was eventually fired after five games of the following season. He again served as coach of the Cavaliers in 2013–14 before again being dismissed.
Brown guided the Cavaliers to the playoffs five times and also helped the Lakers make a postseason appearance in 2012.
The other coaches in New York’s mix, according to multiple media reports, are former head men Tom Thibodeau, Kenny Atkinson and Mike Woodson; interim Knicks head coach Mike Miller and assistants Pat Delaney (Orlando), Chris Fleming (Chicago), Will Hardy (San Antonio), Jamahl Mosley (Dallas) and Ime Udoka (Philadelphia). — Reuters