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Report: Furkan Korkmaz returning to 76ers



Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Free agent forward Furkan Korkmaz has agreed to a two-year contract to return to the Philadelphia 76ers, agent Mike Lindeman of Excel Sports tells ESPN.

Korkmaz, 21, brings back a rotational forward with the ability to spread the floor with his shooting. The loss of JJ Redick in free agency – and Kyle Korver’s decision to choose Milwaukee over Philadelphia – brought some increased urgency to keep Korkmaz on the Sixers roster.

 The 21-year-old Korkmaz, who was the 26th overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, averaged 5.8 points and 2.2 rebounds in 14.1 minutes last season.

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Bucks’ Mike Budenholzer, Thunder’s Billy Donovan tie for NBCA coaching award



The Milwaukee Bucks‘ Mike Budenholzer and Oklahoma City Thunder‘s Billy Donovan were voted the National Basketball Coaches Association co-coaches of the year, the organization announced Monday.

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by the Coaches, they are a great group of people that I admire and respect,” Donovan said in a statement.

In his statement, Budenholzer congratulated Donovan and thanked his coaching peers for their votes and support.

Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse finished third in the race — and just one vote away from creating a three-way tie, sources said.

“Those guys obviously did a great job,” Nurse said of Budenholzer and Donovan on Monday during a video conference call. “You can’t argue with the Bucks’ record and how great OKC did after everybody expected lower expectations for them, so those guys are very deserving.”

The award, named in honor of longtime NBCA executive director Michael Goldberg, is voted on by the NBA’s 30 head coaches, with each coach voting for a single winner. This year’s voting was based on games played through March 11, when the season was paused because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Among those who also received votes: Memphis‘ Taylor Jenkins, Indiana‘s Nate McMillan, Miami‘s Erik Spoelstra, Boston‘s Brad Stevens and the Lakers‘ Frank Vogel.

Budenholzer, the NBCA’s 2019 winner, has led the Bucks to the league’s best overall record at 54-13 and the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.

Donovan has the Thunder sixth in the Western Conference at 41-24 in a season when some wondered whether they could reach the playoffs.

“Mike led the Bucks to the best record in the league for a second straight season and Billy became just the fourth active Head Coach to lead his team to the playoffs in each of his first five seasons,” Dallas Mavericks coach and NBCA president Rick Carlisle said in a statement. “To win the vote of our peers makes the Michael H. Goldberg NBCA Coach of the Year Award one of the most meaningful in all of pro sports.”

This is the second time the NBCA has had a tie, along with 2017 with Houston‘s Mike D’Antoni and Miami’s Spoelstra.

The NBA also gives a coach of the year award — the Red Auerbach Trophy — based on a vote of the league’s media. That will be released at a later date.

ESPN’s Nick Friedell contributed to this report.

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NBA campus intel – Schedule and live updates for Day 5 of seeding games



It has been a rough start in the bubble for the New Orleans Pelicans and Memphis Grizzlies, both sitting on 0-2 records in seeding games.

Weeks ago, when the schedule was announced, this had the chance to be a marquee matchup with serious playoff implications featuring two of the league’s brightest young stars, rookies Zion Williamson and Ja Morant.

But now, after back-to-back losses, New Orleans could be barreling out of the playoff race altogether with another defeat. Memphis looks to bounce back to hold off a charging San Antonio Spurs squad that started off with two wins, and a Portland team that already defeated the Grizzlies in Florida.

This will be the third matchup between the squads this season, with the Pelicans scoring victories in the first two — a 126-116 win in Memphis on Jan. 20 and a 139-111 win in New Orleans on Jan. 31.

In the first matchup, New Orleans shooting guard Jrue Holiday had one of his best offensive performances of the season with 36 points and a career-best seven 3-pointers. He was also key in keeping Morant quiet for most of the game (16 points on 5-of-14 shooting).

When the teams tangled in New Orleans 11 days later, Williamson was available, and Memphis was missing Jaren Jackson Jr. and Brandon Clarke. Williamson had a game-high 24 points on the way to a blowout win.

Williamson has been limited to a combined 29 minutes in the first two seeding games. Those minutes have not gone well, with the Pelicans getting outscored by 33 points with Williamson on the floor. The Pelicans are watching Williamson’s minutes since he missed all three scrimmages and a total of 13 days because of a family emergency that took him away from the campus.

It’s unclear how much Williamson will be able to ramp it up Monday. The Pelicans’ medical team will meet and make that decision prior to the game.

To get by New Orleans this time, Memphis will rely on Morant and Jackson. Morant is averaging 23.5 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds in two games in Florida, and Jackson followed up a 33-point performance in Memphis’ first game with a 21-point effort against San Antonio — complete with a ridiculous shot from the corner late in that one to tie the score.

It’s a tough spot for the Grizzlies, who played Sunday while New Orleans rested following a Saturday blowout loss to the LA Clippers. It’s as much of a logistical disadvantage as you can have without travel playing a role. But this would be the absolute worst time for the Pelicans to drop their first game to their Southeast Division rival. Something won’t hold up by the end of Monday night. — Andrew Lopez

Here’s the latest on the standings, the games to watch Monday and Tuesday, plus everything you need to know. Check back here for highlights and updates throughout the day.

PAST BUBBLE INTEL: July 30 | July 31 | Aug. 1| Aug. 2

Monday’s must-see games

Memphis Grizzlies vs. New Orleans Pelicans | 6:30 p.m. ET on ESPN

It’s a must-win situation for the Pelicans, who dropped their first two games. After Saturday night’s loss to the Clippers, Pelicans small forward Brandon Ingram said, “We probably can’t lose any more games” if they want to make their playoff push. New Orleans has a 2-0 advantage on Memphis this season, so the Grizzlies will be looking for a bit of payback.

Monday’s matchup will be the second contest of the season between South Carolina natives Williamson and Morant. Williamson (24 points) had the upper hand on Morant (16 points) in the first meeting, although the Grizzlies were missing Jackson and Clarke in that game. — Lopez

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz | 9 p.m. ET on ESPN

This will be the third game for each team and both will be hoping for better performances than they had in their second games. Each team opened up play in Florida with a win Thursday but stumbled Saturday — Utah losing to Oklahoma City 110-94, and Los Angeles falling to Toronto 107-92.

A win against Utah will clinch the best record in the Western Conference for the Lakers with five games to go before the playoffs. Meanwhile, Utah is in fourth place in the West, a game back of Denver for No. 3. Both teams will be looking to fix their offenses and get back on the right track. — Lopez

Don’t have ESPN? Get instant access.

Additional games

Full scoreboard for Monday

Play-in watch

The Grizzlies aren’t the only team playing the first back-to-backs of the seeding games. The Wizards have to come back from their 0-2 start as well and try to get a crucial victory against the Pacers. The Wizards lost to the Brooklyn Nets on Sunday, so they need a lot of things to go their way to force a play-in weekend.

The Spurs, unlike the Grizzlies and Wizards, enter their no-rest game day with a 2-0 record in seeding games. They face the 76ers for a chance to stay ahead of the bubble pack.

Eastern Conference

7. Orlando Magic | 31-35 (.470) |
8. Brooklyn Nets | 31-35 (.470) |
9. Washington Wizards | 24-42 (.364) | 7.0 GB

Western Conference

8. Memphis Grizzlies | 32-35 (.478) | —
9. San Antonio Spurs | 29-36 (.446) | 2.0 GB
10. Portland Trail Blazers | 30-38 (.441) | 2.5 GB
11. Sacramento Kings | 28-37 (.431) | 3.0 GB
12. New Orleans Pelicans | 28-38 (.424) | 3.5 GB
13. Phoenix Suns | 28-39 (.418) | 4.0 GB

Full standings | Playoff matchups

Tuesday’s must-see games

Dallas Mavericks vs. Sacramento Kings | 2:30 p.m. ET

Two teams badly in need of a win in Florida. The Kings come into this game on the heels of two straight losses that probably cost them any chance at the postseason — so it will be interesting to see how motivated they are to play in a game against a Mavericks team that has let two winnable games slide right through their fingertips. For the Kings to get back on track, they need more from Buddy Hield. He comes into Tuesday’s game shooting just 7-for-26 over his first two games. The Mavs could use more from Tim Hardaway Jr. who was just 1-for-12 in Sunday’s loss to the Suns. — Nick Friedell

Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat | 6:30 p.m. ET

This sets up to be one of the most intense matchups on the campus. The Celtics got a much-needed win over a rejuvenated Trail Blazers team Sunday, and the Heat have looked both hungry and deep over their first two games. Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 64 points against the Blazers, but expect Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler to help slow down Boston’s perimeter movement early on Tuesday if he is available. — Friedell

Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers | 9 p.m. ET

There will be plenty of points — lots of points — in what figures to be one of the highest-scoring affairs of the month. These two top-five offenses score at will, but a main key will be how well Portland can use center Jusuf Nurkic and his height advantage against the Houston microball lineup. — Friedell

Additional games

  • Brooklyn Nets vs. Milwaukee Bucks | 1:30 p.m. ET

  • Phoenix Suns vs. LA Clippers | 4 p.m. ET

  • Orlando Magic vs. Indiana Pacers| 6 p.m. ET

Full scoreboard for Tuesday

Analysis and intel

Real or not: Memphis’ playoff chances, Tatum’s trajectory and big restart questions

Our NBA experts weigh in on the biggest trends after the first weekend of basketball.

NBA Power Rankings: Lakers and Bucks both lose close games

The Raptors and Rockets both upset top teams, while the Spurs and Blazers fight for the No. 8 seed in the West.

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NBA tweaks coronavirus testing policy to allow players to return quicker



LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — As concern was growing that the league’s playoffs could be compromised with the sidelining of players because of largely unavoidable coronavirus testing glitches, the NBA has tightened its protocol on retesting and allowing players a return to the court within a 24-hour window, according to league memo obtained by ESPN.

Now, a player returning an inconclusive result — which occurs in approximately 5 of every 1,000 tests — can still become eligible to play in a game that’s within 24 hours — instead of needing to wait 48 hours, the memo said.

The player must test negative in an immediate retest upon receiving the inconclusive result, and then return another negative test within 60 minutes of the scheduled tip-off of his team’s next game, the memo said.

Teams fear playoff scenarios where a key player could be lost — despite the fact that he hasn’t tested positive for the coronavirus.

Prior to this protocol change, there had been a two-day period of time prior that required two negatives tests in successive 24-hour periods.

The Sacramento Kings had a player with an inconclusive test last week that went through this process.

The NBA is testing players and staff every day in its 22-team restart at Disney’s Wide World of Sports and has yet to have a positive test for the coronavirus among the players in The Bubble.

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