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Commissioner Sources

Sources – MLB commissioner warns of shutdown if coronavirus isn’t better managed – ESPN

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When is it time for MLB to cancel the season? (1:04)

Jessica Mendoza wonders if MLB should keep playing after the Cardinals reported multiple positive tests for the coronavirus. (1:04)

4:55 PM ET

  • Jeff PassanESPN

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      ESPN MLB insider


      Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred told MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark on Friday that if the sport doesn’t do a better job of managing the coronavirus, it could shut down for the season, sources familiar with the conversation told ESPN.

The league and players recognize the coming days are a critical juncture following an outbreak among the Miami Marlins in which 21 members of the organization have tested positive for COVID-19. Two positive tests by St. Louis Cardinals players on Friday exacerbated concerns inside the sport about the presence of the coronavirus and whether the jointly agreed-upon protocols are being followed properly to prevent outbreaks similar to Miami’s.

Should another outbreak materialize, Manfred, who has the power to shut down the season, could move in that direction. Multiple players briefed on the call fear the season could be shut down as soon as Monday if positive tests jump or if players continue not to strictly abide by the league’s protocols.

State and local governments have pressured baseball about players skirting the mandates outlined in the league’s 113-page operations manual, sources told ESPN. Broadcasts that have shown players high-fiving, spitting and not wearing masks have left government officials wondering how seriously players are taking the protocols, sources said.

Further, there is concern about off-the-field choices, with one high-ranking official saying: “There are some bad decisions being made.”

The Cardinals’ game against the Milwaukee Brewers was postponed Friday and rescheduled to a doubleheader Sunday. Already, the Marlins and Philadelphia Phillies, who last played Miami on Sunday, were missing scheduled games, leaving 20% of the league’s Friday slate empty.

Major League Baseball and the MLBPA on Friday jointly announced the results of COVID-19 testing through Thursday. Of the 11,895 samples taken over the past week, there were 29 positive tests — 20 by players and nine by staff members.

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Sources Thibodeau

Sources — Tom Thibodeau finalizing 5-year deal to be coach of New York Knicks – ESPN

The New York Knicks and Tom Thibodeau are finalizing a five-year deal to make him the franchise’s next head coach, sources tell ESPN.

Knicks president Leon Rose and agent Spencer Breecker of CAA Sports were working Saturday to complete contractual terms, and a signed agreement is expected in the near future, sources said.

Rose and executive vice president William Wesley are completing a two-month search process, with Thibodeau long expected to emerge with the job. Together, they’ll be tasked with the daunting challenge of restoring a forlorn franchise to NBA relevance.

New York is counting on Thibodeau, who has a history in player development as a head coach and assistant, to put into place a program that will restore a competitive infrastructure with the Knicks. For now, Rose and Thibodeau inherit a roster that needs dramatic upgrades before a return to Eastern Conference contention is a realistic aspiration.

New York was 21-45 this season, missing the playoffs for the sixth straight year.

Thibodeau is 11th in career winning percentage for coaches with 500 or more games. He has a 352-246 (.589) record in eight seasons with Chicago and Minnesota.

Thibodeau, 62, comes to the Knicks after a tumultuous two-plus seasons with the Timberwolves that included the franchise’s first playoff berth in 14 years — and an unraveling centered on All-Star Jimmy Butler‘s trade demand that led to Thibodeau’s dismissal as president and coach in 2019.

Thibodeau had five playoff seasons with the Bulls, including a trip to the Eastern Conference finals and an NBA Coach of the Year award in 2011. A series of injuries to MVP Derrick Rose played a role in derailing the Bulls’ championship aspirations.

Thibodeau was a Knicks assistant under Jeff Van Gundy from 1996 to 2004 and has long desired to return to New York as a head coach. He’s a native of New Britain, Connecticut.

Orlando Magic coach Steve Clifford, a close friend of Thibodeau’s who worked with him in New York on Van Gundy’s staff, found out about the news during the Magic’s scrimmage against the Los Angeles Lakers.

“It’s great news,” Clifford said after the game during a video call. “As soon as we get back [to the hotel], I’ll call him. Look, he’s one of my closest friends. He’s one of the best coaches in the league and he understands New York. He was in New York for a long time. New York is a different animal. He understands the fan base, he understands the New York media, and he’s a great, great coach. So he’ll do great there and it’s a great hire on their part.”

Magic point guard D.J. Augustin, who had a career renaissance under Thibodeau in 2013-14 as a member of the Bulls, said he enjoyed his experience with the demanding Thibodeau and appreciated how hard he coached.

“For me, it was great,” Augustin said. “I’ve heard a lot of stories about Thibs, but for me, it was great. If you don’t want to play for a coach that’s going to really coach you and be hard on you, you don’t want to be great, so I loved playing for Thibs. He was a great coach, great guy, great motivator, so I’m really happy for him and I’m excited that he got that job. That’s a great job for him and for that organization.”

ESPN’s Nick Friedell contributed to this report.

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reveal Sources

Sources reveal details of call among 80 NBA players led by Kyrie Irving – The Athletic

As the NBA nears the resumption of the 2019-20 season on July 31, a new reality is beginning to emerge.

The NBA’s Board of Governors approved a 22-team return format for the season last week, followed by the National Basketball Players Association ratifying it the next day, beginning seemingly inevitable momentum toward a return to play out the conclusion of the season that was halted in March. However, there is now a group of players looking to take a stand by not playing in the league’s intended resumption and their primary reason for doing so would be in support of the nationwide movement fighting for social justice reform.

Sources tell The Athletic that a group consisting of 80-plus players — including NBPA vice president Kyrie Irving, NBPA president Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Donovan Mitchell and Avery Bradley — discussed finding unity and a way to attack a cause amid the nationwide unrest stemming from…

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MLBPA Sources

Sources — MLBPA proposes 89-game season and expanded playoffs – ESPN

8:00 PM ET

  • Jeff PassanESPN

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      ESPN MLB insider


      Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

The Major League Baseball Players Association has made a proposal to MLB for a season of 89 games, with a full prorated share of salary and expanded playoffs, sources familiar with the situation told ESPN on Tuesday.

It would bring the sides closer to a potential deal because it is 25 games fewer than the union’s most recent proposal of 114 games at full pro rata, sources told ESPN.

But an MLB source familiar with the negotiations told ESPN’s Karl Ravech that the proposal is a nonstarter.

“Out of concern for the players’ health, extending the regular season past Sept. 27 won’t happen,” the source told Ravech. “There is a window of playing between 60 [and] 70 regular-season games, but pay still remains an issue.”

MLB on Monday proposed a 76-game season that would cover up to 75% of players’ prorated salaries.

This newest MLBPA proposal would have the season start on July 10 and end on Oct. 11, a source told ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. It also would expand the postseason to 16 teams (eight in each league) for 2020 and 2021.

Like MLB’s proposal on Monday, this offer has the players sharing in a pool of at least $50 million if the playoffs are played without fans.

The proposal includes opt-out rights for all players. Players who are “high-risk” or reside with a “high-risk” individual are entitled to full service and salary in the event that they opt out.

Players with no high-risk concerns may opt out without service or salary. High-risk qualification is to be determined by the MLBPA in consultation with medical experts.

Players also are committing to providing broadcast enhancements for both regular-season and postseason games.

MLB’s Monday proposal to players on a return-to-play economic package offered a higher potential salary than the previous plan but less guaranteed money over a 76-game season.

Players and officials at the MLBPA quickly scoffed at the proposal, which was obtained by ESPN, continuing the gridlock that has prevented MLB from returning after the coronavirus-related delay to the beginning of its season.

If the sides are unable to agree to a deal, the league has the ability to implement a schedule of its desired length. It has focused recently on a potential 48-game season, sources told ESPN.

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MLBPA Sources

Sources – MLBPA to counter MLB proposal with more games, full prorated salaries – ESPN

12:26 AM ET

  • Jeff PassanESPN

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      ESPN MLB insider


      Author of “The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports”

The Major League Baseball Players Association expects to counter MLB’s economic proposal by the end of this week with a plan that includes more than 100 games and a guarantee of full prorated salaries for the 2020 season, sources familiar with union discussions told ESPN.

The disagreement over economics has ratcheted up in recent days after the league’s first proposal Tuesday rankled players. On multiple phone calls Wednesday, players essentially pledged to ignore the league’s proposal and instead offer one of their own, according to sources familiar with the calls.

Washington Nationals ace Max Scherzer, one of eight players on the MLBPA’s powerful executive subcommittee, tweeted Wednesday that the significant pay cuts in the league’s proposal would not be accepted and the union would remain committed to players receiving their full prorated salaries.

“After discussing the latest developments with the rest of the players there’s no need to engage with MLB in any further compensation reductions,” Scherzer wrote.

pic.twitter.com/nWKtqGSQo4

— Max Scherzer (@Max_Scherzer) May 28, 2020

MLB’s proposal called for pay reductions on top of players’ already prorated salaries, which would be scaled to reflect the number of games played. In MLB’s 82-game proposal, Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout would be paid less than $6 million, compared to the $19 million-plus he would receive prorated. Although the pay cuts would be less severe for a large swath of lower-paid players, the union’s rancor was clear and immediate.

The union’s desire to play more games could be used as a chip for a negotiation to reach a return-to-play deal. For now, however, if players are being paid on a prorated basis, more games will lead to larger salaries for players. The league has balked at a longer schedule, fearful that a potential second wave of the coronavirus could wipe out the postseason — and the lucrative national television money that comes with it.

In a presentation to players, MLB said it would lose a significant amount of money if games are played in 2020 and players receive their full pro rata salary. The union has held firm that a March 27 agreement between the parties ensures the players their prorated share, while the league believes that language in the agreement calls for a good-faith negotiation in the event that games are played in empty stadiums.

The union remains skeptical of the data the league shared that showed significant losses across the sport and recently submitted additional document requests to the league in search of information about local television revenue, national television revenue, sponsorship revenue and projections from teams.

“We have previously negotiated a pay cut in the version of prorated salaries, and there’s no justification to accept a 2nd pay cut based upon the current information the union has received,” Scherzer wrote in his statement. “I’m glad to hear other players voicing the same viewpoint and believe MLB’s economic strategy would completely change if all documentation were to become public information.”

MLB has proposed playing in front of no fans in games starting the first week in July, though that timeline could be pushed back if labor discussions stretch on and preclude spring training 2.0 starting in mid-June.

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