Trash-talk Toronto Raptors: NBA still on ice from coronavirus

Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kyle Lowry (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Welcome back to another edition of Trash-talk Toronto Raptors! Here we will discuss everything that happened with the Raptors except… basketball.

Another week has come and gone and we are still up in the air about the NBA season. As the coronavirus outbreak continues, the league more than ever is on ice for the foreseeable future.

The Toronto Raptors, however, have been fortunate in these tough times. As it stands, no Toronto Raptors or staff of the team have tested positive for the virus. This comes along as good news as we learned last week that four Nets players tested positive, which included Kevin Durant.

Additionally, last week we covered how the Toronto Raptors — along with the other teams in the Toronto area — pledged to help the workers of the arena during this tough time.

The Raptors proved to be well ahead of the potential backlash that could come if the team decided to abandon its employees.

Today, we are going to update you on the best Toronto Raptors connections, how the Philadelphia 76ers had a PR disaster, what it seems the NBA is planning for the future, and lastly Karl-Anthony Towns‘ message about his mother facing the virus.

Of course, we couldn’t be more grateful for you, the readers, and your input with our content. During this time particularly, if there is any funny or endearing content that you would like to see in a future column then please feel free to reach out to us on Twitter at @RaptorsRapture or @HughesWithMe.

During this time, anything and everything we do to stay connected and together will prove invaluable for the future.

Without further ado, onto this week’s edition of Trash-talk!

Serge Ibaka keeps us sane

Ibaka is well-known for his antics outside of the basketball court. He gave us the best show this year when he and OG Anunoby argued about scarves and has continuously updated us through the last couple of seasons with his show How Hungry Are You?

Now his show has evolved into a new series titled How Bored Are You? and he recently gave us a delightful phone call between him and Kyle Lowry.

There are a few funny bits between Lowry and Ibaka in the call. Like, of course, Lowry teases Ibaka about calling him six out of the seven days, which apparently is more than they even talk on the court. Yet, also, we get a brief peek into just how the players are handling the isolation. Strangely enough, they are just like us: bored, trying to stay in shape, and filling their time with nonsense.

But, the beautiful thing about it all is getting a quick view of the bond and friendship that Ibaka shares with Lowry, which I assume he shares with all of his teammates. While Ibaka has been a great player on the court, he might be even more valuable off the court. Which isn’t to diminish his skills as a basketball player, but to highlight the value of being personable and vivacious. It has come even more apparent how the Toronto Raptors may have fallen apart without Ibaka’s leadership at any given point.

Moreover, other Raptors players have stepped up and asked some hard questions, which have us all worried right now. Here’s Rondae Hollis-Jefferson broaching a subject we’re all concerned with:

I have a feeling that Hollis-Jefferson is teasing the world a bit considering he set to make $2.5 million this year. That said, he isn’t off the hook as even his salary is in question after the end of this NBA season. With revenue likely taking a big hit in the NBA, teams may be unable to offer as large of contracts for the next season.

Nonetheless, it is good to have NBA players asking the hard questions, even if it is intentionally humorous. These players have the ability to use their platform for good — and it’s becoming more and more apparent that we need them now more than ever.

With that, I would be remiss if I didn’t inform everyone of Stephen Curry‘s interview with Dr. Fauci set for 3/26 at 10 AM PST.

Here is a great player extending his platform to get some answers that we are all desperate for.

The Philadelphia 76ers made a bad call and got crushed

Unlike the Toronto Raptors, the 76ers decided to cut the pay up to 20 percent for salaried employees within the organization. Marc Stein of the New York Times reported the news below:

Nearly immediately, however, the 76ers got crushed by folks, which spurred the 76ers to pull a Joel “Do a 180” Embiid and reverse course after the backlash. Embiid himself tweeted his support of the reversal.

Of course, every organization has the right to handle this as they see fit. However, it is clear that fans are having a strong influence on what is deemed right and wrong. Interestingly, the power dynamics of the NBA and its team owners are losing compared to the masses of in-the-know fans. While fans have always been able to share their cheers or jeers to a particular trade or action, they’ve never been able to reverse the course of ownership.

These are weird times, indeed.

What we know: All the information about how the season could unfold

Over the course of this stoppage, journalists, the commissioner, and NBA owners have all envisioned ideas of ways to bring the NBA back. At this time, there is no solution being touted as the next steps as we still don’t completely know when we may flatten the curve for the virus.

Still, we’re here to try to pinpoint different information we’re being fed in a more readable format. So here it goes:

  • On 3/15, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the best-case scenario that NBA owners and executives were preparing for was a return mid-to-late June.
    • This came on the heels of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommending to refrain from gathering with more than 50-plus for at least eight weeks.
    • Additionally, this return to play would likely be without fans and teams have been told to attempt to secure arenas well into August for the playoffs.
    • Commissioner, Adam Silver, has been encouraging everyone to be open to new ideas and formats regarding the season as every solution is in play.
  • On 3/25, ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported that the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) has further delayed their restart to their season.
    • In his report, it was noted that the CBA had planned to restart on 4/15, but have delayed until at least May. Windhorst reported that other leagues looked to the CBA as a trial for recovery of play.
    • If they were to have played on 4/15 it would have been about an 11-week stoppage, but now they face about four months of stoppage. As a reminder, the NBA stopped play on 3/11.
  • On 3/24 and reported by ESPN on 3/25, Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, said that he was hopeful that the league would resume prior to June.
    • Cuban cited people he had talked to in the “CDC and other places” for his positive outlook on the season.
    • Cuban added the necessity of sports and its general relief for fans as a reason as to why he thinks it’s important to start things up as soon as it is physically safe to do so.

While these various reports sound hopeful, we must remember that they are coming from sources that desperately want the NBA to return. While we as fans also want it to return, it is not entirely up to the NBA, the owners, and the players to decide when they are to return.

Wired’s Steven Levy led an important and timely interview with Dr. Larry Brilliant, a doctor who helped eradicate smallpox, who shared some information on what to expect in the future and how we can potentially start returning to normalcy. Most importantly, Brilliant explained that we will have to develop a system to identify those that are immune and not infectious before we can feel comfortable sending groups back out into the public.

While the NBA seems to think they can get this going in a couple of months, the interview with Brilliant makes it seem like things are further away than expected, especially since we have had a lack of testing.

That said, I am speculating a bit and, like many others have said, I am not a doctor or a scientist. I can only encourage you to read up all the information about the virus and keep track of the journalists who are going to reliable sources.

It is up to you to make your own informed decision, but I hope I have helped point you toward some quality sources.

Thinking of Karl-Anthony Towns and his family

Before closing off this week’s edition of Trash-talk, I wanted to point out that KAT sent out a very heartfelt message about the difficulty his mother is facing with the coronavirus. Here is his message:

I love to tease people in this column and KAT may have been one of those players I have teased over the course of the season. But, it was all in good fun and was never a personal attack. However, I think that having KAT share his story will truly help others feel the reality of this disease. This is not a joke by any means, so listen to KAT and stay home.

All my thoughts go out to you and your family, KAT, during this time and we here at Raptors Rapture are rooting for you and your family.

Next. Three Raptors players who are having career-years. dark

That’s it for this week’s edition of Trash-talk. Tune in next week as we will continue to share what we know about the Toronto Raptors and the NBA as a whole.

Be safe and be well.