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NBA notebook: Players, coaches kneel as games return

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ByReuters
31/07/2020 at 02:01 | Updated 31/07/2020 at 02:02

Every person present at HP Fieldhouse on the ESPN Wide World of Sports campus near Orlando knelt during the national anthem before the first game of the NBA's restarted season on Thursday night.

All players, coaches and staff members of the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah
Jazz, along with all officials, wore shirts reading "BLACK LIVES MATTER,"
which was also printed on the court. Many locked arms with those next to them,
while some players raised fists in the air.

The players and coaches on the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers
also knelt prior to Thursday night's later game at The Arena on the Wide World
of Sports campus.

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Players displayed a variety of social justice messages on the backs of their
jerseys, including "Black Lives Matter," "Say Their Names" and "I Can't
Breathe."

--Tom Thibodeau was named head coach of the New York Knicks.

The former Knicks assistant coach (1996-2004) signed a five-year deal to guide
a rapid rebuild alongside new team president Leon Rose.

Thibodeau, who previously was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls (2010-15)
and Minnesota Timberwolves (2016-19), had been considered the frontrunner for
the job and had a formal interview in early July. The 62-year-old has a
352-246 career record.

--Rookie sensation Zion Williamson scored 13 points in 15 minutes while
playing in the New Orleans Pelicans' season restart 106-104 loss to the Utah
Jazz on Thursday night.

Head coach Alvin Gentry called Williamson a game-time decision, saying two
hours before tip-off that a final call would be made after Williamson warmed
up. The news that he would play was reported less than an hour before tip.

Williamson recently returned to the Pelicans after being away due to a family
emergency and was cleared to practice with the team on Tuesday night after
serving a four-day quarantine.

--The Milwaukee Bucks will begin the NBA's restarted season in central Florida
without guards Eric Bledsoe and Pat Connaughton, head coach Mike Budenholzer
said.

Bledsoe and Connaughton will both sit out against the Boston Celtics on
Friday, while their status for Sunday's game against Houston is unknown.

Both are working into shape after arriving late at the NBA bubble, following
positive tests for COVID-19. Both practiced on Thursday, but neither took part
in any of the Bucks' three exhibition games.

--The NBA and National Basketball Players Association reached a deal that will
provide $2.5 million in disability insurance for career-ending injuries, ESPN
reported.

The insurance would cover off-court injuries as well, including COVID-19.
Further, the payout would be in addition to the contract payout and covers
active players up to 35 years old, according to the report.

The previous policy paid out approximately $312,000, according to the report.

--Field Level Media

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