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NBA players approve plan to start season on Dec. 22 – CityNews Toronto

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The National Basketball Players Association voted Thursday to support the notion of starting this coming season on Dec. 22, the date that the league has been targeting in its talks about how and when to get teams back on the floor for a planned 72-game season.

The vote, conducted by the NBPA’s board – which has a player rep from each team, entrusted to speak on behalf of his teammates – is just another part of a lengthy process. Among the primary matters still to be determined: how much escrow will be taken from player salaries because of the shorter-than-usual season, and how the league and the players will navigate testing and other health and safety issues amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

All that has to be worked out before the plans for next season truly become official.

“Additional details remain to be negotiated and the NBPA is confident that the parties will reach agreement on these remaining issues relevant to the upcoming season,” the union said in a statement.

Talks between the NBA and NBPA on those and other topics are continuing, though there is obvious urgency to finalize things. The NBA draft is scheduled for Nov. 18 and the plan presented to players – and now approved by the team reps – calls for training camps to begin on Dec. 1.

Free agency would almost certainly have to be wedged between the draft and the start of those camps, the league year would have to open, trades would have to become permissible again and some players need to be presented with deadlines by which they will have to either accept or decline options for this coming season.

The NBA wanted the Dec. 22 start date over a mid-January notion for many reasons, revenue being foremost among them. A 72-game season, by league estimates, would allow for $500 million more in revenue than a season of no more than 60 games – the mid-January option – would have provided.

The Dec. 22 start also means that the NBA’s traditional Christmas schedule of games will be possible, something the league and its broadcast partners wanted. The season is also expected to conclude before the start of next summer’s Tokyo Olympics, meaning NBA player participation in those games remains possible.

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Raptors Announce Coaching Staff Changes – Raptors.com

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The Toronto Raptors announced Friday that Chris Finch and Jama Mahlalela (Jah-MAH MAH-la-lay-lah) have been added to Head Coach Nick Nurse’s staff as assistant coaches. In a corresponding move, Patrick Mutumbo will take over as head coach of Raptors 905, replacing Mahlalela. Joining Mutombo in Mississauga from the Raptors staff will also be Brittni Donaldson and John Bennett. Per team policy, financial terms of the deals were not disclosed. 

Finch spent the past three years in New Orleans (2017-20), including last season as Associate Head Coach. He has also served as an assistant coach with Denver (2016-17) and Houston (2011-16). Prior to joining the Rockets, Finch had two successful seasons (2009-11) as head coach with Houston’s G League affiliate the Rio Grande Valley Vipers. He guided the team to consecutive appearances in the G League Finals and amassed a record of 67-33 (.670). The Vipers captured the 2010 G League Championship and for his efforts Finch was awarded the Dennis Johnson Coach of the Year Award.

Raised in Reading, Pennsylvania, Finch played professionally overseas with the Sheffield Sharks (1993-1997) in the British Basketball League (BBL) before beginning his coaching career with the same team. Under his leadership (1997-2003), the Sharks enjoyed the franchise’s most successful run in team history and Finch was named the BBL Coach of the Year in 1998-99. He coached for 12 seasons in Europe with additional stints in Germany (2003-04) and Belgium (2004-09).

On the international stage, Finch took over a dormant Great Britain National Team in 2006 and captured FIBA’s 2007 Division B Promotional Competition. In 2009, his squad qualified for the European Championships for the first time since 1981 and qualified again in 2011. Finch also led the British National Team in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London where Nurse was one of his assistants. 

Finch graduated in 1992 as a two-time All-American from Franklin & Marshall College, and was inducted into the F&M Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.

Mahlalela was an assistant coach with the Raptors for five seasons (2014-18) prior to becoming the head coach for Raptors 905 where he accumulated a record of 51-42 (.548) in two seasons. Mahlalela joined the Raptors front office as director of player development, where he served for two seasons before moving to the bench. 

A native of Mbabane, Swaziland, Mahlalela grew up in the Greater Toronto Area. He played collegiately at the University of British Columbia and was as assistant coach at the University of Toronto for four seasons.

Mahlalela started with the Raptors organization on the community development staff in 2006, leading the Raptors Basketball Academy and various clinics throughout Canada. He was named director of basketball operations for NBA Asia in 2009 and oversaw the League’s clinics, youth programs and elite-level development from his base in Hong Kong.

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Raptors 905 announce Mutombo as head coach, Mahlalela to re-join Nurse – Sportsnet.ca

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TORONTO — The Toronto Raptors have hired former New Orleans Pelicans associate head coach Chris Finch and ex-Raptors 905 head coach Jama Mahlalela as assistant coaches for Nick Nurse’s staff.

Raptors assistant coach Patrick Mutumbo will take over as coach of Raptors 905, a G League team.

Raptors assistants Brittni Donaldson and John Bennett also will join the Raptors 905 staff.

Finch spent the past three years in New Orleans. Previously, he was an assistant coach with Denver (2016-17) and Houston (2011-16).

Prior to his time in the NBA, Finch guided Rio Grande to two consecutive appearances in the G League final, including a championship in 2010.

Finch also was head coach of the British men’s national team at the 2012 Olympics, with Nurse serving as one of his assistants.

Mahlalela was an assistant coach with the Raptors for five seasons (2014-18) prior to becoming head coach for Raptors 905 the past two year.

A native of Swaziland, Mahlalela grew up in the Greater Toronto Area.

The Raptors open training camp this weekend in Tampa, Fla.

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NHL considering mid-January start, 56-game season: reports – CBC.ca

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The NHL is now considering a mid-January start date for an abbreviated 56-game regular season, multiple outlets reported Friday.

The league and NHL Players’ Association discussed multiple options for the upcoming campaign Thursday night.

The Jan. 1 start date both sides had been shooting for is no longer realistic given the time needed for training camp and other preparations. TSN reported that Jan. 15 or 16 is a more likely target, with the NHL looking to wrap up the Stanley Cup Final by early July.

A 52-game season was discussed, but sources told The Athletic, which CBC Sports has not independently verified, that both sides would prefer 56 games for obvious revenue reasons.

Training camps for all 31 teams would begin around Jan. 2.

There are still several financial issues that need to be worked out. Surges in COVID-19 numbers could also force further delays to the calendar.

The 2019-20 NHL season was interrupted in March by the pandemic. The hockey season eventually was completed over the summer in two bubble locations: Edmonton and Toronto.

The Stanley Cup Finals concluded Sept. 28 with the Tampa Bay Lightning defeating the Dallas Stars in six games.

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