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The NBA’s board of governors is expected to approve commissioner Adam Silver’s recommendation to resume the 2019-20 season in Orlando in a vote scheduled for June 4, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne.
A 22-team format is gaining support among the board’s members, who are also considering a 20-team proposal, Wojnarowski and Shelburne report.
The recommendation lines up one of the proposals Silver and the board reportedly discussed during a Friday conference call; under that proposed format, teams within six games of a playoff berth would continue to play regular-season games, with a play-in tournament determining the final postseason field.
Six teams outside the playoff picture were within six games of a berth when the league announced a hiatus on March 11 due to COVID-19: the Portland Trail Blazers (3.5 games behind), New Orleans Pelicans (3.5), Sacramento Kings (3.5), San Antonio Spurs (four), and Phoenix Suns (six) in the Western Conference, and the Washington Wizards (5.5) in the East.
Targeting July 31 as the date for the NBA’s return to action was also reportedly discussed during Friday’s call.
The long and the short of Webb Simpson and Bryson DeChambeau – TSN
They are arguably the two hottest golfers in the game, two players who’ve been fixtures at the top of the leaderboard since the PGA Tour restarted play.
Yet the styles of play of Webb Simpson and Bryson DeChambeau couldn’t be more different. As they head into the weekend at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, they find themselves separated by just a shot at the top of the leaderboard.
In the three and a half tournaments since the tour returned to action, Simpson has a missed cut and a win, the latter coming at the RBC Heritage. He leads the FedEx Cup standings and sits sixth on the Official World Golf Ranking. He also has the lowest scoring average on the PGA Tour at 68.662.
A win or runner-up finish this week would make Simpson the top-ranked American golfer.
His game has been a model of consistency for some time, mind you. The missed cut at the Charles Schwab Challenge was just his second in his last 38 starts.
Last week, he skipped the Travelers Championship after his daughter tested positive for COVID-19, a test that Simpson said later showed to be a false positive. Still, the week at home was a good rest and allowed him to keep his well-tuned swing in shape.
“Coming off Hilton Head feeling like everything in the golf swing was simplified, I felt like there was not a whole lot to work on or improve upon, so it was more just kind of like maintenance work,” he said.
“I’ve tried to become more well-rounded through the bag and I’m seeing results. I’m having fun out there.”
DeChambeau has finished tied for third, tied for eighth and tied for sixth in three tournaments so far. He’s had a legitimate chance to win all of them. His play puts him 12th on the FedEx Cup points list and 10th in the world ranking. He has the third-best scoring average on tour with a mark of 68.822.
Despite the great numbers and results, DeChambeau is far from satisfied with his bulked-up body and how it’s translated into his overall game
“Playing the golf that I want to play, if I was to give myself a grade, and I know people are going to say things about this and people are going to chirp and chime in on what they think, ‘oh, he’s playing unbelievable golf,’ I’d really say it’s B game right now,” stated DeChambeau. “It’s not 100 per cent, but it’s not bad, either. I’m still able to get it in, I’m able to score, which is great, but I still have to refine some things.”
One of those is his wedge play, which lags behind the rest of his game. He sits 104th in Strokes Gained: Around the Green and is 194th in Scrambling from outside 30 yards.
But the big difference in the games of the two players comes at the start and finish of every hole.
DeChambeau and his newfound muscle feature a game built to overpower the golf course, while Simpson’s relies on accuracy and touch.
This week, DeChambeau sits unsurprisingly in top spot in Driving Distance with his longest whallop travelling 377 yards. Simpson is at the opposite end of that statistic, sitting in 89th spot with an average of 293.6.
But in accuracy off the tee, the numbers flip around. Simpson is tied for fourth while DeChambeau is well back in a tie for 93rd. Simpson also has a healthy lead in hitting greens, reaching 32 of 36 so far. DeChambeau has only found 27.
It proves once again that in golf, it doesn’t matter how you do it, just how many strokes it takes to get it done.
NASCAR's Johnson has COVID-19 – TSN
INDIANAPOLIS — Seven-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson has tested positive for the coronavirus and will miss this weekend’s race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,
The 44-year-old Johnson is the first driver in any NASCAR series to test positive and the news Friday evening cast a shadow over the historic NASCAR-IndyCar doubleheader races coming up Saturday and Sunday. There was no indication any races would be affected.
Hendrick Motorsports said Johnson will not return until he is cleared by a physician. He was tested earlier Friday after his wife, Chani, tested positive after experiencing allergy-like symptoms.
Johnson is asymptomatic.
“My first priority is the health and safety of my loved ones and my teammates,” Johnson said. “I’ve never missed a race in my Cup career, but I know it’s going to be very hard to watch from the sidelines when I’m supposed to be out there competing. Although this situation is extremely disappointing, I’m going to come back ready to win races and put ourselves in playoff contention.”
Johnson earlier Friday held a Zoom session with reporters to discuss Sunday’s race and an upcoming test of an Indy car on the road course at the fabled venue. He will now miss that test, as well as what was supposed to be his final Brickyard 400. Justin Allgaier will replace him in the No. 48 Chevrolet.
“Jimmie has handled this situation like the champion he is,” said Rick Hendrick, owner of Hendrick Motorsports. “We’re relieved he isn’t showing symptoms and that Chani is doing great, and we know he’ll be back and ready to go very soon. It’s going to be difficult for him to be out of the car and away from his team, but it’s the right thing to do for Jimmie and everyone involved.”
Hendrick Motorsports said it has implemented detailed procedures to protect the health of its team members. They include daily COVID-19 screenings at the team facilities; the separation of facility operations and travelling personnel; split work schedules; stringent face covering and social distancing requirements; and an increased level of disinfecting and sanitization of all work areas.
Johnson is scheduled to retire from full-time NASCAR competition at the end of the season and was trying to tie Jeff Gordon and Michael Schumacher as the only five-time winners at Indianapolis.
Johnson has made 663 conscutive Cup Series starts — the longest streak among active drivers — and is currently 12th in the standings, 63 points inside the playoff picture. NASCAR’s rules state a driver must be symptom free and have two negative coronavirus tests in a 24-hour span to return.
NASCAR said it has granted Johnson a playoff waiver.
“Jimmie is a true battle-tested champion, and we wish him well in his recovery,” the series said.
Johnson could potentially also miss the Cup race at Kentucky and the All-Star race at Bristol. Next week’s test of the road course at Indy in Scott Dixon’s car has also been scrapped.
NASCAR was one of the first sports to resume competition from the pandemic shutdown and has completed 11 Cup races since its May 17 return. The sanctioning body does not test for coronavirus but participants are required to do a temperature check as they enter the facility.
Drivers have been told to isolate at the track and there is very little interaction beyond radio conversation between the competitor and his crew.
Although Stewart-Haas Racing and Team Penske both said they’ve had positive tests from shop-based team members, Johnson is the first driver. Earlier Friday, Brazilian sports car driver Felipe Nasr said he had tested positive and will miss Saturday’s IMSA event at Daytona International Speedway.
Johnson earlier Friday discussed the Indy car test scheduled with Chip Ganassi Racing, which he said was the first step in determine if actual races are in his future. If he’s any good, he said, he would be open to racing all 12 street and road course events on the IndyCar schedule.
Johnson has long said safety concerns would keep him from racing on IndyCar oval tracks, but Friday he offered a surprisingly softer stance about the Indy 500. IndyCar this year unveiled its aeroscreen windshield designed to protect the drivers from debris as they sit in the open-air cockpits. Saturday will mark just the second race with the device, but it appeared problem-free last month on the oval at high-speed Texas Motor Speedway.
“Their safety on ovals has dramatically increased this year with the windscreen. So, I’ll keep a close eye on things there and see how the safety level looks,” Johnson said. “I’ve always wanted to race the Indy 500. I’d have to do a lot of selling to my wife to get that pass, but my true desire right now is to just run the road courses.”
Johnson has his eye on the street course race in Long Beach, California, a race that was cancelled this year because of the coronavirus pandemic but is one of the most storied events on the IndyCar calendar at a track just a couple hours from his native El Cajon.
“When I was a kid growing up, the closest IndyCar racing for me was at Long Beach so one of my hopes is that I am able to race at Long Beach,” Johnson said. “I hung on the fence a lot as a kid watching and dreaming. …. There’s a lot of sentimental value with that race and I hope to race there.”
He is stuck in a three-year losing streak but Hendrick Motorsports has been dramatically improved this season and Johnson has been competitive. He has also been actively prepping for a whirl in an Indy car and had been scheduled to test with the McLaren team before the pandemic.
“It’s a test, it’s a tryout and it’s a two-way street. Two-way tryout for the team to look at me and for myself to look at a team,” he said. “If I’m about four seconds off the pace, then that’s probably a quick sign that I don’t need to be in one of these cars. If I’m within a certain amount of time and I have a good feel of the car, then for me, I feel like that’s an important first step that I need to know that I can be competitive.
“I do not want to go race in any series and not be competitive,” he said.
Blue Jays and first-round draft pick Austin Martin agree to terms – Bluebird Banter
Sportsnet’s Hazel Mae reported this afternoon that the Blue Jays will be signing their first-round draft pick Austin Martin pending a physical.
#BlueJays and first round draft pick, Austin Martin, in agreement on a deal, pending physical, according to an industry source.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) July 3, 2020
There are no details yet about Martin’s signing bonus. His slot value, as the fifth overall pick, is $6,180,700. The Blue Jays have a total pool of $9,716,500 and the ability to go another $485,824 without running into the worst penalties, so their cap is effectively $10,202,324.
They signed their second rounder CJ Van Eyk for $1,800,000, third rounder Trent Palmer for $850,000, and fifth rounder Zach Britton for $97,500. Do a bit of mental math and it gives a total of $2,747,500 in bonuses handed out so far, and a nice $6,969,000 remaining. That gives them $7,454,824 of room to give to Martin and fourth rounder Nick Frasso without forfeiting future draft picks by exceeding their pool. That $7.45 million figure lands between the second and third overall slot bonus.
Let’s play a game in the comments below. Guess Austin Martin’s signing bonus; closest without going over wins 15,000 Internet Points. An exact guess wins 50,000 Internet Points.
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