The CBA was the first major sports league to feel the impact of the COVID-19 virus. And because quarantines escalated through the Lunar New Year in late January, many players and coaches out of town for the holiday have not been able to return. There are now more than 118,000 cases and 4,000 deaths globally, according to the World Health Organization. It was officially declared a pandemic on Wednesday. For the NBA, which is making preparations in the event of a wider spread of the virus in the U.S., what has happened in China is an unsettling look at the fallout from the temporary stoppage of a well-planned and relatively deep-pocketed league. “I haven’t been home this time of year since I was in high school,” said Andrew Nicholson, a Loong Lions forward who was drafted 19th in 2012 by the Orlando Magic and played in the NBA for five years. “It’s been frustrating, but no one could have expected this, no one can control it.”
Lance Stephenson plays for the Liaoning Flying Leopards and is one of the players looking to be released from his deal to return to the NBA. A player needs a "letter of clearance" from FIBA, the international governing body, to do so. No players have been granted one as of yet. "FIBA is sympathetic to the situation, but there's no clarity," said one prominent agent with clients in China. "It's complex, and everyone who is working on it is going hour to hour."
Jeremy Lin: Over the past few weeks, I’ve been monitoring coronavirus and the darkness it’s casted over the world. News headlines of racism, xenophobia, attacks on Asians and decaying trust towards people. All heartbreaking and the opposite of God's kingdom. But for every fear-inducing headline, I see hope. I see doctors and nurses fighting the front lines in China, Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy and more. I see people helping people in countries regardless of race or background. Talk less out of hate, more out of empathy. Lets talk about the man who made 16,000 meals for frontline workers. Lets appreciate the doctor who postponed his wedding and then tragically lost his life fighting the virus. He's a hero.Lets be inspired and demand justice for Meera Solanki who defended her Asian friend against an aggressive man in Birmingham only to be knocked unconscious. Lets follow suit and take action like Inner Mongolia who sent 2500 tons of potatoes to Wuhan.
Jeremy Lin: There are many examples of racism but also countless examples of hope - May Lee and her podcast, the Guardian Angels group, companies donating masks, all the bold frontline workers and more. Dont criticize unless youre willing to be a part of the solution. With my bball foundation in China, we’ve donated 1 million RMB to get medical equipment to Wuhan. I’ll also be donating an additional $150,000 towards fighting this virus. Let's all do our part to quarantine, wash our hands vigorously, wear a protective mask to avoid germs spreading and do our part to share facts and preventative measures. Stay together, fight on! Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good -- Romans 12:9
Chris Mannix: Among the next steps for the NBA will be to find out just how many in the Jazz organization are infected, league sources told @SInow, information that should start coming in the next few hours.
Under the direction of team and MedStar medical staff, the Washington Wizards have advised players, coaches and basketball operations personnel to self-quarantine for the next three to four days. The decision was made with an abundance of caution due to the team’s recent game schedule, which saw them play at Utah on Feb. 29 and against New York (who played Utah on Mar. 4) on Mar. 10. Players, coaches and basketball operations staff who exhibit or develop flu-like symptoms will be tested for COVID-19.
Emiliano Carchia: OFFICIAL: EuroLeague suspends Round 29 of the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague as announced by CSKA Moscow on its Instagram account “Euroleague decided to cancel the games of the 29th round of the regular season". pic.twitter.com/SVJYCwzPma
Emiliano Carchia: Real Madrid’s Trey Thompkins reportedly positive for Covid-19 sportando.basketball/en/real-madrid…
A Real Madrid player of the senior squad has tested positive for coronavirus, the Whites informed via press release on Thursday. As a result, both the basketball and the football teams were put into quarantine to prevent further COVID-19 spreading. According to LaSexta, the player found positive is Trey Thompkins. The whole Valdebebas area which holds the shared practice facilities for both the basketball and football divisions is now under quarantine. As for the members of the squads themselves, they must remain home for 15 days.
Candace Buckner: There's a growing belief among league executives the NBA will begin testing players for the coronavirus soon. Possibly as soon as tonight following the slate of games.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA owners and executives have slammed league office with a myriad of procedural and bigger picture questions. The league’s response: Sit tight until Thursday and let us work through it all. Some teams are planning to close facilities today and give players a couple of days away.
Shams Charania: Sources: The Raptors have informed their players to self-quarantine for the next 14 days due to coronavirus situation. Toronto faced Utah and Rudy Gobert on Monday.
Joe Vardon: As of now, the Cavs — who played against Utah last week — are not being tested for the Coronavirus
According to sources, none of the Knicks players will be tested for coronavirus just yet. Reports, however, said the last five teams that faced the Jazz, which includes the Knicks, are expected to be self-quarantined. While the game was still being contested, the NBA announced it will suspend the season until further notice following Wednesday’s games because a Jazz player — reportedly center Rudy Gobert — tested positive for coronavirus.
Royce Young: According to sources, the Jazz will be staying tonight in OKC at a hotel, and then pending the overnight results of the virus testing, will make plans on how to travel back to Salt Lake. Which could include a positive test charter plane and a negative charter plane.
Oleh Kosel: Adrian Wojnarowski said minutes ago on ESPN that there is optimism the NBA regular season will eventually start back up but on a truncated schedule. Not good news for those teams (see Pelicans) trying to move up inside the playoff bubble.
Now, the NBA will decide what’s next after making sure its players get the medical attention they need. It will have options. It could try to squeeze in an 82-game season (there are more than 260 remaining) and just move back the start of the playoffs, including the Finals, the draft, free agency and the Las Vegas Summer League — while considering the Tokyo Olympics, if that event is held. Or the league could decide to play the remaining games scheduled when play resumes even if it means less than an 82-game season. The league has done that before in lockout seasons — 66 games in 2010-11 and 50 games in 1998-99.
And there’s another scenario. If the outbreak doesn’t slow by a certain time, say it’s still a serious problem in May, it isn't that unfathomable to envision the league canceling the season and going without a champion. No one wants that. But it’s what the NBA, its players, staff and partners may have to confront.
Harrison Wind: Mark Cuban on ESPN: “I trust Adam (Silver). It’s not really about basketball or money. If this thing is really exploding to the point of players having it, you’re thinking about your family and making sure you’re doing this the right way.”
Tim MacMahon: Mark Cuban says the NBA has told teams that they can continue to practice. He adds that players have been told they should not have visitors from out of town.
Mark Berman: #Rockets owner @TilmanJFertitta: “After our phone call (conf call) today & talking about suspending the season or playing the game with no fans, there’s pluses & minuses to both, but after what happened this evening (Utah player tested positive) the NBA made the right decision..” pic.twitter.com/s6PPJQDLPl
Shams Charania: The NBA G League has suspended its season after NBA's indefinite suspension.
Jeff Goodman: Utah Jazz G-League team had game canceled tonight against Phoenix Suns G-League team in Arizona. Two players - Miye Oni and Jarrell Brantley— were with the Jazz last week and are waiting now to be tested to make sure they don’t have the Coronavirus, source told @Stadium.
Royce Young: I've been told that Rudy Gobert was never at the arena tonight, but he was in OKC. If he had been cleared of the virus, he was set to play.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Jazz and Thunder officials worked together on Wednesday as they awaited results of Rudy Gobert's coronavirus test, sources tell ESPN. Jazz wanted to make sure no OKC player had physical contact or became exposed to any Utah player before the result of Gobert's test was known.
And on Monday, Gobert had appeared to joke about the coronavirus after an interview session with reporters. He made a point to touch all of their tape recorders and microphones on his way to the team's shootaround.
Sam Amick: This has everything to do with the Pelicans players. Word spread about official Courtney Kirkland, and it was a tipping point. “Our guys don’t want to play,” one Pelicans source tells @The Athletic
James Ham: Confirmed through a league source that Kings fully intended to play this evening, but the Pelicans decided against coming out due to official Courtney Kirkland's participation in Monday's Utah Jazz/Toronto Raptors game.
Dave McMenamin: There is no practice or meeting scheduled tomorrow for the Lakers players, per a team spokesperson. Players are welcome to come in to the practice facility for treatment, however. Lakers team employees have been asked to work from home.
Adam Himmelsbach: According to a league source, the Celtics are currently scheduled to fly home to Boston from Milwaukee at 11 a.m. tomorrow.
Nick Kosmider: Michael Malone: “It’s scary. You feel like you’re in a movie.” Said players are still trying to wrap their minds around everything.
Kevin Chouinard: Trae Young on the game: "To be honest, we were just trying to figure out the next steps." Players were getting bits of information before the game and at halftime.
The Vertical: "No way?!" Devin Booker was live on Twitch when he found out the news about the NBA pic.twitter.com/LGhOqCbXS0
Rod Beard: #Pistons Langston Galloway on his concern, having just played the #Jazz on Saturday: "It’s in the back of our minds. We understand the space we’re in right now, knowing we just played them."
Turkish Airlines EuroLeague: Euroleague Basketball evaluating temporary suspension of its competitions.
Considering the current situation with the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and in order to protect the health and safety of players, coaches, officials and fans, FIBA today has announced that all FIBA competitions are suspended as of tomorrow, Friday, 13 March 2020. FIBA will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis and will evaluate the options for the continuation or not of the respective competitions when and if the situation allows for it.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Jazz and Thunder players are currently quarantined in the OKC arena, league sources tell ESPN. This is following Rudy Gobert testing positive for the coronavirus.
Sam Amick: You can safely expect testing/restrictions for the recent teams that played the Jazz: Toronto, Detroit, Boston, New York in the past eight days. The Rudy Gobert ripple effect will be massive.
Shams Charania: Utah Jazz All-Star Rudy Gobert has tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. Sources say Gobert is feeling good, strong and stable — and was feeling strong enough to play tonight.
Will Guillory: Gentry was asked about the Utah-OKC situation. He said the focus is on getting through tonight’s game. David Griffin has been in constant communication with the league. It’s still uncertain what the next steps will look like.
Christian Clark: Alvin Gentry on likelihood of playing games in empty arenas: "I think it’s important to remember that this is not a minor thing by any stretch of the imagination, not just in this country but in the world. You have to contain it and manage it as best you can."
Adrian Wojnarowski: Several teams were willing to put the games on hiatus, but the rest wanted to move toward eliminating fans from arenas to continue playing games, sources tell ESPN. One team wanted to keep status quo until a governmental/public mandate dictated change: The New York Knicks.
The majority of NBA owners are leaning toward a proposal to temporarily play games without fans in the buildings in response to the global concerns surrounding the coronavirus, a person with direct knowledge of the talks said. NBA owners met via teleconference Wednesday and have more talks scheduled Thursday with the intention of finalizing plans so an announcement can be made by the league.
The owners discussed an option to temporarily suspend play of all games, but the idea of playing without fans — and stressing that it would be for the short term — is what received the most support.
Adrian Wojnarowski: New story filed to ESPN: The NBA’s Board of Governors shared a consensus on Wednesday to continue the season playing games without fans in arenas amid the coronavirus crisis, and Commissioner Adam Silver is expected to move in that direction with a decision on Thursday.
Josh Lewenberg: Nurse on the possibility of playing fan-less games: “I don’t think it’s gonna be much fun, but if the games need to keep ticking over to keep the schedule moving along or whatever, we’ll certainly go out there and approach it from a professional standpoint and do the best we can”
Josh Lewenberg: Nick Nurse on the coronavirus threat: “I really really trust the leadership at the top of the NBA and know they’re on top of it... I fully support whatever they tell us to do. Let’s help the solution and get it taken care of as quickly as we can.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Reporting with @Zach Lowe: Consensus among owners on Board of Governors call with league office was either continue season with no fans in arenas -- or have NBA take a hiatus for a period time. NBA is expected to have a decision as soon as Thursday on next steps.
Today, the Sacramento Kings released the following statement regarding the current coronavirus (COVID-19) situation: “After consultation with Sacramento County Public Health officials, tonight’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans at Golden 1 Center will proceed as usual with fans. With regards to future Golden 1 Center events, we continue to monitor the coronavirus (COVID-19) situation closely and will follow the mandated guidelines of the NBA, CDC, medical experts and government officials.”
Dwain Price: A light-hearted moment happened when I asked #Mavs G Delon Wright if he's upset reporters will no longer be in the locker room. Wright said: "Ya'll don't talk to me anyway." @Dallas Mavericks
Michael Singer: Michael Malone re. rapidly changing protocol due to virus: “I don’t know what tomorrow brings.” Said he expects more bizarre components to final 18 games.
Marc Berman: Atlanta coach Lloyd Pierce: "It’s human nature waiting to see what’s next. Last few days, "next" has been three hours later. We know the NBA is meeting. We know NCAA is shutting down (fans from) their games. Who knows what happens after our game tonight?’’
Jeremy Woo: At least a third of NBA teams have now pulled scouts from the road due to coronavirus concerns, per league sources. Some teams have made travel optional, while others remain at conference tournaments. There's a growing sense the predraft process could be majorly impacted.
Rod Boone: James Borrego also said it looks like things are going in the direction playing games without fans in Charlotte. No decision has been made yet, but the signs a uthll around the league are there.
Chris Mannix: USA Basketball Managing Director Jerry Colangelo tells @SInow that USA Basketball operations are proceeding normally. No withdrawals by players concerned about #coronavirus -- yet -- and there has been no communication about postponing or canceling the Games.
Chris Mannix: Colangelo, like most, is anxious to see how everything plays out. But he tells @SInow that it's "all systems go" at USAB, with plans in place to have a team selected in early June.
Jeff Goodman: NCAA source to me: “Things are moving quickly. Right now, it’s no fans. But we don’t know where this is headed. There have been discussions about canceling or postponing the NCAA Tournament, but we’re hoping it doesn’t get to that point.”
Ben Golliver: Ice Cube's "Big 3" professional basketball league has announced that, for six weeks this summer, games will be moved to an "intimate, safe, controlled non-arena venue in LA" rather than be held in previously announced cities around the country.
Melissa Rohlin: AD on potentially playing w/o fans: "‘If you have a big play, it’s going to be quiet. Nobody is there to celebrate that play with you. There could possibly be a lot more techs because you can hear what players are saying now. The refs can hear clearly. It will be different."
Tom Moore: #Pistons coach Dwane Casey: ‘It’s unprecedented. ... I know the league is taking it very serious.’
Kyle Neubeck: Pistons coach Dwane Casey on what he might do differently if the NBA played games in empty arenas. “Probably cuss less.”
Greg Logan: Here’s good news. I’m told print media will cover #Nets at #Warriors. #KevinDurant is staying in LA and will rejoin team Friday vs #Clippers. Otherwise, it’s glorious day in SF. Passed bar in terminal where sound system was playing pianist Horace Silver and “Song for My Father.”
Mark Medina: Dwight Howard missed Tuesday’s game vs Brooklyn because of a stomach bug that Frank Vogel said is NOT related to the coronavirus. He’s back at practice today
Sam Amick: Meanwhile, I'm told the Kings-Pelicans game in Sacramento tonight (that I'll be attending) will still involve fans. As a relevant sidenote, I originally planned weeks ago on bringing my family out to see Zion in person. Those plans have most assuredly changed.
Mark Medina: The Lakers’ G-League team has a game tonight at the team’s practice facility vs the Austin Spurs. As of now, the game will be open to fans but situation is fluid because of coronavirus concerns.
Jeff Goodman: I’ve been told that the NCAA still hasn’t determined whether media will be allowed at the NCAA Tournament.
Sources say the league is still considering more sensible options as well, among them the prospect of pushing its entire calendar back. The NBA has been asking teams to provide its arena schedule through July, which is as clear a sign as any that the notion of putting everything on hold for a while so the authorities can attempt to contain the virus remains in play. If nothing else, it’s a good sign that the focus is moving away from half-measures to full ones – dollars be damned.
This reported idea of relocating games to places that haven’t been impacted by the virus is just absurd, in large part because of the optics. Nothing says being tone-deaf like taking your employees from a place that is impacted to a place that’s safe because, well, there is work to be done.
In a meeting with the National Basketball Players Association on the coronavirus crisis Wednesday, the NBA and union discussed ways to continue the season without the cancellation or loss of games -- while conceding the sport was trending toward a period of time without fans in attendance at arenas, sources told ESPN.
The NBA is exploring solutions to allow them to continue playing and televising games during the coronavirus crisis, even with it increasingly likely that the league will do so in empty arenas, sources said. The NBA is bracing for the losses in the hundreds of millions of dollars across the sport, sources said.
David Aldridge: Mayor Bowser says she can order events in D.C. to be closed that exceed the 1,000-person limit that was "recommended" to be cancelled or postponed earlier Wednesday, and that the District can "pull the permits" of large gatherings that don’t voluntary delay through March 31.
Shams Charania: The NCAA's men's and women's tournaments will be held without fans -- and only essential staff and limited family attendance.
May 26, 2022 | 12:37 pm EDT Update
And the Rivers rumors? Seems the players, and perhaps general manager Rob Pelinka, too, would rather see an experienced, win-now coach on the sidelines. “If LeBron could pick,” the executive said, “it’s pretty certain he’d pick Doc.” The exec was quick to point out that the Lakers had hoed to be united on the coaching front, considering their last foray into a coaching hire, in 2019, was bungled. The team pursued Ty Lue then but would not meet his contract request, and lost out on Monty Williams to Phoenix almost at the same time. Recently fired coach Frank Vogel was the Lakers’ third choice.
Most of the front office, it seems, has zeroed in on Darvin Ham, with former head coaches Terry Stotts (Portland) and Kenny Atkinson (Brooklyn) also in the mix. Ham was briefly an assistant with the Lakers, and according to league sources, he is the favorite of the Phil Jackson-Kurt Rambis layer of Lakers decision-makers. “I think those guys want a young coach they can mold a little bit,” one Western Conference executive told Heavy.com. “I do not think Darvin is a pushover by any means. I just think that they want a guy they can point in the direction they want to go, more traditional basketball, using Russell Westbrook a certain way.”
“A lot of teams would rather have that Detroit pick than the Dallas pick, you have more flexibility with second-rounders and they won’t be that far apart,” one GM told Heavy.com. “If they can make a pick swap only, and it costs them the Dallas pick next year and the Detroit second-rounder, it is a lot to give up, but that could land them in the Top 4. It is a significant move for them.”
Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice reported this week that the Nets are expected to defer their right to the Sixers’ first-round pick (No. 23 this year) to instead register in next year’s draft, and sources around the league confirmed that with Heavy.com. That does not mean it’s likely that the Nets will make that pick next season, though. It could be a valuable trade chip.
“There is too much for them to figure out to be able to make that pick this year,” one NBA source told Heavy.com. “They want young players to bring into the mix, Sean Marks wants to draft guys. But he’s got to think about winning a championship while he can. If you can put off that decision, it’s the right thing.”
During an interview Wednesday on the Stoney & Jansen Show, Lakers legend and Hall of Famer James Worthy, a three-time NBA champ, was asked what he thinks of today’s game and its heavy reliance on the three. And Worthy said the NBA has been diminished by “the rush of guys not going to college” — or at least not going for more than a year. “I mean, Kareem had four years with John Wooden, Michael Jordan and I had three years with Dean Smith, Isiah (Thomas) had some years with Bobby Knight. So you learned the fundamentals,” Worthy said. “Not only that, you learned how to live. You learned how to balance your freaking checkbook in college, there’s a lot of things. When you don’t get that, guys are coming to the NBA who are not fundamentally sound. All they do is practice threes, lift weights, get tattoos, tweet and go on social media. That’s it.
“So you don’t have that sound player; you have an athletic player. And that’s what’s happening to the game. It’s a lot of ISO and looking for mismatches. Bill Russell told me one time, they had five options off of one play. You don’t see that anymore.”
Worthy was also asked what’s wrong with his former team after LeBron James and the high-priced Lakers missed the playoffs two years removed from winning it all. “The Lakers, I think they have refused to build over the years,” Worthy said. “We’ve had some good players: (Brandon) Ingram, (Julius) Randle, (Lonzo) Ball. We have tried to win quickly. In Kobe’s last few years, we brought in (Steve) Nash who was a little bit older, Dwight Howard came in with a back injury. We traded away draft picks to try to win immediately and I think they’re going to have really think about how they need to build.