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http://twitter.com/ScottAgness/status/1281292489077424128
Enter Boston Celtics guard Marcus Smart, who used a video conference with reporters Tuesday to urge the league's younger players to take the coronavirus seriously even if they don't experience any symptoms. "It’s really concerning because unfortunately, those (asymptomatic cases) are the ones that (are) the problem," Smart said. "Because you go out there and you’re asymptomatic, you don’t know it and you go to your Grandma or you have a kid and go home to your kid, your wife, she’s pregnant, you never know. "You don’t know because you don’t feel anything, so you’re like, 'I don’t need to get tested. I feel fine.' Then you’re spreading it and now it’s everywhere and it’s out of control even more than what it is."
Later this month, the NBA will finally return to action after four and a half months at rest, inside the semi-permeable bubble at Disney World. Major League Baseball and the WNBA will return around that same time. Both American soccer leagues, the MLS and NWSL, will have been back for weeks. The leagues will face scrutiny unlike any other time in their history as they try to play amid a global pandemic. While the United States tries to stabilize itself as the novel coronavirus spreads, jumping from one epicenter to another, sports will make the biggest bet yet: That it can out-smart the virus long enough to play some semblance of a season for each of the respective leagues.
Locker rooms, and clubhouses, are central to any team. They are changing rooms and meeting rooms. They are destinations for players when they get to the arena and the last port before they leave. They are meant for uplifting moments and for killing time. For pregame speeches and halftime adjustments. They are also usually small, enclosed spaces that cluster dozens of people together for prolonged periods of time, encouraging them to feel at ease. In normal times, that is ideal; a place that can feel like a comfortable salon for the professional athlete. During a pandemic, it seems like a petrie dish for the spread of the virus.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Prince is the fourth Nets player – including DeAndre Jordan, Spencer Dinwiddie and Wilson Chandler – to opt-out of the league’s restart. Nets are eligible to sign four substitute players. Team departed this evening for Orlando.
When asked why specifically he thought the league shouldn't resume play, he provided a poignant response. “I think [the spread of the virus], and then also I feel like there's a lot of other stuff going on," Milton said. "There are issues going on right now in the world that are way bigger than a sport, way bigger than the game of basketball. I feel like we're on the cusp of finally having people tune in and really try to listen and try to understand more about the things that are happening in our country. I feel like the moment is too big right now and I don't want the game of basketball to overshadow it.”
The sports “bubbles” are also home to experimental new tech and trials of new ways of testing for COVID-19. They might also tell us more about how the virus spreads. “There’s a lot of interest in sports coming back, and they could also be a plan for how we bring back universities, colleges and school safely. It’s the same concept, with a lot of people in close proximity to each other,” says Priya Sampathkumar, an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic who’s working on an NBA antibody study. “It’s trying it out — if we can’t keep them safe, maybe it’s not safe to open up.”
The closed-off NBA bubble is dedicated to basketball, but it’s also a makeshift COVID-19 research laboratory. The league is helping trial a saliva-based COVID-19 test, and any players who opt in will help the Yale School of Public Health validate their testing method. Players in Orlando will be tested almost every day using the typical method: having a swab shoved deep inside their nose. Players who enroll in the Yale study, though, will also give a saliva sample along with each test. The team will compare the two types of tests and check if the saliva test is as accurate as the nose and throat swab.
The league is putting together a group of experts to think through research approaches to the bubble, Sampathkumar says. “They’re willing to share the data that they come up with, and are asking for input on the type of data they should collect,” she says. The information is important for the league itself because it helps it manage the health and safety of its employees. But learning more about the virus and how it spreads is useful for everyone, not just professional athletes holed up at Disney World. “That could be really valuable information,” Rasmussen says. “And that could be extrapolated to the larger population.”
In a virtual interview with Fortune Brainstorm Health, Silver said the NBA expects more positive coronavirus cases to pop up as teams arrive to the NBA campus at Walt Disney World resort this week. But once teams arrive, all personnel will be tested and must quarantine for at least two days. "We won't be surprised when they first come down to Orlando if we have some additional players test positive," Silver told Fortune Brainstorm Health. "What would be most concerning is once players enter this campus and then go through our quarantine period, then if they were to test positive or if we were to have any positive tests, we would know we would have an issue." "... We would know that there's in essence a hole in our bubble or that our quarantine or our campus is not working in some way," Silver added later. "So that would be very concerning."
Silver said the NBA's campus with daily testing and guidance from medical experts is "as protected as possible from the environment around us." "So on paper, and dealing with our experts, this should work," Silver said. "But we shall see. I'm confident based on the positive cases we are seeing from our players and the general public around the country that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus in part because we are going to be doing daily testing. But again this virus has humbled many so I am not going to express any higher level of confidence than we are following the protocols and we hope it works as we designed it."
Silver reiterated that the league likely will not be forced to shut down again due to one potential positive coronavirus test inside campus. However, a spread could bring the NBA to a halt again. "I think we do have the ability to trace, of course to try to understand where that positive case came from," Silver said of any positive cases inside the Walt Disney World campus. "We can actually analyze the virus itself and try to track whether if there is more than one case, if it's in essence the same virus and same genetic variation of the virus that is passed from one player to another or two people have gotten it on the campus independently. So those are all things that we are looking at."
Tim Reynolds: Magic updates: Al-Farouq Aminu did not accompany the Magic into the bubble today for rehab-related reasons. Another Magic player has tested positive and he - name not disclosed - is not at Disney yet. Markelle Fultz has a personal matter that he has been excused to address.
Tom Westerholm: Marcus Smart encourages anyone who has had COVID to donate plasma. “You don’t know whose life you might change with that."
Former No. 2 overall pick Hasheem Thabeet has re-entered unrestricted free agency after a teammate in The Basketball Tournament tested positive for COVID-19 at the start of the month. Thabeet, 33, was set to compete with the “Playing for Jimmy V” team during the annual tournament, but event rules mandate that any team who receives a positive test be disqualified from competing in the bracket any further. Thabeet tested negative for the coronavirus, a person with knowledge of the situation said.
As he learned more about the NBA’s restart plan and safety protocols, McCollum said he began to feel better about playing, and his opinion started to shift. He asked his family if they wanted him to play. Had they said no, he wouldn’t have chosen to go. “From the standpoint of understanding what I can accomplish while playing in front of all those fans, especially to help the movement,” McCollum said. “I feel like it was in my better interest personally to play.”
It took a lot of time and information to persuade McCollum to play, and it still wasn’t an easy decision. Much more than getting into the playoffs, he’s worried about his health and that of his teammates. “I don’t know how much interactive fun I’ll have from a safety standpoint,” McCollum said. “I think it’s best to stick to yourself if I’m being honest. Stay in my room, FaceTime, talk to my family, read some books, play some video games, drink some McCollum Heritage 91 and keep it moving. I don’t really plan on mingling too much, especially to start, because one false negative could be the end.”
The Nets head to Orlando on Tuesday and enter quarantine in Disney. Dinwiddie would be required by the NBA to have two negative tests before he could even travel. His hope is to be able to fly with the team to Florida, because traveling separately will complicate matters. “Protocol only calls for 7 days and negative tests not the 14 day standard,” Dinwiddie tweeted of the shorter one-week quarantine. “Yep, the plan would be to fly to Orlando after workout. For players that show up late, it might make it difficult to resume season at all due to more rigorous testing requirements.”
Dinwiddie is averaging career-highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists, and would be a huge loss should he be unable to play. More playmaking burden would fall on two-way player Chris Chiozza. “With Spencer, I hope he can play. I hope he feels better,” Chiozza said. “But if not, I’ll be ready to take on those extra minutes.”
Eric Walden: Jazz guard Emmanuel Mudiay recalled some of the craziness the night of March 11/morning of March 12 in OKC. Mentioned how "uneducated" players were then vs. now. Recalled being shocked when Donovan Mitchell tested positive. Said he figured NBA would shut down for 2-3 weeks.
"The (NBA) GMs I've spoken to, we all believe the safest place to be is in the bubble," Jones said. "Here in Arizona, you sees the cases skyrocketing. Across the U.S., the cases are spiking, and our players are a younger generation. Social generation. The more constraints you can put in place, the better. The structure of Orlando will be beneficial for us."
Eric Walden: Tony Bradley said it will be hard in the bubble being so close to where his family lives and not being able to see them. He also noted that with the COVID numbers in Florida as they are, he's been trying to convince his father, who's a pastor, to stay at home more.
Ira Winderman: Meyers Leonard on teammates and players around the NBA testing positive for COVID, "Obviously this virus is hard to control." Says when players get in a true bubble, he expects positives tests to be reduced.
Anthony Chiang: Meyers Leonard has said numerous times over the past few months that Udonis Haslem's essay for the The Players' Tribune inspired him. Leonard said it's one of the reasons he was so proactive with raising money during the pandemic.
Sam Amick: Source tells @TheAthletic the Kings have shut down their practice facility after receiving a positive coronavirus test within the team’s traveling party on Sunday. The facility is not expected to reopen before the team departs for Orlando on Wednesday.
James Ham: Confirming that the Sacramento Kings have shut down their practice facility after a positive test within their traveling party. No word yet on whether it was player, staff or coach. @sam_amick first with the news
Marc Stein: Sacramento would be the seventh team of the 22 bound for Walt Disney World publicly known to take this measure at some point over the past two weeks since players were asked to be back in their home markets on June 22: Kings, Bucks, Heat, Clippers, Nuggets, Suns and Nets
David Morrow: It was just said on the broadcast that a player on @thetournament team Eberlein Drive tested positive for COVID-19, and the team is therefore dropping out of the tournament. Dusty Hannahs, JP Macura, Tim Quarterman, Kaiser Gates among notable names on the team.
After receiving the results of a Friday round of testing for the coronavirus, the Milwaukee Bucks shut down the team's practice facility for workouts until the team departs for Orlando, Florida, this week, sources told ESPN. It was not immediately clear if there was more than one positive test, but the team plans to keep the facility closed for workouts until the team's traveling party departs for the league's restart in Orlando on Thursday, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Milwaukee Bucks have shut down the team’s practice facility after receiving results of a Friday round of coronavirus testing, sources tell ESPN. The team isn’t expected to reopen facility for workouts prior to the organization's traveling party leaving for Orlando Thursday.
Matt Velazquez: League source confirms the @Adrian Wojnarowski report that the Bucks have closed their practice facility following Friday’s round of coronavirus testing. The Bucks are not expected to have any further sessions at their practice facility before Thursday when they leave for Orlando.
Maccabi Tel Aviv announced that Tyler Dorsey has been quarantined after a verified case of COVID-19 was discovered in his building. The Israeli League season resumed on June 21 and Maccabi has played four games so far in the Winner Stage Group, winning three of them and improving to a 22-3 overall record.
Turner's father, David, contracted the COVID-19 virus and was quarantined in a bedroom in the family home in Dallas for about 10 days. He's doing well now according to Myles, but the episode had an obvious impact on his feelings toward going back to basketball when the number of cases of infected people continues to rise. Turner moved back into his parents' house when he returned to Texas after the season was put on hold. His father hadn't been feeling well and was discovered to have the virus the second time he was tested. "I saw it firsthand and how it affected my family and I couldn't imagine how it's affected other families," Turner said Friday during a Zoom call with media members. "I definitely wasn't a big proponent of playing at first. I still have questions now, but most of the questions have been answered."

http://twitter.com/LegionHoops/status/1279513159036854272
The league has implemented exhaustive testing procedures for its Disney campus in Orlando, and yet NBA Commissioner Adam Silver concedes it’s “not impermeable.” He even allowed that his concern is increasing, owing to the 10,000 cases Florida just saw in one day. “We’re talking about degrees of risk in all these things, and I think sometimes that gets lost,” said Dr. Lisa Miller, a professor of epidemiology at the Colorado School of Public Health. “It’s not like there’s a black-and-white line between you’re either over 65 and you’re at risk or you’re under 65 and you’re not.”
“If you’re in the bubble and you know you have seven percent of people who are PCR positive, that seems concerning,” Miller said. “If it’s pre-bubble, and you’ve allowed the appropriate amount of time for isolation of those people then I think that’s different.” The NBA has, deliberately, not stated what it would take to call off the restart. “This level of testing and oversight is just so many levels more than any other community that I find it hard to imagine that there will be uncontrolled transmission because they’ll be able to identify it so early,” Miller said, while acknowledging some level of risk associated with just playing basketball. “The concerning thing would be if there was identified person-to-person transmission within the bubble, and they demonstrate that all these safeguards are really not preventing that then I think they’ll have to rethink it.”
WHEN FRANK VOGEL has chatted with the Los Angeles Lakers ahead of traveling to the NBA's campus at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando, Florida, next week, the conversation has mostly been informational. Players want clarity about how restrictive the so-called bubble will be -- for instance, under what circumstances, if any, can they leave? The coach is asking his players to treat such matters as they would best practices for any other element of being a professional.
Returning players need to reestablish peak fitness as quickly as possible, but working into shape too quickly could risk injury. A playoff team must be able to leverage its talents in creative, unpredictable ways -- but being too creative before players have a chance to review the basics might generate more confusion than success. Coaches and players mostly want to return to normality as quickly as possible -- but what if trying to approximate normality only places more emphasis on the abnormal? "We are creatures of habit, and our environment has been shaken up," Vogel said. "It's really going to be a balancing act."
You’re still a free agent right now and you are eligible to be a replacement player when the NBA season resumes in Orlando. Have you had any conversations with teams about the possibility of getting signed as a replacement player? Raymond Felton: I think my agent has, man. But, to me, I’m up in the air about that whole situation because we don’t have this coronavirus thing under control. I have a family, I have kids, and I have other things to worry about. Do I want to play basketball? Yes, I love basketball. I’ve been out for a whole year, so I definitely want to play and I definitely want to be on somebody’s roster. I want to help out, being that leader in the locker room and on the court and playing my role. But it’s kind of hard when six more guys just had a positive test, so we’re talking about more and more guys every week who are coming up positive when tested. Now, you’re going to put everyone together all in one place and play these games? To me, man, it’s just not safe. I ain’t no expert on this. But, in my opinion, it’s not safe. I’m just not 100-percent comfortable with playing right now because it’s not okay. The cases are steady going up. And they’re going to Florida, which is one of the worst places to go at this moment! I don’t know, man. It’s kind of tough for me. I do want to play. I do love to play basketball, and I’m ready to play and want to play. But it’s a tough situation right now, man. It really is.
You’re still a free agent right now and you are eligible to be a replacement player when the NBA season resumes in Orlando. Have you had any conversations with teams about the possibility of getting signed as a replacement player? Raymond Felton: I think my agent has, man. But, to me, I’m up in the air about that whole situation because we don’t have this coronavirus thing under control. I have a family, I have kids, and I have other things to worry about. Do I want to play basketball? Yes, I love basketball. I’ve been out for a whole year, so I definitely want to play and I definitely want to be on somebody’s roster. I want to help out, being that leader in the locker room and on the court and playing my role. But it’s kind of hard when six more guys just had a positive test, so we’re talking about more and more guys every week who are coming up positive when tested. Now, you’re going to put everyone together all in one place and play these games? To me, man, it’s just not safe. I ain’t no expert on this. But, in my opinion, it’s not safe. I’m just not 100-percent comfortable with playing right now because it’s not okay. The cases are steady going up. And they’re going to Florida, which is one of the worst places to go at this moment! I don’t know, man. It’s kind of tough for me. I do want to play. I do love to play basketball, and I’m ready to play and want to play. But it’s a tough situation right now, man. It really is.
From my understanding, his two week quarantine is almost done. Before he leaves Serbia, he’ll need two negative tests. And once he returns, he’ll need to test negative again. If he gets to Orlando on time, he’d have about two weeks before inter-squad scrimmages begin. Those three scrimmages would precede the seeding games.
Brian Lewis: Joe Harris is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. But he said he never really considered sitting out the #NBA restart due to COVID-19, and any risk it presented to his health and next contract, which should be the biggest of his career. #Nets

https://twitter.com/SerenaWinters/status/1278729904494981123
As coronavirus cases rise in different regions across the United States, commissioner Adam Silver has made clear that the league is monitoring the numbers as it prepares to head for Orlando. Silver has described to league executives on conference calls recently that his goal is for the Disney World campus to be the safest place in the U.S. “We have confidence in the plan that we’ve built,” NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum told players and teams on a call this week, according to sources. “It was designed for this.”
Melli was also concerned that if he left the United States, he may not be able to return to America for the NBA’s resumption, due to travel restrictions. Fortunately, he indicated that none of his family members or friends contracted the coronavirus. “Everybody was affected from this virus,” Melli said. “Luckily all of my family and friends were healthy and are still healthy. I feel very lucky about it. It was a tough period (this spring).”
Mike Vorkunov: Patrick Ewing told SiriusXM NBA Radio he's feeling good after recovering from COVID-19. Said he had a fever, weakness, and shortness of breath. "I was doing everything that was being said — wearing my mask, social distance, keep away from others — and I still caught it."
One day in mid-May, the NBA emailed. They wanted to talk. Robby Sikka, vice president of basketball performance and technology for the Minnesota Timberwolves and a physician, sent the note, sparking a month of Zoom meetings and collaborative calls that occasionally stretched into the early hours of morning. The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association — busy plotting out the logistics of a potential return to competition — soon hatched a plan with Yale researchers to verify their saliva-based test, which is called SalivaDirect.
Frequent testing — and the infrastructure to support it — presents an enticing research opportunity for scientists. The partnership allows NBA players, coaches and staff who opt-in to supplement their required testing regimen with an extra step that will help bring SalivaDirect closer to public use. Grubaugh said that their team is preparing to apply for emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration with the goal of making the test ready for public use by as early as mid-July. Comparing saliva test results to those that originate from the NBA’s regular testing will help validate the effectiveness of SalivaDirect.
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August 9, 2022 | 6:25 pm EDT Update
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the meeting took place this past Saturday, and Kevin Durant indicated that he could stay with Brooklyn if general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash were no longer there. Understandably, peers of Marks and Nash were not happy. “I get that players have more power these days, but I think it’s a little too far if he’s out here trying to get Steve fired,” said one coach, who was quickly reminded of Magic Johnson’s fingerprints on Paul Westhead’s firing back in November of 1981 and other power plays, some of which may well have been justified.
The head of basketball ops from another club was similarly displeased. “Livid,” he said. “Livid. He and Kyrie (Irving) basically told Sean they were coming (as free agents in 2019), and Sean did pretty much everything they wanted after that. Signing DeAndre Jordan for four years? That’s something Kyrie and KD wanted. Getting James Harden? Then getting a guy who should be a perfect complement to them (Ben Simmons) when Harden wanted out? Sean did all that.”
However, when asked if he would welcome Durant to his own club should he be attainable at a fair price, the exec paused and laughed. “Well … ” he said. “OK, you got me there. But, see, that’s the part of this that will always be hard for some people to grasp. I’m talking about the fans who just see the players as employees. These guys are not interchangeable parts. You can’t just plug in someone else to do what KD does.”