Oleh Kosel: Alvin Gentry on whether all the Pelicans who traveled to Orlando tested negative: “Everyone’s here. I don’t really know the details of everything, but I know all of our guys are here and they’re ready to go.”
As NBA teams get situated in the Orlando bubble, one question that has persisted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is not only what happens if a player tests positive for the virus but also what lingering effects might follow. "There are unknown effects it has on lung capacity, unknown effects it has on cardiac health," said one NBA general manager of a team entering the bubble, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "What if a 24-year-old catches it in Orlando and, in 14 days, he quarantines and is fine, but then he has these everlasting heart problems? [Or he] gets winded so easily, or he becomes a little bit too susceptible to fatigue. ...These are all the unknowns."
Each case will be handled based on its own needs, but John DiFiori, the NBA's Director of Sports Medicine, told ESPN that the timeline for any player to return from a confirmed positive case is at least two weeks. "Everyone needs to understand that if someone were to test positive, it's quite likely that they won't return to the court for a minimum of two weeks -- minimum," said DiFiori, who is also the Chief of Primary Sports Medicine and attending physician at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery. "It may be even a little longer than that, depending on the individual circumstances, and then you need some time to get reconditioned.”
Are NBA players' hearts more at risk? "We have no reason to believe that any athlete is at higher risk for a complication and cardiac complications related to the coronavirus than anyone else," DiFiori said. "There's no reason that we know that would suggest that right now."
Ira Winderman: Goran Dragic just said Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn are not with the team. "Hopefully Bam can come and KNunn and we can be a whole team and make some damage.” Two Heat players remained behind due to COVID testing. Heat did not identify the players left back.
The Dallas Mavericks owner is being recognized for his transformative leadership. As the threat of COVID-19 spread across North Texas, Cuban stood up as a prominent hero for those on the front line—directing his NBA team and its foundation to do hands-on work throughout the community. As Black Lives Matters protests formed in Dallas—and across the globe—he hosted courageous conversations about systemic racism.
The entire NBA operation sits on a foundation of daily testing and then processing results of those tests quickly. Early in the pandemic, the NBA was concerned about having enough tests to administer that daily regimen. While supply issues appear to have been resolved, processing those tests is not quite as simple.
Unlike Major League Baseball, so far teams have not seen significant delays or problems receiving test results, according to sources that spoke with NBC Sports. But there have been hiccups here and there. In the 24 hours before departure for Orlando, one NBA team had its tests accidentally sent to the wrong lab, according to league sources. The mistake forced the entire team to retake the coronavirus tests later in the day, delaying their trip to Orlando by several hours. “This is the new normal,” said one official of a team dealing with testing blips.
If the on-site clinic can’t handle an NBA-related emergency, does the NBA feel comfortable about taking a bed from someone in the general public? “It’s not so much that everybody who gets COVID is going to die from it,” Rasmussen says, “it’s that when the hospitals are overwhelmed and there’s no place for people to go, more people are going to die that wouldn't have necessarily died otherwise.
The weirdest moment, Monty Williams said, was getting on the airplane. Flights are typically commonplace for the Suns, who crisscrossed the United States — and hopped the border to Mexico City and Toronto — over the first 65 games of the 2019-20 season. But Williams had not been on one since mid-March, with the NBA halted due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“It was just quieter on the plane,” Williams said during a videoconference with reporters Thursday evening. “I think that’s just because everybody has masks on. You can’t hear each other talk. … Even when you have a big mouth like mine, it still is a bit muffled with the mask on.”
“We have a plan that we put in place that gives me a bit of structure to use as a template every day,” Williams said. “At the same time, I want to try to feel the gym and see if I can push a little bit more or pull back. … “I’m probably a bit more cautious than I’ve ever been, just because we’ve had so much time off. But the plan is in place. It may be modified a little bit, but I want to try to listen and learn as much as I can. Because, it’s basically a new season, a new universe for all of us who are trying to get our guys in shape.”
Fred Katz: Troy Brown on heading to Florida amidst spiking COVID numbers: "At the end of the day, we have a job, and we have to do our jobs." Says he thinks the NBA has done a good job of putting players in a safe environment. “If people don’t wanna be here, you don’t have to."
The Denver Nuggets expect All-Star center Nikola Jokic to arrive in Orlando from his native Serbia to join the team for the NBA restart in the next couple of days, league sources told Yahoo Sports. Jokic tested positive for COVID-19 in June, but has since tested negative consecutively and is cleared to enter the campus at Walt Disney World.
This is a solid step for the organization after the initial shock of its franchise player contracting the virus outside of the United States. Jokic is in good health, sources said.
Ava Wallace: Garrison Mathews, Thomas Bryant and Gary Payton did not travel with the Wizards to Orlando, per sources. Mathews for personal reasons. Bryant and Payton have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Mavericks players are currently awaiting results for their COVID-19 tests they took upon their arrival in Florida as a part of the NBA’s plan for a safe return to play. Players must test negative for COVID-19 twice, at least 24 hours apart, as part of the mandatory 48-hour quarantine.
Scott Agness: Malcolm Brogdon, who tested positive for COVID-19 two weeks ago, is with the Pacers at Disney, per his IG. pic.twitter.com/23izwqMpG4
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.
Health and safety will be of the utmost concern. There will be symptom-tracking rings and social-distancing guidelines. There will be testing — lots of it. The NBA has released a 113-page manual detailing each stage leading up to the deployment of teams into Orlando and then what they’ll have to do on the ground. While the leagues have rightfully devoted much attention to many stages of the return, there has been one overlooked part of sports that is also worth a discussion. With sports returning, what happens to the locker room?
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.
Roy Parry: Magic CEO Alex Martins said the team is about to enter its second 24-hour quarantine period in the NBA bubble and will undergo a second COVID-19 test today... if all goes well, and he expects that it will, the team is scheduled to practice Thursday at 1 p.m.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince has tested positive for the coronavirus and will sit out the NBA’s restart in Orlando, sources tell ESPN.
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.
Kyle Neubeck: Embiid says he was not a fan of the Orlando restart initially: “I hated the idea. I feel like with everything that’s been going on, it’s unfortunate with what’s going on...all I wanna do is stay safe and stay healthy, keep the people around me safe.”
Derek Bodner: Joel Embiid on restarting the season in Orlando in a bubble: "I'm not a big fan of the idea. But then again, I'm going to do my job. I'm not going to let the city down...I don't like the idea." Embiid says he's not confident in everyone following protocols and being responsible.
David Hardisty: Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta spoke on CNBC about the NBA restart. "I think we have a great plan. Hopefully we can keep the cases down to a minimum and you don't lose a bunch of superstars on any one team so we have a real champion this year."
Tom Westerholm: Marcus Smart encourages anyone who has had COVID to donate plasma. “You don’t know whose life you might change with that."
John Hollinger: Follow up: Hearing that Pelicans' Thornwell signing is a COVID replacement, but for privacy reasons they can't name the player.
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.
At first, Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum voted not to play as the NBA pushed for a season restart in Orlando, Florida. McCollum had concerns about how the players would be kept safe from the coronavirus pandemic. “At the time, based on what I had been given, I didn’t feel comfortable playing,” McCollum said Monday during a conference call with reporters.
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
The identity of the person to test positive and their role with the organization is not yet known. NBA teams competing in Orlando consist of a 35 member traveling party.
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.
Spencer Dinwiddie: Day 10 update: The sinus pressure headaches when I get up are starting to subside. But I was a lil too bullish on the bike 😅. Got dizzy and felt weak smh. But if I can get a negative test tomorrow then they’re gonna get me back on court Tuesday 🙏🏾 #AudienceOfOne
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."
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.
"Social distancing, face masks, minimizing contact -- these are habits like anything else," Vogel said. "It's no different than being diligent about your diet, your sleeping habits, your alcohol use, weight training or getting extra shots up."
But nothing is straightforward as teams begin migrating to Orlando on Tuesday for the bubble experiment. For an NBA coach in the age of COVID-19, there are many strange, new challenges to meet on and off the court -- and seemingly every question about how to approach the resumption of the 2020 season presents a paradox.
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."
Chris Haynes: Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins was “red-flagged” as a health concern and will not join the team in Orlando for the NBA restart, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.
Ethan Skolnick: Due to a positive test for Covid-19, the Miami Heat will be closing their facility for anything but testing, and will not practice until they get to Orlando. My policy and @5ReasonsSports policy is not to release the name of anyone who tests positive.
August 15, 2022 | 8:54 pm EDT Update
Shams Charania: After blowout Game 7 loss in West semifinals, the Phoenix Suns will host the Dallas Mavericks in the season opener for both teams on Oct. 19, per sources. Luka Doncic and his new backcourt starter, Spencer Dinwiddie, vs. Devin Booker and Chris Paul.
Beginning with Simmons’ first paycheck on Nov. 15, Philadelphia began to take back the per-game salary of $360,000 for each game Simmons missed in the season. Because Simmons received a $16.5 million advance of his $33 million salary in the offseason, there wasn’t enough money in each paycheck to cover the per-game deductions. The back injury first affected Simmons during the spring of the pandemic-interrupted 2020 season. He also reported discomfort in his back upon reporting to Sixers training camp in October. The injury was assessed and treated by Philadelphia’s team doctors, and he was cleared to resume basketball activities shortly thereafter. That period was the only time Philadelphia did not find Simmons in breach of his contract last season, sources said.
August 15, 2022 | 6:14 pm EDT Update
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Ben Simmons and the Philadelphia 76ers have reached a settlement agreement on the grievance the All-Star guard filed to recoup a portion of the nearly $20 million withheld him as a result of his failure to play games in the 2021-2022 season. Story soon.
Adrian Wojnarowski: 76ers maintained Simmons breached his contract upon failing to show up for the start of training camp and refusing to play in preseason and regular season prior to trade to Nets. Simmons cited his mental health for the reason his participation in team activities was so limited.
Christos Tsaltas: Jeremy Sochan will not travel to Greece for the Acropolis Tournament with Polish National Team. He will not join Poland ahead of Eurobasket 2022. Big loss for Polish national team. Sochan has all the tools to shine in the NBA. #Gospursgo #KoszKadra
August 15, 2022 | 5:45 pm EDT Update
Andre Iguodala gave his perspective on Kevin Durant’s situation on the Point Forward podcast, naming the reasons why the two-time NBA champion Durant, who won both titles together with Iguodala on the Warriors, should stay in Brooklyn. “I think he should stay in Brooklyn, it’s such a big market, it’s good for the game and just figure out how to make it work like everybody grow up and make it work. That’s how I feel about the situation,” Iguodala shared his perspective.