Sacramento’s starting small forward tested positive for the coronavirus over the Fourth of July weekend and struggled to clear the NBA’s protocol, but he never had symptoms. That was not the case for his wife Brittany or his mother Shirley, who were both with him in Sacramento. “In my household, my wife and my mom both tested positive for COVID,” Barnes said following the Kings’ 106-102 win over the Clippers. “My wife was sick, really sick for about a week, my mom was sick for a couple of days. In our household, we were able to see the different ranges of how COVID can hurt your system, how serious it is, and how important it is to wear a mask.”
Barry Jackson: Spoelstra said what's happening with Marlins is "humbling" in terms of what COVID-19 can do. "We are not in control. We feel very comfortable about the plan and depth of planning and thought" with NBA's approach.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Ivica Zubac says he had COVID-19, tested positive the week before the 4th of July and now is getting his wind back.
Jason Anderson: Kings forward Harrison Barnes said his wife and mother also contracted COVID-19. Both developed symptoms. Sounds like his wife's were pretty serious for about a week.
Porter Anderson: Media: @Andy Slavitt on @CNBC's #ClosingBell on sports and #COVID19: "The @NBA is doing something quite helpful, testing out a brand-new saliva test they've agreed to be, in effect, the guinea pigs for. It will be a very low-cost test that could be used with the general public."
What has puzzled players, coaches, executives and doctors is the coronavirus, the faceless opponent that brought the league to Orlando, Fla., in the first place. For all of the safety rules enacted to pull off a restart they hope will remain viable into October, there are ample concerns, and few answers, about whether contracting COVID-19 could lead to health problems for players well after they depart the Disney World campus. Philadelphia big man Al Horford called it something “I personally worry [about] and not only career-wise, but just the rest of your life.” “Yeah, that’s discussed,” Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said. “If you do get it, will it affect you to be able to play again? Everyone knows it hits everybody’s body different. But I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I can’t really say what’s going to happen to players.”
Cooper understood such fear of a stigma from his experience working with asthmatic athletes. But, he said, “there are plenty of examples of athletes with asthma who perform at the highest level, and I think there will be plenty of examples of people who have had COVID-19 whose physical performances are just not affected at all.” Since testing positive last month, Denver star Nikola Jokic has fallen into that latter category. While recovering in his native Serbia, Jokic was “feeling good and feeling normal,” he told reporters this month. Jokic was in the starting lineup when the Nuggets scrimmaged for the first time Wednesday. Jokic acknowledged some concern over what the virus could mean for his future. But because he could not control it, he said he‘s “not really worried.” “Hopefully nothing will happen,” he said.
Brandon Rahbar: Chris Paul on the COVID outbreak with the Marlins in the MLB: “Man it’s tough. This is the first I’ve heard of that. I don’t know. I wish them the best and hope everybody is safe and healthy.” Says there are people in the NBA who are working nonstop to keep them safe.
Dwain Price: Carlisle said KP's missed COVID-19 test was "an innocent mistake" and that test times vary. "You may have testing at 10 a.m., you may have it at 1 p.m., you may have it at 5. Some nights you come back from practice and you may have it at 6:30. We just got to constantly be aware."
Shams Charania: NWT-Self Isolating can also apply to a player who is needing to quarantine for a given reason, league told teams today.
Brad Townsend: Rick Carlisle says Porzingis is unavailable for today's game. He broke a protocol and forgot to get tested yesterday. For safety reasons, he cannot join the Mavs today. Carlisle said he believes he can join Mavs tomorrow. "I did speak to him and he was contrite," Carlisle said.
The two NBA head coaches might be best known for their innovative offenses and laid-back personalities. But now, Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, 69, and New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, 65, are also known as the first NBA coaches to wear masks while coaching a game, out of safety concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s important to Houston and a lot of the country. Right now, they should be masked up,” D’Antoni said following the Rockets’ scrimmage against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. “We do it for Houston. We do it for you. I do it for my players. I do it for my coaches. I just feel like it’s the thing to do right now with where we are as a country.”
Health officials have attributed a person’s refusal to wear a mask as a significant reason for the country’s increasing infection and death rate. “It’s a statement saying we think it’s important enough even down here to have on a mask,” Gentry said after the Pelicans’ scrimmage against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. “We’d like to send a message out to everybody that if we’re going to get this thing under control, I do think that this makes a big difference.”
Ira Winderman: Nunn confirms he and Adebayo both had COVID-19, said they spoke about since they were dealing with same thing.
Ira Winderman: Kendrick Nunn on having been ill and sidelined, "My health comes first. I had mild symptoms. It wasn't as bad. It felt like a common cold. I'm just glad I got over it."
Ira Winderman: Spoelstra said Adebayo and Nunn both worked today. "It was great to have everybody out there in practice," Spoelstra said. Spoelstra said he is "open to it" with Adebayo and Nunn playing tomorrow vs. Jazz.
The Chinese basketball league is set to allow limited numbers of spectators into games this Sunday before being fully open to fans from July 31 for playoff games in Qingdao. The Chinese Basketball Association released a statement saying that medical professionals, teachers, and police and public security officers will be eligible in the first intake of fans since the league resumed last month following a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks had her own brush with panic shortly after arriving in the bubble on June 12, when her first test returned positive. “My phone rang on Monday, and it was a Florida number,” she told me in a less ominous phone call last week. Rooks knew what was coming. “I said, ‘I assume this is a bad call,’” she said. Rooks was “shocked,” saying she had tested negative just before flying down to Orlando.
As she absorbed the news, Rooks sought guidance from a trio of NBA players who had previously tested positive for the coronavirus: Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, whose positive test in March triggered the league’s suspension of play; his teammate Donovan Mitchell; and the Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, who opted not to join his team in the bubble after testing positive earlier this month. “They were super helpful, and I’m also thankful to them for not telling anybody,” Rooks laughed. Ultimately, Rooks could breathe a sigh of relief: The initial result was deemed a false positive after subsequent retests came back negative.
It’s a tightrope act involving more than a thousand cloistered together for several months in a state where cases of the virus are skyrocketing. None of that is lost on the select group of reporters who are there. “You don’t want to be the domino,” Malika Andrews said. “Usually in terms of journalism, the most cringeworthy phrase to hear from an entity you cover is: ‘We’re all in this together.’ From a health standpoint it couldn’t be more true.”
Shams Charania: Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes (@AronBaynes) tells me on @Stadium that he tested positive for coronavirus and opens up about how virus has impacted life for over a month for him, his wife and kids:
Gina Mizell: Baynes says he is hopeful that he can join the #Suns at some point during the restart, but has not recorded the two negative tests the NBA requires to travel to Orlando.
Gina Mizell: Devin Booker on NBA’s announcement that no players have tested positive for COVID since July 13: “It’s a great step. We’re under a very tight bubble, like they say, so I would be very surprised if anybody does get it. But anything can happen. I’m happy I’m in a safe place.” #Suns
Alex Schiffer: Justin Anderson said he never had symptoms of the coronavirus, despite the positive tests. Said it was a weird and unfortunate situation.
Michael Singer: #Nuggets president Tim Connelly told @jimrome that he found out about Nikola Jokic’s positive COVID test when Jokic FaceTimed him at 6 A.M. from Serbia. Connelly said Jokic was more apologetic than anything and felt badly he wouldn’t be back in Denver in time.
Jokic, who’s been in the Orlando “bubble” for more than a week after he tested positive while in Serbia, said the NBA’s doctors can’t predict how the virus might impact him during a physically taxing postseason. “I cannot control that so I don’t want to think about it,” Jokic said. “We have doctors that are supposed to do their job, and they are doing their job at a really high level. We are getting tested every day. Whenever, whatever we need, the NBA team can provide us. I’m not really worried about that. … Hopefully nothing will happen.”
With zero positive test results in the NBA bubble this week, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes the league could share its approach to COVID-19 prevention with a larger audience. “Maybe we should send our game plan to the White House,” Rivers said Tuesday.
“They’ve done everything right as far as I’m concerned,” Rivers said of the NBA incorporating constant symptom checks and mandating masks at the resort. “When you think about that we’re running a village for the first time, the league is doing pretty well. ... But as far as our health, we have an app every morning that we have to do, wearing bands, facemasks.”
Pat Connaughton: Thanks for the thoughts & prayers. Feeling great and looking forward to being back with the squad soon... luckily I always have a basketball in my apartment - sorry to the people living below me 🤷🏼♂️🏀😷 #FearTheDeer 🦌
While sports may be an escape for Americans, their return could provide applicable lessons for the general public, Cuban said. “If people in the real world outside of the NBA follow the masking protocols the same way that NBA players are, we’d already be dealing with this virus and be way ahead of where we are now,” he said.
Johnny Davis, the former NBA guard who took over in February as the NBRPA chairman, broke down some of the statistics as they relate to their membership and COVID-19. “We have over 1,000 members, and the average age of our members is 55-plus,” Davis said. “Approximately 200 of those members are over the age of 70. And there’s a high percentage of African-Americans in that group, the demographic that has been identified as being most vulnerable. Sometimes that’s due to underlying conditions, sometimes to proximity to [exposure].”
The “Legends” association, as it’s known, tried to be pro-active from the start of the league’s shutdown, reminding members to take all possible precautions. Each received an “NBA Legends” mask. “Most of the players have been in touch with us,” Scott Rochelle, president and CEO of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, said. “We’ve tried to keep in contact with people. And those who have been financially impacted, we’ve been supporting them through our financial grant program. “So there’s been a lot of work on the community side to make sure everyone is informed and knows where to come when they need help.”
Spencer Haywood, formerly the NBRPA chairman, acknowledged that it’s hard to know how many former players have been affected. “I don’t know if we’re getting accurate reporting,” said Haywood, another Hall of Famer. “Because people who have it might not know, and others who know might not want to talk about it. “Right now, it’s in Florida. It’s Houston very strongly and that’s one of our largest communities of past players. I’ve been calling people, telling ‘em certain things to do and take some precautions. We have a list – I don’t go through the whole list, but I just talk to some of the guys who I know.” Living in Las Vegas, Haywood – the subject of a book, “The Spencer Haywood Rule” to be released in October – works the phone randomly to keep NBRPA members feeling connected. For example, he spoke Tuesday with Hall of Famer Earl Monroe, who has had some health challenges, and reported that Monroe was “hanging in there.”
Malika Andrews: Mike Budenholzer says that he believes Eric Bledsoe —who has not traveled to Orlando after being diagnosed with COVID— will be available for the Bucks restart opener on July 31 against Boston. He added this caveat: “with the virus you’re never sure” on a timeline.
Fred Katz: Scott Brooks says he can’t get into the specifics of who Jarrod Utoff is substituting for. Teams aren’t allowed to say publicly when a player has COVID.
The NBA's tentative plan at this point is for the 2020-21 season to begin at some point in December. So does this mean the Warriors will be playing games at Chase Center with fans in the building? "We're putting every foot forward to make sure we can have fans and it can be safe," Golden State general manager Bob Myers said Friday morning on 95.7 The Game's "Joe, Lo & Dibs" show. "We're probably in a great market with all the technology we have and all the medical affiliates in the city. It's a lot of conversation but it's hard to make any conclusions right now. It's hard to say 'definitely' to anything, but that's the stuff we're kicking around."
Myers touched on safety measures during his 95.7 conversation. "A lot of our focus has been on testing safely -- making sure our players are safe, making sure fans are safe, making sure our arena is safe," the two-time NBA Executive of the Year said. "Luckily we've got a brand new arena, which is up to all the latest standards. So we have some advantages, but it's a daunting deal."
Josh Robbins: Markelle Fultz has passed the NBA’s quarantine protocol following his entrance earlier this week into the bubble, a league source told @The Athletic. Fultz is scheduled to practice with his teammates this afternoon.
Melissa Rohlin: Vogel: "If we’re not going to follow the little sacrifices day-to-day, it really negates the big sacrifices that we’re making. The social distancing, the trying to wear a mask every situation that you should be wearing a mask, all of these things contribute."
If Harden’s absence was in any way related to the coronavirus, sportsbooks will likely never get the confirmation they seek -- unless Harden OK’s it. According to league sources, information related to COVID-19 will not be released publicly without the player’s expressed approval as part of an agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.
J. Michael: Brogdon on practicing with a mask (he had COVID-19): "I intend doing it until we're playing games. It's something I'm doing for conditioning. (and) just wearing to be cautious and to make guys comfortable." #Pacers
Mark Medina: The second thing is the concern with the testing (of Disney employees). Adam Silver has come around and said that he's talking with Disney to try to change that. Because the reality is I was told that Disney just frankly didn't want to pay for it. But they were rationalizing it beyond the fact that they had cost money.
Eric Bledsoe has tested positive for COVID-19. The Milwaukee Bucks guard told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that he hopes to join his teammates soon in the NBA bubble at Disney World. “He’s not feeling any symptoms and he really feels good,” Haynes reported. “He’s hoping to get here as soon as possible.”
Chris Haynes: My report on the bubble absence of Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe who told me he tested positive for Covid-19, but is symptom-free. @NBAonTNT
Malika Andrews: Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe, who is not in Orlando with the Bucks, tells ESPN: “I tested positive for COVID-19. I am asymptomatic and feeling fine. Once I meet the NBA protocols, I look forward to joining my teammates in Orlando.”
Anyone that goes will have to first report a negative test for the coronavirus that was taken no more than 72 hours before entering, and using a test approved by the league, and can only go to the arenas and back to their off-campus hotel.
J. Michael Falgoust: Brogdon on practicing with a mask (he had COVID-19): "I intend doing it until we're playing games. It's something I'm doing for conditioning. (and) just wearing to be cautious and to make guys comfortable." #Pacers
J. Michael Falgoust: Brogdon says he hasn't talked with McMillan about how he'll be eased back. He didn't just have COVID-19 but had a thigh/hip muscle injury that had him on the bench before the league stopped play. Suspects he'll be eased back. Expect restrictions. Not playing 30-35 min #Pacers
Leandro Barbosa has had other important things on his mind the past several months. Brazil is approaching the two million mark of COVID-19 cases, the second biggest number in the world behind the United States and both he and his wife, Rocca, tested positive for the virus on March 21. Rocca was expecting the couple's first child and was supposed to give birth a week later, but doctors decided to induce labor the following day. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Isabela. "I watched from FaceTime because I was in quarantine," Barbosa said. "After she delivered the baby, she couldn't be with the baby for 24 hours. It was kind of complicated. It's hard when you're a dad and you can't be there."
Thankfully Barbosa, Rocca, Isabela and his other two other daughters aged 11 and seven are healthy and do not have the virus. "I recovered a couple of months ago," he said. "Only one night was really, really bad. I thought something worse could happen to me because I didn't have the power to fight with that virus. I'm happy that my driver was at the house, so he was able to talk to the doctors and to go to the pharmacy to get some medicine for me."
Ira Winderman: Erik Spoelstra said, "There was a period of time during the quarantine where we just shut everything down." He said family safety and health was priority, and that team then began to re-start that process as resumption appeared more probable.
Anthony Chiang: Erik Spoelstra on rising coronavirus numbers in South Florida: "There is concern." Spoelstra adds, while wearing a mask during his Zoom session with the media: "Wearing a mask without politicizing it just makes all the sense in the world."
Jason Anderson: Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton says Alex Len has cleared COVID-19 protocols and will travel to Orlando tonight.
BioReference told CNBC its results are now being returned in 72 hours or less. But, the delay raised new questions about whether players were being prioritized over the community. When asked if the NBA’s results are being prioritized, a BioReference spokesperson said under contractual terms they are not able to comment further. “Our commitment is if a patient is in the hospital, if they’re in the intensive care if they’re a healthcare worker, if they’re a front-line worker, those people go to the front of the line, we’ve always done that since March 13th when we started our COVID testing, and we continue to do that today,” Dr. Jon Cohen, Executive Chairman of BioReference, told CNBC’s Power Lunch.
“We’ve actually increased the amount of resources we are providing to the state of Florida,” he added. The company’s 72-hour-or-less turnaround time outside the NBA bubble had increased because BioReference had to divert resources to testing critical nursing home patients, Cohen said.
Taylor Rooks: For 24 hours, I thought I had COVID-19. I was told that I was positive for coronavirus. It was an incredibly scary day. I’m okay, it was a false positive. I explain more here. Thankful to the NBA for taking the necessary steps here in Orlando.
Marc Stein: A knock on the heavy brown door of my first-floor hotel room at Walt Disney World finally came Sunday night just before 10 p.m. This was the all-business knock I was waiting for. Three technicians from BioReference Laboratories wearing white coats and face shields, and accompanied by an N.B.A. representative, had arrived to administer my first-ever coronavirus test.
Marc Stein: According to the rules in the N.B.A.’s corner of Disney World, no one is allowed inside the 314-square-foot room I am restricted to through Sunday. So I slid a chair up to the doorway to receive a swab of each nostril and my throat. The sticks were snapped and placed in a tube, then stored in a crate to take back to the lab. The swabs, roughly five hours after I checked in, took less than a minute.
Closer to 20 journalists, compared to the anticipated 10, have been approved to enter, a reflection of the considerable curiosity surrounding 22 teams living and playing at a single site without fans. That includes journalists from The Associated Press, The Athletic, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Los Angeles Times, Southern California News Group, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The Washington Post and The New York Times. A like number of journalists from the league’s official media partners, ESPN and Turner, is also expected, including one reporter from each who was allowed to arrive early to complete their quarantines before teams started arriving on July 7: Malika Andrews (ESPN) and Chris Haynes (Turner/Yahoo).
Tania Ganguli: Fourth COVID test administered just now. Will have three more after this. These nice people are my closest human contact this week, which is why they have so much protective gear on.
Amid concerns among teams over the potential for false positives impacting players returning from COVID-19, the NBA on Wednesday updated its protocols to add an antibody test for players and staff who have recovered from the virus, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. Because people who have recovered from COVID-19 can still have dead virus cells in their system be detected by tests, the league has now included the antibody test as part of its protocol for players and staff returning from the virus, according to the memo, obtained by ESPN.
As the league has resumed play inside the league's bubble at Walt Disney World Resort, teams have worried about the potential for prominent players to have false positive tests -- particularly during the postseason, sources told ESPN. On a recent call with the league's general managers, the question of what would happen if a false positive test takes place on a game day was raised to the league, sources said. At least one player who contracted COVID-19, recovered and was subsequently cleared to travel to Orlando had registered several negative tests in Orlando and cleared quarantine upon arrival but later tested positive, sources said.
Shams Charania: Nets forward Michael Beasley tested positive for coronavirus, returned home and his roster status is up in the air, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
Michael C. Wright: Mike D'Antoni on Russell Westbrook's revelation today: "He said what he said, and that’s what we’re dealing with. A lot of teams are dealing with it, but we’re getting through it as a team."
January 19, 2021 | 9:05 pm EST Update
Chris Fedor: Despite being able to practice the last two days #Cavs Dylan Windler (hand) is still listed OUT for tomorrow night’s game vs Brooklyn. Darius Garland and Collin Sexton are both questionable.