The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an emergency authorization on Saturday allowing public use of a saliva-based test for the coronavirus developed at Yale University and funded by the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association. The test, known as SalivaDirect, is designed for widespread public screening. The cost per sample could be as low as about $4, though the cost to consumers will likely be higher than that — perhaps around $15 or $20 in some cases, according to expert sources.
Yale administered the saliva test to a group that included NBA players and staff in the lead-up to the league's return to play and compared results to the nasal swab tests the same group took. The results almost universally matched, according to published research that has not yet been peer-reviewed. The leading coronavirus saliva test, developed at a Rutgers University lab and given the same permission by the FDA in mid-April, costs individual consumers up to $150 -- though that can be reduced to $60 or $70 in some circumstances, said Andrew Brooks, an associate professor at Rutgers and chief operating officer of RUCDR Infinite Biologics, the lab behind the test. The Rutgers test can be taken at home and returns results in 24 to 48 hours.
Brooklyn Nets star DeAndre Jordan is doing his part to personally assist those combating the coronavirus -- by surprising 200 frontline workers with free meals!! TMZ Sports has learned -- the 6'11" center popped up at the myCovidMD in Los Angeles on Thursday ... teaming up with Postmates to provide the large group of workers administrating COVID tests with food from one of his favorite local joints -- Harold & Belle’s.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today that the 2020 Enshrinement Ceremony festivities have officially been rescheduled to May 13-15, 2021 due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 virus. The organization had been hopeful to find a viable date in October 2020 if the pandemic showed signs of subsiding.
Barnes appreciates that he was able to participate in the NBA restart at all. On July 14, he announced that he tested positive for the coronavirus, as did his wife, Brittany, and mother, Shirley. Thankfully they have all recovered, although his wife had a tough bout with COVID-19. “I was scared because me, her and my mom were positive with all different symptoms and reactions to it,” Barnes said. “Brittany is in bed with all the symptoms. I, for the most part, had little to no symptoms. My mom had very minor symptoms. Just seeing how quickly it affected [my wife] and how long it took her to shake it was a big thing. She is fully recovered now with no issues.”
Bill Paschke: My temperature hovered in the upper reaches of 102. It felt like my head was on fire. One night I sweated through five shirts. I shook so much from the chills I thought I chipped a tooth. My chest felt like LeBron James was sitting on it. My fatigue made it feel as if I was dressed in the chains of Jacob Marley’s ghost. I coughed so hard it felt like I broke a rib. I would fall asleep in a chair and wake up terrified from a hallucinatory dream where I was chased through a playground by old women with giant heads. During phone calls I would get confused and just stop talking. I would begin crying for no reason. I lost my sense of taste, smell, and five pounds in the first four days.
Nobody tells you about the dread. From the moment my doctor phoned me with the test results, to the moment I am writing this column, I have been scared out of my mind.
Shams Charania: Zero NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 342 tested at Orlando campus since last results were announced Aug. 5, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Inside the Grand Floridian hotel, out of the soupy Florida heat, a wave of relief washed over Michele Roberts. For months, Roberts, the Executive Director of the NBA’s players association, worked tirelessly with league officials to piece together its return. Medical protocols needed to be worked out. Then, the financials. Yet even when an agreement had been hammered out, Roberts worried: How would players respond to months of isolation?
Not bad, it turns out. “In some ways I didn't think it would be as forgiving as it has been,” Roberts told SI in an extended interview. There were the expected complaints. Players didn’t enjoy the 48-hour hard quarantine they received upon arrival. “I think had it been longer than that,” Roberts said, “then it may have been more problematic.” Those buzzing Roberts tell her how much they miss friends, family. “The good news is that's pretty much 99% of what I hear in terms of complaints,” Roberts said. “And at the end of the day, the guys have said, ‘I got to go to work. I'm at work, I'm doing my job.’”
On the scheduling, Roberts has issues. The NBA Finals could stretch as long as mid-October, affording at least two teams little time to recover. “My guess is we'll probably not start until early 2021,” Roberts said. But months of work on this bubble has convinced Roberts that as long as COVID-19 is still spreading, a bubble is the only way to play.
“Right now I don't see how sports can be played outside of a bubble concept,” Roberts said. “I don't see that, given the state of where we are. Given the absence of a vaccine. Because as long as this thing spreads the way it spreads, the only way you can stop the spread from impacting their ability to perform, and this is at any job, is to isolate. Keep people separated and maintain as much distance as possible.”
“Now, having said that, do I think our guys are going to be in a bubble for six or seven months? Hell no. It's not going to happen. I think what we're going to have to do is figure out creatively how we can have bubble-like the environments that allow us to play the number of games that we believe we need to play in order to complete the season and crown a champion. If nothing else, we've learned that we have to be creative and we have been creative, and that's why we're doing what we're doing right now. It's something that no one would have thought about or had to think about five months ago.”
"We’re not taking away from existing testing," said Kathy Behrens, the NBA’s president of social responsibility and player programs. "We know testing needs to happen. Our focus is on what we can do to contribute so that testing is available." Therefore, the NBA launched a community testing program that it says will provide thousands of COVID-19 PCR tests for free both in Orlando and in the league’s 29 other team markets through August.
Behrens said the NBA has not yet calculated how much the league and its partners have paid for these programs. All participants already sense, however, the programs’ impact. "My outlook is that this is a bridge to a vaccine," said Marc Morial, the president and CEO of the National Urban League. "If people know they have the virus, they can self-quarantine and they can get treated."
There's hope for vaccines, but the league has prepared teams for the reality that mass distribution would be unlikely for a full year, sources said. For now too there's a skepticism about the reliability of rapid-response testing. They're hopeful that advances in the technology could facilitate ways to get fans into arenas -- even if it means less than capacity. Teams are already modeling options that include a few thousand fans to buildings filled closer to capacity.
For the Heat, COVID-19 hasn’t been an issue since Derrick Jones Jr., Bam Adebayo and Kendrick Nunn returned after testing positive for the virus in June while in Miami - something each of them subsequently disclosed. (Nunn is now out for other reasons, as detailed below.) But that doesn’t mean there haven’t been some behind-the-scenes glitches. According to a league source briefed by a member of the Heat’s traveling party, at least four Heat players have had some uneasy moments or been ensnared in COVID testing glitches, with the Heat and the players not at fault for any of those.
Multiple Heat players have received inconclusive test results or false positives, according to the source. Those players have subsequently tested negative in each of two additional tests and were permitted to join the team for practice after those two additional tests.
Donovan Mitchell: It’s been a long five months. Surreal. Scary. Confusing. Boring. Terrifying. I don’t even know anymore. How many emotions can you fit into five months? It’s been everything. March 11, 2020. Jazz vs. Thunder. It feels like it’s one of those moments where 10 years from now people will be like, “Man, where were you when it went down?” I know everybody says it felt like being in a movie, but to actually be on the floor when the security guards came running out to shut down the NBA season … surreal doesn’t even explain it.
We knew some people were feeling sick, but it didn’t even enter our minds that somebody could have coronavirus. Back then, it was still such an unknown thing. It was something you saw on the news. It wasn’t real life, you know? So when the dudes in the Men in Black suits came running out onto the floor, my first thought was literally, O.K., there’s probably a leak in the ceiling or something. Then there’s more and more dudes in suits, and you’re like, Is the FBI swarming this building right now? They took us back to the locker room, and everybody’s phones were going crazy. Calls, not just texts. That’s when you know something’s up. Then they told us that nobody was allowed to leave, and that’s when you really know something’s up.
When we found out that Rudy had tested positive, that was a really difficult first hour. You’re thinking of everybody you came in contact with (I was just with my mom and sister in New York), you’re googling stuff (always a bad idea), you’re trying to respond to all the people who are worried about you. It was so many different emotions. But we were locked down in there for eight hours, man. There’s only so long you can be nervous. After the first hour, we couldn’t take it anymore. We shut off all the TVs and we put our phones on silent and we just tried to break the tension by talking and just enjoying each other’s company. We learned a lot about one another in that moment. And I know this is going to sound weird, but when I think back on those seven hours, it was a really important moment in my life. It was deep.
That was a really profound moment. Especially with everything that came after it. When I tested positive myself, I was in full isolation at my mom’s house in Connecticut. They put me down in the basement with a blanket and an Xbox. No windows. No fresh air. Full-on vampire mode. My mom would leave a plate of food at the top of the stairs for me, and I’d crack the door open and snatch the plate and a beam of sunlight would hit me like … I don’t even know … like I was Count Chocula or something. I was down there for two weeks, just waiting. Just hoping that I wouldn’t wake up the next day showing symptoms. And the weirdest part was that I guess I was like Patient Zero or whatever, so my mom was telling me that there were cars camped outside the house 24/7. What they were looking for, I don’t know. Meanwhile I’m down in the bunker playing Call of Duty.
Marc Stein: Everyone in the bubble is asked to wear a proximity sensor to promote social distancing. A chirping alarm sounds if two people wearing sensors are within six feet each of other for 10 seconds — provided both are actually wearing them and have charged them overnight.
Marc Stein: Sensors are optional for players, many of whom privately scoff at the idea of wearing a device that is not a movement tracker but is widely described that way. Everyone else, including reporters, is required to wear them. That leads to lots of chirping on bus rides and in postgame media scrums when maintaining six feet of distance is nearly impossible.
Marc Stein: San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, at 71, is the oldest coach in the N.B.A. He is among the few coaches who wears a mask while coaching games, despite the impediment to voice projection. When asked why he stays faithful to the mask, Popovich replied: “I don’t want to die.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA has adjusted its protocol for players who return inconclusive tests for the coronavirus, allowing for a quicker possible return to game action, according to a league memo shared with teams.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA teams have been concerned that player availability could become jeopardized should an inconclusive test result fall in the middle of a playoff series and force someone to miss a game. In certain cases, this protocol change could shorten that quarantine window for players.
Marc J. Spears: NBA sent a reminder memo out to teams today to cover the point of emphasis related to face masks/coverings in connection with the Health and Safety Protocols for the 2019-2020 restart and the Disney rules, a source said. "Behavioral & hygiene practices" of everyone is "critical."
In a FaceTime call with his grandmother in Bosnia last Friday, Nurkic said he learned that she had contracted COVID-19. Nurkic said he urged her to go to the hospital. Hana, who is 67, resisted. “I said if she don’t go, I come,” Nurkic said. “And I think that kind of made her mind to go to the hospital. Hopefully, it’s not too late.” He said the last he has heard, Hana was in the hospital but has slipped into a coma. “Right now, I’m praying for her to survive,” Nurkic said.
He went on a lengthy plea urging the importance of wearing masks. “I think people don’t realize that shit is real out there, man,” Nurkic said. “We’ve been fortunate to be here and in a safe environment, being tested every day, but please … take care of yourself. Wear your damn mask … if you are outside, by yourself, do what you got to do. But if you are inside … protect people.”
Joe Freeman: Jusuf Nurkic opens his postgame zoom interview by saying the last 12-13 days have been the "hardest days of my life" and urges people to take coronavirus seriously. Why? He said his grandma, Hannah, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is in a coma.
As NBA players are preparing to restart a season shut down by coronavirus, Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes had a powerful message for Americans after his own experience with the virus. "Everyone thinks that it will happen to somebody else or, 'If i get it, hopefully I'll be asymptomatic,' but we had three people in my house who all contracted it and each of us had a different experience," he told CNN Wednesday night. "So I would definitely encourage people to be safe."
Barnes announced earlier this month he had tested positive for the virus. His mother and wife also had the virus, and his wife had the most severe symptoms out of all three, he told CNN. "Just seeing her go through that process was scary," he said. "It definitely put things in perspective and now that we've been through it, I encourage everybody else to take Covid very seriously." Barnes says he's symptom-free and he hasn't felt any lingering health effects from the virus and has been feeling "great" since he began working out again ahead of the season. "Thankfully, I've been able to put it behind me," he said.
After a new agreement between the National Basketball Players Association and NBA, players will receive a $2.5 million insurance benefit in the event of suffering a career-ending injury, sources told ESPN. The NBPA had been pushing for a raise in the permanent disability policy that previously paid out approximately $312,000 in these cases. The insurance covers career-ending injuries sustained on and off the court, including complications rising out of Covid-19, sources said. The payment would be in addition to money owed on contracts and include all active players up to 35 years old, sources said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: After months of talks, @TheNBPA has reached agreement with NBA to raise insurance policy coverage for players to a $2.5M benefit for career-ending injuries. Policy covers on-and-off court injuries, including complications from Covid-19. Previous payout was $312K.
Ira Winderman: Per NBA: Officials’ Whistles: A cloth covering has been added to the referees’ whistles to prevent the spread of spittle.
“It was hard for me to see so many people question my character based on one video,” Gobert said. “That was a big learning experience. I know who I am. People around me know who I am. Everyone is going to have a different perception and opinion of you. If I start putting my energy into that, I’m going to be living a very painful life.”
“The media portrayed it like I caused the NBA to shut down,” the soft-spoken Gobert told The Washington Post in an extended interview Friday, “instead of saying that it’s a pandemic and Rudy Gobert tested positive. For a lot of people who don’t think further than what’s put in their faces, they really thought I brought the coronavirus to the United States.” Gobert, a self-described jokester, smirked at the thought, but he wasn’t kidding.
The mental challenges and fear were as bad as the physical effects, Gobert recalled, and concerns about “my life and my family” trumped thoughts about his career. His mother, Corrine, was stuck in France, alone, at a time when international travel was inadvisable or impossible. “The toughest part was that I was away from my mom,” Gobert said reluctantly, noting that mother and son are in the midst of the longest separation of his life. “I didn’t want her to come over, because I didn’t know if I was still contagious or not. I still haven’t seen my mom since everything happened. It’s something I don’t really like to talk about, but she’s supported me a lot since I was very young. Just knowing how worried she was and knowing she wasn’t able to be with me, it was pretty tough mentally.”
As professional sports return to action with strict testing protocols made possible by abundant supplies and quick turnaround times, many have questioned whether it’s ethical for leagues to be afforded better access than much of the American public. Seemingly in response, the NBA – through its NBA Together campaign – will provide free tests in Orlando, Fla., where its bubble season is based.
Michael Porter Jr. was reprimanded by Snapchat for his comments about a coronavirus “agenda”. The Denver Nuggets forward answered fan questions on his Snapchat account Tuesday and shared his thoughts on the coronavirus and the government’s reaction to it. Porter said he believed the virus was being used as an opportunity to control people. Porter Jr. also shared that he never had been vaccinated. Not only did a Nuggets executive say he was going to talk with Porter Jr. about the comments, but Snapchat took action. Porter Jr. shared a photo on his Snapchat account showing that one of his postings had been reported. He was subsequently placed in “time out” for a violation of the social media service’s community guidelines.
Kevin Knox: COVID hit close to home. My mom lost her aunt and my dad lost a close friend yesterday. People this thing is real. Stay safe and help protect lives 🙏🏽😷
"It's not an exact science, because nobody's ever done this before," Silver told Good Morning America on ABC. "We have plans in place where we might pause — similar to what baseball's doing now. Probably if we had any significant spread at all, we'd immediately stop and what we'd try to do is to track and determine where they're coming from and whether there had been a spread on campus. I would say, ultimately, we would cease completely if we saw that this was spreading around the campus and something more than an isolated case was happening."
"The word 'anxious' would describe how I feel. We've been working at this for a long time, but there is a high case rate in Florida, down in Orange County where Orlando is," Silver said. "We're seeing what's happening in baseball with the Marlins, so it's something we're continuing to track very closely. Having said that, we have confidence in this protocol that we designed. It's not actually a sealed 'bubble', but everyone that's on that campus is tested on a daily basis. They're taking extraordinary precautions. The only time they're not wearing masks is when they're actually playing basketball. It's to the extent that when somebody tests positive, we'll obviously track them closely. We quarantine people when they first come down. So, we think we have a plan in place that should work."
David Aldridge: The @NBA announces it is helping provide free COVID-19 testing in the Orlando area through the end of August: pic.twitter.com/SEXKBekO0v
Michael Singer: Michael Malone said Tim Connelly has talked to Michael Porter Jr. about his comments. Said tean’s not “going to put a muzzle on anybody,” and that he’s going to focus on educating his players.
He was asked to “speak on this coronavirus thing being over blown to scare people into being controlled.” His response: “No, that’s facts. I think... personally I think that the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda, and it’s being used for population control in terms of just being able to control the masses of people. I mean, because of the virus the whole world is being controlled. I mean you’re required to wear masks, and who knows what’ll happen when this vaccine comes out. You might have to have the vaccine in order to travel. “Like, that’d be crazy. I’ve never been vaccinated in my life, I’ve never had any shots or anything like that so... it could get crazy, but it’s definitely an agenda behind everything that’s going on right now. All you can do is sit back, and watch what’s going on. Don’t get too emotionally involved, but yeah. I mean it is a serious thing. It’s a real, it’s a real thing, but yes it’s being overblown.”
We are supposed to get a daily email confirming our coronavirus test results. There actually have been a few days on this trip when no email arrived, but it’s not too worrisome because there is also an online portal that stores all of our test results — and because the league has made it known that any bad news on coronavirus testing will be delivered by phone.
Erik Horne: Thunder coach Billy Donovan says Abdel Nader passed the concussion protocol and is available tonight vs. Blazers. Terrance Ferguson (leg contusion), Chris Paul (rest) and Nerlens Noel (missed COVID test) will not play.
Brandon Rahbar: Donovan: “Nerlens is extremely remorseful” about missing the COVID test. Billy says that even he has almost forgot to take his tests before and that it’s easy to slip your mind.
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.”
November 24, 2020 | 12:38 pm EST Update
The Toronto Raptors announced Tuesday they have re-signed free agent guard Fred VanVleet to a multi-year contract. Per team policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. “In the last four years, we’ve seen Fred move from leader of Raptors 905, to leader of the Bench Mob to a leader of a championship team. The constant has been his leadership, no matter his role,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said. “We look forward to the coming years with Fred as one of the voices and hearts of our team. We bet on Fred.”
Josh Lewenberg: VanVleet said he met and spent some time with Malachi Flynn in Vegas during the pre-draft process. He’s looking forward to playing with/mentoring the Raps rookie, “I like his game a lot. I think the way he plays, being able to learn under me and Kyle will be beneficial for him.”
Josh Lewenberg: VanVleet, after thanking the Raptors organization, his coaches, teammates and family: “I wanna give thanks to you ugly media people who have treated me pretty good over the last 4 years. Now that I’ve got a nice big contract don’t start s***ing on me.”
The Milwaukee Bucks have re-signed guard Pat Connaughton. Entering his sixth season in the NBA, Connaughton appeared in 67 games (4 starts) with the Bucks last season and averaged 5.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 18.6 minutes per game. Originally signed by Milwaukee prior to the 2018-19 season, Connaughton is averaging 6.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 1.8 assists over 128 games as a Buck while shooting 46.1% from the field the last two seasons.
Last week, the NBA had one of the busiest weeks in league history—with the draft and free agency just two days apart. “That was one of the craziest weeks ever,” Charania says. “Everything goes up, but that is by nature. The conversations and the people you communicate with, those are the same, but the volume of dialogue slightly increases. “On a normal basis,” he continues, “it might be more sporadic and the topics are more different than around free agency and the draft because these are things that are imminently happening.”
When speaking to people around the NBA about Shams, another common theme is that he doesn’t have any hidden agendas. “Shams called me out of the blue one day, asking about a player I represented and his free-agent destination,” one NBA agent tells SLAM. “At first, I was hesitant because I had no prior relationship with him, but the way he approached the situation was nothing short of professional. He ended up breaking my player’s signing. “I trust him because there are no hidden agendas. He’s just trying to break the story; he’s not worried about doing favors. He’s genuine and straightforward with his approach, which is rare in this business.”
David Maas was a magician, TV and YouTube star and, with his wife, the centerpiece of halftime entertainment in basketball arenas all over the country. Maas died on Sunday at the age of 57. According to the New York Times, Maas performed in all 30 NBA arenas, 15 WNBA arenas and at least 76 universities. He also performed at the Big Ten basketball tournament and the Final Four. Maas and his wife, Dania, were famous for the “Quick Change” act where they would perform dances and routines in one costume, then be covered by a tarp, sheet or box and emerge in another costume. In 2014, Sporting News ranked it as the best halftime show in basketball.