The NBA has warned teams that protocol violations that lead to coronavirus spread impacting opposing teams and causing schedule derailments could result in “fines, suspensions, adjustment or loss of draft choices and game forfeitures,” according to a memo obtained by ESPN. For players violating safety protocols this season, the league warns that the possibility of in-season quarantine and reduced paychecks loom as possibilities. While the memo doesn’t outline the length of quarantines, it says that any such player “may be subject to a proportionate adjustment to pay for any games missed during the period that the player is in quarantine and undergoing testing due to engaging in such activities and/or conduct.”
At home, players and staff are forbidden to enter bars, lounges or clubs, attend live entertainment or game venues, or visit public gyms, spas, pool areas or large indoor social gatherings that exceed 15 people, the memo said. Violations will include possible disciplinary action by teams or the league, including warnings, educational sessions, fines and suspensions. What's more, teams could be punished for failing to comply and for failing to report any "potential or actual violation, and/or any discipline imposed by the team for such violation." If teams are found to repeatedly violate the protocols, they could be subject to "enhanced discipline."
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA shared an additional Health and Safety guide w/ teams -- this time, 158 pages -- allowing for team/player dining at "approved restaurants" on trips, outdoor dining, or indoor restaurant in "fully privatized space," according to document obtained by ESPN. Details, details.
Adrian Wojnarowski: At home, players and staff are not allowed to enter: Bars/lounges/clubs; live entertainment/gaming venues (with limited exceptions), public gyms/spas/pool areas, or large indoor social gatherings (15 or more people), NBA tells teams in expanded Health and Safety Guide.
Tim Bontemps: In its updated Health and Safety Protocols, the NBA has included guidance on what punishments will be for breaking the protocol. For players and staff, options are fines, suspensions and potentially required training sessions.
Tim Bontemps: In the NBA's updated Health and Safety Protocol, the league also says that violations that lead to COVID-19 spread that causes schedule adjustments, or impacts other teams, could result in, "fines, suspensions, adjustment or loss of draft choices, and/or game forfeiture."
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA will also provide twice-a-week testing for household members of players and staff, memo says. League is encouraging that to "enhance their protection throughout the season."
Shams Charania: When confirmed that a coronavirus vaccine is safe and effective, the NBA and NBPA will discuss players, coaches and staff being required to receive the vaccine, or additional health and safety-focused restrictions on individuals who elect not to receive it.
Shams Charania: NBA teams’ traveling parties are allowed only up to two guests in hotel rooms: Family members or longtime close personal friends who reside in the city. Traveling parties are strongly discouraged from interactions with those not associated with the team.
Zach Lowe: Updated guidelines also state that "in recognition of the significant health risks that influenza can pose," teams "must present" players and other Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel "with the option to receive the flu vaccine and strongly recommend they receive it."
Eric Walden: Mike Conley confirms he was one of the two Jazz players in the COVID protocol. Said he had close contact with a family member who tested positive.
Jon Krawczynski: KAT: "I've never been in a mentally good place since (his mother) went in the hospital. ... I wouldn't say (basketball) is therapy for me at all"
Rick Bonnell: BREAKING: @Malik Monk has tested positive for COVID-19, per @Charlotte Hornets coach James Borrego. Monk has no symptoms, but will miss at least several more days of practice.
Gary Washburn: Brad Stevens said the #Celtics have members of the organization in the COVID protocol but he is not allowed to say who specifically.
The move to suspend testing in the bubble was bargained relatively quickly between the league and players’ association, sources say. The choice to maintain the suspension into the upcoming season is largely meant to minimize contacts and maintain COVID safety—or at least, that’s the party line.
When asked about the possibility of full, 20,000-seat NBA arenas in July, when the postseason is scheduled to conclude, Fauci said: “Ah, I think that'll be cutting it close.” The return of tightly-packed crowds will depend on a variety of factors, public health experts say, from human behavior to uptake of soon-to-be-approved COVID-19 vaccines. “We're gonna be vaccinating the highest-priority people [from] the end of December through January, February, March,” Fauci said. “By the time you get to the general public, the people who'll be going to the basketball games, who don't have any underlying conditions, that's gonna be starting the end of April, May, June. So it probably will be well into the end of the summer before you can really feel comfortable [with full sports stadiums] – if a lot of people get vaccinated. I don't think we're going to be that normal in July. I think it probably would be by the end of the summer.”
Faced with dramatically rising COVID-19 hospitalizations, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced on Thursday the state will open the emergency field hospital at the Sleep Train Arena practice facility building in Sacramento’s Natomas area. Opening day will be Wednesday, Dec. 9, he said, with the first 20 beds available.
The Sleep Train site, which the Sacramento Kings NBA team used before moving to Golden 1 Arena, can house nearly 244 patients. Medical supplies are available, and the state can call on both state and federal healthcare teams to assist.
What happens if and when a player tests positive? Any time a player tests positive for COVID-19, he will have to go through a series of steps before being able to play again.
If the player is asymptomatic, he must sit out for 10 days from when first testing positive, then pass a cardiac screen and, finally, work out alone at the team facility for two more days before being allowed to return to full team activities -- assuming there are no issues. If the player is symptomatic, he must sit out for 10 days from when symptoms subside, then follow the same path as asymptomatic players.
If a player gets a serious case of COVID-19 -- up to and including going to the hospital -- he would have to work out alone for three days, rather than two, before being cleared to return to team activities, assuming everything checks out. Basically, fans can expect that if a player tests positive, he will be unable to play for at least two weeks -- and if he shows symptoms, that time frame could easily grow longer
What happens if an individual or a team breaks COVID-19 protocol? It remains unclear how the NBA will handle potential fines for breaking COVID-19 protocol. The league is still finalizing how it will handle violations, but expect the NBA to follow the NFL's lead in that fines will likely vary depending on the severity of each violation. The NFL has fined a number of teams for not properly wearing masks. The league also fined Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins just under $5,000 for making a reservation for a family friend at the team hotel.
Will games be suspended for positive tests? Much like the NFL, potential game suspensions or postponements will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. NFL teams have tried to play through the schedule when only a handful of players test positive in an organization, but schedules have had to be altered in outbreak situations. The NBA remains confident in its protocols, but it remains to be seen how it will handle the situation if several players on one team test positive at the same time
Rick Bonnell: A Hornets player tested positive for COVID-19 during initial testing before training camp, a team source confirmed. Which player, not public. @NickCarboniWCNC first.
Shams Charania: 48 NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 546 tested during initial testing phase from Nov. 24-30, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Michael Singer: Malone: “We have to be ultra, ultra disciplined (when it comes to protocols).” He mentioned the Broncos’ QB situation.
Tim Reynolds: I forgot who asked the question, but someone just mentioned bubble to Doc. "No, thank you," he said. Seconded.
Brad Townsend: Carlisle: "In the next couple of weeks we'll be adding rapid-testing." Daily testing already underway.
Eric Woodyard: The Charlotte Hornets have decided that home games at Spectrum Center will be held without fans when the 2020-21 NBA season begins.
Josh Lewenberg: The Raptors are travelling to Tampa later today. Players must return 3-4 negative tests to be cleared for individual workouts. Their first team practice (at Saint Leo University) is scheduled for Sunday, with their first preseason game (@ CHA, Dec 12) coming the following weekend
Malika Andrews: Each team’s traveling party for the 2020-21 season will be limited to 45 people (including up to 17 players), per health and safety protocol. That is a slightly bigger traveling party than teams were allowed for the Bubble. Teams must register initial traveling party by Dec. 10.
Mark Medina: Per the NBA's memo sent to owners, GMs & training staffs: Nov. 24-30 – Voluntary individual workouts Dec. 1-5 - Training camp for required individual workouts. Dec. 6-10 – Training Camp for required group workouts. Dec. 11-21 Preseason. Dec. 22 -onwards) - Regular season.
Shams Charania: NBA-NBPA Core Health and Safety Principles for 2020-21 season: pic.twitter.com/IjtYUPPi77
Adrian Wojnarowski: Under "Circumstances for Cancellation of 2020-2021 season," NBA says: Occurrence of independent cases (i.e, cases not spread among players or team staff) or a small or otherwise expected number of COVID-19 cases will not require a decision to suspend or cancel the 2020-21 season.
Nets Daily: Nets stash Aleksandar Vezenkov, who plays for Olympiacos in Greece, has tested positive for COVID-19, Euroleague reports. He is quarantining.
Rick Bonnell: Heard something interesting about training camp rosters: There are NBA teams not planning to bring the maximum number of allowable players to camp, on the reasoning that adds to potential COVID risk/complications. That means some teams would not have any more players than available roster spots. The downside: Fewer bodies to scrimmage, particularly if you have nagging injuries holding out rotation players.
The cause of death was COVID-19, according to an announcement Monday by Hoffman Entertainment. Maas had first gone to the hospital on Nov. 15, near his home in Glenview, Ill. “It was very quick and unexpected,” Hoffman said Tuesday in a phone interview. In the days after Maas’s death, the reaction from across the sports world underscored just how deep a niche the couple had carved out. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban called the group “one of my favorite half time shows.” The Chicago Bulls and Oklahoma City Thunder were among the organizations and athletic departments that paid tribute on Twitter. Jeff Long, the athletic director at Kansas — where Quick Change became a yearly staple at Allen Fieldhouse — wrote on Twitter that he would “marvel at how they changed without a hint of how they did it! David was my personal favorite!”
Eric Woodyard: All-Star Rudy Gobert to ESPN on Utah Jazz allowing limited fans in arena: “I think that if they make it happen they probably have the scientific evidence that it would be safe for us and for the fans in attendance.” Gobert was the 1st NBA player to test positive for COVID-19.
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.
Liz Mullen: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver tops the list of @SBJSBD's reader survey on the question: Which professional sports league commissioner/top executive was most effective at navigating the challenges of 2020? SBJ: bit.ly/3kYJzBE pic.twitter.com/00lO8Qz32c
Marc Stein: NBA teams have been notified that no more than 50 people at one time will be allowed in practice facilities this season, @NYTSports has learned The full range of health and safety protocols for the coming season, sources say, are still being finalized by the league and union
Chris Mannix: In what reinforces why the Raptors won't play in Canada, at least to start the season: Toronto is going into a 28-day lockdown, effective Monday. COVID-19 infections have been on the rise.
San Francisco’s Department of Public Health rejected the Warriors’ ambitious plan to bring back more than 9,000 spectators to games during the upcoming NBA season, while pledging to work with the team to host fans at Chase Center once the coronavirus pandemic eases.
Warriors officials hatched their plan — which included coronavirus testing for all spectators ahead of games — over the past eight months. The protocols would have been the first of their kind and could have marked a new phase in the return of spectators to sports in the U.S. But local officials told The Chronicle last week that they were wary of the idea, especially as the state experiences its fastest increase of cases since the pandemic began.
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA players must return to their team’s market no later than Nov. 30 to begin coronavirus testing and can begin individual workouts from Dec. 1-5 after three negative PCR tests.
Ava Wallace: GM Tommy Sheppard was asked about getting fans back into Capital One Arena this season. He said he's at the mercy of NBA and local guidelines -- in DC, remember, gatherings of more than 50 still aren't allowed.
Canada's deputy chief of public health says the Toronto Raptors have presented a good plan to play at home this coming NBA season, but concerns remain over enforcing strict health protocols and travel over the border with the United States.
Dr. Howard Njoo said the Raptors presented a plan with good health protocols and have learned from the NBA's "bubble" experiment, when the league finished the 2019-20 season at an isolated campus near Orlando, Fla. But Njoo said the NBA will not be using the hub city concept for the upcoming season, and that it would be "tough on everyone involved" to observe the same health measures over a months-long NBA season during which teams are not isolated together.
“There’s still a lot of questions that have to be answered,” Paul said. “But we’re working on it. Nothing is perfect and everything that you see … we’re sort of learning everything on the fly. The only thing that’s in control right now is that virus. We’re working hard to try to make sure that not only our players are happy but our fans are happy.”
The Golden State Warriors have presented an ambitious plan to state and local officials to reopen Chase Center in San Francisco at 50% capacity for the upcoming NBA season, which owner Joe Lacob believes can be the model for all sports franchises and entertainment venues to safely bring back fans amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Lacob said the Warriors are prepared to spend upward of $30 million to test every fan, Warriors employee and player with the most accurate form of COVID-19 testing for each home game or day they come to at Chase Center.
"I not only want to get this done and show the world how we can do it now, I'm willing to spend the money to do it," said Lacob, who holds a master's degree in public health from UCLA and built his fortune as a venture capitalist in biotechnology. "This is a serious, serious problem. It cannot go on for multiple years ... because if this were to go on for several years, the NBA is no more. "You cannot sustain this league with no fans. You can do it for a year. We'll all get by for a year. But suppose we're in this situation next year. Now we're talking some serious, serious financial damage to a lot of people."
The Knicks closed their training facility Tuesday after three employees tested positive for COVID-19. [...] All three are asymptomatic and currently under quarantine, according to the Knicks. But in the meantime, the MSG Training Center has been temporarily closed to allow for a thorough cleaning of the facility.
Brandon Quinn: Michigan State announces that Tom Izzo has tested positive for Covid-19 and will be working remotely while he recovers. "You'd be hard pressed to find a coach that has taken more precautions than I have," Izzo says in a statement.
Dan Woike: Dr. Vivek Murthy, who was announced Monday as part of President-elect Joe Biden’s COVID-19 response team was also a member of the medical team who helped orchestrate the NBA’s Orlando bubble. He served as surgeon general under Barack Obama.
Biden made the nation's COVID-19 response a key pillar of his campaign. And although it is not an issue specific to sports, that response — and how it changes under a Biden administration — has had and will continue to have a significant impact on sports at all levels. It could be particularly pivotal for pro sports leagues such as the NBA, NHL and MLB, all of which are hoping to welcome fans back to their games next year.
Biden has appeared more willing than Trump to aggressively address COVID-19 in the short term with hopes that it will curtail the spread of the disease in the long term. He has supported a national mask mandate and said in August that he would implement a national lockdown if scientists recommend taking that step. "If you have a reproduction rate in a community that's above a certain level, everybody says, slow up," Biden said during a presidential debate. "More social distancing. Do not open bars and do not open gymnasiums. Do not open until you get this under control, under more control."
Tim Reynolds: There's no agreement on the money - yet - but the NBA's player representatives have decided to back the notion of a Dec. 22 start to the season, AP is told. Talks between the union and league will continue on matters like escrow/COVID testing/etc.
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA aims to have arena suites open to fans at 25-to-50 percent capacity for 2020-21 season tipoff, based on local regulations. An amount of fans — under protocols such as masks, social distancing and coronavirus testing — is a goal to start season.
Shams Charania: The coronavirus pandemic has made life fluid, and a clinical vaccine will play a role in this too. NBA's goal is some amount of fans to start the season, depending on each market's restrictions. Courtside fans, for instance, would be about 10-to-12 feet away, sources said.
"There have been significant advancements in rapid testing since the onset of COVID-19. We’re fairly optimistic that the market will generate more and better forms of faster testing. “There may be opportunities in the context of an arena, particularly in the lower bowl, where there is an economic model that allows for it. Of course, that’s part of the equation: Ultimately, is it affordable in the context that you want to use it? I think we also see potentially a broader role that these teams can play in their community, which is that of testing.
Shams Charania: The NBA has informed its 30 teams that they are now allowed to open practice facilities for group practices, workouts and scrimmages with up to 10 players, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA players must be tested every day for the coronavirus and return a negative test each time to be allowed to participate in offseason workouts at team facilities, according to a memo shared with teams today.
Tim Reynolds: One thing to note from the offseason workouts memo shared with teams today detailing how they can open facilities: In a big departure from the past norms, teams cannot make their facility available to players who were not under contract with the team when last season ended.
Murphy said league brass is still figuring out ways to make the season a go, safety-wise, for all parties. “I’m sure face coverings will be a big part of it,” said Murphy, noting that there could be a combination of social-distanced seating, limited crowds and the addition of hand sanitizer stations. “Our air ventilation system has been upgraded and deemed to be COVID-19 safe.”
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is urging anyone who congregated to celebrate the Lakers or Dodgers championship wins to get tested for the coronavirus. “For those who went to the streets to celebrate … and were around strangers in an unsafe environment, please get tested and stay isolated for 14 days per the county’s Department of Public Health advice,” he said Wednesday.
The change of heart allows the NBA to showcase its league on the year’s most important day for its TV partners — Christmas. And it gives Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau little time to get organized as training camps will have to start around Dec. 1. “It’s interesting Silver talked behind the scenes about waiting until a March time frame if it meant getting a vaccine,’’’ one NBA insider said. “That’s until the finance committee showed him the numbers.’’
“The priority is getting back to the October-to-June format for 2021-22,’’ one industry source said. “They found out the hard way not enough people watch TV in the summer. The virus and real-life struggles obscure the reality that sports on TV in the summer don’t generate enough viewers.’’
The NBA's revenues dropped 10% to $8.3 billion during the 2019-20 season amid losses due to the pandemic, according to financial numbers shared with teams and obtained by ESPN. The balance of the finances included an $800 million loss in gate receipts and a $400 million loss in sponsorships and merchandise, sources said. The NBA's losses included $200 million in deemed "net negative impact" from a months-long splintering of a partnership with China in the aftermath of the Daryl Morey tweet promoting Hong Kong freedom a year ago, sources said.
Before the pandemic and social unrest plagued the world, the NBA lost two of its icons in former commissioner David Stern and Kobe Bryant. And this time last year, a rift with its international business partner, China, started. The NBA has said that feud could cost $400 million. “I would say it’s been a challenging year,” Tatum said in an interview with CNBC. “It’s been our longest season in NBA history, and so much was thrown at us collectively as a league.”
Revenue projections for the league this season were missed by about $1.5 billion, the person said. The losses were the result of a combination of factors — the shutdown caused by the pandemic, the cancelation of 171 regular-season games, completing the season in a bubble at Walt Disney World without fans, the nearly $200 million price tag for operating that bubble and a yearlong rift with the Chinese government that saw NBA games not shown on state television there.
Around the league, there's support to be playing again by Christmas, but a realization that it's going to become a chaotic challenge coming out of a Nov. 18 draft, free agency and training camps that would need to be open shortly after Thanksgiving. Without a bubble environment, the NBA will be facing positive coronavirus tests for players and staff.
January 20, 2021 | 11:26 am EST Update
Basketball-Reference: Yesterday was Zion Williamson’s sixth 30-point game, as many 30-point games thru the first 40 of his NBA career as LeBron James stathead.com/tiny/7LTR0 pic.twitter.com/VD0eiRFyj2
January 20, 2021 | 6:34 am EST Update
Fenerbahce and Kyle O’Quinn have a done deal for the remainder of the season according to Eurohoops sources, and their agreement is set to be announced later on Wednesday.
Olgun Uluc: Steven Adams was his vintage self in my chat with him for @ESPNAusNZ: “Just to make sure: when I said Stan Van Gundy’s old school, I just meant that he’s old… Hopefully he doesn’t hear that.” pic.twitter.com/XrXyaeEHiy
Harrison Wind: More Monte Morris on Jokic: “He don’t get a lot of credit, as he should. Maybe because he ain’t flashy with the dunks and things. But he produces just as much, if not more, than anybody in the NBA. I’m amazed every night. I see it and in practice it’s effortless.”