Multiple COVID-19 vaccines are in final stages of appro…

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According to an array of discussions with league executives, team physicians and agents the league has been focusing on a few key areas: • A need to create an educational program for players and staff about vaccine choices, possible side effects and efficacy with the intent to put players at ease and be willing to take it. While this process is still in the earliest stages, some players have already begun expressing hesitation to their agents and team doctors about the vaccine, sources told ESPN. Educating the players about the measures taken to prevent the virus at the bubble in Orlando proved effective in fostering cooperation.
"I would guess that for most players, they will be willing to take it," said a prominent agent, who represents numerous players. "I think there will be a societal push for as many as possible to take it." Others feel it will be a harder sell. Among the issues, sources said, is numerous players who have had the virus -- and now have some level of antibodies -- may need to be convinced the vaccine is necessary. Between the season restart last summer and the start of this season's training camp, the NBA announced around 100 positive tests for players and staff. But that does not account for the numerous players and coaches who contracted the virus during the shutdown and in the offseason, only a few of whom have elected to publicly self identify.
"We are going to need someone they trust, who is not involved with the league, that can lay it out for the skeptical guys," said another agent who represents All-Stars. "Maybe it's someone like President Obama. To position this to the players as an opportunity to motivate others, which happened with masks."
The need to create a policy for how quickly the league will seek injections. Regardless of its resources, league officials know there are higher-risk populations that take priority including medical-care workers, nursing home residents, essential workers, and others. The NBA aims to respect whatever guidelines and criteria are enforced by the government and medical agencies concerning which populations will receive a vaccine early, sources said. With that said, league sources say the NBA doesn't plan to enforce any specific rules that would prohibit an individual from trying to obtain a vaccine if they wanted one while it's available. Even if that would mean some players and teams might get access to the vaccine earlier than peers who play and live in another city. League executives are already recognizing this type of policy could lead to a competitive balance issue at some point if some teams have the chance to be inoculated before others.
Numerous teams have close connections to top healthcare providers in their regions and the availability of shots could vary depending on the home state or region of the country. How distribution might play out is still being determined by local governments. The Wall Street Journal reported on Dec. 6 that some health officials support early vaccination for professional athletes to demonstrate its effectiveness and safety in a high-profile manner.
Crowder said Wednesday was his first full practice with the team and that he was previously attending to a personal problem that is now taken care of. When asked if he had any COVID-19 issues, Crowder said no and thanked the organization for letting him get done what he had to get done. “Happy to be back working, getting prepared for this season,” he said.
While the NBA expects positive COVID-19 cases throughout the 2020-21 season, league sources told ESPN there isn't a specific number of positive cases or a precise scenario that could cause a game to be canceled or postponed. In conjunction with league and team health officials, the NBA will consider several variables, including the nature of the positive cases and when, where and how they happened. For instance, teams could have a similar number of positive COVID-19 cases but differing circumstances for the total, such as potential spread in a facility or isolated cases at home, leading to the NBA's reluctance to create a fixed number that would lead to play being suspended on a given night.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: My life is at risk. Not just because I’m 73 with the usual annoying aches and pains that accompany age, but because I’m tall and I’m Black. At 7 feet, 2 inches, I’m statistically more prone to blood clots, lower back and hip problems, higher risk of cancer, especially prostate cancer, atrial fibrillation (a heart rhythm disorder), and a shorter life span in general. Being Black means I’m more likely to suffer from diabetes, heart problems, obesity, cancer, and a shorter life in general. Yup, tall people and Black people have shorter life expectancies. So far, in keeping with these statistical risks, I’ve had prostate cancer, leukemia, and heart bypass surgery.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: I’ve been fortunate because my celebrity has brought me enough financial security to receive excellent medical attention. No one wants an NBA legend dying on their watch. Imagine the Yelp reviews. I’m also lucky that one of my sons is an orthopedic surgeon and another is a hospital administrator. Dad gets to nag them for medical advice whenever he wants. But while I’m grateful for my advantages, I’m acutely aware that many others in the Black community do not have the same options and that it is my responsibility to join with those fighting to change that. “Because Black lives are at risk. Serious risk.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted just how malignant the system is. The virus has hit the African American community at a much higher and more devastating rate than it has the white community. At the same time, they receive a lower standard of care. The death rate for Blacks is 3.6 times higher than for whites. But in predominantly Black counties, the infection rate is three times higher and the death rate is six times higher than in predominantly white counties. Other marginalized people of color are also suffering: nationally, hospitalization rates are five times higher for Native Americans and African Americans and four times higher for Latinx. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released August 14, 2020, concluded that in 79 hot spot counties in the U.S. that had information about race, 96.2% showed racial disparity in COVID-19 cases.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA coaches are no longer required to wear a sports coats during games, sources tell @ZachLowe_NBA and me. Coaches must wear business attire (no track pants during games). Coaches must wear facemasks during games, sources said.
The NBA and NBCA also agreed to continue the practice of more casual game attire, no longer requiring coaches to wear sports jackets, sources said. Coaches voted more than 2-to-1, sources said, to allow for wearing polo shirts in games. Coaches must wear business attire, such as dress shirts, pants, socks and shoes, sources said. The NBA will disallow sweat-pants and jogging pants.
Despite that broader purview, employment law experts told ESPN the review process and unilateral prohibitions on attendance could run afoul of employment discrimination laws. Several argued that in setting up what turned out to be a secure bubble, the NBA had reduced risk to the point that the choice of attending should be left up to individuals.
Anthony Slater: Steve Kerr said the Warriors' two players who return from COVID quarantine will need "several days" before being cleared to practice: "I know there's some kind of a cardiogram, a heart monitor testing because of the nature of the virus."
Jason Quick: Terry Stotts says one of the three positive tests in Blazers organization was a player. Plan is for team to have first practice Tuesday. Three players will be unavailable: the player who tested positive, Zach Collins (ankle), and Jusuf Nurkic, who just arrived Sunday.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Three members of Raptors organization test positive for Covid-19.
Plenty of extra protocols will be in place for the Knicks road trips, according to sources. The players are expected to handle their own luggage at all times — a departure from the norm. The Post also has learned the team bus to the arenas can hold up to 12 people. That means as many as four buses may be needed to schlep coaches, trainers and players to the arena.
The Knicks will spend a lot of time on the road at the pandemic season’s outset — which means MSG Network’s Hall-of-Fame broadcast tandem of Mike Breen and Walt Frazier may not be around the club much. According to a source, Breen and Frazier are unlikely to make road trips — at least early on, according to industry sources. In fact, the NBA is leaning toward not having visiting team’s broadcasters travel to road contests.
Though the NBA has made no final decision, it is expected Breen and Frazier, under league rules, will broadcast road games from either a New York studio or their home. Considered the NBA’s most elite announcing duo, Breen and Frazier are permitted to broadcast home games from the Garden but not from their usual courtside table. Instead, they likely will be perched 30 feet above the court.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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
Storyline: Coronavirus
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August 15, 2022 | 2:10 am EDT Update

Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn't rule out playing for the Bulls in the future

Fox 32 Chicago Sports: Giannis on playing for the #Bulls someday tonight on The Sports Zone on Fox 32 Chicago. @fox32news @foxkickoff @LouCanellis @CassieCarlsonTV @Giannis_An34

“I think anyone asked that question who plays basketball, if he said no, he’d be a liar. It’s a team that won multiple championships, a team with one of the greatest players, if not the greatest player to ever play this game. It’s a no-brainer, everybody would love to play for Chicago. Down the line, you never know. You never know how life brings it. Maybe I play for Chicago,” Antetokounmpo said. “But right now, I’m committed to Milwaukee.”

Lakers to open season vs. Warriors

Clippers coach Tyronn Lue is unbeaten in seven games against the Lakers since taking over two seasons ago, while it will be Lakers coach Darvin Ham’s first meeting of arena tenants since his hiring in May. The game will be the Clippers’ season opener, while the Lakers will open two days earlier, on Oct. 18, at defending champion Golden State, according to a person with knowledge of the schedule.
On Sunday, Durant sent a tweet hinting that he’s going to delete his account on the platform amid the talks that it is ruining his legacy. However, he has since deleted the post. What’s interesting is Kevin Durant sent it out after people kept criticizing him for being the culprit in the current state of the player empowerment era in the NBA. A lot of players seem to be abusing that power to get out of situations they don’t like despite signing their contracts and teams paying them tons of money.
Clutch Points: Steph Curry, Seth Curry, Jayson Tatum, Rich Paul and company at Draymond Green’s wedding 💯 (via tatum_camps/IG)