Having a game postponed is an inconvenience. Seeing Hernangomez and Rubio have to isolate was unnerving. But the mental toll of seeing the Towns family have to confront COVID-19 again shook the organization. “It hurt,” Rosas said in a Zoom call not long after the game was postponed. “It hurt. Karl is the most important part of this organization for what he’s gone through, for what Karl Sr. has gone through, it couldn’t be more heartbreaking today.”
Teammates were taken aback when Towns gave them the news, sources said, knowing full well the context of the situation. Towns told the team that he was going to get through it and urged them to keep moving forward. The Wolves are scheduled to play in Atlanta on Monday afternoon as part of the league’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but everything is up in the air right now.
In another sign of how seriously the Wolves take things, sources say that Rosas grew emotional on Friday during a call with the league’s general managers as he discussed teams needing to adhere to the heightened protocols. As games were being postponed across the league, Rosas pleaded with teams to be extra vigilant, especially when they go on the road, so as not to increase the risk of exposure to the virus.
The Washington Wizards are dealing with an outbreak situation, with the franchise now up to five players who have tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell The Athletic's Shams Charania and Fred Katz. The Wizards last played on Monday against the Phoenix Suns. They have already had two games postponed this week — Wednesday against the Jazz and Friday against the Pistons. Washington's next scheduled game is Sunday against the Cavaliers.
Fred Katz, Wizards writer: The Wizards had plenty of close calls with COVID-19 before eventually having to miss games. They played the Celtics last week, the day before Boston flashed a positive test. Before that, they went up against the 76ers the day before they had one. Kevin Durant went into quarantine the day after his Nets played the Wizards. Bulls players tested positive in the middle of a series in Washington. Now, the Wizards are the ones dealing with the real-life issues that come with playing this season in the middle of a pandemic.
Katz: Most importantly, the Wizards have to get healthy. Players who test positive for coronavirus must quarantine for a minimum of 10-to-14 days, per league rules. If they have symptoms, quarantines can be longer than that. They then have a two-day ramp-up period and have to pass a cardio test before returning for good. It could be a while before some of these guys return. The status of the upcoming series against Cleveland, scheduled for Sunday/Monday, is up in the air, given today's news. Either way, it will be a minute before we see the Wizards in their full form.
Fred Katz: The Washington Wizards are now up to five players who have tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @ShamsCharania and me.
Quinton Mayo: Can confirm @Shams Charania @Fred Katz report that the Washington Wizards are now up to five players who have tested positive for coronavirus. I’ve also heard that at least one additional player has returned an inconclusive test.
Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone acknowledged Tuesday night that Michael Porter Jr.'s absence from the team is because he's had the coronavirus. After the Nuggets' 122-116 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in New York, Malone was asked why his team hasn't been able to put together a complete performance this season. While answering, he explained why Porter hasn't been with the team.
"Well it would be nice if we were fully healthy," Malone said. "We were without two starters tonight -- no Gary Harris, no Michael Porter. I don't think we have been whole the whole year. JaMychal Green was out early, Michael Porter has been out with COVID, and Gary was not here due to personal reasons. I think that's one thing that will help us."
Mark Murphy: Source confirmed that Tatum's second COVID test came back positive as well, sending Brown, Ojeleye and Green into quarantine.
Mark Murphy: Per source: Jayson Tatum tested positive for Covid today, and is now awaiting the results of a confirmation test. He is asymptomatic.
Shams Charania: Sources: Prior to flight from Denver to Dallas today, the Mavericks learned of a positive coronavirus test for a player and two additional players who are expected to quarantine for seven days due to contact tracing. The three players remained in Denver.
The Philadelphia 76ers are quarantining in New York because of a positive COVID-19 test for guard Seth Curry. A person familiar with the situation says the Sixers stayed overnight after the team learned of Curry's positive result during Thursday's loss against the Nets. The person spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because the team has not made Curry's condition public. The person said as of Friday morning Curry was the only positive test on the Sixers.
Shams Charania: Four new NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 498 tested since Dec. 30, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium .
Luis Scola tested positive for coronavirus according to Argentinian website Clarin. The veteran former All-EuroLeague forward and captain of the Argentinian national team is reported to be among the 12 members of Varese that tested positive for COVID-19, as the club announced Saturday (2/1).
Rob Schaefer: Chandler Hutchison tested positive for COVID-19, per Bulls coach Billy Donovan. He’s still in DC. Markkanen, Satoransky and Arcidiacono are in Chicago
Shams Charania: Sources: Two new NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 558 tested since Dec. 16.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder game is in jeopardy of postponement tonight, sources tell ESPN. No final word yet.
Tim MacMahon: New Rockets additions to official NBA injury report: Out: Kenyon Martin Jr. (Not With Team -- Self Isolating) Questionable: DeMarcus Cousins (right ankle sprain)
Sam Amick: A clarification, since there's A LOT happening in Houston right now... A source tells @TheAthletic that the contact tracing which is expected to lead to several players not being available tonight against OKC is not tied to James Harden.
Arian Wojnarowski: Rockets C DeMarcus Cousins has tested negative for the coronavirus, source tells ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As Rockets disclosed yesterday, Ben McLemore is in self-isolation and out for tonight's game vs. OKC. McLemore tested positive for the coronavirus days ago, sources said, and has been in isolation. He isn't the teammate whose positive test initiated contact tracing today on team.
Shams Charania: Sources: One new NBA player has tested positive for coronavirus out of 549 tested since Dec. 10.
Will Guillory: Stan Van Gundy says Eric Bledsoe left the market bc of a personal matter and missed a COVID-19 test. He'll have to pass a series of tests before he can rejoin the team. JJ Redick is being held out due to an abundance of caution because someone he knows tested positive
Chris Haynes: Yahoo Sources: Chicago Bulls forward Noah Vonleh has tested positive for COVID-19 and begins mandatory 10-day quarantine. He will be waived. I’m told he is feeling good overall.
Rob Schaefer: Billy Donovan said Garrett Temple is still in the NBA's COVID-19 protocol + needs to return multiple negative tests and undergo cardiovascular testing before returning. Donovan said he didn't know the results of Temple's tests from yesterday or today. No timetable
Adam Mokoka was designated as "not with team" on the official injury report, which Donovan said is due to him traveling in from outside the country. Mokoka is originally from France. "Coming back with COVID and certainly passport those kind of things it's been really challenging. He is in town now," Donovan said of Mokoka, adding that he spoke to him Friday. "There'll be, like the rest of the guys that come in, some protocols and things that he'll have to go through."
Rick Bonnell: No Hornets were among the 8 NBA players with positive COVID-19 tests since training camps started, the team says.
Shams Charania: 8 new NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 541 tested in latest round since Dec. 2, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Connor Letourneau: Steph Curry on James Wiseman having to miss his first NBA practices because of a positive coronavirus test: "James, it'll be a situation where we kind of have to see where he's at. ... He'll have to learn on the fly."
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. pic.twitter.com/3yFEXNMZf4
Keith Pompey: #Sixers PF Mike Scott is not with the team at the start of training camp while waiting to clear COVID-19 protocols after receiving a positive, according to a league source. He's expected to join the team in the coming days.
Derek Bodner: Philadelphia 76ers rookie guard Tyrese Maxey has not been with the team at the start of training camp as he waits to clear COVID protocols after receiving a positive test, per source. The expectation is he will join the team in the coming days.
Sean Cunningham: Kings coach Luke Walton says the full roster is not yet participating - had two COVID-19 positives.
Joe Mussatto: Two Thunder players were held out of practice today due to positive COVID tests, per Mark Daigneault.
KC Johnson: Garrett Temple reveals he has tested positive for COVID-19 last Saturday. The Bulls’ first group practice of training camp is today. Temple will have to pass all safety protocols, roughly a 12-day process if it’s smooth, to return. He's 9 days in
Spencer Percy: According to the NBA's coronavirus protocols, a player that tests positive (and is asymptomatic) must quarantine for 10 day + produce 2 negative tests 24 hrs. apart. This means Malik Monk can't rejoin the #Hornets until 12-16 at the earliest (unless positive was early this week).
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.
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.
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.
The Wizards haven’t had to shut down any activities because of the player who tested positive for COVID-19. The player, Brooks said, hasn’t been in D.C. and thus, hasn’t had contact with anyone. He will return once he’s healthy, no longer contagious and cleared. Once the season begins, circumstances will change. During a time when a pandemic, in a best-case scenario, can turn players ineligible for long stretches, it’s a luxury to have those extra guys. The Wizards have flaws, mostly on defense, but their Nos. 11 through 15 are quite capable. And that means more today than it did in years past.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Scott Brooks said a Wizards player has tested positive for COVID-19. Brooks didn’t identify the player but said the player was an out of DC market player.
Nets Daily: Nets stash Aleksandar Vezenkov, who plays for Olympiacos in Greece, has tested positive for COVID-19, Euroleague reports. He is quarantining.
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.
Barcelona basketball player Nikola Mirotic says he has tested positive for COVID-19 and is out of the team's Euroleague game at Valencia Basket. Mirotic says he is "well and following doctors' instructions." Barcelona head coach Sarunas Jasikevicius and assistant coach Darius Maskoliunas tested positive for the coronavirus earlier this month.
Donatas Urbonas: Joffrey Lauvergne was re-tested negative for COVID-19 on Friday, per sources. The final test on Saturday will show if JoJo was falsely tested positive on Thursday.
Zalgiris Kaunas announced that center Joffrey Lauvergne tested positive for COVID-19. The player is currently asymptomatic and isolated at his home. So far this is the seventh confirmed COVID-19 case that concerns a EuroLeague player after the start of the season
Donald J. Trump: Tonight, @FLOTUS and I tested positive for COVID-19. We will begin our quarantine and recovery process immediately. We will get through this TOGETHER! CJ McCollum: Reminder to keep wearing my mask.
March 3, 2021 | 9:47 am EST Update
Several sources within the Houston organization firmly believe Morey made a preemptive decision, departing in large part because he anticipated Harden would want out, beginning a rebuilding period for the Rockets. According to sources, Morey had expressed concern inside the bubble about not being able to “keep James happy,” due to a lack of picks to use as trade fodder to make offseason roster upgrades.
Harden’s happiness, or lack thereof, was Stone’s problem after the longtime Rockets front office executive was promoted to replace Morey. But just getting Harden to communicate with him was difficult for Stone and the Houston front office, a factor that delayed the coaching search that ultimately ended with the hiring of Silas, a longtime NBA assistant who was a finalist when Houston hired D’Antoni four years earlier. By early November, the Rockets had privately come to terms with the fact that the Harden-Westbrook pairing fizzled, as the friends no longer wanted to play together. That was problematic, given the steep price the Rockets paid in the Westbrook trade the previous summer, but Houston could stomach searching for a Westbrook trade.
Weeks before camp opened, a high-ranking Rockets source told ESPN that the team was “willing to get uncomfortable,” stressing that the front office felt no urgency to trade Harden and Westbrook before the start of the season despite the stars’ unhappiness, vowing not to be pressured into dealing them for pennies on the dollar.
After the game, crew chief Marc Davis told a pool reporter that Booker’s first technical was for “continuous complaining” and the second was for “directing profane language at a game official.” Suns forward Jae Crowder said he tried to get between Booker and the referees to deescalate the tense situation but was too late. “Devin was disputing his first technical,” Crowder said. “He didn’t like the first technical that was given to him and he voiced his opinion about it. The second ref heard him voice his opinion and decided to give him another one.”
“I think Jae Crowder said it best: We got better tonight,” said Suns coach Monty Williams after the game. “You gain confidence when a guy like Book doesn’t play or gets tossed and you’re able to pull a game out on the road at the end of a trip. That’s a recipe for mailing it in, and this group has shown a lot of resiliency. But that was a big-time character win, and we got better. “I think we played good tonight, but we probably got more confidence that we can pull a game out without Devin or Chris [Paul] saving the day.”
LeBron James was asked about dealing with the stretch of recent games. “Just trying to stay in the moment. For me just standing in the moment, keeping my guys motivated, keeping them upbeat,” the four-time NBA champion said. “You could definitely tell that some of our guys are just feeling the midst of the long season that we had last year with the bubble and coming right back on to the season this year. A lot of guys looking forward to the break so it’ll be beneficial to our guys.”
But don’t diminish Turner based on one historically challenging matchup. He should still be a frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, if not the favorite to win the award over the likes of Embiid, Rudy Gobert and others, at least based on his body of work so far this season. Here’s why: For one, Turner leads the league in blocks at 3.4 per game, and it isn’t particularly close. Gobert came into the Philly game second in that category, 11 blocks behind. Of course, leading the league in blocks isn’t necessarily the litmus test; in 2018-19, Turner led the league in blocks and didn’t get a sniff of the award. It’s why he knew that if he wanted to bolster his candidacy, he needed to add some subtle elements to his defensive game.
No player contests more shots per game within six feet of the basket than Turner (10.5) and he allows a minus-16.2 percent difference in field goal percentage on these attempts. He’s not just blocking shots; he’s altering shots, making plays with his quick feet and hands and giving the Pacers one of the top — if not the top — rim protectors in the game. “It’s funny, his rookie year, he was amazing; I got to see him on the USA Select Team and thought he was the best player on the whole team. He was unbelievable,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers said. “He’s turned out to be a different kind of player than I thought he would be.