Nets Daily: Nets have a daily reminder of COVID’s toll. For past 18 months, New York has stored HUNDREDS of corpses from the pandemic in mobile morgues across the street from HSS. Dead from COVID but unclaimed, poor, unidentified. “Right outside my window,” as one Nets staffer told me.
When Los Angeles’ new city ordinance requiring proof of vaccination to enter a wide range of indoor venues takes effect in November, those rules won’t apply at Staples Center, city and arena officials said, because a health order previously issued by the county covers the home of the NHL’s Kings and NBA’s Lakers and Clippers.
In Los Angeles, an unvaccinated Laker or Clipper could apparently still take part in home games, provided they provide proof of a negative test to comply with the county health order as it applies to Staples Center. The point could be moot for now, as both the Lakers and Clippers in recent weeks have said that their rosters are fully vaccinated, but teams often add new players throughout a season.
Ryan Wolstat: The Raptors are back! Injury report for Oct. 4 v PHI: Gary Trent Jr (left quad soreness) is QUESTIONABLE; Chris Boucher (left middle finger dislocation); Khem Birch (health and safety protocols) and Pascal Siakam (injury rehabilitation) are OUT.
Tim Bontemps: The NBA and NBPA are in the process of finalizing an agreement on COVID-19 health and safety protocols for the upcoming season, sources told ESPN.
Tim Bontemps: The impending agreement will cover the way vaccinated and unvaccinated players will be monitored, sources told ESPN. Unvaccinated players will have restrictions similar to what was in place last season, while vaccinated players largely won’t.
Tim Reynolds: The NBA has given teams a draft of the health and safety protocols for this season. As reported, unvaccinated players will be tested (almost) daily, vaccinated players will not be. Unvaxxed players will also be limited in how much they can be around vaxxed players in team areas.
Fans wanting to attend Grizzlies games this season at FedExForum must present proof of having received at least one vaccination dose, or if they are 12 and over and unvaccinated, must present proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken at least 72 hours in advance, according to a team source on Tuesday.
Chris Grenham: Jayson Tatum says he feels like he's pretty much gotten his wind back following covid. Said he hasn't used his inhaler since last season, which is a good sign.
Gary Washburn: Udoka: "I'm feeling normal. I'm feeling regular." Said he hopes to be back tomorrow. #Celtics
Shams Charania: Nets’ Kyrie Irving will not be at Media Day today in Brooklyn due to health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Zach Lowe: Kyrie Irving is not expected to attend Nets media day today due to New York City health and safety protocols but the Nets fully expect Irving to accompany the team to training camp in San Diego, sources tell @WindhorstESPN and I.
Adam Zagoria: Kyrie Irving is expected at Nets’ media day Monday, per league sources. We’ll see how it plays out as he’s likely to face a lot of vaccination-related questions in the wake of the @RollingStone story.
Sean Cunningham: Andrew Wiggins request for religious exemption from COVID-19 vaccination denied by the NBA. League statement below. pic.twitter.com/kXFGXiS8hy
A number of its players had declined to receive COVID-19 vaccine shots. The team was worried that an outbreak could derail its postseason hopes. Team executives began setting up meetings aimed at swaying the unvaccinated players. They provided data outlining the scientific benefits to them as individuals and to their families as well as information regarding the safety of the vaccine. That didn’t work.
Next, the team tried dangling the NBA’s updated and more relaxed COVID protocols, which made life easier for vaccinated players. They faced fewer tests, had fewer restrictions and, crucially, were not required to quarantine after an exposure to the virus. The unvaccinated players still didn’t budge. Finally, the team tried appealing to the players’ self-interests. There was money to be made in the postseason, it told the players, whether via playoff bonuses, contract incentives, or by flourishing under the spotlight and burnishing their respective reputations.
That pitch didn’t work, either. The team finished the season with less than 70% of its players vaccinated. "We tried everything," a staff member from that team told FOX Sports. "None of it mattered."
Now, with the 2021-22 regular season just a month away and players returning to their local markets for training camp next week, a number of NBA organizations find themselves confronting similar challenges, only with more urgency. The combination of new league protocols and more stringent local regulations could create an environment in which vaccine hesitancy becomes an issue that impacts on-court results. In other words, the final standings this season could very well be impacted by the vaccination status of players.
The NBA, according to a league spokesman, believes that around 85% of its players are currently vaccinated; National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts put the number at 90% during a July interview with Yahoo Sports. Those numbers are about 10-to-15% more than the overall rate of American adults who are vaccinated. But that still means that somewhere between 50 and 70 NBA players remain unvaccinated, an average of more than two per squad. Depending on how those players are grouped, what city they play in, and how good they are, it’s clear that any team entering the season with low vaccination rates will be at a competitive disadvantage.
One player who could be affected is Nets guard Kyrie Irving. According to multiple league sources, Irving has yet to receive a vaccine shot. Both the Nets and a spokeswoman for Irving declined to comment on the record about Irving’s vaccination status, but Nets general manager Sean Marks was asked during a news conference on Tuesday whether New York City’s mandate could sideline any of his team’s players.
It's probably not an overstatement at all to say the Washington Wizards have been affected more by the coronavirus than any other NBA team. They were the first team to experience a major outbreak last season with six of their games postponed in January. Then, star guard Bradley Beal had to exit Team USA just days before the Olympics because of a positive test. And then, during the Las Vegas Summer League, their roster was once again deeply affected by an outbreak, notably preventing point guard Cassius Winston from appearing in a game.
So, while it's a pertinent question for any professional sports team these days, the Wizards' vaccination rate arguably carries more importance as they prepare to enter a new season. Washington general manager Tommy Sheppard addressed the media on Thursday ahead of the team's training camp opening next week and was asked a series of questions about the team's vaccination efforts. He stopped short of specifics to protect players' privacy. "Everything is great. We have our roster, everybody is fully-educated and fully-informed. We will be in compliance and we're looking forward to the season," Sheppard said. "A lot of that stuff, you're getting into some personal and private information. We're not going to go down that road. But we'll be in great compliance with the NBA and moving forward."
Fans planning to head to TD Garden to watch the Bruins or Celtics this season — as well attend concerts — will need to pack a copy of their coronavirus vaccination proof or get a negative COVID-19 test.
TD Garden officials said on Wednesday that starting Sept. 30 guests 12 years old and older will need to provide proof of full vaccination or a negative rapid or PCR coronavirus test. Self-administered or over-the-counter test results will not be accepted. Officials said the timeline on tests — whether they need to have been within 24 or 72 hours of the event — is yet to be determined.
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA has informed teams of set coronavirus testing protocols for players for the 2021-22 season: Fully-vaccinated: No regular testing Non-fully-vaccinated: One negative test on Practice/Travel day; One negative test on Game Day.
Months after drawing an estimated 100,000 people to downtown's Deer District, the Milwaukee Bucks might revise the basketball team's development plans for sites near Fiserv Forum. That reevaluation is partly motivated by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on how people live, work and play, said Peter Feigin, Milwaukee Bucks president.
The phenomena of tens of thousands of Bucks fans during the July NBA title run filling the Deer District plaza, and overflow sites destined for future development, is playing a role in the reevaluation, he said. Among the guiding principles, Feigin said, is how the Bucks "can create a safe, fun meeting place for the state of Wisconsin." Almost 500 COVID-19 cases were later linked to fans who attended Deer District watch parties or a game during the NBA title run.
Shams Charania: Sources: The NBA will return to normal team bench seating for the 2021-22 season, with teams no longer requiring cool down/timeout chairs or assigned seats. Game day personnel are currently expected to be required to wear facemasks at start of season.
The NBA informed teams Friday that all personnel under team control who work within 15 feet of players or referees during games will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for the upcoming season, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. The directive specifically includes coaches, front-office members and trainers but stops short of requiring all players to be vaccinated.
Shams Charania: Sources: Any NBA team, arena and personnel whose role involves interactions with players and referees will be required to be fully vaccinated to have in-person interactions for the 2021-22 season — including coaches, front office and medical/equipment staff.
Memphis basketball assistant coach Larry Brown contracted the delta variant of COVID-19 following the 2021 Nike EYBL Peach Jam Basketball Tournament last month. Brown disclosed the news during an appearance on the Jason and John Show on 92.9 FM ESPN Friday.
"Unfortunately I got sick, right after it was over, I got that delta variant, and I was kind of out for about 10 to 12 days, but I'm all good now and you know anxious to get back," Brown said. Brown, 80, is vaccinated and said he has made a full recovery.
Harrison Wind: Zeke Nnaji, rookie Bones Hyland and Markus Howard are among the Nuggets who won't play tonight at Summer League due to health and safety protocols, a source told DNVR. Bol Bol will play, and the 7-2 big man will be at the center of Denver's game plan. thednvr.com/what-to-watch-…
Chris Mannix: Wizards-Pacers summer league game has been postponed due to health and safety protocols, sources told @SInow.
Scott Agness: Pacers’ first summer league game, against the Wizards, has been postponed due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols. Wizards do not have enough players available due to contract tracing.
The Washington Wizards added the following players to their Summer League roster today: Cheick Diallo, Asante Gist and Derrick Walton Jr. In addition, guards Cassius Winston and Issuf Sanon and forward Isaiah Todd have entered the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Jeremy Lin has tested positive for Covid-19 and is receiving treatment in Shanghai, the former NBA guard and first Asian-American to win an NBA title said in a social media post Saturday. Lin announced in June he was rejoining the Chinese Basketball Association's Beijing Ducks after a failed NBA comeback. He tested positive for coronavirus on his third day in quarantine after flying to Shanghai from San Francisco, the 32-year-old posted on Chinese social network Weibo. "I was shocked and a little bewildered," he wrote of his initial reaction to the diagnosis.
Nearly 500 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in people who congregated in Milwaukee's Deer District to cheer on the Milwaukee Bucks during the NBA playoffs last month. At least 491 cases have arisen from people who "self-declared" they attended a Deer District gathering at some point during the month of July, according to Milwaukee Health Department spokesperson Emily Tau.
Jason Jones: Kings Owner and Chairman Vivek Ranadivé announced a COVID-19 vaccination requirement as a condition of employment for full-time and part-time team members by November 1.
The state Department of Health Services reported that 491 people with confirmed or probable cases said they had attended the Deer District or Bucks game "during their exposure or infectious periods" but the department could not say definitively that they caught the virus while viewing the game downtown or elsewhere. The department also said the figure was likely an undercount. "We anticipated an increase in positive cases due to the delta variant but 155% increase in one week is distressing,"Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson said.
Michael Singer: #Nuggets cancel their first Summer League practice due to health and safety protocols, team announces.
Rockets coach Stephen Silas was unable to attend Friday’s introductory news conference for the team's draft picks because he is in NBA health and safety protocols. Silas said he has “very minor symptoms” and that he is fully vaccinated for COVID. NBA protocols require coaches, players and staff to isolate if they have been in contact with individuals that tested positive.
The year couldn’t have gone worse for Ziaire Williams during his time at Stanford. He lost several family members to COVID-19. His team was not able to practice or play at their home facility to pandemic-related restrictions. He was essentially living fully in hotels for the first few months of the season and there was no sense of normalcy.
According to one prospect who recently spoke to For The Win, due to COVID-19 restrictions, those not invited to the green room are not allowed to come to the stage and shake the hand of the commissioner as they have been in years past. Regardless of who is actually in the building, however, it is certain to be an exciting and life-changing night for the next generation of NBA talent. Based on conversations I’ve had with scouts around the league, and from reports and tea leaves left in other mock drafts from trusted draftniks, below is how I project the events will unfold at Barclays Center and on ESPN and ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET on July 29.
Shams Charania: Sources: NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety player protocols for 2021 Summer League in Las Vegas:
Gerald Bourguet: Thanasis Antetokounmpo remains out for Game 6 due to health and safety protocols. No one new on the Suns' or Bucks' injury reports otherwise
Adrian Wojnarowski: Bucks assistant Josh Oppenheimer won’t be on bench for Game 5, sources tell @malika_andrews and me.
Adrian Wojnarowski: This will be the third consecutive game that Oppenheimer has been away from Milwaukee’s bench, sources tell @malika_andrews and me.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Oppenheimer has been in contact tracing and there’s hope he could be back on bench for Game 6 on Tuesday, sources said.
Tim Bontemps: Mike Budenholzer says the Bucks will not have a full staff available for tonight’s game in the wake of Thanasis Antetokounmpo entering the NBA’s Health and Safety Protocols this afternoon ahead of tonight’s Game 5.
Malika Andrews: Thanasis Antetokounmpo has entered the league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols and is out for Game 5, according to the Bucks’ injury report.
Chase Hughes: Bam Adebayo, who has had Covid before, on Bradley Beal: "This is one of those things I wouldn't wish on anybody. It does give you PTSD. But I did check with Brad, he said he has no symptoms. So, I think this will pass through and it will be okay."
Neil Dalal: Draymond Green says that if Team USA wins gold in Tokyo he hopes Bradley Beal receives one too because he made the commitment to represent his country.
It was just good, Silver said, to be back in the same place together. "There aren't that many places, even pre-pandemic, where people gather in the way they do in arenas, come together for a common purpose ... and literally breathe each other's air," he said. "I think that's part of the human connection. I really do miss that."
FOR SOME, LIKE Dallas Mavericks guard Josh Richardson, the past 16 months are probably best forgotten. "I mean, I got COVID twice," Richardson says. "I'm hoping that this is just a memory that we look back on a few years and like, 'Oh yeah, that was crazy.'" But then he caught himself.
"I think my takeaway is how adaptable we are," he says. "How proud I am that everybody was able to ... the NBA was able to make a semi-safe space for us to be able to compete."
Richardson says he didn't have any symptoms the first time and quarantined at his house -- with his dog, Champ -- for 25 days. "That was before we knew anything about it," he says. "We didn't even test every day, so it could've been a false positive. But I was scared. I didn't want to give it to anyone else." He also didn't want to talk about it publicly. "At the beginning, people would look at you funny," he says. "Like you had the plague."
For the next 11 days, Richardson sat alone in his hotel room in Denver. "The only time I opened the door was to get tested at 7 in the morning and 5 at night," he says. "I could order Uber Eats. But they'd leave it at the front desk, and the people at the hotel would bring it up and knock on the door and sprint away."
One of the days he noticed what looked like a music video being filmed on top of the bus station. "That was entertaining!" he says. "I watched the whole production. They had an orange Mustang and people standing on top of it."
EVERY COACH IN the league had to find a way to talk to players about everything they'd be signing up for this season. From daily testing -- which was more like three times a day during the height of the surge in January -- to the lack of personal freedom on the road to restrictions on how many family members and friends they could see. "We actually talked to the team about [the safety protocols] many times during the season," Kerr says. "'Yeah, this sucks, but you really have to put it in perspective and remember how fortunate we are to be working."
There were no fans in arenas for the first few months. Some teams covered the empty seats; others put up cardboard cutouts. Everyone played music and piped in fake crowd noise to try to distract from the silence. But that was almost worse, Kerr says. "It was almost like laugh tracks in a sitcom," he says. "You could tell it was a little fake, and the timing would be just off. Somebody makes a great play and the reaction is a split-second late."
John Karalis: USA basketball announces Bradley Beal will miss the Olympics due to the health and safety protocols. Jerami Grant is now also in the protocol "out of an abundance of caution"
Shams Charania: Team USA's Jerami Grant has entered health and safety protocols at Team USA camp, sources tell me and @joevardon . Grant has not tested positive for coronavirus. He and Bradley Beal are in protocols in Las Vegas.
A person with knowledge of the situation says U.S. Olympic guard Bradley Beal of the Washington Wizards has entered the health and safety protocols related to the coronavirus, which raises the possibility that he might miss the Tokyo Games.
Beal will be tested multiple times in the coming days, according to the person who spoke Wednesday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the player involved for USA Basketball was not revealed publicly. The results of those tests will likely determine if he remains on the roster, the person said. USA Basketball could still replace Beal before heading to Tokyo.
June 25, 2022 | 11:17 am EDT Update
Khalifa Diop, 20, a native of Guediawaye, Senegal, played last season for Gran Canaria in Spain, averaging 6.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocked shots in 15.7 minutes of 49 games. President of Basketball Operations Koby Altman said Diop would remain in Spain next season under the watchful eye of ex-Cav Jose Calderon, now a special advisor to the front office.
“It’s a great league for his development, and if it’s the right team, he’ll also play against other teams from other countries,” Altman said of Diop. ‘Hopefully the team he will play for will be EuroLeague level even though it’s in the Spanish League. Jose will make sure he’s well taken care of.”
Ryan Resch, 29, works in basketball operations for the Suns, where he serves as vice president of strategy and evaluation for the Suns and essentially functions as the front office’s chief-of-staff. He attends to the big-picture responsibilities of team-building and runs staff-wide meetings alongside general manager James Jones, who has been a mentor to him. This past winter, Resch came out to Jones, then the rest of the Suns’ staff. He is the first openly gay person in league history to work basketball operations in an NBA front office.
How did you first come out to the Suns? Ryan Resch: My thought was, ‘If I’m gonna do this, then I’m going to do it the right way,’ and I wasn’t going to hide behind it any longer. I told [Phoenix general manager] James [Jones] in my office randomly one day, after practice. We were playing Miami at home and I wanted to bring somebody I was seeing at the time to the game and have him sit with me in our executive suite. And I obviously can’t do that unless you tell the other executives whom you’re bringing. In true James fashion — he has been referred to as the best teammate of all time by several of his former teammates — it was amongst the most nondescript conversations we’ve ever had. By that, I mean there was a beauty in how uneventful it was, because he was just so accepting and so generous and kind about it from the jump.
Have you had any interaction with Sarver since you came out? Ryan Resch: I hadn’t seen him or had a chance to talk to him in person for a few months after I came [out] to James and the rest of the organization. My then-boyfriend had been coming to games during that period. When I told Robert a couple of weeks ago, he was amazing. He told me, “I’m so happy you feel comfortable enough to live as who you are, and bring someone special to you to a game.” We spoke about Rick Welts. The best part of the conversation was our discussion about how it’s the quality of the work that will determine my trajectory professionally in the franchise. It’s about merit.
June 25, 2022 | 11:00 am EDT Update
Andrew Wiggins: When they talk it’s all motivation. When I first got here, everyone had something to say, now everyone is quiet. That’s the best feeling, when people doubt you, and people sleep on you, and don’t think that you can do something that you know you can do, that you’ve been doing your whole life. It’s good to just make those guys kick rocks.