Have you had to explain to others why the extra coronavirus testing is a good thing? [The league and union agreed to require additional testing, even for vaccinated players, after Thanksgiving, which has coincided with an uptick in positive tests.] CJ McCollum: I think when we explain to people the importance of knowing — there’s a lot of things that go under the radar in terms of being positive, but being asymptomatic. So I think testing around the holidays when people are flying or traveling, families are coming in from out of town, you’re gathering, you’re more exposed. It just makes sense and the only bad thing that can come from it is finding out that you are positive. But the good news is you’re finding out early and you can save and not expose some of your friends and family.
As training camps opened, there was a lot of attention on the small number of unvaccinated players. Did that annoy you? CJ McCollum: Yeah, it did. I feel like we were targeted. Obviously, people look up to us. We play a sport for a living. It’s entertainment. People looked at us as the bar. In reality, we are kind of the bar: We got 98 percent of our league volunteered to be vaccinated, whereas the public was 55 percent or 60 percent at that point. No one was talking about corporate America going through the same problem, no one was talking about how there were health care workers going through the same issues. It was us in the spotlight, and I thought it was unfair because we were doing such a great job of educating our players.
Scott Agness: Justin Holiday after being away from the team for 13 days: "I'm feeling good. Practice was OK. Obviously, I was just trying to get my wind back, get used to being on the court again." Yes, he is unvaccinated.
KC Johnson: To sum up, Bulls have these 9 players in protocols: White, Green, DeRozan, Thomas, Jones Jr., Dosunmu, Johnson, LaVine, Brown Jr. Plus two broadcasters in Stacey King and Bill Wennington. White and Green have windows open this week to return. Bulls play Pistons Tuesday.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Under league rules, the Bulls need to have eight eligible players vs. the Pistons on Tuesday. There have been no Covid-related postponements in the NBA this season, but the Bulls outbreak -- with LaVine and Troy Brown the latest -- continues and postponements could be an option.
KC Johnson: Late Saturday, Nikola Vucevic said “most players” had received booster shots. Bulls also were fully vaccinated as of early November. Billy Donovan said some players are asymptomatic. This could be a bumpy winter for the league.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Chicago Bulls star Zach LaVine has entered into Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN.
KC Johnson: Troy Brown Jr. has entered protocols as well, per source. Bulls will have 9 players in protocols.
John Karalis: Ime Udoka says he has talked to the team about "tightening up" regarding COVID. Richardson remains in the COVID protocol, and while there is no mandate from the league to change their process Udoka says the team is getting more cautious in response to the league-wide spike
Joe Cowley: According to Donovan, the coaching staff is all negative, which is kind of crazy considering how much they've been around these players.
Julia Poe: Billy Donovan says that despite the COVID-19 outbreak, the Chicago Bulls players who have tested positive aren't experiencing anything beyond mild symptoms: "We've got a lot of guys sitting at home with no symptoms right now."
Eric Nehm: Bucks injury report for tomorrow: Wesley Matthews is OUT (health and safety protocols). George Hill is probable (right knee hyperextension). DiVincenzo, Lopez and Ojeleye all still out as well.
Ira Winderman: Heat's Caleb Martin out due to health and safety protocols.
KC Johnson: Ayo Dosunmu and Stanley Johnson have landed in league’s health protocols. Alex Caruso is available.
Tony East: Lloyd Pierce says that Rick Carlisle had a bit of a headache, which led to him getting COVID tested in the first place. He’s doing better today. Pierce has a lot of head coaching experience, but he’s leaning on assists (Boucek and Weinar) who were with Dallas last year tonight.
Josh Lewenberg: So far, no Raptors players have tested positive, I'm told. They're scheduled to face the Knicks at home tomorrow.
Memphis Grizzlies PR: . @Memphis Grizzlies status update: Dillon Brooks has entered health and safety protocols and is out for tonight's game vs @Los Angeles Lakers .
Michael Singer: Austin Rivers confirmed he had COVID on his IG live and has been quarantining in Orlando (where he has a house). Added the time off’s been good for his mental and physical health. Rivers said he’s been playing through injuries all season.
Tim MacMahon: Rick Carlisle had positive result on rapid test after last night's win over Knicks, sources told ESPN. He took a PCR test today to confirm, but that result is not expected until Friday. Pacers host Mavs on Friday, the first time Carlisle was scheduled to coach vs. his old team.
The Indiana Pacers and Toronto Raptors separately announced Thursday morning that they had canceled practice out of "an abundance of caution" due to the NBA's health and safety protocols. Both teams played home games Wednesday night, with the Pacers defeating the New York Knicks and the Raptors losing to the Oklahoma City Thunder. Both are scheduled to host games Friday, with the Pacers getting a visit from the Mavericks in the first meeting between Dallas and its former coach, Rick Carlisle, now coaching Indiana, while the Raptors host the Knicks.
Mark Medina: Clippers list Nicolas Batum as questionable for tomorrow’s game vs Celtics. He’s cleared NBA health and safety protocols, but status uncertain amid conditioning concerns
Katy Winge: Bones Hyland has been upgraded to doubtful for tomorrow’s game vs the Pelicans. He’s getting closer to being cleared. Nikola Jokić has been added to the Nuggets injury report with a right forearm contusion. He is probable.
Rod Boone: No change in the #Hornets injury report for tomorrow. LaMelo, Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee, Jalen McDaniels and Ish Smith all remain in health and safety protocols and are out against the Sixers.
Darnell Mayberry: DeMar DeRozan will not travel with the Bulls to Cleveland for Wednesday’s game against the Cavs, according to Bulls PR.
Shams Charania: Sources: Beginning Jan. 15, any NBA player who is not fully vaccinated will be unable to enter Canada to play games in Toronto. Canadian government will require all individuals entering Canada to be fully vaccinated.
Michael Singer: Billy Donovan said he hasn’t heard any talk about a league suspension/pause given the surging COVID cases. Said the question is always if or what the number would need to be for a team to have too few players to compete. Reiterated he hasn’t heard that talk.
Shams Charania: Bulls star DeMar DeRozan has entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols and is listed out vs. Denver. DeRozan could miss several games in protocols.
Rod Boone: More rough news for the #Hornets: Ish Smith has been added to the health and safety protocols list and is now out for tonight’s game against Philadelphia.
Rod Boone: James Borrego also suggested #Hornets aren't getting LaMelo, Terry Rozier, Mason Plumlee or Jalen McDaniels back until after the conclusion of the 3-game homestand that begins tomorrow against Philadelphia. Sounds like they won't be available until potentially Dec. 13 in Dallas.
Ira Winderman: Erik Spoelstra, on Hornets losing four players to protocols today, "We talked about it today in the walkthrough. And you just want to be vigilant, but you also don't want to live in fear. This is our profession. It's what we're doing. We want to keep it going."
NBA players who have not received the COVID-19 booster dose will be subject to game-day testing starting Dec. 17, sources tell The Athletic. Also on Dec. 17, team personnel who have yet to receive the booster shot are no longer permitted to interact with players, travel with their team or continue with Tier 1 status.
Phoenix Suns lead assistant Kevin Young didn't make trip for Suns rematch against Golden State as he's under NBA's health and safety protocols, league sources inform The Republic. Young is the only one out under health and safety protocols as this will be third game straight game he's missed after testing positive for COVID-19, league sources say.
Duane Rankin: Being told #Suns lead assistant Kevin Young isn't on road trip as he's out under #NBA health and safety protocols.
Mike McGraw: According to injury report, Javonte Green is in health and safety protocols. He played vs Knicks last night. Also, Alex Caruso is questionable for BKN on Sat with hamstring. #Bulls
Toronto Argonauts quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson might have put his playoff status in jeopardy by attending a Toronto Raptors game at Scotiabank Arena on Thursday. Bethel-Thompson is being held out of practice Friday for attending the game, a violation of the CFL’s COVID protocol which states he must now quarantine for four days, according to TSN’s Dave Naylor.
A four-day quarantine would rule out Bethel-Thompson for the Argonauts’ East Division Final against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at BMO Field on Sunday. The Argonauts are owned by Maple Leafs Sports & Entertainment Partnership, the same group that owns the Toronto Maple Leafs, Raptors, Toronto Marlies and Toronto FC, among other entities.
Shams Charania: Just in: Lakers star LeBron James has been cleared from health and safety protocols to return on Friday vs. Clippers, after testing positive but since registering multiple negative COVID-19 tests, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium .
Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid said "it's going to take awhile" for him to fully round back into form after an extended bout with COVID-19. Embiid had his second straight rough shooting performance in Wednesday's 88-87 loss to the Boston Celtics. "I would never use it as an excuse but obviously I think it's going to take me awhile to get back, especially legs and cardio and all that stuff," Embiid said after going 3-for-17 against Boston, making him a combined 7-for-33 across Philadelphia's past two games. "But every single day I got to keep working hard, and keep getting better."
Embiid, however, shouldered the blame for the loss. "I can't be playing the way I've played these last two games, especially when it comes to shotmaking," Embiid said after finishing with 13 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, two steals and three blocks in 33 minutes. "If teams are going to double me and I'm not going to get easy baskets, I have to create for myself and my teammates, and I've got to make those shots."
Jason Anderson: Kings coach Alvin Gentry on LeBron James entering health and safety protocols: "He’s been such an ambassador for the game, arguably the second-best player that's ever played the game. Everybody wants to see him play, so it’s unfortunate that he won’t be able to play tonight."
Marc Stein: The Lakers' LeBron James has entered the NBA's health and safety protocols after increased testing was instituted leaguewide post-Thanksgiving. Teams were notified Nov. 19 that all players would have to test daily for COVID-19 from Nov. 28-Dec. 1 unless the team had an off day.
Scott Agness: Justin Holiday, now in the NBA health & safety protocols, is expected to be out for at least 10 days and miss the next four games, league sources told @FieldhouseFiles.
Bill Oram: The Lakers say LeBron James will be out tonight in Sacramento due to health and safety protocols.
Adrian Wojnarowski: LeBron James -- who the Lakers are listing in health and safety protocols -- is expected to miss several games, source tells ESPN. Players with positive Covid cases must be out a minimum of 10 days.
Tony East: The NBA’s most recent injury report says that Pacers forward Justin Holiday has entered health and safety protocols. He’s listed as out for Pacers-Hawks tomorrow.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: The NBA’s completed study with infectious disease specialists and testing manufacturers on preseason antibody test results of 2,300 players and staff, finding further evidence of need for the NBA-NBPA recommendation of booster dose of Covid-19 vaccine. Among study’s findings: Antibody levels vary via vaccine type and among people vaccinated in same period; antibodies decline over time; Moderna and Pfizer vaccines created higher levels of antibodies compared to J&J. After reviewing results, NBA’s infectious disease experts believe some individuals who received J&J vaccine at least two months ago – or a second dose of Pfizer or Moderna at least six months ago – have increased risk of breakthrough infections.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA has a 97 percent rate of vaccination among its players now. Study's results will be used to continue to make case for those eligible for booster shots to get them -- and for those remaining unvaccinated to become vaccinated.
Adrian Wojnaroski: Per study, NBA's aware of 34 cases of vaccinated player or staff diagnosed with breakthrough case of Covid. 3 of 34 infections with individuals with "not detected" antibody levels; 31 of 34 had detectable antibody levels much lower than average of remaining testing population.
Embiid then went into what was so tough about having COVID. “Everything,” he started. “I couldn’t breathe. Headaches was worse than a migraine. The whole body was just done, I guess. It was not a good time.”
Noah Levick: Joel Embiid on having COVID-19: “I really thought I wasn’t going to make it. It was that bad.” Embiid said his first workout was a couple days ago and it’s a “miracle” he played 45 minutes tonight.
Dane Moore: Karl-Anthony Towns acknowledging postgame that he and Joel Embiid have their history, but he wanted to make it a point to say he is very happy to see Embiid back and healthy from COVID. "That's bigger than basketball... I've seen people die from that."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Nic Batum remains in health and safety protocols and will be out tomorrow against Golden State.
Everyone has their reasons to stay home, and those decisions add up. NBA and NHL attendance are way down from 2018-19, the last season in either league that COVID-19 didn't shorten. Through Thursday, 23 NBA and 23 NHL franchises were experiencing spectatorship decreases. Of those 46 teams, 27 have seen attendance dip by more than 10%. Eight clubs are down more than 20%. These teams are spread across the United States and Canada, but all are playing indoors during a pandemic that won't relent.
The proportion of U.S. sports fans who said they'd be comfortable going to games indoors doubled between March and July to peak at 53%, according to survey data from intelligence company Morning Consult. But the trend cooled and that figure has stalled below 50% throughout the fall.
August 9, 2022 | 6:25 pm EDT Update
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, the meeting took place this past Saturday, and Kevin Durant indicated that he could stay with Brooklyn if general manager Sean Marks and coach Steve Nash were no longer there. Understandably, peers of Marks and Nash were not happy. “I get that players have more power these days, but I think it’s a little too far if he’s out here trying to get Steve fired,” said one coach, who was quickly reminded of Magic Johnson’s fingerprints on Paul Westhead’s firing back in November of 1981 and other power plays, some of which may well have been justified.
The head of basketball ops from another club was similarly displeased. “Livid,” he said. “Livid. He and Kyrie (Irving) basically told Sean they were coming (as free agents in 2019), and Sean did pretty much everything they wanted after that. Signing DeAndre Jordan for four years? That’s something Kyrie and KD wanted. Getting James Harden? Then getting a guy who should be a perfect complement to them (Ben Simmons) when Harden wanted out? Sean did all that.”
However, when asked if he would welcome Durant to his own club should he be attainable at a fair price, the exec paused and laughed. “Well … ” he said. “OK, you got me there. But, see, that’s the part of this that will always be hard for some people to grasp. I’m talking about the fans who just see the players as employees. These guys are not interchangeable parts. You can’t just plug in someone else to do what KD does.”
Marc Stein: Dallas plans to hire former NBA swingman Marko Milič — Slovenia’s first NBA player — to join the coaching staff in player development, league sources confirm. Milič obviously knows Luka Dončić well and played with Jason Kidd in Phoenix. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com
Detroit Pistons center Kelly Olynyk is a married man! The basketball star, 31, wed his longtime love Jackie McNulty, 31, in a traditional, yet playful, outdoor ceremony at Sunstone Winery in Santa Ynez, California Saturday, as personal guests of the winery’s owners.