Josh Lewenberg: MLSE releases a statement re: today’s announcement that Raptors games will be reduced to 50% capacity beginning Saturday. They’ll provide details to ticket holders within 24 hrs. “Enhanced mask protocol” also in effect; those that don’t follow masking guidelines risk ejection.
In the wake of dozens of players entering health and safety protocols in recent days, the NBA and NBPA are in talks to increase COVID-19 testing among players — vaccinated or unvaccinated — for all game and practice days, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts tells The Athletic. It's believed no testing would be required on off-days.
"Now that we are seeing breakthroughs, we believe the need to test more often," Roberts said. "The notion of not testing, I get that people in society are saying, 'I didn't even know I'm sick.' I get the sentiment. I can't get my brain around (how) we're not going to test just because we don't want to know. "Do we continue to test, because we believed before that we needed to know? Or do we stop because we think, 'Well, being positive doesn't mean our players can't perform and make other people sick.'" When contacted for comment, NBA spokesman Mike Bass told The Athletic: "We are working through modified protocols in partnership with the Players Association."
The NBA and NBPA agreed to increased testing around Thanksgiving Day, and the need to ramp up the testing appears evident entering Christmas and the New Years' holidays. The league has a 97 percent vaccination rate among players, and 60 percent of players — and rising — have taken the booster shot. The NBA's first known player case of the Omicron variant was discovered in a recent positive COVID-19 test, sources said. The CDC estimates the new variant is now three percent of U.S. cases.
Neil Dalal: Kyle Kuzma on the stationary bike trying to maintain conditioning as he remains listed as questionable for tonight at Kings Presumably if he returns a second negative COVID test he will exit health and safety protocols pic.twitter.com/apaoq9IBro
Shams Charania: Lakers' Dwight Howard and Malik Monk have entered health and safety and will be out Wednesday vs. Mavericks.
Shams Charania: Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo has entered health and safety protocols and is listed out vs. Indiana on Wednesday.
Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau broke into a morbid smile when asked before Tuesday’s game against the Warriors which players were unavailable. It’s a COVID-19 outbreak now — one that has invaded the Knicks with a greater force than at any point during the 2020-21 pandemic season. In addition to three players entering COVID-19 protocols, Knicks legend and current broadcaster Walt Frazier has joined them, according to a source.
Jason Anderson: The Washington Wizards are listing Kyle Kuzma as questionable for Wednesday's game against the Sacramento Kings. Kuzma has missed the past two games under NBA health and safety protocols.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Milwaukee Bucks guard Wes Matthews has entered into the league's Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN.
Law Murray: A source tells @TheAthletic that Serge Ibaka was a close contact yesterday and had to test right at gametime. That is why he did not enter the bench area last night until later in the first quarter. Ibaka tested negative but is out for start of trip due to protocols.
Kristian Winfield: James Harden and Bruce Brown have entered the health and safety protocols and are OUT tonight against the Raptors, increasing the Nets' tally to 7 players out tonight.
Ryan Blackburn: Nuggets injure update: Austin Rivers is QUESTIONABLE to return from health and safety protocols. JaMychal Green is OUT and may be out for awhile. Aaron Gordon and Will Barton are both PROBABLE.
Josh Lewenberg: Steve Nash on recent COVID spike: "It's the new normal but it's scary because I don't know that there's an end in sight. This is the world we may live in indefinitely. We've all been affected by this. I've lost family members. The day-to-day life has changed and may not go back."
Aaron Rose: Precious Achiuwa should be cleared to return from covid protocols for the next game, Nurse says. Still not sure if his shoulder is ready though
Rod Boone: LaMelo has been recalled from the @greensboroswarm after practicing with them today but remains out for tomorrow's game in San Antonio. He's not with the team yet. Mason Plumlee (rib contusion) is questionable. Jalen McDaniels is going to be available.
Ajayi Browne: “It’s unfortunate. First we concern ourselves with their health and safety — They’re asymptomatic.” ⁃Steve Nash on DeAndre’ Bembry, Paul Millsap, LaMarcus Aldridge, Jevon Carter and James Johnson having COVID.
Rylan Stiles: Kenrich Williams on Thunder staying healthy regarding COVID “It hasn’t been a big reaction, guys are smart on this team. They follow the protocols, we all do. We try to do the right things to prevent that from happening. But there hasn’t been much talk within the locker room.”
Rod Boone: James Borrego said the hope is to get Mason Plumlee and Jalen McDaniels in San Antonio tonight and let them go through shootaround tomorrow morning to see where they are at physically. Sounds like LaMelo remains more on track to return Friday in Portland.
Shams Charania: Lakers guard Talen Horton-Tucker has entered health and safety protocols and could miss multiple games, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. Lakers cancelled practice today.
Omari Sanfoka II: Casey on rising COVID cases across the league: "It's a concern, because you're talking about something you can't control. It affects everybody involved in the league, including families." Said he thinks the league is doing a good job following the science.
Dave McMenamin: The Lakers have canceled practice today ahead of their flight to Dallas because of health and safety protocols, according to the team.
Pacers assistant coach Jenny Boucek has entered the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocols, Fieldhouse Files has learned. She was not on the court several hours before the game for individual workouts and then was not on the bench for their game Monday night against the Warriors.
Scott Agness: Just two officials for Pacers-Warriors. Crew chief Courtney Kirkland has entered the NBA’s health & safety protocols. So it’s Michael Smith and Jenna Reneau.
Vivek Jacob: Raptors announce that Matt Devlin and Jack Armstrong are self-isolating out of caution and so Paul Jones and Leo Rautins will call the game tonight. Eric Smith and Amy Audibert will call the game tomorrow.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Brooklyn Nets F Paul Millsap has entered the league's Covid protocol, sources tell @Malika Andrews and me.
Daniel Greenberg: The Chicago Bulls have asked the NBA to postpone their game on Tuesday against the Detroit Pistons due to so many players being out because of COVID but there has been no action by the league and they will likely have to play that game, per @KCJHoop .
The NBA mandates teams have a minimum of eight active players available to hold a game. To this point, the league has given no indication it will change its stance, although, according to a source, the Bulls are making appeals for it to do so. To this point, the league's focus has been on the number of bodies, not which bodies, that determine whether games will be played or postponed.
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.
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.
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.
August 18, 2022 | 8:28 am EDT Update
After being traded by the Portland Trail Blazers to the Clippers last February, Powell proceeded to play three games before sustaining a left foot fracture. His recovery took weeks, which only allowed him to suit up in the team’s last four games including the Play-In tournament. The veteran admitted that it was a tough experience of not being able to have an on-court familiarization with his team in the previous campaign. “It’s kind of a tough hill to climb on, only playing for three games and then coming back for the playoffs, it’s tough,” Powell said, via David Yapkowitz of 213 Hoops. “I really didn’t get a full chance to show what I bring to the table, just a little bit of a spark there.”
Former Boston Celtics player Enes Kanter Freedom explained why the NBA is “really mad” as its hypocritical business ties to communist China are exposed Wednesday on “The Ingraham Angle.” KANTER FREEDOM: Everything the NBA does is either for money or a publicity stunt. It’s been like that for years, so I’m not really surprised. They could care less about the players, about the coaching staff and the fans as long as the league image is profitable.
Enes Kanter Freedom: And finally, they are really mad because someone finally from the inside who played 11 years in this league — [is] going out there and exposing them one by one. And that is unacceptable… What is unacceptable is how they can bow down to the biggest dictatorship out there in the world. So that hurt my heart. I was like, “You know what? Enough is enough. Someone has to call out this hypocrisy.” And I did it.
Vanessa Bryant’s ongoing civil trial against Los Angeles County has gotten so gory and gruesome at times that Bryant felt compelled to stay out of the courtroom during testimony three times in the first three days, including one time after she got up and left the room in distress. In one exchange, a witness described “pieces of flesh hanging from trees.”
“Didn’t it open (the victim’s) brain cavity?” the attorney asked. “Yes,” said the witness. “The cavity was opened, and the cavity that contains the brain was exposed.” “And the brain tissue was vacated, correct?” the attorney asked. “Missing?” “Correct,” the witness replied in front of a federal jury of five men and four women.
August 18, 2022 | 2:54 am EDT Update
The Lakers remain active in trade talks and would part with their 2027 and 2029 first-round picks in the right deal, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski said in an appearance on Sports Center (video link). Those picks “have a lot of value in the marketplace” if they’re unprotected, Wojnarowski states. He adds that L.A. would be willing to give them up in a trade for Kyrie Irving, but the Nets haven’t been interested.
Those around the team were confident that James signing an extension was likely, considering how much he’s enjoyed playing for the Lakers and living in Los Angeles. The primary complication in James’ decision was that he has been privately adamant that the Lakers still need to improve the current roster and trade for superstar point guard Kyrie Irving, league sources have told The Athletic.