LeBron was asked about the Lakers’ defensive struggles vs. San Antonio — who scored the most points vs. Los Angeles in a regulation game since January of 2020. He credited Spurs’ execution then noted the fact that the Lakers’ best defensive players are in health and safety protocols. “All of our defensive guys are in protocols,” he said, naming Kent Bazemore, Austin Reaves, Trevor Ariza, and Avery Bradley (he unintentionally omitted Anthony Davis, who is sidelined with an MCL sprain). “We don’t need a full roster. We just need some of our guys back.”
Chicago Bulls center Nikola Vucevic had barely finished reading his email on Nov. 11 — the word positive was enough — before he started kicking several members of his very large – and very large – Montenegrin family out of his house. He would be forced to miss a big West Coast road trip for the Bulls, but a Thanksgiving surge of Covid cases was expected to arrive, the team doctors had told him, so he got the Vucevic clan packed up for a vacation to Florida without him. And he was just about to get his booster shot.
Chris Fedor on Cavaliers in health and safety protocols: I’ve talked to a couple of the players that have entered the protocols. Not all of them have gotten back to me, but a couple of them. From what I can gather, the majority of the guys in the protocol that I’ve talked to either have no symptoms, or their symptoms are very mild.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Adam Silver tells @Malika Andrews that the Omicron variant constitutes 90 percent of the league's cases now. "Beyond dominant," he said.
Shams Charania: Wizards guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has entered health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Chase Hughes: Wes Unseld Jr. says KCP tested positive for Covid-19 yesterday evening. The Wizards just recently returned from a West Coast road trip.
Sarah K. Spencer: Symptoms for Trae Young, the two additional Hawks players in protocols and the three Tier 1 team personnel members are so far mild to asymptomatic, per source, so that's at least some good news that no one is feeling very ill.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Toronto Raptors guards Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn have entered the league’s Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN.
Eric Smith: official word from Raptors PR: "personnel update, Tuesday, Dec. 21 - Fred VanVleet and Malachi Flynn have joined Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr. and Dalano Banton in COVID protocols."
Chris Kirschner: Trae Young is still in health and safety protocols. He’s also the only Hawks player in health and safety protocols.
Brad Turner: Lakers say that Talen Horton-Tucker and Dwight Howard have been cleared out of the NBA’s Health & Safety Protocols. Both are available to play tonight vs Suns.
Shams Charania: Raptors guard Gary Trent Jr. entered health and safety protocols, team says.
Shams Charania: Minnesota's Jarred Vanderbilt and Patrick Beverley have entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Chris Grenham: The Celtics will almost certainly have to go get more replacement players as both of their two-way players are currently in the protocols. Luke Kornet and Theo Pinson have already signed elsewhere off of Maine’s roster. There will be plenty of movement throughout the day today.
“I’ve been getting calls from our players all day – ‘Michele, are they going to cancel Christmas (games)?,'” National Basketball Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts said Sunday. “People are concerned about who would ultimately be available to play. And the answer is, I don’t know. .. it is, obviously, concerning. There are some questions right now about some of our so-called marquee players’ availability to be able to play on Christmas. That’s our day, and we’d hate to not be able to continue to own that day, But one might ask the question – if your marquee guys are all in quarantine, is it worth playing those games, or should those games be, if they can be, postponed? No one’s asked me. But at this point, I think it’s still coming down to prayer.”
It’s the renewed anxiety about having to go through this again, just as crowds had returned to the league after a year-plus of playing in empty buildings. “We thought we’d gone through the worst, and the notion it might not be the worst is pretty spooky,” Roberts said. “We had, what, 97, 98 percent vax rate. … We thought we’ve done all that’s humanly possible, and we’ll be able to plow through the season. And all of a sudden, it’s worse than it was before. There’s a certain amount of, I guess, depression – now, what else?”
Keith Smith: Talked to one front office executive and he said after the roster amendment agreement, last night and this morning “Have been like the end of the Draft. Everyone is scrambling for the same players and pitching them on why their team is best. It’s exactly like camp signings.”
Jorge Sierra: HoopsHype is Monty Williams' go-to place to get depressed about the growing number of COVID cases in the NBA. pic.twitter.com/GAaAzCKnQd
Mike Singer: Rivers continued: "We had to do a whole new scouting report ... They're saying names that ... I didn't even know who I was guarding. I was guarding anonymous" ... Lol. Austin's going off.
Mike Singer: Austin Rivers on his IG live, with how the league is trending: "You bout to see 6-foot-8 ******* in cubicles. Guys gonna have real jobs."
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA is postponing the Cleveland-Atlanta game tonight, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Cavaliers center Jarrett Allen is one of the five players entering the league's Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN. Allen's having an All-Star-caliber season with averages of 16.8 points, 10.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.
Shams Charania: Sources: Philadelphia-New Orleans tonight appears in jeopardy: Andre Drummond and Shake Milton have entered COVID-19 protocols, joining Georges Niang. Furkan Korkmaz (illness) and three others are out and Danny Green, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey are questionable to play.
Tim MacMahon: Mavs reserve Josh Green has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He had previously been listed as out due to illness. Now two Mavs (Reggie Bullock) in protocols.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Cleveland Cavaliers have a Covid outbreak on their roster and fears exist that they will struggle to have the league's minimum eight players available to play vs. Atlanta tonight, sources tell ESPN. Five players tested positive this morning.
Atlanta Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young has tested positive for COVID-19 and will miss Sunday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Brad Turner: Lakers coach Frank Vogel has entered NBA health safety protocols, the team announced. Also, Kent Bazemore has entered the health and safety protocols. Assistant David Fizdale will assume head duties for the interim, the Lakers said.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Atlanta Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young has entered the league’s Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN.
“Then I started getting a little bit of body aches, then you get headaches, next thing you know I’m draining my nose, next thing you know I’m breathing really, really heavy at night,” Rivers told The Denver Post ahead of Friday night’s game against the Hawks, his first with the team since Nov. 29. “Especially at night, I was really struggling a little bit to where I started getting really nervous and scared,” he said. “And then mentally, it plays on your head. Now that you know you have this and you’re breathing hard, you’re overdoing it. I’m thinking crazy, ‘Is it going to get better, or like, what’s going on here?’”
The six players with COVID-19 are the youngest players on their roster. Two of them were drafted this year, two last year, one in 2019 and the other in 2018. All the Knicks are vaccinated. According to a source, almost none of them have experienced any legitimate symptoms. Last season, the Knicks’ two COVID-19 cases experienced symptoms — Derrick Rose and Alec Burks.
Then, on Saturday, news broke that Kyrie Irving had become the latest Net to enter health and safety protocols, joining his co-stars Kevin Durant and James Harden. Sources confirmed to NetsDaily that Irving’s placement in the protocols was due to a positive COVID test.
Marcus Morris of the LA Clippers has entered the NBA's health and safety protocols. Morris will be out for at least 10 days, unless he can return two negative tests 24 hours apart.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Nets star Kevin Durant has entered the league’s Covid protocols. That’s eight Nets now.
Kyle Goon: Russ said he had three negative tests after his initial positive. He took a plane from Dallas and landed in Minneapolis around 2:30-3 p.m.
Yaron Weitzman: Joel Embiid on increase in NBA COVID cases: "I thought last year there was great precautions in place and this year it was just all over the place and I just thought it was unprofessional and that's where we are now."
Rivers has spoken to Niang since he tested positive. The coach said their conversation was filled with laughter but noted that Niang is “mad” at his situation. “He doesn’t know how he got it,” Rivers said. “The same thing you get from almost everyone who gets it because they are frustrated, because they feel like they’re trying to do the right stuff. And his first worry is, does anyone else have it? That’s everyone’s first question, because they don’t want to be that guy, you know?
The recent surge in Covid cases has ESPN analyst and former NBA head coach Jeff Van Gundy fearing the league will need to do something drastic and unpopular. “I really feel that at some point there’s gonna be a pause to our season, a bubble to our season,” Van Gundy said during ESPN’s Wednesday night NBA broadcast. “The way they’re predicting these cases to continue to go… I don’t see any way around it.” “Clearly we hope that you’re wrong,” play-by-play voice Mike Breen replied.
Jason Anderson: Sources confirm the Sacramento Kings have additional COVID-19 cases and there is interal concern over the number of players who will be available Friday vs. the Memphis Grizzlies. Today's practice has been cancelled and the team facility is closed. More to come at @sacbee_news.
James Ham: While we wait for more news out of Golden 1 Center, the decision to cancel or not have a standard practice for today was made last night due to the ongoing covid situation. Players were waiting for PCR test results leading up to the opening tip.
James Ham: According to a league source, all activities have been officially canceled by the Kings today. There are internal concerns that additional players will enter health and safety protocols, either for positive tests or as part of contact tracing.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Sacramento Kings cancelled today's practice, shut down the team's facility and have growing concerns whether a Covid outbreak will allow them to play Friday night's game vs. Memphis, sources tell ESPN. The team continues to test and retest players and staff.
Shams Charania: Sources: The Sacramento Kings are having a COVID-19 outbreak of multiple positive tests among players and staffers, including Marvin Bagley, Alvin Gentry — with potentially multiple additional players and staff entering protocols. There are some symptomatic cases.
Shams Charania: Knicks‘ Kevin Knox II has entered health and safety protocols and is out vs. Houston tonight.
Stacey King: Tested negative last night but still dealing with after effects like high temperature and still very weak. I have zero strength right now and I'm a ways to being back to my normal self but I'm blessed to have made it through this horrible disease! Covid sucks!!!
Dan Woike: Lakers play by play man Bill Macdonald will not call tonight’s game between the Lakers and Mavericks because he tested positive for COVID-19. He’s asymptomatic and isolating. Latest in a series positives that includes three players
Kyle Goon: Can confirm @Dan Woike report that Bill Macdonald is not calling the game tonight after entering protocols. Phil Handy, assistant, is also in the protocols.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sacramento Kings coach Alvin Gentry tested positive for Covid and won’t coach vs. Wizards tonight, Gentry tells ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Gentry needs successive negative tests 24 hours apart to return to bench. He says he’s largely asymptomatic, except for a scratchy throat. Sacramento will have an acting coach for its interim coach.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Kings cancelled morning shoot-around and team is testing to discover if there are more positive tests, sources tell ESPN. There’s no decision yet on an acting head coach for tonight, although assistants Mike Longabardi and Doug Christie are most likely candidates.
James Ham: During his time as coach, Luke Walton confirmed that 100% of Kings coaches and staff were vaccinated. There is no confirmation on how many players are unvaccinated, but to start the season, a league source said all but 3 Kings players were vaccinated. That could have changed.
The Knicks now have three players in COVID-19 protocols as rookie shooting guard Quentin Grimes has been ruled out Tuesday vs. the Warriors. Grimes is coming off a breakout 27-point performance Sunday vs. Milwaukee when he hit a rookie record seven 3-pointers. Knicks power forward Obi Toppin, who previously had the hot hand, was put into protocols Saturday night and missed the game against the Bucks. RJ Barrett was put into protocols Sunday morning and was also absent.
If the Knicks are missing all three players vs. the Warriors, it might finally give Tom Thibodeau impetus to play point guard Kemba Walker, a DNP-CD the past seven games since his demotion.
Michael Singer: #Nuggets are expecting Austin Rivers back tomorrow from health & safety protocol, I’m told. In addition, today also marks last day of Davon Reed’s 10-day, so he’s likely headed back to Grand Rapids. With Rivers coming back, team isn’t expecting any more hardship exceptions.
Ira Winderman: Heat broadcaster Jason Jackson joins forward Caleb Martin in NBA protocols. sun-sentinel.com/sports/miami-h…
Adrian Wojnarowski: Chicago Bulls forward Alize Johnson has tested positive for Covid and entered league protocols, source tells ESPN.
Josh Robbins: Thomas Bryant (knee injury recovery), Rui Hachimura (return to competition conditioning) and Kyle Kuzma (health and safety protocols) are listed as OUT for Monday's Wizards game in Denver. They are the only people Wizards officials listed on their team's injury report.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Bulls guard Coby White is returning to the team’s facility today for the first time since testing positive for Covid on Dec. 1, sources tell ESPN. White will start ramping up his return to play. Bulls play Pistons on Tuesday and Raptors on Thursday.
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.
Shams Charania: Knicks‘ RJ Barrett has entered health and safety protocols and is out today vs. Bucks.
Shams Charania: Wizards’ Kyle Kuzma has entered health and safety protocols and is listed out tonight vs. Utah.
Indiana Pacers Head Coach Rick Carlisle has entered the NBA Health and Safety protocols and will miss multiple games after a PCR lab test returned positive for COVID-19. Assistant coach Lloyd Pierce will assume head coaching duties during Carlisle's absence, starting with tonight's game against the Dallas Mavericks.
Aaron Rose: Masai Ujiri has tested positive for COVID-19
Vivek Jacob: Patrick Mutombo is unavailable to coach tonight's 905 game due to health and safety protocols. Assistant Chris Thomas will be in charge instead.
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.
Ja Morant's return to the Memphis Grizzlies could be delayed further as the star guard entered the NBA's health and safety protocols on Wednesday, the team announced. Morant was not present at shootaround this morning. He's still recovering from a sprained knee and per coach Taylor Jenkins' timeline of a "couple of weeks", he wasn't expected to return for the Grizzlies' three remaining games this week.
Shams Charania: The Bulls now have four players in COVID-19 health and safety protocols — guard Matt Thomas is expected to miss several games, sources said. Thomas joins DeMar DeRozan, Coby White and Javonte Green in protocols.
Shams Charania: Bulls’ DeMar DeRozan will miss at least 10 days in health and safety protocols, or unless he has two negative tests in 24-hour period moving forward, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Tim Bontemps: When asked if he could see the league having to tighten up protocols, Donovan says “I think that’s already happening.” Said he anticipates them continuing to tighten given the way things are trending.
Charlotte Hornets PR: UPDATE: @Charlotte Hornets have placed the following players in the NBA's Health and Safety Protocols: LaMelo Ball, Jalen McDaniels, Mason Plumlee and Terry Rozier
Adrian Wojnarowski: After Charlotte’s LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier entered into health and safety protocols, there’s concern of more possible positive Covid tests on the Hornets, sources tell ESPN. Team sent players and staff home from practice facility.
Shams Charania: Charlotte Hornets guards LaMelo Ball and Terry Rozier have both entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols and are expected to miss several games, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Shams Charania: Ball and Rozier are expected to be sidelined for at least 10 days, or unless they record two negative tests in a 24-hour period moving forward, sources said. Charlotte will be without its young star and fellow starting guard for the time being.
Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James said he was “confused,” “frustrated,” and “angry” after he was required to miss a game while in the NBA's health and safety protocols for a false positive COVID-19 test. James returned to the Lakers’ lineup in a 119-115 loss to the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.
James said he knew he was going to get cleared because he never felt sick at all. James said earlier this season that he was vaccinated. “If what I had was a positive COVID test, then what are we doing? What are we talking about?" James said Friday. “I just thought it was handled very poorly, but being able to get cleared was definitely a breath of fresh air for not only myself, but for my family, friends and everybody that’s involved.”
LeBron James said his brief stint in the NBA's health and safety protocols left him feeling "confused," "frustrated" and "angry" after his first game back in the Lakers' 119-115 loss to the LA Clippers on Friday night. James missed the Lakers' game against the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday after returning a positive test for COVID-19 on Tuesday morning that required him to isolate from his team and fly back to L.A. solo on a plane chartered by the team. "I knew I was going to get cleared because I never, ever felt sick at all," James said after finishing with 23 points, 11 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals against the Clippers. "I just thought it was just handled very poorly."
James said he tested negative first and his second test came back positive. He said he had to figure out a way to get home from Sacramento by himself Tuesday, as he wasn’t allowed to have anyone travel home with him. When he returned to Los Angeles, James had to put his family in isolation, calling it a “big-time inconvenience.” “Usually when you have a positive test, they’ll test you right away to make sure,” James said. “There was not a follow-up test after my positive test. It was straight into isolation and you’ve been put into protocol. That was the part that kind of angered me.”
Friday's loss dropped the Lakers to 12-12, seventh in the Western Conference, with their next game coming Tuesday at home against a Boston Celtics team that beat L.A. soundly at TD Garden on Nov. 19. "It's just tough when you're in and out of the lineup, especially when you, I guess, don't really have a reason to be out," Anthony Davis said, looking back at the James saga. "We were playing well. So it's just frustrating a little bit, but no one is feeling sorry for us. We're not feeling sorry for ourselves. We got to go out there and play basketball games with whoever is available."
Donovan said he spoke Wednesday to guard Coby White, who missed the game after testing positive for the coronavirus and being placed into the NBA's health and safety protocols. He said the guard's experience sounded similar to how it was for Vucevic when he missed seven games earlier. “Just felt like he has a cold,” Donovan said. “I don’t know if his symptoms progressively get worse or not, obviously it was one day since we found out. But just in my conversation with him, he didn’t feel too bad.”
Denver Nuggets guards Bones Hyland and Austin Rivers have entered into the league's health and safety protocols, sources told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski on Wednesday. If they test positive for the virus, they will be away from the team for at least 10 days, which would result in at least six missed games.
Shams Charania: Sources: Nuggets guard Austin Rivers has entered health and safety protocols and is expected to miss several games, including tonight's game vs. Orlando. Another loss to the Denver lineup, now without Rivers, Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr.
Ryan Ward: Anthony Davis on LeBron James: "COVID is a scary thing, especially with all the new variants coming out. He says he's good and is asymptomatic."
Shams Charania: 76ers‘ Joel Embiid (COVID-19) and Tobias Harris (hip) will return to lineup tonight vs. Minnesota.
Julia Poe: Nikola Vucevic will travel with the Bulls for this week's trip to Houston and Orlando. This doesn't mean he'll play — Donovan says that's still up to the team doctors — but this means he could make his big homecoming in Orlando on Friday.
Rob Schaefer: Billy Donovan said Nikola Vucevic is still in cardiovascular testing phase of COVID protocol. Not sure yet if he’ll travel to Houston and Orlando later in week, will know more after tonight’s game Added Vucevic seems to be doing “great” and it’s been good to catch up with him
Rich Hoffman: Doc Rivers on Joel Embiid, said that he's working out at the practice facility in Camden: "He passed one of the tests, I think he has another big one today. Then after that, we have to decide what we want to do. But the fact that he's out working again is huge."
Rob Schaefer: Nikola Vucevic is out of isolation and beginning cardiovascular testing, per Billy Donovan. Adds he expects Vucevic to be in the arena tonight
Chris Fedor: Neither #Cavs Lauri Markkanen nor Jarrett Allen are listed on injury report for tomorrow night. Cedi Osman (back) and Lamar Stevens (ankle) are DOUBTFUL.
Keith Pompey: #Sixers swingman @Matisse Thybulle will play tonight. He’s not scheduled to play a lot of minutes.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA is planning increased Covid testing for staff and players throughout the Thanksgiving holidays, sources tell ESPN. The league is obviously trying to avoid team-wide breakouts as families get together later this month.
July 4, 2022 | 5:27 am EDT Update
“The Lakers have yet, I’m told, to be aggressive in trying to put a deal together to get [Kyrie] from Brooklyn. That may come, that may evolve with time. But so far right now, there’s no traction really on deals with either Irving or Durant.” 🗣️ @wojespn
John Clark: I’m told despite reports, the Sixers are not pursuing Kyrie Irving I’m told there were discussions internally about Kyrie and other players, but the Sixers never entered into actual talks with Brooklyn As far as Kevin Durant, remember he has a big say in where he will wind up
Those who know Durant cite two primary factors: a rocky Nets season that ended in a first-round playoff sweep; and the franchise’s soured relationship with Irving, his close friend. Durant doesn’t see much hope for a revival under the circumstances, those sources say. And he’s unhappy that his friend is unhappy.
As one insider sympathetic to Durant noted, “Kyrie sabotaged everything,” but Durant is reacting more to the effects than the cause, and he now views the Nets as unsalvageable. “There’s no use in (him) taking sides when it’s all too far gone,” the person said. In essence, the Nets were right in principle, but wrong in practical terms, failing to understand that making Irving upset “was going to drive Kevin away.” It’s instructive to note that for all the chaos, all the havoc and all the stress, Durant still wants to play with Irving, according to league insiders.
Chris Fedor on Collin Sexton: The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored as a team that may have interest because they lost Jalen Brunson. They don’t have cap space. So it would have to be a sign-and-trade worked out with the Cavs. And I’m told that the Cavs are not very attracted to any of the pieces that Dallas would be willing to send back to them in a potential sign-and-trade.
The difference in the tax penalty — somewhere around $15 million extra in the immediate, a whole lot more throughout a longer-term deal — caused Lacob and the Warriors to balk. It stung several in the organization, per sources. They’d found Payton and grown to not only love the person but also understand the value of his unique skill set. It translated to winning. For the first time, they’d failed to retain one of their own due to an unwillingness to meet a financial demand.