Tim Bontemps: Grant Williams is back and has no minutes restrictions, and the same situation for Al Horford, per Celtics coach Ime Udoka. Both have been unavailable due to COVID protocols for several games. Udoka has no update on Jayson Tatum's status, other than him entering them today.
Harrison Wind: Aaron Gordon (left hamstring soreness) and Bol Bol (health and safety protocols) are questionable for tomorrow at Warriors. Monte Morris (left knee soreness) is probable.
Dane Moore: Josh Okogie will return from COVID protocols for tonight's game, per Chris Finch. Patrick Beverley will not return tonight. But Chris Finch made it sound like a near certainty that Beverley will play on Tuesday against New York.
KC Johnson: Acting head coach Chris Fleming, via Zoom from Atlanta, said Billy Donovan had “mild symptoms at beginning” but “sounds like himself now and is excited to get back to work.” Shortened NBA quarantine time, as long as certain contagious thresholds are met, also applies to coaches.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Atlanta Hawks All-Star guard Trae Young has been cleared from Covid protocols and will return vs. the Chicago Bulls tonight, sources tell ESPN.
Neil Dalal: Wizards have upgraded Bradley Beal (protocols) to questionable for Tuesday night at Heat. Aaron Holiday joins Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Raul Neto, Anthony Gill, and Thomas Bryant as OUT in protocols. Rui Hachimura remains "questionable", but is not expected to play.
Jason Anderson: The Sacramento Kings are listing Alex Len (health and safety protocols) as questionable for Tuesday's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Davion Mitchell and Neemias Queta are still out.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton has entered Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN.
Mike Vorkunov: NBA just implemented new protocol where players/coaches can clear isolation 6 days after a positive COVID test. CDC just announced people can leave quarantine after 5. CDC director told the AP they want to "safely continue to keep society functioning while following the science”
Rod Boone: Cody Martin has been cleared from health and safety protocols and is available for tonight's game against Houston. #Hornets get their top defender back.
The wave of positive COVID cases sweeping through the NBA hit the Rockets again on Monday with power forwards K.J. Martin and Jae’Sean Tate placed in health and safety protocols. That will also lead to the Rockets adding players with 10-day, hardship exemption contracts.
This reduction in quarantine time is expected to immediately impact the status of numerous players who are already in the league's health and safety protocols. For players, you're considered to have tested positive on Day Zero, so a player would actually be back to play on the seventh day if he meets this new standard. Data shows that boosted individuals continue to clear the virus out of their system at a far more rapid rate than those who aren't, league sources told ESPN.
The decision to shorten the quarantine to six days, sources said, is based upon expert research and data -- including the league's own -- that shows no one with a cycle threshold (CT) over 35 has shown to be infectious again after five or six days, sources said. CT measures how many times a test has to cycle to find the virus in an individual. For example, a 35 CT is fainter than a 20 CT. The NBA and NBPA has relied on data from its own infectious disease experts, the CDC and models and research in the United Kingdom.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Vaccinated NBA players and coaches can now clear quarantine after six days if Covid-testing data shows they’re no longer at risk to be infectious, according to a memo distributed to teams Monday and obtained by ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA and NBPA agreement comes at a time when players are testing positive and heading into quarantine at an unprecedented rate -- 172 have entered Covid protocols in past two weeks, including a single-day high of 27 on Sunday.
Jason Anderson: Kings forward Marvin Bagley III says his second case of COVID-19 wasn't as bad as the first, but he still experienced body aches, chills, etc. He said the virus "does something to my body." "When I come back, I feel tired, out of breath, especially the first time I work out."
Andy Larsen: FYI: the Jazz broadcast crew didn’t travel with the team on this road trip, citing coronavirus concerns. Team says they’ll broadcast from home “for the next several road trips.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Portland Trail Blazers coach Chauncey Billups has entered the league's Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN.
Chris Haynes: Scott Brooks will serve as replacement head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers with Chauncey Billups entering health and safety protocols, league sources tell @YahooSports.
Alex Schiffer: Steve Nash said there’s no changes to the Nets’ health and safety protocol list. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are still in. He expects LaMarcus Aldridge to rejoin the team when they’re back east.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Phoenix Suns coach Monty Williams has entered Covid protocols and will miss tonight’s game vs. the Memphis Grizzlies, sources tell ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Suns assistant Kevin Young is likely the choice to become acting coach in Williams' absence, sources tell ESPN.
Josh Robbins: Wes Unseld Jr. said the Wizards are "hopeful" that Bradley Beal will play tomorrow against the Heat. But Beal's return is contingent on testing negative.
Jared Weiss: Grant Williams expects to return from COVID tonight, per source. Williams is listed as questionable in health and safety protocols and just boarded a flight to Minneapolis for tonight’s Celtics vs. Wolves game at 8 ET.
Jim Owczarski: #Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo said he would never have known he had COVID-19 unless he had been tested. He said being asymptomatic helped him keep his conditioning up over the 10 days out - even if the ball felt weird once he got back on Dec. 25.
Chase Hughes: Anthony Gill has entered COVID protocol, also Thomas Bryant, per head coach Wes Unseld Jr. "I'm having a hard time keeping track of it. It changes by the hour."
Chase Hughes: Kyle Kuzma said he was pretty sick during his stint in Covid protocol. Said his first game back "was a struggle" because of how the symptoms and not playing for a few days affected his breathing.
Marc Berman: MSG Network broadcast crew won’t be traveling for this four-game road trip and will do games remotely, per source, with Covid-19 swirling. Walt Frazier is actually on a pre planned vacation to his second home in St. Croix.
Shams Charania: Golden State Warriors star Draymond Green has entered health and safety protocols, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium .
Rod Beard: #Pistons Cory Joseph and Josh Jackson are in health and safety protocols ahead of tonight's game at #Spurs. DET has entered eight players in the protocols this week.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Chicago Bulls guard Lonzo Ball is entering Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN.
Cody Taylor: B.J. Johnson and Chuma Okeke are out today at Miami due to health and safety protocols, the Magic announced. R.J. Hampton has been cleared from protocols and is available for today’s game.
Shams Charania: Three more Trail Blazers (five total) have entered COVID-19 health and safety protocols – Robert Covington, Ben McLemore and Keljin Blevins, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium .
New York Knicks PR: Jericho Sims (health and safety protocols) is out for today’s game against Atlanta.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo is expected to make his return to the lineup vs. Boston today (2:30 PM ET, ABC), sources tell ESPN. After 10 days in protocols, the two-time MVP had a strong workout on Friday and -- barring a setback -- is expected to be available.
Shams Charania: Milwaukee Bucks guard Donte DiVincenzo will make his season debut on Christmas Day vs. the Boston Celtics, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. DiVincenzo was set to return Dec. 15 from June ankle surgery before entering protocols. Now, he’s back.
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: Hawks center Clint Capela has cleared Covid protocols and will play vs. the Knicks (noon, ESPN). Capela averages 11.5 points and 12.8 rebounds. Hawks still have eight players in protocols, including Trae Young. More on a two-hour NBA Countdown at 10 AM ET on ESP
Tommy Beer: Knicks announce Kevin Knox II has been cleared from health and safety protocols and rejoined the team
Toppin said he “didn’t have a lot of symptoms” after testing positive for COVID-19, but he mostly spent his 10 days idled in his bedroom away from his family. He said he worked out with elastic bands and watched “a lot of basketball” and a couple of Netflix shows. “Man, I was aching in that bed. I’ve never been in bed for that long,” Toppin said. “Like, that was the longest 10 days of my life, I ain’t gonna lie to you.”
Marc Stein: The Celtics just issued a five-tweet injury report for their Christmas Day game at Milwaukee. Among the key updates: Al Horford (health and safety protocols) and Marcus Smart (left hip contusion) are now questionable. More from me: marcstein.substack.com
Chris Kirschner: For tomorrow’s game at New York: Cam Reddish (right ankle sprain) is probable. Delon Wright (left ankle sprain) is probable. Clint Capela (health and safety protocols) is out Sharife Cooper (health and safety protocols) is out. Danilo Gallinari (health and safety protocols) out
Sarah K. Spencer: Hawks injury report for Christmas Day game adds that Onyeka Okongwu is out in health and safety protocols. That's nine players in protocols for them. Both Cam Reddish and Delon Wright are probable to play. pic.twitter.com/B4MXbX60jK
NBA Central: LeBron James' last IG post 🤔 pic.twitter.com/JDn9HgJpMX
Shams Charania: The Portland Trail Blazers have two players entering COVID-19 health and safety protocols – Dennis Smith Jr. and Trendon Watford – and remainder of the team will now be re-tested, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Adrian Wojnarowski: After playing one game on a 10-day deal, Atlanta's Wes Iwundu has entered Covid protocols, sources tell ESPN. Iwundu played 23 minutes in the Hawks' victory over the 76ers.
Zach Lowe: Giannis Antetokounmpo has been cleared from health and safety protocols; he's expected to get on the court today and decide tomorrow whether to play on Christmas against the Boston Celtics, sources tell @Adrian Wojnarowski and me.
Chris Haynes: Atlanta Hawks star Trae Young (H&S protocols) is not expected to be cleared in time for the Christmas Day game against the New York Knicks, league sources tell @YahooSports.
When the Nets were pulling Brown off the court, they delivered Harden his testing news in the training room. Beyond the din of the Barclays crowd, Harden looked at Brown, and Brown looked at Harden, and they wondered what in the world was happening. "You feel anything?" Harden asked him. "I'm good," Brown said. "You?" No symptoms, Harden told him. Feeling fine.
On a weekly league medical call on Dec. 14, one team health official said the Bulls expressed frustration that they had a number of asymptomatic player cases, with each required to be sidelined for 10 days. Given the urgency of their situation, the Bulls were testing everyone, but they asked, why wasn't every other team doing the same? The Bulls believed there were more asymptomatic players out there, and that the league, by not mandating daily testing, wasn't doing enough to try and find them, a source said. To the Bulls, it felt unfair -- that they were suffering from a competitive disadvantage.
For the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association, mandated daily testing in a league with a nearly 97% player vaccination rate didn't make sense. And their respective infectious disease experts agreed, according to league sources. Instead, as the winter months approached and cases started to surge nationally, the league urged booster shots, increased testing around Thanksgiving and advised continued vigilance.
Privately, several team executives and team health officials believed not testing everyone was financially motivated, though league officials have disputed this characterization to ESPN. For now, when a team has a positive case, that team is encouraged -- but not required -- to test all players and potentially impacted staff to see how far the virus has spread; the same is recommended when a team faces another team that has detected a positive test.
But the circumstances this winter are different. While nearly all players are vaccinated, team health officials note that almost one-third of players received the Johnson & Johnson single-shot dose, which offers the lowest level of protection compared to Pfizer and Moderna. There are concerns about waning immunity; only about 65% of eligible players have received booster shots, roughly 275 total players, sources say.
Kyle Goon: David Fizdale confirms that Dwight Howard is going to play tonight, helping the team’s depth with Trevor Ariza in protocols.
Christopher Hine: Chris Finch said Karl-Anthony Towns is currently asymptomatic, which is good news considering Towns said he had a tough battle with COVID last season.
Dane Moore: No excuses from Chris Finch when talking about being down seven bodies tonight, including KAT: "I've been in the G-League. This is no different than the G-League. You lose your best players in warmups sometimes -- you just throw new guys in, and the guy goes out and plays."
July 3, 2022 | 7:04 pm EDT Update
Marc Stein: Frank Ntilikina’s $2 million contract for next season becomes guaranteed tomorrow and the Mavericks’ intention, league sources say, is indeed to retain the former Knicks lottery pick. More NBA from me: marcstein.Substack.com
ClutchPoints: “Brooklyn wants a massive group of draft picks back, first-round picks, pick swaps, and they also want an All-Star level player.” @wojespn on what the Brooklyn Nets want in return for Kevin Durant
July 3, 2022 | 6:31 pm EDT Update
July 3, 2022 | 5:04 pm EDT Update
Kevin Durant’s quest to find a new home as he waits for a trade from the Brooklyn Nets could take him to a place he knows very well. Appearing on ESPN Radio, Marc J. Spears of Andscape called the Golden State Warriors a team to “keep an eye on” for Durant. Spears later took to Twitter to give more context to his report. Spears noted the Warriors “could” potentially offer the best package for both sides, with a deal involving Jordan Poole, Andrew Wiggins, Jonathan Kuminga and James Wiseman.