NBA rumors: Andrew Wiggins still against taking the vaccine

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San Francisco requires full vaccination to be allowed indoors for entertainment, including large events like NBA games at 18,000-seat Chase Center. New York City is the only other NBA market currently facing such restrictions. League sources believe the NBA will grant Wiggins a religious exemption, but San Francisco has the power to override it inside the city.
Joe Mussatto: The Thunder will require full or partial COVID vaccinations for fans, or a negative test 72 hours prior to a game, the team announced.
Marc Davis, the a member of the executive board of the basketball referees' union and a referee himself for more than two decades, said in an interview that the agreement was born of a strong relationship with the NBA, and the referees were broadly in favor of the mandate. This conversation has been edited and condensed for length and clarity. Can you tell me how the vaccine mandate came about? Marc Davis: When you have a collaborative environment between management and labor, I think you're constantly always working through issues and there's a constant dialogue back and forth. I think if I would have to say who introduced the idea, I think it's more the relationship and the constant conversation that came up.
Was there a significant amount of resistance from those within the union whom this would affect? Marc Davis: From a numbers perspective, I would say no. But their voices were heard. We articulated their concerns. We worked through those issues. A principle issue that was of concern was the FDA approval. And we worked through that issue to where one of the things we negotiated was that no one would be required prior to FDA approval. So that's kind of a common-sense approach to it. You know, obviously, FDA approval came at or about the same time that we reached the agreement. With the understanding that the players are your co-workers, was there resistance along the lines of 'Why should we agree to a mandate if the players haven't agreed to one?' Marc Davis: No, because we know that when we initially began our conversations that they had begun conversations as well. We just reached an agreement prior to them. We did it at our own pace. We weren't concerned with another group's decision.
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.
NBA players will not be mandated to get vaccinated against COVID-19, league sources tell ESPN. The NBA and NBPA continue to negotiate aspects of COVID-related protocols and procedures for the upcoming 2021-22 campaign, but the NBPA has refused to budge on whether players would be mandated to take the vaccine, sources say, and that aspect of negotiations remains a "non-starter."
Roughly 85% of players are vaccinated, a league spokesman recently said, and, in a preliminary memo obtained by ESPN in early September, the league outlined a set of strict protocols for unvaccinated players. Such protocols include having lockers far from vaccinated teammates or having to eat, fly and ride buses in different sections. These protocols are not final and are still subject to talks with the NBPA.
The N.B.A. players' union did not respond to a request for comment on where it stands on vaccine mandates. In June, the W.N.B.A. announced that 99 percent of its players had been fully vaccinated. A spokesman for the N.B.A. said that number was approximately 85 percent for N.B.A. players, and that the league was “in discussions with the union on a variety of topics for the season including vaccinations.”
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.

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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.
Charles Barkley is urging Alabamians to get stuck with Chuck. The Leeds native and Auburn and NBA basketball legend brings his plea for widespread vaccination against COVID-19 to a vaccine rally on Saturday, Aug. 28. The event, presented by the University of Alabama at Birmingham Minority Health & Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC), will provide walk-up and drive-in vaccines at Legion Field on Aug. 28, between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.
Jason Caffey is the only candidate in Mobile – or anywhere else in Alabama – who can claim he was a teammate with the legendary Michael Jordan. Caffey, who played college basketball at the University of Alabama, was a first-round pick during the 1995 NBA Draft, and played eight years in the NBA. He won two championships as a reserve forward for the 1996 and 1997 Chicago Bulls. The team was led by Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman, and was coached by Phil Jackson.
Caffey, during a televised candidates forum, admitted he was a “not a man of many words,” but had some strong and controversial views on certain issues: He believes that if not economically feasible, Mobile doesn’t need to have Amtrak return to the city, and he also admitted to not being vaccinated.
“We have large fan bases who want to cheer on their teams in person,” noted MSG Sports president Andrew Lustgarten. “And from our surveys, we know this market wants vaccinated fans.” MSG Sports’ internal surveys showed 85% of fans felt more comfortable in a vaccinated environment, Lustgarten added.
As many Americans hesitate to get vaccinated against COVID-19, NBA legend Spencer Haywood is teaming up with a medical school in Las Vegas to tackle the mistrust of the health care system prevalent in some communities of color. The Basketball Hall of Famer and Olympic gold medalist has joined the dean's advisory committee at Roseman University College of Medicine to work on programs increasing diversity in medicine to tackle this issue.
According to Haywood, a lack of diversity in medicine is one of the factors that leads communities of color to mistrust the system and one that he hopes to tackle through his partnership with Roseman. "It helps when you have a person of your own ilk and your color to come to you and say, 'Hey, you know, it's OK to get the vaccine,'" Haywood said, adding that it's important to train more doctors of color who can serve their own communities.
The Golden State Warriors and Chase Center have remained in constant communication with the City and County of San Francisco’s Department of Public Health throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic. Following today’s mandate from the San Francisco Department of Public Health that any indoor event with more than 1,000 attendees requires fans ages 12 or older to show proof of vaccination, Chase Center will comply with this guideline effective as of the venue’s next event, scheduled for September 15, 2021.
The Lakers, Kings, Ducks, Galaxy and Chargers have mandated vaccinations for full-time employees at offices within the United States, according to a statement Wednesday from AEG, the parent company of the Kings and Galaxy and the Staples Center landlord of the Lakers. The requirement would include “limited exceptions as required by law,” the statement said.
The mandate would not apply to athletes. Players on those teams are represented by unions, and working conditions generally are negotiated in collective bargaining.
The San Antonio Spurs are joining in the efforts to get Travis County residents vaccinated. The team will be hosting a vaccine clinic at Thursday's NBA Draft Watch Party at Armadillo Den in Austin. The county's fire department will be on site to safely administer the vaccinations. Anyone who gets a vaccine will be given a free pair of Spurs sunglasses.
Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic said that he’s been trying to buy a supply of unused vaccines from the United States and send them to his native Bosnia. Unfortunately, he’s not legally allowed to do it. “They just have donations, but not enough to vaccinate the people,” Nurkic said in a story by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne. “I tried to buy it for the whole country. I figured out the money, the plan and everything. But we still can’t do it.” “Even if we find vaccines, I guess United States laws say that until the American people are vaccinated, you can’t sell it. So, I don’t know what else to do. I really tried.”
There’s been an abundance of COVID-19 vaccines in the USA and Nurkic feels frustrated by the fact that he can’t purchase it to help the people of his country while others refuse to get it. “All these countries are suffering and you have the United States, obviously the No. 1 in the world, has the vaccines and people don’t want to get vaccinated,” Nurkic said. “I just feel like humanity has kind of failed, because all the countries around should get at least some of those vaccines, right?”
The Toronto Raptors were the only team in the National Basketball Association not to play in its home arena this season, due to Covid-19 restrictions. On Sunday, they’re handing over the venue to health authorities to smash Canada’s one-day record for vaccinations at a single site. About 25,000 people have appointments for the clinic at the Scotiabank Arena, located in the city’s financial district. Joe Cressy, the chair of the city’s board of health, has claimed it’s bigger than any clinic in the world.
Ben Collins: John Stockton (yes, that one) is in this particularly over-the-top anti-vaxx documentary trailer talking about "my significant amount of research" about COVID-19. The documentary's page asks "Do Masks Really Work?" and "How Will We Really Know That a COVID Vaccine is Safe?"
Ben Collins: Here's Stockton's part in the trailer. (Yes, the music is like the end of a Marvel movie basically the entire time.)

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Those in attendance must still abide by arena protocols, including wearing a mask when not eating or drinking. In an email to fans, the Clippers said spectators are required to attest to being either fully vaccinated — with their last shot of either the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccines coming at least two weeks before — or attest to a negative PCR or antigen test taken within 72 hours.
After a successful vaccination clinic and ticket raffle during Game 3, the Milwaukee Health Department is teaming up with the Milwaukee Bucks again for Game 6. On Thursday, June 17, the Health Department’s vaccination team will be on-site in the plaza at Fiserv Forum from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Everyone who receives their vaccination will be eligible to enter to win two tickets to that night’s 7:30 p.m. playoff game.
Nets Daily: Beyonce, Jay-Z, Trevor Noah joined a crowd 15,750 last night, 98% vaccinated. That's a sellout and only 2,000 short of normal NBA capacity at Barclays. Unlike Knicks (who no longer are playing ICYMI), Barclays is selling tickets to unvaccinated who sit in reserved sections.
Prior to attaining the threshold, film studies were conducted on the practice court with masked-up players and coaches spread out across the facility and doors were left open for ventilation. Multiple Lakers players told Yahoo Sports that Wednesday’s session felt “normal” again.
“You don’t realize how important and productive it is to have film sessions in an intimate setting until you lose it,” one Lakers player told Yahoo Sports. “When guys are together in close proximity, you’re much more engaged, and especially when you don’t have to wear a mask.”
New Yorkers who get vaccinated at Madison Square Garden will have a chance to score a free ticket to a Knicks playoff game starting Tuesday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced. “The New York Knicks are joining us to speed up the vaccinations in the city, to reach more people and keep them safe,” Hizzoner said during his daily virtual press briefing while wearing a blue Knicks cap. “The Knicks are bringing the vaccination effort right there, to the Garden.”
Chris Haynes: Being around LeBron James for years, he’s always been private about his medical and never been one to endanger his family or teammates. This statements puts one thing to rest: he’s been vaccinated.
The Portland Trail Blazers, local government and Oregon Health Authority have partnered on a first-of-its-kind proposal, promoting vaccinations across Oregon while increasing Moda Center capacity with Vaccinated Sections. The announcement comes just in time for Rip City to cheer on the sixth-seeded Trail Blazers as they host the third-seeded Denver Nuggets in round one of the NBA Western Conference Playoffs, presented by Moda Health and your local Toyota dealers. The Trail Blazers are the only team with a playoffs berth in each of the last eight seasons. The Trail Blazers will host games three and four of the best-of-seven series at Moda Center May 27 at 7:30 p.m. and May 29 at 1:00 p.m. After Saturday’s win, the Blazers are 1-0 in the series, and will face the Nuggets again tonight in Denver at 7:00 p.m. If necessary, game five will return to Denver on June 1; game six at Moda Center on June 3; and a decisive game seven back in Denver on June 5.
Stefan Bondy: Tom Thibodeau says Knicks have not yet reached 85% vaccination threshold. He adds that they’re close and it’s a personal decision
It would appear, however, that there is at least one other player on the Lakers besides Schroder who has not been vaccinated. Lakers coach Frank Vogel said Friday that L.A.'s roster has not passed the 85% vaccination threshold the league requires -- a minimum of 15 out of 17 players -- in order for a team to have its health and safety restrictions lessened moving forward.
Harrison Faigen: Frank Vogel tells @Bill Oram that the Lakers have not reached the 85% of the travel party vaccinated threshold that lead to loosened protocols on the road. He says the Lakers are "hopeful" they will get there so they can bond and be together on the road more.
Meanwhile, as cities across the country ease restrictions on movement and gathering as the number of vaccinations for COVID-19 increases, Silver stopped short of committing to completely full arenas by the time the NBA Finals roll around in July. And while seats around the court will remain in fewer numbers than normal, he expressed confidence that there will be far more fans than he expected in the seats as the playoffs move along. "I think it's very possible that come July, when our Finals will be, you'll see essentially full buildings," said Silver, who added that "close to 80%" of all NBA players have had COVID-19 vaccinations.
Over 50% of Madison Square Garden and Barclays Center can be used for fully vaccinated fan sections, boosting total capacity at both arenas. It’s a big deal — for the Knicks, this will be the first trip to the playoffs since 2013. (The Nets are back for their third straight year.)
“What was already an incredibly exciting time around Knicks basketball has just gotten even more exciting,” said MSG Sports executive chairman James Dolan. “All of those fans for Knicks playoff games are going to be loud, they’re going to be passionate and they’re going to be ready. The Garden is going to rock. We hope the team gives all of New York something to cheer about, and that this marks the start of a busy summer for the growing number of vaccinated people.”
Mike Vorkunov: Jim Dolan says he's hoping to have more than 13,000 fans in MSG for the playoffs for Knicks games under New York's new guidance with the vaccinated fans "sitting shoulder to shoulder" and tells people to get vaccinated.
Mike Vorkunov: "For Knicks home playoff games we're shooting to have more than 13,000 fans at the Garden," James Dolan said today. "The majority of whom will be sitting in vaccinated sections shoulder-to-shoulder."
Mike Vorkunov: Asked if unvaccinated will have worse seats than vaccinated, Dolan says they haven't figure out MSG seating yet. Should know soon. There will be about 10 times as many seats for vaccinated. Dolan: "It doesn't mean we're going to put all the unvaccinated at the top of the Garden"
Mike Vorkunov: "Go today and get your vaccination so that when these shows come," James Dolan said, "when the Knicks make it to the second round — Oh, I hope — you can come and we'll have a seat for you."
The Golden State Warriors are trying to make it as easy as possible for fans to enjoy games at Chase Center, by offering free COVID-19 tests to those who don’t have proof of vaccination. “We’re making this super simple for fans,” said Yoyo Chan, vice president of community relations for the Warriors. “We’re requiring fans demonstrate negative COVID test results taken within 48 hours of tip off.”
The team is offering free tests that can be picked up from Chase Center or the Warriors’ Oakland facility. The Warriors will also provide free, self-administered tests on-site at the Chase Center for fans who sign up for a test when they purchase their game tickets.
Sarah K. Spencer: Since the Hawks meet the NBA's 85% fully vaccinated threshold, as of this week they officially have some league COVID-19 restrictions eased. Now on off days, players don't have to come in and test, which has been a big help, Nate McMillan says.
Around 75% of the NBA's players have been vaccinated, sources said, and commissioner Adam Silver continues to appeal to front-office executives to encourage further player participation ahead of the start of the playoffs next week. Beyond the broader health benefits of vaccinations, sources said, Silver outlined on a recent call with the league's GMs the concern that all playoff-bound teams share: Losing a key player for a week could decide a playoff series.
Rose takes his Detroit roots seriously and wants to set an example in a demographic that has been somewhat hesitant to get vaccinated against COVID-19. "There are people that have apprehension toward whether they should get vaccinated or not," Rose said. "I did. And the reason why I did, because I hope to get back to some sense of normalcy."
The Orlando Magic are offering the coronavirus vaccine to as many as 2,300 Central Florida residents next week, becoming the latest NBA team to host such an event. The Magic partnered with AdventHealth and city officials to arrange the May 13 event at Amway Center, the team’s home arena. The Moderna vaccine will be available, free of charge, to anyone 18 or older.
Golden State Warriors guard Damion Lee said he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Lee, 28, is considered one of the rare "breakthrough cases" -- one of only 6,000 or so people who have tested positive for the virus after going through the full vaccination process, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "I did test positive for COVID about two weeks ago," Lee said prior to Thursday night's 118-97 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder. "I did get the vaccine the middle, end of March, but essentially this was just a rare breakthrough case. ... Right now, there's no timeline in the immediate future for me coming back and playing."
"I had headache, chills, sneezing, congestion, soreness, body aches," Lee said while reading a list off his phone to keep track of everything he dealt with. "It felt like I was hit by a car. Like hit by two cars at once every step I took. It hurt, it was pain, soreness. It felt like there was a weight on my chest for a couple of days, like it was just hard to breathe."
Keith Smith: Evan Fournier said he got his first COVID vaccine shot yesterday. He said he's heard some people who had COVID feel better after getting their vaccine. He's hopeful he'll experience that as well.
Bill Oram: AD on players getting vaccinated: "Some guys did, some guys didn't for their own personal reasons. I decided to for my own personal reasons. ... I'm trying to play my part and get 20,000 back in Staples so we can some more cheers in there than we have now."
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October 19, 2021 | 5:05 pm EDT Update
Harrison Wind: Michael Malone on Nikola Jokic entering the season: “I think he’s in a good place…I think he’s a little bit, probably, fatigued, like most first time dads are. That’s not something that is out of the ordinary. This is life. We’ll help Nikola get through it. That’s where it can’t be all Nikola every night. Other guys have to step up and bring their game and contribute to the cause. We know we’re capable of doing that. The challenge is how consistently can we do that?”
October 19, 2021 | 3:54 pm EDT Update