Adrian Wojnarowski: Additional test has returned positive for the coronavirus on barber in contact with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, sources tell ESPN. League must make decision still, but it is highly unlikely Embiid and Simmons will be cleared to play today.
Mark Medina: Doc Rivers more on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons likely not playing in the All-Star game: "I would feel more for them if they had COVID. They get to make the team still, and they're on the team ... But you want to play and them being in a jersey."
Marc Stein: More Doc Rivers: "We're still waiting for the NBA to tell us what the next steps are." Embiid and Simmons have been isolated in their hotel rooms in Atlanta as the NBA determines if they were exposed to someone in Philadelphia this week who is now testing positive for COVID-19.
Shams Charania: 76ers All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are potentially ineligible to play tonight in the NBA All-Star Game due to contact tracing from exposure to a likely COVID-19 positive individual before they arrived to Atlanta, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Shams Charania: The exposure occurred with Embiid and Simmons‘ personal barber who had a positive test result and is awaiting another test. Both traveled by themselves on private planes, and had no exposure to other players or people down in Atlanta bubble.
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sixers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons were in contact with a barber who tested positive for COVID-19 in Philadelphia and are uncertain for today's All-Star Game, sources tell ESPN. Barber has been retested because of inconclusive initial test. They're waiting on results now.
Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA plans to have Embiid and Simmons do media sessions prior to game from their rooms, source said. Contact tracing could ultimately keep them out of the game.
Shams Charania: This quarantine process was applied per NBA’s normal strict protocols. Embiid and Simmons have not been in contact with other people in Atlanta due to league’s quarantine.
Spurs forward Keldon Johnson’s assessment of his bout with the COVID-19 virus is the stuff of a surgeon general’s warning. “I would say it sucked,” Johnson said. Having returned to the court after a 15-day layoff because of the coronavirus and its aftereffects, Johnson is glad to report he is feeling better now. “I am doing amazing,” Johnson said before Thursday’s game against Oklahoma City. “Couldn’t feel any better.”
For Johnson — a 21-year-old coach Gregg Popovich once likened to a “wild mustang” — it meant an even more arduous path through the NBA’s health and safety protocols. “The first day was probably the worst day,” Johnson said. “I felt a little weak, had a little headache. I stayed in bed all day.”
As far as surprises go, Johnson’s selection to the Rising Stars roster was more pleasant than his COVID-19 diagnosis. “We were definitely surprised,” Johnson said. “It just happens. We take so many protocols to avoid COVID, and to have so many players come up with it, it sucked.” Johnson and the other infected players formed a sort of support group during their time in quarantine. “We definitely stayed in touch,” Johnson said. “Everybody called and checked on me and made sure I was all good. We were in each other’s corner.”
Adrian Wojnarowski: Seven new positive NBA COVID tests in the past week, source tells ESPN.
Kyle Goon: Dennis Schroder said he never had COVID-19 and tested negative during his quarantine. He says the NBA "has to do better" and before he's able to elaborate ... ... the Zoom crashes.
Shams Charania: Sources: Five new NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 454 in the last week.
Kellan Olson: Dario Saric confirmed he had coronavirus while he was out. Said this has been a rough 2 months for him with that and then the ankle injury when he was working his way back from that.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Karl-Anthony Towns: "Getting COVID stopped everything...I am a high-risk case. COVID did not treat me well whatsoever. A lot of scary nights." He told his sister he got a bad version of COVID and had "a lot of it in me..A lot of long nights and the vitals weren't good (at times)"
Ohm Youngmisuk: KAT: "Everyone is different. My underlying conditions did not play in my favor with COVID... I am the most genetically close to my mother...nothing was playing in my favor.. mental health is very real. I have dealt with it my whole life and my mother always knew how to heal me."
Ohm Youngmisuk: KAT: "I feel very guilty about the treatment I got [that] I [wish was] more widely available to anyone in the world. I feel very guilty... there is such mental strain through all this time. A feeling of guilt because of the resources I have. I wish I could (share) the resources."
Eric Woodyard: Karl-Anthony Towns says he was a high-risk COVID-19 case with a lot of “scary nights.” He spent time in the house with no sound or TV, but became more spiritually connected to himself. “A lot of emotion,” he described.
Melissa Rohlin: Karl Anthony-Towns described his harrowing experience with COVID: "You get to a point where you feel like you're never going to see the court again."
Shams Charania: One new NBA player tested positive for coronavirus out of 470 tested since Feb. 3, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Eric Nehm: Jrue Holiday is listed as OUT (Health and Safety Protocols) on the NBA's injury report for tonight's game against the Suns. Bucks are supposed to have shootaround in Phoenix in about an hour. We will be given one player for media availability afterwards.
However, during his postgame news conference, teammate Khris Middleton indicated Holiday might have tested positive for COVID-19. “You definitely think about it, especially for Jrue,” Middleton said. “It’s nothing to play around with. And once he tested positive, you immediately think about his health, his safety and then his family back home. He has little kids too that he has to worry about. So, I think that was a huge part of what was going through my mind before the game. Just thinking about him and his family back home.”
Budenholzer said he believed the game’s status was never in doubt, but Lopez was far less confident. “I wasn’t sure obviously,” Lopez said. “I took my pregame nap and I wasn’t sure if I was going to wake up and there was going to be a text like, ‘Oh. No game tonight. Pack up.’ or ‘We’re staying.’ or whatever it was.”
Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo shared a similar sentiment as Lopez, he woke up from his nap and found out the game was still going to be played. “I think you always just have to be prepared in thinking about what you can do if somebody’s not able to go,” Budenholzer said. “Just proud of the guys. That’s a good win on the road against a really good team. Different guys stepped up and played well. It’s not easy, but proud of our guys. It was a good win.”
However, during his postgame news conference, teammate Khris Middleton indicated Holiday might have tested positive for COVID-19 while discussing his mindset heading into the game with Holiday’s absence. “You definitely think about it, especially for Jrue,” Middleton said. “It’s nothing to play around with. And once he tested positive, you immediately think about his health, his safety and then his family back home. He has little kids too that he has to worry about. So, I think that was a huge part of what was going through my mind before the game. Just thinking about him and his family back home.”
Middleton further explained how he would attempt to help the Bucks’ starting point guard through this situation. “Just continue to talk to him, make sure his mind is right,” Middleton said. “He’s probably a little stressed out trying to worry about what type of symptoms he’s going to have or whatnot. But you continue to talk to him, pray for him, hope that he’s going to be well. Hopefully, the test may come back negative a couple more times and then it’s just a false positive. Right now, I think that’s the best-case scenario, but I’m sure he’ll be fine no matter what though.”
Troy Brown: When they told me that I tested positive, I wasn’t surprised. I had already started quarantining, so it wasn’t a shock; the positive test just confirmed my suspicions. I’ve taken COVID very seriously and been very safe since this all started, but I still got it. When I got the news, I wasn’t too scared. I don't know if I’ll have any long-term issues that are related to COVID, but I try not to worry about that since it’s out of my control. My mindset is this: It happened and I can't do anything about it, so I’m just trying to stay as positive as I can, live day-by-day and not worry. Once I was quarantined, I was just resting every day. I played a lot of Call of Duty and NBA 2K (I’m a big fan of MyCareer mode). I played with my dogs a lot (I have a Pomeranian and a Shih Tzu Poodle). I did a lot of cleaning. I was watching a lot of basketball too -- from highlights to different games on League Pass.
Having returned from the NBA’s health and safety protocols, Eubanks has become a walking 6-foot-9 public service announcement for others navigating the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “For people who don’t think it’s that serious, you should probably take it seriously,” said Eubanks, 24. “It can really affect people, and you don’t know how it can affect you.”
Eubanks considers himself one of the lucky ones. Young and healthy, Eubanks said he experienced symptoms that were akin to “a bad cold.” He also lost his sense of taste and smell for about a week. “You can do everything right — that’s the way I was. I don’t go out, I don’t do anything, I keep to myself,” Eubanks said Wednesday after the Spurs’ morning walk-through in preparation for a game against Minnesota. “You can do everything right, and it can still get you.”
Shams Charania: Zero NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 482 tested since Jan. 27, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium.
Shams Charania: One new NBA player tested positive for coronavirus out of 492 tested since Jan. 20, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium . Down from 11 positives last week and 16 the prior week.
Miami Heat guard Avery Bradley revealed on the Yahoo Sports’ “Posted Up with Chris Haynes Podcast” that he’s been sidelined since Jan. 9 after testing positive for COVID-19 and placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocol. In Monday’s episode, the 6-foot-2 defensive stalwart spoke on numerous topics and specifically about his raw emotions upon receiving the news. "To be honest, I was upset because I come to work and I do the right things, I come to work every single day and do all the protocols to make sure I’m protected so I can protect my family. To come up with the news knowing that I got it at work, I was a little frustrated to be honest,” Bradley said on “Posted Up.” “I was frustrated because I felt like it compromised my family’s safety.”
Duane Rankin: #Suns rookie Jalen Smith confirms he tested positive for COVID-19. Smith has missed five games under NBA health and safety protocols. He's available to play tonight against Denver.
Chris Herrington: Per league source, the Grizzlies have one (and only one) active positive case. The rest of this postponement is due to contact tracing/caution. My sense is it's another reflection of the league further tightening its protocols.
Shams Charania: 11 new NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 502 tested since Jan. 13, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium.
Ava Wallace: The Wizards have had a seventh player test positive, per sources, and one staff member. No staff had tested positive before now. Wizards brought eligible players in for individual work over the weekend but haven't gathered as a group since last Monday.
Wizards big men Moe Wagner and Rui Hachimura entered health and safety protocols after the next game, Monday’s win over the Suns. The team hasn’t played since. “It was inevitable,” Sheppard said. “The NBA’s been pointing to this period for quite some time that this was going to be very difficult, and they weren’t kidding. Every city that we went to, it just seemed to be more and more — you never want to say ‘we escaped’ or ‘nothing’s going wrong for us yet,’ because you just know, inevitably, something’s going to be your turn. This was our turn, unfortunately. We took a couple punches, for sure. But all our players are in good spirits. (It’s) very important also to consider all of our staff right now is healthy, so we’re very grateful for that. But what’s ahead is going to be day-by-day.”
Having a game postponed is an inconvenience. Seeing Hernangomez and Rubio have to isolate was unnerving. But the mental toll of seeing the Towns family have to confront COVID-19 again shook the organization. “It hurt,” Rosas said in a Zoom call not long after the game was postponed. “It hurt. Karl is the most important part of this organization for what he’s gone through, for what Karl Sr. has gone through, it couldn’t be more heartbreaking today.”
Teammates were taken aback when Towns gave them the news, sources said, knowing full well the context of the situation. Towns told the team that he was going to get through it and urged them to keep moving forward. The Wolves are scheduled to play in Atlanta on Monday afternoon as part of the league’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, but everything is up in the air right now.
In another sign of how seriously the Wolves take things, sources say that Rosas grew emotional on Friday during a call with the league’s general managers as he discussed teams needing to adhere to the heightened protocols. As games were being postponed across the league, Rosas pleaded with teams to be extra vigilant, especially when they go on the road, so as not to increase the risk of exposure to the virus.
The Washington Wizards are dealing with an outbreak situation, with the franchise now up to five players who have tested positive for COVID-19, sources tell The Athletic's Shams Charania and Fred Katz. The Wizards last played on Monday against the Phoenix Suns. They have already had two games postponed this week — Wednesday against the Jazz and Friday against the Pistons. Washington's next scheduled game is Sunday against the Cavaliers.
Fred Katz, Wizards writer: The Wizards had plenty of close calls with COVID-19 before eventually having to miss games. They played the Celtics last week, the day before Boston flashed a positive test. Before that, they went up against the 76ers the day before they had one. Kevin Durant went into quarantine the day after his Nets played the Wizards. Bulls players tested positive in the middle of a series in Washington. Now, the Wizards are the ones dealing with the real-life issues that come with playing this season in the middle of a pandemic.
Katz: Most importantly, the Wizards have to get healthy. Players who test positive for coronavirus must quarantine for a minimum of 10-to-14 days, per league rules. If they have symptoms, quarantines can be longer than that. They then have a two-day ramp-up period and have to pass a cardio test before returning for good. It could be a while before some of these guys return. The status of the upcoming series against Cleveland, scheduled for Sunday/Monday, is up in the air, given today's news. Either way, it will be a minute before we see the Wizards in their full form.
Fred Katz: The Washington Wizards are now up to five players who have tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @ShamsCharania and me.
Quinton Mayo: Can confirm @Shams Charania @Fred Katz report that the Washington Wizards are now up to five players who have tested positive for coronavirus. I’ve also heard that at least one additional player has returned an inconclusive test.
Denver Nuggets coach Michael Malone acknowledged Tuesday night that Michael Porter Jr.'s absence from the team is because he's had the coronavirus. After the Nuggets' 122-116 loss to the Brooklyn Nets in New York, Malone was asked why his team hasn't been able to put together a complete performance this season. While answering, he explained why Porter hasn't been with the team.
"Well it would be nice if we were fully healthy," Malone said. "We were without two starters tonight -- no Gary Harris, no Michael Porter. I don't think we have been whole the whole year. JaMychal Green was out early, Michael Porter has been out with COVID, and Gary was not here due to personal reasons. I think that's one thing that will help us."
Mark Murphy: Source confirmed that Tatum's second COVID test came back positive as well, sending Brown, Ojeleye and Green into quarantine.
Mark Murphy: Per source: Jayson Tatum tested positive for Covid today, and is now awaiting the results of a confirmation test. He is asymptomatic.
Shams Charania: Sources: Prior to flight from Denver to Dallas today, the Mavericks learned of a positive coronavirus test for a player and two additional players who are expected to quarantine for seven days due to contact tracing. The three players remained in Denver.
The Philadelphia 76ers are quarantining in New York because of a positive COVID-19 test for guard Seth Curry. A person familiar with the situation says the Sixers stayed overnight after the team learned of Curry's positive result during Thursday's loss against the Nets. The person spoke to The Associated Press Friday on condition of anonymity because the team has not made Curry's condition public. The person said as of Friday morning Curry was the only positive test on the Sixers.
Shams Charania: Four new NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus out of 498 tested since Dec. 30, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium .
Luis Scola tested positive for coronavirus according to Argentinian website Clarin. The veteran former All-EuroLeague forward and captain of the Argentinian national team is reported to be among the 12 members of Varese that tested positive for COVID-19, as the club announced Saturday (2/1).
Rob Schaefer: Chandler Hutchison tested positive for COVID-19, per Bulls coach Billy Donovan. He’s still in DC. Markkanen, Satoransky and Arcidiacono are in Chicago
Shams Charania: Sources: Two new NBA players tested positive for coronavirus out of 558 tested since Dec. 16.
Adrian Wojnarowski: The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder game is in jeopardy of postponement tonight, sources tell ESPN. No final word yet.
Tim MacMahon: New Rockets additions to official NBA injury report: Out: Kenyon Martin Jr. (Not With Team -- Self Isolating) Questionable: DeMarcus Cousins (right ankle sprain)
Sam Amick: A clarification, since there's A LOT happening in Houston right now... A source tells @TheAthletic that the contact tracing which is expected to lead to several players not being available tonight against OKC is not tied to James Harden.
Arian Wojnarowski: Rockets C DeMarcus Cousins has tested negative for the coronavirus, source tells ESPN.
Adrian Wojnarowski: As Rockets disclosed yesterday, Ben McLemore is in self-isolation and out for tonight's game vs. OKC. McLemore tested positive for the coronavirus days ago, sources said, and has been in isolation. He isn't the teammate whose positive test initiated contact tracing today on team.
September 26, 2021 | 6:15 am EDT Update
“The NBA should insist that all players and staff are vaccinated or remove them from the team,” NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tells Rolling Stone. “There is no room for players who are willing to risk the health and lives of their teammates, the staff and the fans simply because they are unable to grasp the seriousness of the situation or do the necessary research. What I find especially disingenuous about the vaccine deniers is their arrogance at disbelieving immunology and other medical experts. Yet, if their child was sick or they themselves needed emergency medical treatment, how quickly would they do exactly what those same experts told them to do?”
Irving, who serves as a vice president on the executive committee of the players’ union, recently started following and liking Instagram posts from a conspiracy theorist who claims that “secret societies” are implanting vaccines in a plot to connect Black people to a master computer for “a plan of Satan.” This Moderna microchip misinformation campaign has spread across multiple NBA locker rooms and group chats, according to several of the dozen-plus current players, Hall-of-Famers, league executives, arena workers and virologists interviewed for this story over the past week.
When asked directly about Irving’s vaccination status — or his plans to change it — multiple people familiar with his thinking declined to answer directly. But one confidant and family member floated to Rolling Stone the idea of anti-vaxx players skipping home games to dodge the New York City ordinance… or at least threatening to protest them, until the NBA changes its ways.
“There are so many other players outside of him who are opting out, I would like to think they would make a way,” says Kyrie’s aunt, Tyki Irving, who runs the seven-time All-Star’s family foundation and is one of the few people in his regular circle of advisors. “It could be like every third game. So it still gives you a full season of being interactive and being on the court, but with the limitations that they’re, of course, oppressing upon you. There can be some sort of formula where the NBA and the players can come to some sort of agreement.”
A spokeswoman for Irving declined to respond to a list of questions regarding his vaccination and playing status, and Irving did not immediately respond to a message from Rolling Stone. But as teams return to pre-season training camps next week, fifty to sixty NBA players have yet to receive a single vaccine dose, league sources tell RS. Most are considered merely reluctant skeptics. Some of the holdouts, however, amount to their own shadow roster of anti-vaxxers mounting a behind-the-scenes resistance to Covid protocols — and the truth.
Isaac considers un-vaxxed players to be vilified and bullied, and he thinks “it’s an injustice” to automatically make heroes out of vaccinated celebrities. He rejects the NBA’s proposal for a vaccine mandate and social distancing for players like him during team travel: “You can play on the same court. We can touch the same ball. We can bump chests. We can do all those things on the court. And then when it comes to being on the bus, we have to be in different parts of the bus? To me, it doesn’t seem logically consistent. “If you are vaccinated, in other places you still have to wear the mask regardless. It’s like, ‘OK, then what is the mask necessarily for?’” Isaac continues. “And if Kyrie says that from his position of his executive power in the NBPA, then kudos to him.”
Enes Kanter — the veteran center, devout Muslim and outspoken liberal — senses a creep of the religious right upon his workplace, which just happens to involve players like Isaac sweating all over him and yelling in his face: “If a guy’s not getting vaccinated because of his religion, I feel like we are in a time where the religion and science has to go to together,” he tells RS. “I’ve talked to a lot of religious guys — I’m like: ‘It saves people’s lives, so what is more important than that?’”
In their sit-down interview back in August, Durant and Green rehashed the incident and how it ultimately affected KD’s decision to leave the Warriors. Surprisingly, KD claimed it wasn’t the beef itself that pushed him away, but the way Steve Kerr, Bob Myers and the front office handled things. “It wasn’t the argument,” the former Warriors star said. “It was the way that everybody … Steve Kerr acted like it didn’t happen. Bob Myers tried to just discipline you and think that would put a mask over everything. I really felt that was such a big situation for us as a group, the first time we went through something like that. We had to get that s— all out.”