NBA rumors: Kevin Durant making his return after a week out

Shams Charania: Nets’ Kevin Durant is listed available to play today vs. OKC. Kyrie Irving is listed out due to personal reasons.

More on Coronavirus

TJ McBride: Source: all Nuggets players and staff members with the team returned negative COVID tests — both rapid and regular — this morning. So despite playing Dallas three days ago and Philadelphia last night, Denver’s roster is ready to go.
In these first three weeks of the season, the league is learning that the hard way. One team official asked before the season, half-jokingly, if it would wind up going on a road trip and leave players in one city after another as it went. So far, two teams -- the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks -- have had to leave players behind; and in another instance, staff from the LA Clippers had to drive back home from Salt Lake City. The Toronto Raptors, who are playing in Tampa, Florida, this season, reversed course on having fans in attendance at games this week due to spikes in the virus.
"I do think the reality is that we know this is rampant right now," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "And we're doing everything we can, as I've said before, to prevent it, and it's still going to find its way into the league, through travel parties; so we're all assuming some level of risk. "And I think we accept that and, at the same time, we trust that the people in charge have health and safety as the No. 1 priority; and if it becomes too much, that'll be somebody else's decision who's an expert at it."
The Nuggets will arrive at the Garden on Sunday having played their last two games against the 76ers — who played with eight active players Saturday because of health and safety protocols stemming from Seth Curry’s positive test — and the Mavericks, who have quarantined three players after one tested positive following Thursday’s game in Denver. “We just gotta do our part individually,” Knicks guard Austin Rivers said Saturday. “It’s tough, though. It is everywhere. Unfortunately in our country, people don’t wear masks all the time. You have ignorance displayed every day, which is causing this to be more delayed and more serious. … It’s frustrating to see people mess around with that stuff. We just control what we control and do our part. The Knicks have done a great job of keeping us in line with that stuff.”
Brad Townsend: Rick Carlisle says Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson are still in Denver. Burke is available tonight.
Brad Townsend: Rick Carlisle: "We’re all dealing with a vast set of circumstances, so we’ve got to remain calm and we’ve always got to have a plan for adversity. We’ve been expecting that this kind of thing was certainly a realistic possibility and now we’re dealing with it.”
Brad Townsend: Carlisle: "We've got to remain calm. We've been expecting this sort of thing." It is what it is, what the NBA is going through right now.
Mark Murphy: Per source: Jayson Tatum tested positive for Covid today, and is now awaiting the results of a confirmation test. He is asymptomatic.
Scott Agness: A limited number of fans will soon be allowed at Pacers home games, where a lot is different. - Pre-arrival screening/x-ray machines - Mandatory masks - Seating pods - Only cards accepted.
Kevin Durant is expected to play against the Thunder after missing three games due to the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocol. Durant came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 1 and the league requires players quarantine and register consecutive negative coronavirus tests for seven days from the day of the encounter.
Drew Hill: No positive test for JV, team sources say, which could mean it's a contact tracing issue. Wouldn't make sense for him to play if he tested positive, but the issues last night prove otherwise, I suppose.
Mirjam Swanson: Kerr on any COVID-related logistical issues the Warriors have faced: "Knock on wood, we have not had any issues since training camp, we are constantly reminding everyone on our team and our staff to continue to be smart."
Seth Curry, held out of Thursday’s game with an ankle injury, was removed from the Sixers’ bench and placed in isolation after being notified of the positive test during the first half, according to two people familiar with the circumstances who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details publicly.
Weiss added: “The testing strategy we have implemented of two daily P.C.R. tests creates a process that aims to identify an infected individual before they become infectious to others. Combined with our data that analyzes contact time and distance during on-court play, our experts believe that the game can safely proceed in these circumstances.”
Michael Singer: League source: If a player was positive and played in a game, it doesn't necessarily mean both teams' next games would be impacted. I.e., If a player was positive in last night's Nuggets-Mavs game, that doesn't automatically mean Denver's next game (@ PHI) would be affected.
Malika Andrews: Steve Nash said the Nets weren’t aware during Thursday’s game against Philadelphia of Seth Curry’s positive test. They found out later. Curry sat on the bench for the first quarter of the game before the positive test result returned.
Tim Bontemps: Scott Brooks, like Brad Stevens, said the Wizards are just trying to follow all of the rules are being given to them as far as how to handle COVID-19. The Wizards played the Sixers and Seth Curry Wednesday. Curry, who scored 28 points in that game, tested positive yesterday.
Tim Bontemps: Brad Stevens says he fully trusts the NBA in terms of how it is handling COVID-19. "The reality is we know this is rampant right now. We are doing everything we can to prevent it, and it's still going to find its way into the league and the travel parties."
Shams Charania: The two Mavericks players who were exposed to COVID-19 have tested negative and are expected to remain so, sources said. Dallas flew home today and faces Orlando at home on Saturday.
Tom Orsborn: Drew Eubanks remains out in accordance with NBA health and safety protocols, according to #Spurs injury report. Pop indicated yesterday that Eubanks and two other members of the travel party had been given COVID-19 tests. It's unclear if they remained in L.A. for quarantine.
Fred Katz: As of now, there are no indications that the Wizards/Celtics game will be impacted tonight. It remains scheduled as is, 7:30pm ET start time. Three Celtics are out and in health and safety protocol. The Wizards played the 76ers on Wednesday. Philly had positive test last night.
Jared Weiss: Celtics say Tristan Thompson, Rob Williams and Grant Williams are out due to COVID protocols for a game tonight against a Wizards team that just faced Seth Curry, who tested positive yesterday. This game should be postponed.
Adam Himmelsbach: According to a league source, Robert Williams was the lone Celtics player to test positive for COVID-19 and has been asymptomatic. Tristan Thompson and Grant Williams are out for contact tracing.
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.
Starting Thursday, the NBA will require players, coaches and staff members to wear Kinexon SafeZone contact tracing sensors amid the COVID-19 pandemic, league sources confirmed to The Arizona Republic. ESPN first reported the news last week after obtaining memos from the league. “There’s certain things you have to do to stay in the league,” Williams said. “You got to work hard. Study. Game film. This is one more thing that we have to do to keep our livelihood, business and what we love to do in place.”
Jovan Buha: Alex Caruso says he never tested positive for COVID-19, but rather was in the league’s health & safety protocols because of contact tracing with someone he had seen after Christmas.
Dave McMenamin: Spurs asst Becky Hammon, who recently made history against the Lakers - becoming the first woman to serve as head coach during a regular season NBA game - is not with the team tonight. Gregg Popovich said pregame that one player and two staff members were in the safety protocol
Adrian Wojnarowski: Sixers guard Seth Curry returned a positive test for the coronavirus, which the team learned of near the start of a loss in Brooklyn tonight, sources tell ESPN. He went to an isolation room immediately, and thereafter left arena separate from team.
Ramona Shelburne: Curry was wearing a mask while he was on the bench, in accordance with NBA health and safety protocols. He wasn’t playing in the game due to left ankle soreness.
Keith Pompey: Back at their hotel, the #Sixers will test tomorrow morning , according to league sources.
Ramona Shelburne: The Sixers will stay over in New York and do their daily testing tomorrow. It’s unclear how long they’ll have to stay over.
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August 5, 2021 | 10:25 am EDT Update
If Randle continues to play as well as he did this season, the Knicks will get him at a discount, even if he stays around to make $29.5 million in the last year of his deal, which is reportedly a player option. It also allows the Knicks to put more talent around him. They passed on retaining cap space for next summer with their deals this month and are already hovering around the expected cap number, according to Spotrac. They’ll also be able to offer RJ Barrett an extension after the 2021-22 season, which will kick in after the summer of 2023.
And what’s crazy is…. O.K., here’s the end of the story. So we’re in Detroit last season, on a road trip. And we fly in, I grab my bags, and like I said: it’s been my routine ever since that night in Dallas. Get off the plane, head to the gym. Get off the plane, head to the gym. Get off the plane, head to the gym. Like clockwork. Every city, though, it’s a new situation — there’s different places available. So what I’ll do is, I’ll have the team set up a spot in advance. And that way I can go straight there, however late it is, and get my workout in. On this particular trip, in Detroit, they had this little high school gym opened up for me. I love gyms like that — simple and old school. And I get to the building, and the guy who was there to let me in, I think he’s the athletic director of that school, we start talking a little bit. And he’s like, “It’s good to see you. Guys don’t really show up here to work out anymore. Matter of fact, the last guy to come in this late to shoot — man, that must have been years ago. It was Kobe.”
First thing I did was I started showing guys the value of watching tape, and the way to build all these good habits out of that. That was a lesson I learned from Isaiah Thomas, when IT and I were both with the Lakers. It was only about half a season together, but sometimes that’s all you need with a dude as knowledgeable as Isaiah. For real, that’s one of the best hoop minds I’ve ever been around. And probably the biggest lesson he taught me was how, watching tape, prepping for a new opponent’s tendencies each night, looking at the game under that microscope — it’s not bonus work. It’s not optional. It’s elemental. It’s part of any great player’s process.
Callie Caplan: Luka’s opening statement after Slovenia’s semifinal loss to France: “We might have surprised a lot of people … but we’re not giving up yet.” He’s got ice wrapped around his left wrist after crashing into the courtside plexiglass, but said it’s just precautionary.

Storyline: Olympic Games
Rodriguez and Lore may only hold a 20 percent stake in the team right now, but they are planning to hit the ground running. They will work with Casson and Tanke on any changes they want to implement right away, and Taylor will have the final say. Lore and Rodriguez are being counted on to bring a new energy and perspective to an organization that is trying to shock the system in the Twin Cities sports scene. “This was a big idea,” Ryan Tanke said. “To reinvent the organization, it had to be bold. I don’t know that you can find bolder or more transformational than Marc Lore and Alex Rodriguez and that became a really great jumping-off point for the rest of the week.”
Even if Lore and Rodriguez did want to move the team, they would be powerless to do so for at least another two years. They have invested their first $250 million and will have two more call options over the next two years to increase their holdings. Until then, Taylor is still calling the shots. But Rodriguez and Lore will have significant influence in the direction of the franchise even before they own a majority of the team, and they say that Minnesota is where they want to be. “I think it’s one of the most underrated cities in the country,” Rodriguez said. “The summers, the lakes, we were just there for the Super Bowl a few years ago. I’m really excited. If this was somewhere else, I don’t think Marc and I would’ve done the deal. We certainly wouldn’t have been as excited.”
But they have been whisper-quiet in free agency to this point, and it appears they will rely heavily on internal improvement to move up from 13th in the Western Conference this season into the playoff conversation. In some respects, that makes the additions of the two owners-in-waiting even more important. Glen and Becky are still fixtures courtside during games, but the pandemic protocols have led to less direct interaction with the franchises. Lore and Rodriguez figure to be plugged into the day-to-day operations to try to push the teams forward. “I need them to be ambitious because I’m not there every day to lead them,” Taylor said. “You want somebody that believes like you do that we can grow this company, we can do better, we’re not satisfied with what’s happening.”