NBA rumors: NBA makes changes to COVID-19 testing protocols

Adrian Wojnarowski: The NBA has adjusted its protocol for players who return inconclusive tests for the coronavirus, allowing for a quicker possible return to game action, according to a league memo shared with teams.

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Adrian Wojnarowski: NBA teams have been concerned that player availability could become jeopardized should an inconclusive test result fall in the middle of a playoff series and force someone to miss a game. In certain cases, this protocol change could shorten that quarantine window for players.
Marc J. Spears: NBA sent a reminder memo out to teams today to cover the point of emphasis related to face masks/coverings in connection with the Health and Safety Protocols for the 2019-2020 restart and the Disney rules, a source said. "Behavioral & hygiene practices" of everyone is "critical."
In a FaceTime call with his grandmother in Bosnia last Friday, Nurkic said he learned that she had contracted COVID-19. Nurkic said he urged her to go to the hospital. Hana, who is 67, resisted. “I said if she don’t go, I come,” Nurkic said. “And I think that kind of made her mind to go to the hospital. Hopefully, it’s not too late.” He said the last he has heard, Hana was in the hospital but has slipped into a coma. “Right now, I’m praying for her to survive,” Nurkic said.
He went on a lengthy plea urging the importance of wearing masks. “I think people don’t realize that shit is real out there, man,” Nurkic said. “We’ve been fortunate to be here and in a safe environment, being tested every day, but please … take care of yourself. Wear your damn mask … if you are outside, by yourself, do what you got to do. But if you are inside … protect people.”
Joe Freeman: Jusuf Nurkic opens his postgame zoom interview by saying the last 12-13 days have been the "hardest days of my life" and urges people to take coronavirus seriously. Why? He said his grandma, Hannah, has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and is in a coma.
As NBA players are preparing to restart a season shut down by coronavirus, Sacramento Kings forward Harrison Barnes had a powerful message for Americans after his own experience with the virus. "Everyone thinks that it will happen to somebody else or, 'If i get it, hopefully I'll be asymptomatic,' but we had three people in my house who all contracted it and each of us had a different experience," he told CNN Wednesday night. "So I would definitely encourage people to be safe."
Barnes announced earlier this month he had tested positive for the virus. His mother and wife also had the virus, and his wife had the most severe symptoms out of all three, he told CNN. "Just seeing her go through that process was scary," he said. "It definitely put things in perspective and now that we've been through it, I encourage everybody else to take Covid very seriously." Barnes says he's symptom-free and he hasn't felt any lingering health effects from the virus and has been feeling "great" since he began working out again ahead of the season. "Thankfully, I've been able to put it behind me," he said.
After a new agreement between the National Basketball Players Association and NBA, players will receive a $2.5 million insurance benefit in the event of suffering a career-ending injury, sources told ESPN. The NBPA had been pushing for a raise in the permanent disability policy that previously paid out approximately $312,000 in these cases. The insurance covers career-ending injuries sustained on and off the court, including complications rising out of Covid-19, sources said. The payment would be in addition to money owed on contracts and include all active players up to 35 years old, sources said.
“It was hard for me to see so many people question my character based on one video,” Gobert said. “That was a big learning experience. I know who I am. People around me know who I am. Everyone is going to have a different perception and opinion of you. If I start putting my energy into that, I’m going to be living a very painful life.”
The mental challenges and fear were as bad as the physical effects, Gobert recalled, and concerns about “my life and my family” trumped thoughts about his career. His mother, Corrine, was stuck in France, alone, at a time when international travel was inadvisable or impossible. “The toughest part was that I was away from my mom,” Gobert said reluctantly, noting that mother and son are in the midst of the longest separation of his life. “I didn’t want her to come over, because I didn’t know if I was still contagious or not. I still haven’t seen my mom since everything happened. It’s something I don’t really like to talk about, but she’s supported me a lot since I was very young. Just knowing how worried she was and knowing she wasn’t able to be with me, it was pretty tough mentally.”
As professional sports return to action with strict testing protocols made possible by abundant supplies and quick turnaround times, many have questioned whether it’s ethical for leagues to be afforded better access than much of the American public. Seemingly in response, the NBA – through its NBA Together campaign – will provide free tests in Orlando, Fla., where its bubble season is based.
Michael Porter Jr. was reprimanded by Snapchat for his comments about a coronavirus “agenda”. The Denver Nuggets forward answered fan questions on his Snapchat account Tuesday and shared his thoughts on the coronavirus and the government’s reaction to it. Porter said he believed the virus was being used as an opportunity to control people. Porter Jr. also shared that he never had been vaccinated. Not only did a Nuggets executive say he was going to talk with Porter Jr. about the comments, but Snapchat took action. Porter Jr. shared a photo on his Snapchat account showing that one of his postings had been reported. He was subsequently placed in “time out” for a violation of the social media service’s community guidelines.
"It's not an exact science, because nobody's ever done this before," Silver told Good Morning America on ABC. "We have plans in place where we might pause — similar to what baseball's doing now. Probably if we had any significant spread at all, we'd immediately stop and what we'd try to do is to track and determine where they're coming from and whether there had been a spread on campus. I would say, ultimately, we would cease completely if we saw that this was spreading around the campus and something more than an isolated case was happening."
"The word 'anxious' would describe how I feel. We've been working at this for a long time, but there is a high case rate in Florida, down in Orange County where Orlando is," Silver said. "We're seeing what's happening in baseball with the Marlins, so it's something we're continuing to track very closely. Having said that, we have confidence in this protocol that we designed. It's not actually a sealed 'bubble', but everyone that's on that campus is tested on a daily basis. They're taking extraordinary precautions. The only time they're not wearing masks is when they're actually playing basketball. It's to the extent that when somebody tests positive, we'll obviously track them closely. We quarantine people when they first come down. So, we think we have a plan in place that should work."

http://twitter.com/davidaldridgedc/status/1288566781150363648
Michael Singer: Michael Malone said Tim Connelly has talked to Michael Porter Jr. about his comments. Said tean’s not “going to put a muzzle on anybody,” and that he’s going to focus on educating his players.
He was asked to “speak on this coronavirus thing being over blown to scare people into being controlled.” His response: “No, that’s facts. I think... personally I think that the coronavirus is being used obviously for a bigger agenda, and it’s being used for population control in terms of just being able to control the masses of people. I mean, because of the virus the whole world is being controlled. I mean you’re required to wear masks, and who knows what’ll happen when this vaccine comes out. You might have to have the vaccine in order to travel. “Like, that’d be crazy. I’ve never been vaccinated in my life, I’ve never had any shots or anything like that so... it could get crazy, but it’s definitely an agenda behind everything that’s going on right now. All you can do is sit back, and watch what’s going on. Don’t get too emotionally involved, but yeah. I mean it is a serious thing. It’s a real, it’s a real thing, but yes it’s being overblown.”
Erik Horne: Thunder coach Billy Donovan says Abdel Nader passed the concussion protocol and is available tonight vs. Blazers. Terrance Ferguson (leg contusion), Chris Paul (rest) and Nerlens Noel (missed COVID test) will not play.
Brandon Rahbar: Donovan: “Nerlens is extremely remorseful” about missing the COVID test. Billy says that even he has almost forgot to take his tests before and that it’s easy to slip your mind.
Sacramento’s starting small forward tested positive for the coronavirus over the Fourth of July weekend and struggled to clear the NBA’s protocol, but he never had symptoms. That was not the case for his wife Brittany or his mother Shirley, who were both with him in Sacramento. “In my household, my wife and my mom both tested positive for COVID,” Barnes said following the Kings’ 106-102 win over the Clippers. “My wife was sick, really sick for about a week, my mom was sick for a couple of days. In our household, we were able to see the different ranges of how COVID can hurt your system, how serious it is, and how important it is to wear a mask.”
Barry Jackson: Spoelstra said what's happening with Marlins is "humbling" in terms of what COVID-19 can do. "We are not in control. We feel very comfortable about the plan and depth of planning and thought" with NBA's approach.
Ohm Youngmisuk: Ivica Zubac says he had COVID-19, tested positive the week before the 4th of July and now is getting his wind back.
Jason Anderson: Kings forward Harrison Barnes said his wife and mother also contracted COVID-19. Both developed symptoms. Sounds like his wife's were pretty serious for about a week.
What has puzzled players, coaches, executives and doctors is the coronavirus, the faceless opponent that brought the league to Orlando, Fla., in the first place. For all of the safety rules enacted to pull off a restart they hope will remain viable into October, there are ample concerns, and few answers, about whether contracting COVID-19 could lead to health problems for players well after they depart the Disney World campus. Philadelphia big man Al Horford called it something “I personally worry [about] and not only career-wise, but just the rest of your life.” “Yeah, that’s discussed,” Clippers star Kawhi Leonard said. “If you do get it, will it affect you to be able to play again? Everyone knows it hits everybody’s body different. But I don’t know. I’m not a doctor. I can’t really say what’s going to happen to players.”
Cooper understood such fear of a stigma from his experience working with asthmatic athletes. But, he said, “there are plenty of examples of athletes with asthma who perform at the highest level, and I think there will be plenty of examples of people who have had COVID-19 whose physical performances are just not affected at all.” Since testing positive last month, Denver star Nikola Jokic has fallen into that latter category. While recovering in his native Serbia, Jokic was “feeling good and feeling normal,” he told reporters this month. Jokic was in the starting lineup when the Nuggets scrimmaged for the first time Wednesday. Jokic acknowledged some concern over what the virus could mean for his future. But because he could not control it, he said he‘s “not really worried.” “Hopefully nothing will happen,” he said.
The two NBA head coaches might be best known for their innovative offenses and laid-back personalities. But now, Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, 69, and New Orleans Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry, 65, are also known as the first NBA coaches to wear masks while coaching a game, out of safety concerns due to the coronavirus pandemic. “It’s important to Houston and a lot of the country. Right now, they should be masked up,” D’Antoni said following the Rockets’ scrimmage against the Toronto Raptors on Friday. “We do it for Houston. We do it for you. I do it for my players. I do it for my coaches. I just feel like it’s the thing to do right now with where we are as a country.”
Health officials have attributed a person’s refusal to wear a mask as a significant reason for the country’s increasing infection and death rate. “It’s a statement saying we think it’s important enough even down here to have on a mask,” Gentry said after the Pelicans’ scrimmage against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday. “We’d like to send a message out to everybody that if we’re going to get this thing under control, I do think that this makes a big difference.”
Ira Winderman: Nunn confirms he and Adebayo both had COVID-19, said they spoke about since they were dealing with same thing.
Ira Winderman: Kendrick Nunn on having been ill and sidelined, "My health comes first. I had mild symptoms. It wasn't as bad. It felt like a common cold. I'm just glad I got over it."
Ira Winderman: Spoelstra said Adebayo and Nunn both worked today. "It was great to have everybody out there in practice," Spoelstra said. Spoelstra said he is "open to it" with Adebayo and Nunn playing tomorrow vs. Jazz.
The Chinese basketball league is set to allow limited numbers of spectators into games this Sunday before being fully open to fans from July 31 for playoff games in Qingdao. The Chinese Basketball Association released a statement saying that medical professionals, teachers, and police and public security officers will be eligible in the first intake of fans since the league resumed last month following a lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bleacher Report’s Taylor Rooks had her own brush with panic shortly after arriving in the bubble on June 12, when her first test returned positive. “My phone rang on Monday, and it was a Florida number,” she told me in a less ominous phone call last week. Rooks knew what was coming. “I said, ‘I assume this is a bad call,’” she said. Rooks was “shocked,” saying she had tested negative just before flying down to Orlando.
As she absorbed the news, Rooks sought guidance from a trio of NBA players who had previously tested positive for the coronavirus: Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz, whose positive test in March triggered the league’s suspension of play; his teammate Donovan Mitchell; and the Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie, who opted not to join his team in the bubble after testing positive earlier this month. “They were super helpful, and I’m also thankful to them for not telling anybody,” Rooks laughed. Ultimately, Rooks could breathe a sigh of relief: The initial result was deemed a false positive after subsequent retests came back negative.
Shams Charania: Phoenix Suns center Aron Baynes (@AronBaynes) tells me on @Stadium that he tested positive for coronavirus and opens up about how virus has impacted life for over a month for him, his wife and kids:

https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1286024479991386113
Gina Mizell: Baynes says he is hopeful that he can join the #Suns at some point during the restart, but has not recorded the two negative tests the NBA requires to travel to Orlando.
Michael Singer: #Nuggets president Tim Connelly told @jimrome that he found out about Nikola Jokic’s positive COVID test when Jokic FaceTimed him at 6 A.M. from Serbia. Connelly said Jokic was more apologetic than anything and felt badly he wouldn’t be back in Denver in time.
Jokic, who’s been in the Orlando “bubble” for more than a week after he tested positive while in Serbia, said the NBA’s doctors can’t predict how the virus might impact him during a physically taxing postseason. “I cannot control that so I don’t want to think about it,” Jokic said. “We have doctors that are supposed to do their job, and they are doing their job at a really high level. We are getting tested every day. Whenever, whatever we need, the NBA team can provide us. I’m not really worried about that. … Hopefully nothing will happen.”
“They’ve done everything right as far as I’m concerned,” Rivers said of the NBA incorporating constant symptom checks and mandating masks at the resort. “When you think about that we’re running a village for the first time, the league is doing pretty well. ... But as far as our health, we have an app every morning that we have to do, wearing bands, facemasks.”
Pat Connaughton: Thanks for the thoughts & prayers. Feeling great and looking forward to being back with the squad soon... luckily I always have a basketball in my apartment - sorry to the people living below me 🤷🏼‍♂️🏀😷 #FearTheDeer 🦌

http://twitter.com/GwashburnGlobe/status/1285316428393000963
Johnny Davis, the former NBA guard who took over in February as the NBRPA chairman, broke down some of the statistics as they relate to their membership and COVID-19. “We have over 1,000 members, and the average age of our members is 55-plus,” Davis said. “Approximately 200 of those members are over the age of 70. And there’s a high percentage of African-Americans in that group, the demographic that has been identified as being most vulnerable. Sometimes that’s due to underlying conditions, sometimes to proximity to [exposure].”
The “Legends” association, as it’s known, tried to be pro-active from the start of the league’s shutdown, reminding members to take all possible precautions. Each received an “NBA Legends” mask. “Most of the players have been in touch with us,” Scott Rochelle, president and CEO of the National Basketball Retired Players Association, said. “We’ve tried to keep in contact with people. And those who have been financially impacted, we’ve been supporting them through our financial grant program. “So there’s been a lot of work on the community side to make sure everyone is informed and knows where to come when they need help.”
Spencer Haywood, formerly the NBRPA chairman, acknowledged that it’s hard to know how many former players have been affected. “I don’t know if we’re getting accurate reporting,” said Haywood, another Hall of Famer. “Because people who have it might not know, and others who know might not want to talk about it. “Right now, it’s in Florida. It’s Houston very strongly and that’s one of our largest communities of past players. I’ve been calling people, telling ‘em certain things to do and take some precautions. We have a list – I don’t go through the whole list, but I just talk to some of the guys who I know.” Living in Las Vegas, Haywood – the subject of a book, “The Spencer Haywood Rule” to be released in October – works the phone randomly to keep NBRPA members feeling connected. For example, he spoke Tuesday with Hall of Famer Earl Monroe, who has had some health challenges, and reported that Monroe was “hanging in there.”
Fred Katz: Scott Brooks says he can’t get into the specifics of who Jarrod Utoff is substituting for. Teams aren’t allowed to say publicly when a player has COVID.
The NBA's tentative plan at this point is for the 2020-21 season to begin at some point in December. So does this mean the Warriors will be playing games at Chase Center with fans in the building? "We're putting every foot forward to make sure we can have fans and it can be safe," Golden State general manager Bob Myers said Friday morning on 95.7 The Game's "Joe, Lo & Dibs" show. "We're probably in a great market with all the technology we have and all the medical affiliates in the city. It's a lot of conversation but it's hard to make any conclusions right now. It's hard to say 'definitely' to anything, but that's the stuff we're kicking around."
Josh Robbins: Markelle Fultz has passed the NBA’s quarantine protocol following his entrance earlier this week into the bubble, a league source told @The Athletic. Fultz is scheduled to practice with his teammates this afternoon.
Melissa Rohlin: Vogel: "If we’re not going to follow the little sacrifices day-to-day, it really negates the big sacrifices that we’re making. The social distancing, the trying to wear a mask every situation that you should be wearing a mask, all of these things contribute."
Mark Medina: The second thing is the concern with the testing (of Disney employees). Adam Silver has come around and said that he's talking with Disney to try to change that. Because the reality is I was told that Disney just frankly didn't want to pay for it. But they were rationalizing it beyond the fact that they had cost money.

http://twitter.com/ChrisBHaynes/status/1283920789230755841
J. Michael Falgoust: Brogdon on practicing with a mask (he had COVID-19): "I intend doing it until we're playing games. It's something I'm doing for conditioning. (and) just wearing to be cautious and to make guys comfortable." #Pacers
Leandro Barbosa has had other important things on his mind the past several months. Brazil is approaching the two million mark of COVID-19 cases, the second biggest number in the world behind the United States and both he and his wife, Rocca, tested positive for the virus on March 21. Rocca was expecting the couple's first child and was supposed to give birth a week later, but doctors decided to induce labor the following day. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl, Isabela. "I watched from FaceTime because I was in quarantine," Barbosa said. "After she delivered the baby, she couldn't be with the baby for 24 hours. It was kind of complicated. It's hard when you're a dad and you can't be there."
Thankfully Barbosa, Rocca, Isabela and his other two other daughters aged 11 and seven are healthy and do not have the virus. "I recovered a couple of months ago," he said. "Only one night was really, really bad. I thought something worse could happen to me because I didn't have the power to fight with that virus. I'm happy that my driver was at the house, so he was able to talk to the doctors and to go to the pharmacy to get some medicine for me."
Anthony Chiang: Erik Spoelstra on rising coronavirus numbers in South Florida: "There is concern." Spoelstra adds, while wearing a mask during his Zoom session with the media: "Wearing a mask without politicizing it just makes all the sense in the world."
BioReference told CNBC its results are now being returned in 72 hours or less. But, the delay raised new questions about whether players were being prioritized over the community. When asked if the NBA’s results are being prioritized, a BioReference spokesperson said under contractual terms they are not able to comment further. “Our commitment is if a patient is in the hospital, if they’re in the intensive care if they’re a healthcare worker, if they’re a front-line worker, those people go to the front of the line, we’ve always done that since March 13th when we started our COVID testing, and we continue to do that today,” Dr. Jon Cohen, Executive Chairman of BioReference, told CNBC’s Power Lunch.
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November 23, 2020 | 10:32 am EST Update
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Lakers, Clippers eyeing Markieff Morris

Marc Stein: Both the Lakers and the Clippers are trying to sign Markieff Morris, league sources say. The free-agent Battle of LA has been a constant in this transactional frenzy. It’s clearly not over after Toronto signed Aron Baynes to replace Marc Gasol and fell as a viable Morris option
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Pelinka chose a younger and more dependable scorer (Schroder) over an inconsistent shooter (Green) and an unpredictable No. 28 pick. He did not fret over losing Dwight Howard since his hopes for a larger role contradicted the team’s plans to use him only when the matchups called for it. Nor did Pelinka fret over losing a wing defender (Avery Bradley) since the Lakers won an NBA title just fine without him, partly because of Caldwell-Pope’s presence. The Lakers still still need to address their backcourt with Rajon Rondo’s departure. But they added another trusted veteran in Gasol. And they would not have landed him if not for Pelinka’s prudence with avoiding to match Rondo’s market value and with performing a sign-and-trade to Cleveland.
In celebration of the launch of the 2020-21 San Antonio Spurs City Edition jerseys, the team has collaborated with Ebbets Field Flannels to create a limited-edition apparel collection featuring caps, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets and flannel jerseys from the popular lifestyle brand. The full collection will be available exclusively at the Spurs Fan Shop at La Cantera beginning today at 11 a.m. The eight-piece clothing collection was inspired by the Spurs long history, and produced in honor of this year’s Nike City Edition uniform. Each piece was made in the US and features hand-sewn embellishments and 100 percent authentic, historical fabrics. All jerseys, ballcaps, jackets and sweaters are cut, sewn, or knit, from original fabrics and yarns.
November 23, 2020 | 8:31 am EST Update
In an unprecedented meeting, a delegation of five NBA players and several officials from the National Basketball Players Association are at the Vatican on Monday morning for a private audience with Pope Francis to discuss their work on social justice issues. An intermediary for Pope Francis reached out to the players’ association last week indicating the Pope wanted to learn more about how players had recently brought attention to pressing social justice issues and economic inequality — and what they planned for the future, union officials told ESPN. The union agreed and quickly scheduled an overnight flight Sunday to make their private meeting with the pope, which began at 11:45 a.m. local time Monday morning at the Vatican. With training camp set to open on Dec. 1, players and union officials had to squeeze the trip in now.
Storyline: Pope Meeting
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