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:
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.
Gina Mizell: Devin Booker on NBA’s announcement that no players have tested positive for COVID since July 13: “It’s a great step. We’re under a very tight bubble, like they say, so I would be very surprised if anybody does get it. But anything can happen. I’m happy I’m in a safe place.” #Suns
Alex Schiffer: Justin Anderson said he never had symptoms of the coronavirus, despite the positive tests. Said it was a weird and unfortunate situation.
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.”
With zero positive test results in the NBA bubble this week, Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers believes the league could share its approach to COVID-19 prevention with a larger audience. “Maybe we should send our game plan to the White House,” Rivers said Tuesday.
“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 🦌
While sports may be an escape for Americans, their return could provide applicable lessons for the general public, Cuban said. “If people in the real world outside of the NBA follow the masking protocols the same way that NBA players are, we’d already be dealing with this virus and be way ahead of where we are now,” he said.
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.”
Malika Andrews: Mike Budenholzer says that he believes Eric Bledsoe —who has not traveled to Orlando after being diagnosed with COVID— will be available for the Bucks restart opener on July 31 against Boston. He added this caveat: “with the virus you’re never sure” on a timeline.
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."
Myers touched on safety measures during his 95.7 conversation. "A lot of our focus has been on testing safely -- making sure our players are safe, making sure fans are safe, making sure our arena is safe," the two-time NBA Executive of the Year said. "Luckily we've got a brand new arena, which is up to all the latest standards. So we have some advantages, but it's a daunting deal."
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."
If Harden’s absence was in any way related to the coronavirus, sportsbooks will likely never get the confirmation they seek -- unless Harden OK’s it. According to league sources, information related to COVID-19 will not be released publicly without the player’s expressed approval as part of an agreement between the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association.
J. Michael: 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
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.
Eric Bledsoe has tested positive for COVID-19. The Milwaukee Bucks guard told Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes that he hopes to join his teammates soon in the NBA bubble at Disney World. “He’s not feeling any symptoms and he really feels good,” Haynes reported. “He’s hoping to get here as soon as possible.”
Chris Haynes: My report on the bubble absence of Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe who told me he tested positive for Covid-19, but is symptom-free. @NBAonTNT
Malika Andrews: Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe, who is not in Orlando with the Bucks, tells ESPN: “I tested positive for COVID-19. I am asymptomatic and feeling fine. Once I meet the NBA protocols, I look forward to joining my teammates in Orlando.”
Anyone that goes will have to first report a negative test for the coronavirus that was taken no more than 72 hours before entering, and using a test approved by the league, and can only go to the arenas and back to their off-campus hotel.
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
J. Michael Falgoust: Brogdon says he hasn't talked with McMillan about how he'll be eased back. He didn't just have COVID-19 but had a thigh/hip muscle injury that had him on the bench before the league stopped play. Suspects he'll be eased back. Expect restrictions. Not playing 30-35 min #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."
Ira Winderman: Erik Spoelstra said, "There was a period of time during the quarantine where we just shut everything down." He said family safety and health was priority, and that team then began to re-start that process as resumption appeared more probable.
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."
Jason Anderson: Sacramento Kings coach Luke Walton says Alex Len has cleared COVID-19 protocols and will travel to Orlando tonight.
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.
“We’ve actually increased the amount of resources we are providing to the state of Florida,” he added. The company’s 72-hour-or-less turnaround time outside the NBA bubble had increased because BioReference had to divert resources to testing critical nursing home patients, Cohen said.
Taylor Rooks: For 24 hours, I thought I had COVID-19. I was told that I was positive for coronavirus. It was an incredibly scary day. I’m okay, it was a false positive. I explain more here. Thankful to the NBA for taking the necessary steps here in Orlando.
Marc Stein: A knock on the heavy brown door of my first-floor hotel room at Walt Disney World finally came Sunday night just before 10 p.m. This was the all-business knock I was waiting for. Three technicians from BioReference Laboratories wearing white coats and face shields, and accompanied by an N.B.A. representative, had arrived to administer my first-ever coronavirus test.
Marc Stein: According to the rules in the N.B.A.’s corner of Disney World, no one is allowed inside the 314-square-foot room I am restricted to through Sunday. So I slid a chair up to the doorway to receive a swab of each nostril and my throat. The sticks were snapped and placed in a tube, then stored in a crate to take back to the lab. The swabs, roughly five hours after I checked in, took less than a minute.
Closer to 20 journalists, compared to the anticipated 10, have been approved to enter, a reflection of the considerable curiosity surrounding 22 teams living and playing at a single site without fans. That includes journalists from The Associated Press, The Athletic, The Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, The Los Angeles Times, Southern California News Group, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, The Washington Post and The New York Times. A like number of journalists from the league’s official media partners, ESPN and Turner, is also expected, including one reporter from each who was allowed to arrive early to complete their quarantines before teams started arriving on July 7: Malika Andrews (ESPN) and Chris Haynes (Turner/Yahoo).
Tania Ganguli: Fourth COVID test administered just now. Will have three more after this. These nice people are my closest human contact this week, which is why they have so much protective gear on.
Amid concerns among teams over the potential for false positives impacting players returning from COVID-19, the NBA on Wednesday updated its protocols to add an antibody test for players and staff who have recovered from the virus, according to a memo obtained by ESPN. Because people who have recovered from COVID-19 can still have dead virus cells in their system be detected by tests, the league has now included the antibody test as part of its protocol for players and staff returning from the virus, according to the memo, obtained by ESPN.
As the league has resumed play inside the league's bubble at Walt Disney World Resort, teams have worried about the potential for prominent players to have false positive tests -- particularly during the postseason, sources told ESPN. On a recent call with the league's general managers, the question of what would happen if a false positive test takes place on a game day was raised to the league, sources said. At least one player who contracted COVID-19, recovered and was subsequently cleared to travel to Orlando had registered several negative tests in Orlando and cleared quarantine upon arrival but later tested positive, sources said.
Shams Charania: Nets forward Michael Beasley tested positive for coronavirus, returned home and his roster status is up in the air, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
Michael C. Wright: Mike D'Antoni on Russell Westbrook's revelation today: "He said what he said, and that’s what we’re dealing with. A lot of teams are dealing with it, but we’re getting through it as a team."
Shams Charania: Sources: Two NBA players have tested positive out of the 322 tested on NBA campus on July 7.
Chris Haynes: Of the 322 players tested for Covid-19 since arriving on July 7, two players tested positive, the league announces. pic.twitter.com/MMatWQUbkd
Lowry is certainly going to give it. In all matters. As a member of the players’ association competition committee, he worked with the league in setting up every facet of life for the 22 teams that are now gathered near Orlando for the resumption of the suspended season later this month. He was involved in developing testing protocols, scheduling, what is allowed and what’s not, and has made it clear to his teammates how important that is. He is the franchise’s conduit to a healthy existence.
“It was interesting to come up with some of the concepts and to talk that over, and understand (not just) what we’re trying to do but how we’re trying to do it, and make sure that it’s done the right way for all the players, coaches, and it’s (as safe as) we possibly can do it,” Lowry said in his first group interview since the league suspended the season in March.
“I think that we’ve done a good job so far with the safety aspects, the health aspects. I think there’s definitely going to be some adjustments that need to be made, but that’s the one thing about our league and our professionals, is that we make adjustments on the fly and we’re able to.”
One month ago, sports' use of those COVID-19 tests — and the lab capacity needed to process them — was thought to be incidental. But now, the United States is seeing more than 50,000 new cases of COVID-19 a day. Major commercial labs are struggling to keep up with the high demand, causing delays in turnaround times. And experts wonder if the return of sports could burden an increasingly-fragile testing infrastructure. "That's been a big concern for me, as I’ve been seeing different leagues and their plans for reopening," said Celine Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at New York University and Bellevue Hospital.
BioReference Laboratories, which has partnered with MLS and NBA to process tests for their bubble sites in Florida, said in a statement Friday that it is processing tests within 72 hours with an estimated capacity of 70,000 tests per day. "We have enough capacity right now to test the people we’ve made our commitments to," Jon Cohen, the company's executive chairman, told USA TODAY Sports on Friday. "If you have a relationship with BioReference, and we have made a commitment to you, we’re going to deliver on that commitment."
The NBA is also supporting testing research through partnerships with the Yale School of Public Health and the Mayo Clinic, among others. MLB said it is offering free COVID-19 tests and antibody tests to health care workers and first responders in its home cities. And BioReference said in a news release it is working with MLS to provide antibody tests for the public in Orlando. Despite those good-faith efforts, sports risk losing the battle of perception as long as athletes are receiving multiple tests in a virtual bubble, while citizens in hard-hit areas wait in their cars or long lines for hours, often in vain, for the same test. "I think sports in general will be an easy target to say, why are we doing this?" said Roberts. "But you could say that about a hundred things. You don’t need your nails done. You don’t need your tacos. But those are obviously part of the economy."
Binney, the incoming professor at Emory, said leagues must ultimately ask themselves a simple question: Are they doing more harm or good by returning? The answer, of course, is complicated. And changing all the time. "I think that pro sports, with the right setup and the right logistics, can come back still without having a negative effect on the community around them," Binney said. "But it’s getting harder."
Tania Ganguli: To clarify on the Lakers' testing situation, Dwight Howard needs an extra test because he did not travel with the team so that's why he was not available today. Danny Green's test had an error and there should be more clarity on his situation later tonight.
James Ham: Two of the Kings players who tested positive early on have had two consecutive clean tests and are heading to Orlando. Walton would not confirm who those players are.
Tim Reynolds: Gregg Popovich - the coach of the USA Basketball men’s team - says he’s been checking the coronavirus response in Japan, and is optimistic when it comes to the hope for an Olympics in Tokyo next summer. Filling a roster around the NBA schedule, he concedes “will be trickier.”
Jason Anderson: Kings coach Luke Walton says four members of the team's 35-person travel party did not accompany team to Orlando and have not cleared NBA protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. He would not say who, but Buddy Hield, Alex Len and Jabari Parker all confirmed positive tests.
Oleh Kosel: Alvin Gentry on whether all the Pelicans who traveled to Orlando tested negative: "Everyone's here. I don't really know the details of everything, but I know all of our guys are here and they're ready to go."
As NBA teams get situated in the Orlando bubble, one question that has persisted since the start of the coronavirus pandemic is not only what happens if a player tests positive for the virus but also what lingering effects might follow. "There are unknown effects it has on lung capacity, unknown effects it has on cardiac health," said one NBA general manager of a team entering the bubble, speaking on the condition of anonymity. "What if a 24-year-old catches it in Orlando and, in 14 days, he quarantines and is fine, but then he has these everlasting heart problems? [Or he] gets winded so easily, or he becomes a little bit too susceptible to fatigue. ...These are all the unknowns."
Each case will be handled based on its own needs, but John DiFiori, the NBA's Director of Sports Medicine, told ESPN that the timeline for any player to return from a confirmed positive case is at least two weeks. "Everyone needs to understand that if someone were to test positive, it's quite likely that they won't return to the court for a minimum of two weeks -- minimum," said DiFiori, who is also the Chief of Primary Sports Medicine and attending physician at New York City's Hospital for Special Surgery. "It may be even a little longer than that, depending on the individual circumstances, and then you need some time to get reconditioned.”
June 24, 2021 | 1:41 am EDT Update
Atlanta defeated Milwaukee 116-113 on Wednesday in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference finals. Clint Capela’s putback after a Trae Young miss gave the Hawks a 112-111 lead with 29.8 seconds left in the game. Young’s four free throws in the final 17.3 second secured the victory. Atlanta erased a seven-point deficit in the final four minutes. As they proved against Philadelphia in the conference semifinals, the Hawks just keep playing regardless of score. “Well, again, we’ve been in this position many times,” Hawks interim coach Nate McMillan said. “Seven-point game is really a three-possession game. We felt that we know what we need to do. We need to get stops and we need to execute and score. They did another solid job of executing down the stretch, again, finding that matchup.
Young was 17-for-34 from the field even though he was just 4-of-13 on 3-pointers. “What I respect about Trae, he’s going to always stay aggressive,” McMillan said. “He continued to stay aggressive and take his shots, and tonight those shots were falling for him. I thought he did a good job of, again, reading the defense and getting the ball and putting the ball in the hands of guys who had their matchups.”
CBS Sports: Players 22 years old or younger to score 40+ points in a Conference Finals game: – LeBron James – Kobe Bryant – Kevin Durant – Amar’e Stoudemire – Trae Young. Good company to keep for the Atlanta Hawks superstar.
StatMuse: Most points in a Conference Finals game: 54 — Michael Jordan 50 — Dirk Nowitzki 49 — LeBron James 48 — LeBron James 48 — Dirk Nowitzki 48 — Trae Young Trae joins LeBron as the only 22-year-old on this list. pic.twitter.com/6MLQ2YEyyq
Tim Reynolds: 30 or more shots, in an East finals game, last 25 seasons: – Trae Young, 2021 – LeBron James, 2018 – LeBron James, 2015 – LeBron James, 2009 – LeBron James, 2007 – Antoine Walker, 2002 – Allen Iverson (four times), 2001 – Michael Jordan (three times), 1997
ESPN Stats & Info: Trae Young has his 3rd half this postseason with 25 points. That’s the most by any Hawks player over the last 25 postseason. The only other Hawks player to have 25 in a half of a postseason game over the last 25 seasons is Paul Millsap
He had 37 points through the first three quarters but it was one of his assists that really had fans in awe. OK, a number of his plays in this game have been jaw-dropping, but this one pass to Collins was just ridiculous. Young dove to the hoop and at first appeared to take a shot but it quickly became clear that it was actually a lob off the glass to John Collins, who threw down a powerful dunk.
Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo was visibly frustrated with his teammates after the Bucks’ defense basically got embarrassed by Trae Young and his antics. The former DPOY had to wake his team up in a dead ball situation, suggesting his team should do a better job in closing out the Hawks’ shooters – especially the red-hot Young.