NBA rumors: Unvaccinated players to face restrictions next season

More on Coronavirus Vaccine

Tim Reynolds: The NBA has given teams a draft of the health and safety protocols for this season. As reported, unvaccinated players will be tested (almost) daily, vaccinated players will not be. Unvaxxed players will also be limited in how much they can be around vaxxed players in team areas.
Tim Reynolds: LeBron on vaccinations and the Lakers planning to get to 100% by the start of the season: "It was never a team discussion, but I think at the end of the day you're figuring out ways to always be available and protect one another."
Kyle Goon: Anthony Davis: "I think everybody on the team is vaccinated, if I'm not mistaken. We all have families. I did it for my family. ... I just wanted to make sure I'm always protecting my family, first and foremost."
Chase Hughes: Bradley Beal clarified today after yesterday’s comments that he does not believe “the vaccine is bad” and says he doesn’t want anyone to think he was advocating against others getting them.
In some instances, vaccinated staffers say they're concerned about the health risks of being exposed to unvaccinated players. In others, staffers say they're upset that players aren't facing the same vaccine requirements as most team staff and referees. In still others, there's animosity toward the league itself for not imposing such a mandate.
One vaccinated Western Conference strength and conditioning coach said they're concerned about a potential breakthrough case that could affect family members. "For me, it's a problem because my parents are very sick, and I'm in close contact with these guys and I would hate to bring this home and my parents pass away from it," the coach told ESPN.
Health and safety protocols for vaccinated and unvaccinated players have not yet been finalized, league sources said. But it's expected, as ESPN previously reported, that unvaccinated players will face more testing and be asked to sit in separate areas of team meetings, team meals, locker rooms, on the team plane and bus.
But a second league source also tied to training staffs noted that many peers "believe the league is prioritizing the athletes' lives over their own. On the opposite side, some members don't want to force anyone to vaccinate if they feel uncomfortable with it, but it should be a standard set across the board instead of the league one way and the players the other."
NBA insiders say they’re not aware of any games being missed because of a reaction to the vaccine. Beal, though, did miss time. His case of COVID cost him a spot in the Olympics and the chance to compete for a gold medal.
There’s still time. The Warriors’ regular-season home opener is three weeks from Thursday and it’ll take two weeks from a Johnson & Johnson shot (the one he’d be offered, per sources) to be fully vaccinated. So Oct. 7 is the consequential date. He is eligible to practice this week and appear in the first four preseason games, since the San Francisco rule doesn’t enact until Oct. 13.
Irving couldn’t participate in the on-site media day festivities, and league sources believe Irving will wind up taking the vaccine, citing influence from his close friend and teammate Kevin Durant. “That doesn’t mean that I’m putting any limits on the future of me being able to join the team,” Irving said later.
According to Rolling Stone, Isaac was “studying Black history and watching Donald Trump’s press conferences” to inform his vaccine stance. (Former President Donald J. Trump was vaccinated in January, but states that he won in the 2020 election have much lower vaccination rates than those that favored President Biden.) On Monday, Isaac disputed the magazine’s characterization of him. “I’m not anti-vax. I’m not anti-medicine. I’m not anti-science. I didn’t come to my current vaccination status by studying Black history or watching Donald Trump press conferences,” Isaac said. “I have nothing but the utmost respect for every health care worker and person in Orlando and all across the world that have worked tirelessly to keep us safe.”
Evan Barnes: Desmond Bane had no problem getting vaccinated against Covid-19 since he grew up getting vaccines for other viruses. “Whatever happens down the road, I’ll be fine knowing that I was one of those people that was at least trying to save the other people”
Dieter Kurtenbach: Nemanja Bjelica to Andrew Wiggins in the hallway: “Get the shot." Wiggins: Tough crowd in there, man.
Monte Poole: 'I know. And it's my problem, not yours.' Warriors F Andrew Wiggins, reminded that being unvaccinated could cost him millions in salary.
Ben Rohrbach: Bradley Beal on his bout with COVID-19, which cost him the Olympics: "I didn’t get sick at all. I lost my smell. That’s it.” Beal adds that no one will talk about adverse reactions to the vaccine and how it impacts player health. No NBA player has missed time due to the vaccine.
Chris Herrington: Ja Morant shares that he is vaccinated. (As did Desmond Bane earlier.) "I got vaccinated early. ... I have a baby girl. I travel a lot. I can't bring COVID back to her."
Duvalier Johnson: JaMychal Green on vaccination status:”Everybody is grown, it’s they own decision.” He went on to say he is fully vaccinated and he hopes that everyone jumps on board. pic.twitter.com/2yLEusYUQa
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie Irving joins Nets media day remotely. On if he expects to be compliant with vaccination to play: “I would love to keep that private and handle that the right way with my team. Obviously I’m not able to be present there today.” He adds he’s not putting limits for future. pic.twitter.com/00fYCtBcNR
Jeff Zillgitt: Reporter tries to get more info from Kyrie Irving on vaccine/possibly not being available for home games per New York City ordinance: "Please respect my privacy. Next question."
Ohm Youngmisuk: Kyrie Irving said he doesn't want to be a distraction to the Nets' pursuit of a title. "This is the last thing I wanted to create, more distractions."
Gina Mizell: Doc declines to share exactly how many Sixers players are vaccinated, but emphasizes "It's not a concern for us. We are very, very, very good."
Malika Andrews: Blake Griffin, who has done PSAs encouraging COVID-19 vaccines, tells ESPN he did his own research early on and felt comfortable getting vaccinated. He said it’s an individual decision, but added he believes it’s an integral part of moving forward. Science agrees.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: If individual athletes can’t muster the courage to do the right thing, then the NBA and every other league governing body must step in and mandate vaccinations for players, coaches, and staff in order to protect the team, the fans, and the community. Players are free to choose not to get vaccinated, but they should have the courage of their moral convictions to sit out the season, sustained in the righteousness of their choice. They’ve already proven they are not team players.
Adam Zagoria: James Harden on Kyrie not being here: "I’ll let you guys listen to what he has to say about that. Obviously Ky is a huge part of what we’re trying to do."
Ian Begley: Kyrie Irving will not be at Media Day in Brooklyn today, sources confirm. NYC mandate states that all Knicks/Nets need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 to practice/play home games in NYC. Nets training camp is in San Diego. Irving may talk to media via Zoom. ESPN first reported.
Ira Winderman: Just arrived to FTX Arena for Heat media day. Have been told privately that Heat "do not expect any issues" regarding vaccination status of players. Told it is covered and "taken care of." NBA has severe, strict protocols for players not vaccinated.
Kellan olson: Devin Booker on his Twitch stream (http://twitch.tv/dbook ) confirms he has COVID-19. Said it has been about a week and he'll be back in no time. He said he's straight right now and the worst part is no taste and smell. He did not want to say if he has been vaccinated or not.
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October 18, 2021 | 10:03 pm EDT Update