Report: NBA playoff team had four positive coronavirus tests in last few weeks
NBA players are not exempt.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
As coronavirus testing for players heading to Orlando starts today, teams are bracing for significant numbers of positive tests. One Western Conference playoff team had four positives in past few weeks, per sources. Full training camps start on July 11 at Disney.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2020
It's a bigger concern for non-guaranteed playoff teams to lose players to extended quarantine before Orlando. Playoff teams worried less about needing key players for seeding games in August have more time to get players back to shape. All are worried about soft-tissue injuries. https://t.co/gp77boedso— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2020
Remember too: Even among the six teams trying to reach the playoffs via a play-in, none believe this restart is worth risking injuries on players that could carry into next season. For some, Orlando will be an extended summer league to develop young players and protect veterans.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 23, 2020
An important thing to remember: Any positive coronavirus tests now reflect the outside world – not the NBA’s bubble in Disney World. Feel free to criticize the NBA’s safety plan for Disney World. But that will be a radically different environment. Canceling the season would mean leaving players in normal life – i.e., the conditions in which these four members of a Western Conference playoff team contracted coronavirus.
It feels absurd to have players go through all the trouble – possible exposure to coronavirus, injury risk, being restricted in Disney World, away from family and friends – just for glorified summer-league games. As in normal times, but accentuated by coronavirus, too many NBA games are such a waste.
I don’t have enough information about the financials, especially the local TV contracts, to know for certain. But I really hope the money gained by having 22 teams rather than 16 teams, by playing eight seeding games rather than the fewest necessary tune-up games before the playoffs is worth it.
Some of that money will come from gambling, which the NBA has embraced while pledging transparency. I wonder whether we’ll hear details of these positive tests. Hopefully it’s not in this case, but coronavirus can be debilitating. Though there are privacy concerns, NBA teams routinely reveal players injuries, and we’re being told to treat inevitable positive coronavirus tests like injuries.
Admittedly, these are not normal times. But wherever the NBA lands on disclosing positive coronavirus tests, I doubt the league will return gambling money.
Obviously, this is all about money. Which is fine. I salute anyone who can make money safely during this pandemic. It isn’t easy, and the NBA developed a detailed plan – approved by the players union – to try. I don’t know whether it will work, but I hope it will.
As this news shows, there’s plenty of risk outside the bubble, too.