All over the NBA, word is leaking out that some players -- now mostly back at their home bases and working out at practice facilities -- are testing positive for COVID-19.
And other players, as we know by now, are announcing their intent not to go to Orlando for the scheduled resumption of the 2020 season.
But so far, there isn’t much coming from the Trail Blazers. Sure, Trevor Ariza announced he would not be joining the team in Orlando, but that leak to the media apparently came from Ariza’s agent, who presumably wanted to make sure everyone knew the reason his player is not going to attend.
Ariza is staying away in order to enjoy custody of his son, the result of a mandated window for that custody that falls during the NBA’s return to play. I understand the logic in managing the message in that case.
Many teams in the league are leaving it to players and their agents to disclose test results and choices in regard to the return-to-play plan. HIPAA laws have a lot to do with teams’ reluctance to disclose personal medical information not directly related to basketball.
And it also seems that several teams just don’t want to comment or even announce the names of players who will not be with their team for the conclusion of the “season.”
In some cases, a player's decision will be controversial or open to criticism, based on the reasons for not attending. And the players or their agents will often want control of the explanation for the absence -- and they can get it by leaking the story to someone who will relay the message.
The Trail Blazers have remained silent on their roster, even though it is presumed most of their players have been tested by now and the deadline has passed for informing the team of intent to not go to Orlando.
At some point, it’s possible that word will leak out, but the Trail Blazers are one of the most buttoned-up organizations in the league.
When will we know?
It appears that teams need to present their return-to-play rosters in early July and at that point, there should be clarity. There is a good possibility that, since we have heard nothing about it by now, Portland will not lose any other "opt-outs" for Orlando and its players will be virus-free.
No news is good news.
But for now, we wait for the roster announcement -- with all best wishes for the continued good health of players, coaches and staff.