NBA announces positive coronavirus tests for 16 of 302 players (5.3%)

Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and Kings guard Buddy Hield
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The NBA is ramping up coronavirus testing as players report to their teams in advance of resuming at Disney World. Players who’ve reportedly tested positive so far.

That’s just the start, though.

NBA and NBPA release:

In tests conducted of 302 NBA players on June 23, 16 players have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Any player who tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician.

That’s 5.3%.

Don’t compare this to positive test rates for states or countries. Those tests tend to be done on people who show symptoms or came into contact with someone who tested positive. That skews the rate up. NBA players are tested simply because they’re showing up to work.

COVID-19 Projections estimates 0.47% of people in the United States are currently infected. Translated to 302 players, that rate would mean just one positive test.

But NBA players have different risk profiles than the overall population. There are reasons NBA players could have lower rates of infection (high salaries that allow them to live comfortably without needing to take risk). But there are stronger reasons NBA players could have higher rates:

  • NBA players are young. Young people tend to have less-severe symptoms. So, young people tend to engage in behavior that carries greater risk of contracting coronavirus.
  • NBA players tend to live in big cities, where teams are located. Many big cities have been hit hard.
  • NBA players train strenuously. Heavy breathing can spread coronavirus. There are plenty of videos of NBA players playing crowded gyms.

A good comparison? The NHL. Last week, the NHL announced 11 players of more than 200 tested multiple times were diagnosed with coronavirus (5.2% if that were 210 players).

Expect even more NBA players to test positive. For one, full rosters for the continuing 22 teams would be 374 players. That leaves many more players to be tested. There are also nearly two weeks before players travel to Orlando. That leaves more time for players to contract coronavirus in their own communities.

It wouldn’t be surprising if 20-30 NBA players test positive for coronavirus as testing ramps up before teams reach Disney World.

These numbers already are certainly shocking people. That response is a massive PR blunder by the NBA, which should have better set expectations for the public.

But it’s not an indication the NBA’s safety plan is failing.

NBA players testing positive now shows the dangers of the larger world, where NBA players have been living and coronavirus is a very-real threat. The bubble in Disney World will be a FAR more controlled environment with tight restrictions and frequent testing. The idea is to detect coronavirus now, before players it into Disney World.

Positive tests in later phases would have different meanings.

Dr. Zachary Binney, an epidemiologist:

There are plenty of reasons to be concerned about the NBA’s plan:

  • Rising infection rates in Florida, which increases risk if the NBA’s bubble is infiltrated
  • A short initial quarantine when players arrive in Disney World (two negative tests spaced 24 hours apart), which risks players contracting coronavirus shortly before arriving and not having it show up on tests before they enter the larger bubble
  • Players – especially players sidelined by coronavirus – having a tight window to train after a long layoff, which increases risk of injury

But these results? This is the system working.

Steven Adams inks two-year, $25.2 million extension with Grizzlies

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Steven Adams signed a two-year, $25.2 million contract extension with Memphis, which will keep him tied to the team through the 2024-25 season. ESPN’s Adrian Wojanrowski broke the news on Saturday.

Adams has been crucial to the Grizzlies’ recent success. He’s coming off his first season with the team, where he averaged career-highs in rebounds (10.0) and assists (3.4). He also helped them lock up the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and make it to the Conference Semifinals, where they lost to the eventual-champion Warriors 4-2. Despite the improved numbers, a lot of his value is from intangibles that don’t show up in the box score.

Adams spent the first seven years of his career with the Thunder before being traded to New Orleans in the four-team deal that sent Jrue Holiday to Milwaukee. Adams was moved again to Memphis in a package for Jonas Valanciunas.

Adams has found a new home with a young Grizzlies team that is looking to win a championship. The team is built around Ja Morant, Jaren Jackson Jr. and Desmond Bane, but Jackson Jr. is expected to miss time after being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his left foot. Memphis will rely on Adams more than ever to begin the season.

Watch Curry, Klay in 3-point shooting contest in Japan. Yeah, they’re good at this.

NBA Japan Games Saturday Night
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The NBA went to Japan to promote the brand, play a few games in a huge market — Japan specifically but Asia as a whole — and put on a show.

Is there a better show than Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson draining 3s? Here they are in a 3-point contest during a basketball exhibition (there were some pro dunkers) in Tokyo on Saturday.

Stephen Curry, was there any other possible outcome?

It’s preseason and they are the defending champs — they should be having fun, playing with some joy.

Thompson took part in the shooting contest but is not playing in either of the exhibition games in Japan as the Warriors ease him back into play this season. It’s a marathon of a season and the Warriors need the best version of Klay starting in April, not October.

Report: Pelicans, Nance agree to two-year, $21.6 million extension

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Larry Nance has been a stabilizing influence in New Orleans since coming over mid-season as part of the trade for CJ McCollum. Nance is a versatile player who can play the four or the five, knocks down his threes, is very strong on the glass, can be a disruptive defender in passing lanes, and fits in — and he has the veteran attitude of work this team needs.

So the Pelicans have reached an extension to keep the 29-year-old around for two years past this coming season, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

This is a signing that should make Pelicans fans happy. Importantly, it makes CJ McCollum happy — they are tight and this is something McCollum wanted to see. The money on this deal seems fair, about the league average for a solid rotation player.

Nance is the kind of veteran this team needs considering its young core of Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram (just turned 25), Herb Jones, and guys like Trey Murphy III, Jose Alvarado, and others. Nance compared it to the young Lakers teams he was on, but noted that team lacked the same level of veteran leadership this Pelicans team has.

We may see more Nance at the five lineups — small ball with Zion at the four — to close games this season in New Orleans, that could be their best lineup because Nance can defend but also spaces the floor for Zion on offense. Coach Willie Green has a lot of different players and matchups to experiment with.

And now he has the stability of Nance for a few more years.

Durant tired of talking Nets dramatic offseason: ‘I didn’t miss any games’

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No team had an offseason quite like the Brooklyn Nets. First, they would not give a long-term extension to Kyrie Irving, which sent the star guard looking for a new team (but there were no offers that worked for everyone, so he opted in with Brooklyn). Then Kevin Durant asked for a trade, and to gain a little leverage reportedly threw down an ultimatum of him or the coach and GM. No trade could be found — how much the Nets wanted one is up for debate — so he is back in Brooklyn. And all that is not even getting into the return of Ben Simmons, a trade for Royce O’Neal, or anything else.

The Nets drama and how they move past it has been the talk of training camp. The only talk at training camp, it feels like.

When asked Friday if there were any inaccuracies in the reporting of the Nets summer he would like to clear up, Durant sounded weary of rehashing the summer.

The only thing that will start to move the conversation in a new direction is the Nets playing and winning games (they open the preseason Monday against the 76ers). And even those wins will have the shadow of the offseason cast over them. Durant and Irving made this bed.

Part of the fascination is the Nets remain the team hardest to predict in the league. They arguably have the most talented roster in the league and, if everything comes together just right, they can contend for a title. It’s also possible the wheels fall off early and by Christmas the Nets are looking to trade Durant again. Both things feel possible (even if reality most likely lands somewhere in the middle).

That uncertainty about the Nets’ future is the drama that will keep eyeballs on them — which also means more questions about this past offseason. Durant can choose not to answer them, but the questions aren’t going away.