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COVID and the NBA Restart

After the Denver Nuggets, Brooklyn Nets, and LA Clippers shut down their practice facilities last week due to positive COVID-19 tests, two more teams decided to shut down their facilities as well — the Sacramento Kings and the Milwaukee Bucks.

The NBA tested 344 players between June 23-29 and nine (2.6%) new players tested positive, bringing the running total of positive tests to 25 since testing began on June 23rd. The NBA also tested 884 staff members of teams between June 23-29, resulting in 10 positive tests (1.1%).

While the percentage for the staffers is relatively low, the percentages for the players is a little higher than we’d like to see. 7.1% of players have tested positive since June 23rd, which begs the question … are these players actually social distancing and wearing masks?

Many of the NBA players in the bubble are young and if there’s anything young people don’t like, it’s being told what NOT to do. I get it. This time sucks. I barely leave my house … only to go to the grocery store and my local park. That’s about it. If was a young and wealthy NBA player, I might do a little more. I can’t honestly say how I would react if I was in my early 20’s during this time.

“The ping pong thing is ridiculous, to be honest. Guys can’t do this, but we can do this and battle over each other? That part just don’t make no sense to me. I got through 10 lines of the handbook and just put it down because it became so frustrating and overwhelming at times, because you just never thought you’d be in a situation of something like this. So it’s hard to process at times.”

DeMar DeRozan on the Bubble Rules

I understand that players are a little concerned about the NBA’s bubble rules. The NBA does have very strict rules within the bubble, including a phone number where players can anonymously report violations of the bubble rules. That might seem a little extreme to some, but I think it’s a great idea. There is no reason for these athletes to act like idiots and ignore rules. We clearly know that COVID is a deadly disease and there is no point in putting your teammates in jeopardy for selfish reasons.

Players had until June 24th to opt-out of the NBA restart. As a result, we’ve had some players do so. Below are all of the players that have said “Thanks, but no thanks”:

Player Opt-Outs

  • DeAndre Jordan, Nets (positive COVID test)
  • Avery Bradley, Lakers (family reasons)
  • Davis Bertans, Wizards (injury risk)
  • Willie Cauley-Stein, Mavericks (family reasons)
  • Wilson Chandler, Nets (family reasons)
  • Thabo Sefolosha, Rockets (health reasons)
  • Trevor Ariza, Blazers (family reasons)
  • Victor Oladipo, Pacers (injury risk)
  • Landry Shamat, Clippers (positive COVID test)*
    • Shamat has not officially opted out, but his recent COVID test puts in him jeopardy.

The NBA is almost here. It’s July 6th as of this article, and I am very excited. I’ve missed the game I love so much and I really appreciate the players that are sacrificing their health to play the game they love (and to make a shitload of money, let’s not forget that too). Below is the NBA restart schedule:

NBA Restart Schedule

  • July 30-Aug. 14: Seeding games
    • Each team will play eight “regular season” seeding games. Once teams are eliminated, they will immediately depart from the bubble environment. 
  • Aug.15-16: Play-in tournaments
  • Aug. 17: Playoffs begin
  • Aug. 30: Family/guests of teams arrive
  • Aug. 31-Sept. 13: Conference semifinals
  • Sept. 15-Sept. 28: Conference finals
  • Sept. 30-Oct. 13: NBA Finals

Thanks for reading!

-Brandon

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