The Nets have two players who have tested positive for the coronavirus: Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan. Both believe it’s the NBA’s fault they contracted the virus.
“Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter into the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive,” Dinwiddie told The Athletic. “Given that I have experienced symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, it is unclear on whether or not I’ll be able to participate in Orlando.
“Hindsight is 20/20.”
Jordan has announced he will not travel to Orlando for the 22-team resumption of the NBA season.
“Found out last night and confirmed again today that I’ve tested positive for Covid while being back in market,” Jordan wrote on Twitter on June 29. “As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season.”
The Nets were already short Kyrie Irving (shoulder), Kevin Durant (Achilles rehab), Wilson Chandler (family reasons) and rookie Nicolas Claxton (shoulder). Chandler, specifically, cited fears about transmitting the coronavirus to his family as his reason for skipping the Orlando bubble.
Both Dinwiddie and Jordan blamed the NBA’s waffling on training camp locations as a reason for their contracting the virus. The Nets ostensibly hoped they wouldn’t need to return to New York City — the early coronavirus hotspot of the United States with more than 215,000 cases and 17,000 deaths alone — before quarantining in Orlando.
Cases in New York state, though, have steadily declined since the coronavirus’ single-day high of 11,571 cases on April 14. In fact, Dinwiddie and Jordan were two of just 616 positive cases in all of New York on June 28.
The Nets aren’t the only team experiencing an internal COVID-19 outbreak. The Denver Nuggets shut down their practice facility on June 27 after “a round of positive coronavirus tests,” accoring to ESPN. Nikola Jokic tested positive for the coronavirus after he was photographed in Serbia having a not-so-socially distant conversation with Novak Djokovic, the world’s top-ranked men’s tennis player who also tested positive.
Denver has had at least three positive coronavirus tests among players, coaches and staff, according to ESPN. The New Orleans Pelicans have had three members of their organization test positive for the coronavirus. They have chosen not to disclose the names. The Sacramento Kings have also had three players test positive for COVID-19, according to The Athletic: starting shooting guard and three-point champion Buddy Hield, center Alex Len, and forward Jabari Parker.
The National Hockey League has also reported at least 26 coronavirus positive tests among their players. For all sports leagues, more positive tests are expected in the coming days.
The NBA has been adamant about salvaging the remnants of its season since the season was first suspended on March 11. To an extent, it’s understandable: The 2019-20 season, defined by a parity that’s littered the league with star duos, was shaping to be one of the best in recent memory before the coronavirus pandemic rocked the world.
But the optics don’t favor the league: The NBA is resuming its season in Florida, a state that seen COVID-19 cases spike in recent weeks. More than 9,500 new coronavirus cases were reported on June 27 alone. More than 8,500 on June 28. More than 5,000 on June 29.
Only 8,800 of Florida’s total 146,000 cases have come from Orlando, where the NBA will place its bubble, with the city responsible for just 56 of the state’s nearly 3,500 deaths. The NBA is going to ensure players isolate for at least 36 hours upon arrival in Orlando, until they can return consecutive negative coronavirus tests. They will then be subject to regular COVID-19 testing, temperatures checks and other measures against the spread of the coronavirus in their bubble.
“We have a panel of scientists, doctors, experts that are working with us. We’re going to see as we go. Certainly, if we have a lot of cases, we’re going to stop,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver said during Tuesday’s TIME 100 Talks. “You cannot run from this virus. I am absolutely convinced that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus, because there aren’t many other situations I’m aware of where there’s mass testing of asymptomatic employees. So in some ways this is maybe a model for how other industries ultimately open.”
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