NBA, NBPA Discussing Increased COVID-19 Testing amid Rise in Positive Cases

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVDecember 15, 2021

FILE - In this Sept. 2, 2020, file photo, the NBA logo is displayed at center court during an NBA first-round playoff basketball game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. NBA training camps open around the league Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2020,though on-court sessions will be limited to individual workouts and only for those players who have gotten three negative coronavirus test results back in the last few days. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File)
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill, File

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are in discussions to increase testing for COVID-19 amid a rise in positive tests, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. 

"Now that we are seeing breakthroughs, we believe the need to test more often," NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the two sides have already agreed to test all players on game days, except for those with a vaccine booster. They are also reportedly considering a further increase in testing and protocols.

Per Charania, the new rules could feature testing on game days and practice days for all players—vaccinated and unvaccinated.

"We are working through modified protocols in partnership with the players association," NBA spokesperson Mike Bass confirmed to Charania.

ESPN's Baxter Holmes reported NBA officials expect cases to climb into January with the Omicron variant especially likely to become prevalent.

Over 30 players have been placed in the league's safety protocols in the past week, including 10 players on the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls have postponed at least two games as a result of the outbreak.

The Brooklyn Nets have also been shorthanded as a result of players entering the protocols.

An estimated 97 percent of the NBA is vaccinated, while 60 percent have taken a booster shot, per Charania.