Report: NBA Talking to National COVID-19 Test Providers Amid Restart Talks

Blake SchusterCorrespondent IIIMay 21, 2020

A temporary sign is placed at the the Sleep Train Arena that is being turned into a 400-bed emergency field hospital to help deal with the coronavirus, in Sacramento, Calif., Saturday, April 18, 2020. The arena, the former home of the NBA's Sacramento Kings basketball team, is expected to begin receiving patients Monday. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli,)
Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

The NBA continues to take noteworthy steps as it prepares to decide whether to resume the 2019-20 season. 

According to Shams Charania of Stadium and The Athletic, the league has informed teams it is in "discussions" with multiple national COVID-19 testing providers.

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

NBA shoring up its testing protocols, informing teams that it is engaged in conversations with BioReference Laboratories, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics and Vault Health/RUCDR Infinite Biologics at Rutgers, sources said. Teams asked to create account with each company. https://t.co/s2LoeBn5Mi

Teams have been asked to create accounts with BioReference Laboratories, LabCorp, Quest Diagnostics and Vault Health/RUCDR Infinite Biologics at Rutgers University as the league continues to weigh options.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said it could be mid-June before he makes a determination on restarting the season. If it does resume, the league's desire to partner with a private company would help ensure no tests are being rerouted from the front lines. 

"The biggest issue is the number of tests, and we can't take tests from those who need it," an unnamed source told Charania following a virtual NBA Board of Governors meeting earlier in May.

Even as Silver debates using two hub cities—likely Las Vegas and Orlando, Florida, per recent reports—testing remains a vital component for the league.

Additionally, the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Mayo Clinic are leading an NBA-wide COVID-19 study to determine what percentage of players, coaches, executives and other staff members have developed antibodies against the virus. 

If basketball does return this season, Silver is working to prepare the league for positive tests, per Charania. Anyone with a confirmed case would be subject to quarantine while games continue. 

Until a vaccine is developed, the league has limited options, and Silver has continued to inform players and executives alike of the risks associated with resuming activities.