16 of 302 NBA Players Tested Positive for COVID-19 Ahead of Restart

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 26, 2020

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference before an NBA preseason basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019, in Saitama, near Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association issued a joint statement Friday to announce 16 players tested positive for COVID-19 from 302 tests conducted Tuesday.

"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," the statement read.

The testing is part of the league's preparations to restart the 2019-20 season in July after it was halted March 11 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told ESPN (via Ben Golliver of the Washington Post) he understood that entering the "bubble" environment necessary to resume the season at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida, wouldn't be the right decision for everyone:

"It will entail enormous sacrifice on behalf of those players and for everyone involved — the coaches, the referees. Listen, it's not an ideal situation. We're trying to find a way to our normal in the middle of a pandemic and a recession, or worse, with 40 million unemployed and now with enormous social unrest in the country. As we work through these issues, I understand that for some players, this is not for them."

Several players informed their teams they had opted out of the restart plans before Wednesday's deadline.

The NBA plans a shortened eight-game finish to the regular season followed by potential play-in tournaments for the final playoff berths and a standard postseason in Orlando. The resumption of play is scheduled for July 30.

Those plans haven't been altered despite a recent surge in COVID-19 cases nationwide, including a record-setting single-day total in Florida on Friday.

In all, 22 of the league's 30 teams will participate in the restart.

The NBA's 5.3 percent infection rate among players based on Tuesday's tests is lower than the national figure of 6.5 percent based on Thursday's reporting, per Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight.

Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and Sacramento Kings teammates Jabari Parker and Alex Len are among the players to publicly announce their recent positive coronavirus tests, per ESPN.

The NBA didn't include the test results of coaches, staff members and other people involved in the league's restart plans as part of the initial announcement.