LIVE UPDATES: Coronavirus Wreaks Havoc on the NBA

nba coronavirus covid-19 basketball forever

Coronavirus is disrupting just about every aspect of human life, and the NBA is no exception.

It’s in times like this that most of us want to be more informed than ever, which is why we’re bringing you live updates on how coronavirus is affecting the sport we all love.

Be sure to check back throughout the day for the very latest.

3:03pm ET – March 18

CORONAVIRUS SUSPENSION MAY PUT FREE AGENT STATUS ON HOLD

As Adrian Wonjnarowski reported earlier this week, the NBA and the player’s association are expected to establish a set of transition rules to amend future salary-cap dates.

Currently, several players such as Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis, will have contracts with an option out or expiration before the season is projected to end if play resumes.

Owners and league executives are preparing for a mid-to-late June return as the best-case scenario, which would overlap the current salary-cap calendar ending June 30.

– Bonny Johnson

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11:07pm ET – March 17

STEVE KERR SAYS TEAM USA STILL PREPARING FOR TOKYO OLYMPICS

Team USA’s coaching staff are preparing for the Tokyo Olympics to go ahead, despite the widespread uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

USA assistant Steve Kerr said on a conference call Tuesday that he had been in contact with head coach Gregg Popovich and that the current plan was to prepare to defend their Olympic crown.

But Kerr also noted the uncertainty surrounding the Olympics, which is scheduled to begin on July 24.

“Everything’s just up in the air,” Kerr said.

“There’s no sense of whether things are going to be delayed or anything.

“We’re all kind of wondering what’s going to happen and so is the rest of the world.”

The International Olympic Committee acknowledged Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic presented an “unprecedented situation for the whole world” but defiantly stated that it remained “fully committed” to this year’s Olympics.

– Nick Jungfer

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11:01pm ET – March 17

BEST-OF-FIVE SERIES TO OPEN THE PLAYOFFS?

The NBA is considering making early playoff series best-of-five, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

The league is also mulling over the possibility of playing only “several more” regular-season games, before launching right into the postseason, per the report.

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9:41pm ET – March 17

CONCERNS SURROUNDING ROLE NBA IS PLAYING IS SPREADING COVID-19

NBA spokesman Mike Bass has released the following statement, per Ramona Shelburne:

“Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus. Following two players testing positive last week, others were tested and five additional players tested positive. Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to the critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”

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5:56pm ET – March 17

KEVIN DURANT TESTS POSITIVE FOR CORONAVIRUS

Kevin Durant is among four Brooklyn Nets players to test positive for coronavirus, according to The Athletics’ Shams Charania.

Only one of the four players is exhibiting symptoms and all players are isolated and under team care.

The players were tested after returning from San Francisco, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

-Bonny Johnson

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1:01pm ET – March 17

PLAYERS AND TEAMS MAY BE IN THE DARK FOR 2020 NBA DRAFT

The Undergraduate Advisory Committee, which gives players feedback on their draft potential, is still accepting applications, according to a memo sent out by NBA VP Kiki VanDeWeghe to NCAA coaches on Tuesday.

However, Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that the memo also alerted coaches to possible changes with the “rapidly evolving coronavirus situation,” and “changes, if any, to the NBA’s pre-Draft process,” could be announced at a later date.

– Bonny Johnson

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1:11am ET – March 17

SYDNEY KINGS WITHDRAW FROM NBL GRAND FINAL SERIES DUE TO CORONAVIRUS CONCERNS

Meanwhile, in Australia, the Sydney Kings have withdrawn from the NBL Grand Final series, citing concerns for player welfare.

After Game 1 went ahead in front of more than 11,000 fans in Sydney earlier this month, Games 2 and 3 were played in largely empty arenas, with only media and family members of players allowed to attend.

While the NBL attempted to forge ahead while other leagues were pulling the pin altogether, eventually the Kings made that decision for them.

The Kings, who were trailing the series 2-1 to the reigning champion Perth Wildcats, had previously rejected a proposal to bring Game 4 forward to Wednesday, according to the West Australian.

It remains to be seen whether the NBL will hand the Wildcats the championship or simply start looking ahead to next season.

– Nick Jungfer

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10:16pm ET – March 16

BOARD OF GOVENORS SET TO RECONVENE

The NBA will hold a Board of Governors call on Tuesday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

It will mark the third meeting featuring team owners and the com since Wednesday.

Stay tuned for the upshot of what could be a very interesting meeting during these chaotic times.

– Nick Jungfer

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6:01pm ET – March 16

CHRIS BOUCHER APOLOGISES FOR VIOLATING QUARANTINE

Toronto Raptors forward Chris Boucher has apologised after breaking a team-mandated self-quarantine after the Raptors were exposed – in game play – to several NBA players who tested positive for COVID-1.

Boucher was seen shopping in downtown Toronto on Thursday, just one day after the Raptors began their quarantine period.

He was spotted wearing gloves but no mask.

“A few days ago, I broke our team mandated self-quarantine,” Boucher wrote on social media. “I want to apologize to the city of Toronto, our fans and the Raptors organization. While I have tested negative for COVID-19, it was never my intention to endanger our community. I recognize my mistake and have remained self-quarantined since. Let’s stay safe Toronto.”

While all Raptors players, coaches and travelling staff tested negative for COVID-19, Boucher’s outing was before the test results arrived, according to The Athletic’s Blake Murphy.

– Nick Jungfer

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4:42pm ET – March 16

MAGIC JOHNSON AND NBA ENCOURAGE PRECAUTIONS TO CURB CORONAVIRUS SPREAD

NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson took to Twitter reminding fans to practice social distancing and good hygiene.

Earlier today, the NBA released a memo suggesting teams take the temperature of anyone entering team facilities.

Cases of the virus are expected to continue rising.

– Bonny Johnson

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MAGIC OWNERS PLEDGE $2 MILLION FOR HOURLY WORKERS

2:22pm ET – March 16

Owners of the Orlando Magic have stepped up to compensate approximately 1,800 hourly employees of the Orlando Magic, Amway Center, Lakeland Magic and Orlando Solar Bears for games missed through the regular season.

The DeVos family has pledged up to $2 million to assist the affected employees.

“The people behind our teams are family to us and it’s our honour to provide assistance to those adversely impacted during this trying time,” Dan DeVos, Magic chairman, said in a statement.

– Nick Jungfer

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1:15pm ET – March 16

NBA HALTS DRUG TESTING DURING CORONAVIRUS HIATUS

The NBA and Players Association have agreed to suspend drug testing until play resumes, according to Yahoo Sports.

Article XXXIII of the collective bargaining agreement allows players to be subjected to “six random unannounced urine drug tests during the season and off-season.”

Banned substances include marijuana and steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs.

The decision was made in the wake of new recommendations by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, advising the cancellation of all events with 50 or more atendees for the next eight weeks.

– Bonny Johnson 

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1:03pm ET – March 16

PLAYERS GIVEN GO-AHEAD TO TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF MARKET

Effective Monday, players can travel out of their perspective markets during the hiatus as long as they consult with their individual teams—according to an NBA memo sent late Sunday night.

Players are expected to provide their whereabouts, stay home, and practice social distancing.

They are also encouraged to check in daily via FaceTime, Skype, etc.

The move was made as the league anticipates an extension to the 30-day suspension in play.

– Bonny Johnson 

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10:45AM ET – March 16

DONOVAN MITCHELL ON RUDY GOBERT: “IT TOOK A WHILE FOR ME TO KIND OF COOL OFF”

Donovan Mitchell has revealed that he was livid with teammate Rudy Gobert after the Frenchman tested positive for COVID-19.

Gobert made light of the coronavirus pandemic by jokingly touching the microphones and recorders on the podium after speaking with reporters recently, while also extending his antics to the Jazz locker room by touching other players and their belongings, according to ESPN.

“To be honest, it took a while for me to kind of cool off,” Mitchell told Good Morning America.

“I read what he said and I heard what he said and I’m glad he’s doing OK. I’m glad I’m doing well.”

– Bonny Johnson

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10:11pm ET – March 15

NBA HAS A PLAN IN PLACE TO SAVE THE SEASON

The NBA has a working plan in place to eventually resume play and salvage a season that’s been completely thrown into chaos, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

Under the proposal, fans would remain locked out and games would take place at smaller venues or even practice facilities.

The delayed nature of the season would see the playoffs stretch into August.

More details.

– Nick Jungfer

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10:03pm ET – March 15

NBA OWNERS BRACING FOR POSSIBILITY OF MID-TO-LATE JUNE START

NBA owners and executives are preparing for the possibility that a mid-to-late June start will be their best-case scenario, according to Adrian Wojnarowski.

It comes after The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged those in the US to cancel or postpone all events with 50 or more attendees for the next eight weeks.

– Nick Jungfer

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3:20pm ET – March 15

DONATING HORNETS PLAYERS AVOIDING PRAISE AND PUBLICITY

Charlotte Hornets players aren’t looking for praise or publicity as they combine with the Hornets themselves to donate in aid of their arena’s out-of-work employees.

Hornets players chose to donate as a team, not individually, according to Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.

The amount donated by each player went unannounced with the players looking to “avoid the optics of competing and self-promotion”.

– Nick Jungfer

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1:02pm ET – March 15

RUDY GOBERT: “I WISH I WOULD HAVE TOOK THIS THING MORE SERIOUSLY”

Rudy Gobert is urging members of the public to take the threat of coronavirus seriously, issuing a warning via social media to learn from his mistakes.

Here is his full message:

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10:03am ET – March 15

NBA COULD LOSE ABOUT $500 MILLION IN TICKET REVENUE ALONE

The NBA stands to lose a staggering amount of money if the season is called off altogether, with the league set to miss out on $500 million in lost ticket sales alone according to NBC’s Tom Haberstroh.

Here’s Haberstroh’s reasoning:

“As a rule of thumb, the source said, the NBA makes an average of $1.2 million in gate revenue per regular season game and $2 million for each playoff game. With 259 of 1,230 regular season games remaining, that means roughly $300 million of ticket revenue lost if fans couldn’t purchase tickets. Over the past decade, on average, there have been 83 playoff games in each postseason, which would lead to another loss of about $166 million. That’s nearly $500 million in estimated lost ticket revenue if the NBA doesn’t allow fans to attend the full slate of games.”

Well, that’s probably not ideal, especially after the Daryl Morey-China financial bloodshed.