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Volume 26 No. 141
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Kevin Durant's Positive Test Leads To More Questions For NBA

Kevin Durant is "one of four Nets players who tested positive for the coronavirus," meaning at least seven NBAers now have "tested positive for the virus," according to Sopan Deb of the N.Y. TIMES. It is "not clear how many Nets employees have been tested for the virus." The team's statement said that three of the four players "did not show symptoms of the disease." Meanwhile, the issue of "unequal access to testing arose last week, after reports that 58 members of the Jazz franchise were also tested within hours" of C Rudy Gobert's positive test (N.Y. TIMES, 3/18). ESPN.com's Adrian Wojnarowski cited sources as saying that the Nets "had the players tested by a private company, and the team paid out of pocket after they returned" from S.F. last week. The test results came back yesterday (ESPN.com, 3/17). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ben Cohen noted N.Y. Mayor Bill de Blasio "criticized the availability for certain mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic New Yorkers while ill patients cannot get tested." He tweeted, "We wish them a speedy recovery. But, with all due respect, an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for Covid-19 while there are critically ill patients wanting to be tested. Tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/18). 

TEAMS TAKE DIFFERING APPROACHES: In L.A., Ganguli & Turner cite sources as saying that the Lakers in response to the Nets' news "will give those players who remain in town the opportunity to be tested" today and "have asked all of their players to self-quarantine for 14 days." While there have been "instances of NBA teams having access to testing for players who have not shown symptoms," a shortage of testing kits also has "prevented members" of the Kings and Warriors from testing all of their players (L.A. TIMES, 3/18). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski noted some teams are "quietly" testing their players, while other teams "feel as though there’s no reason to, that teams are not going to be together." Additionally, young players "are not at risk to do anything but transmit this disease, and they’re not showing symptoms.” Wojnarowski: “If someone is asymptomatic, there are many teams that think that we don’t need to get them tested. What we need to do, like everybody in this country, is stay isolated” (“Get Up,” ESPN, 3/18). YAHOO SPORTS' Vincent Goodwill writes the "plan of testing players when some ordinary citizens are being neglected and, in a few cases, suffering dire consequences isn't a great look." Goodwill: "But the eyes of the public being focused on healthy, noticeable NBA faces who test positive for the coronavirus carries currency that's immeasurable in the long run" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 3/18).

NBA PLAYERS NOT UNTOUCHABLE: In L.A., Dylan Hernandez writes the coronavirus "spreads easily and doesn't discriminate." The number of confirmed cases in the NBA is now up to seven, but there "will be more." Hernandez: "Imagine if games had been played for even a couple more days. Or worse, if they were still being played." In retrospect, the NBA was "incredibly fortunate" that Gobert "tested positive for the virus when he did" (L.A. TIMES, 3/18). Also in L.A., Kyle Goon writes the increasing number of positive tests is an "added challenge for the NBA, which is still weighing a potential return to basketball this summer" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 3/18). In N.Y., Stefan Bondy writes under the header, "Rash Of NBA Players With Coronavirus Underscores The Disease's Scary Silence" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/18).