Despite the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, the NBA is gearing up for the return of the 2019-20 season.
The NBA and NBPA have been working in conjunction with government and health officials to establish thorough and detailed health and safety protocols for the players and team staff ahead of their trip to Orlando’s Walt Disney World, and the plan seems solid enough for most people to be comfortable enough with restarting.
In preparation of the trip, players quarantining abroad and in their hometowns were asked to report back to their team’s home market where they will be able to practice in their respective training facilities. However, they are expected to remain at home and only leave when necessary in order to reduce risk of infection.
In a memo released to all 30 teams, the NBA is beginning mandatory coronavirus testing of all players and staff on Monday. The league will be administering a shallow nasal swab and oral swab to test for COVID-19, while there will also be a blood draw to test for antibodies.
Testing will be conducted every other day leading up to the teams’ trip to Orlando and all teams are expected to be on site between July 7-9. Players and staff will also be given an opportunity to participate in a voluntary study conducted by Yale for an alternative saliva-based testing method for coronavirus.
Also on Monday, the NBA transaction window opens at 9 a.m. PT. It closes June 30 at 8:59 p.m. During this time, teams are permitted to begin signing free agents or convert two-way and/or 10-day contracts into standard deals.
In order to sign during the transaction window, a player must have been on an NBA or G League contract this season or were not under contract this season with a professional team outside of the United States.
For the Los Angeles Lakers, the bulk of speculation in this regard lied squarely with DeMarcus Cousins. The team does not have an available roster spot to re-sign Cousins, but their outlook could change if Avery Bradley or Dwight Howard decide against joining the team for the resumption of the season.
Players have until Tuesday to inform their team of such a decision. The Lakers reportedly are confident Howard will join them, but less certain on Bradley’s status.
Although the Lakers may find themselves facing a need, Cousins won’t be an option, as he reportedly is focused on preparing for next season.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!