As the NBA gets ready for the 2020-21 season, the league has released its initial round of COVID-19 testing. On Wednesday, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association announced 48 of the 546 players tested positive for the coronavirus. The testing ran from Nov. 24 to Nov. 30.
"Anyone who has returned a confirmed positive test during this initial phase of testing in their team’s market is isolated until they are cleared for leaving isolation under the rules established by the NBA and the Players Association in accordance with CDC guidance," the NBA and NBPA said in a joint statement. As reported by ESPN, the NBA will test all of its players daily throughout the season. The 8.8% positive rate is lower than the national average of 10.2% in the same time frame. However, it's higher than the 5.3% rate during the same return-to market period in late June before the teams played at the bubble in Orlando, Florida.
ESPN also mentioned that 46 players tested positive for COVID-19 in the weeks leading up to and before arriving in the bubble. However, there were no positive teams throughout the bubble part of the season. This season will be different as they will be no NBA bubble as the teams will play at their home arenas. The season will be 72-games long and will start on Dec. 22.
"I was very concerned," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said to GQ when talking about the player's mental health while in the bubble this past season. "And in fact, when you're down here in the bubble, there's an app. And you do a daily check-in and you answer questions about COVID symptoms. And the only other question, other than COVID symptoms, is: Would you like to speak to a mental health professional? So we asked the players that question every day, and obviously when they [want to speak with someone], it's confidential. All I know is, the overall use rate of the psychologists, on and off campus, has been fairly high."
The Los Angeles Lakers come into the new season as the favorites to win the title. LeBron James will be with the Lakers a few more seasons, signing a two-year $85 million contract extension this week.