KISSIMMEE, Fla. — So far, the NBA bubble has been a success.
None of the 344 players who were tested for COVID-19 on the Walt Disney World campus since test results were last announced on July 20 have had confirmed positive tests, the league and National Basketball Players Association announced Wednesday. There were also zero positive tests on July 20. That came after the league and players association announced July 13 that two of the initial 322 players who had arrived since July 7 tested positive while in quarantine.
Unable to clear quarantine, the two left the campus to isolate.
The league’s 22-team event will tip off when the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans open seeding play at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at HP Field House in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The 76ers will open seeding play Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers at the VISA Athletic Center.
The Sixers arrived July 9 and were confined to their rooms at the Grand Floridian for a day and a half. The players had contact only with the medical technicians administering COVID-19 tests during quarantine. Players and team personnel will continue to undergo testing every other day. If a player leaves the campus without permission and tries to reenter, he must quarantine for at least 10 days.
All 22 teams participated in three scrimmages and now will play eight seeding games. That could be followed by a play-in tournament for the eighth seed before postseason play.
The participating teams include the 16 currently in playoff spots, along with the Eastern Conference’s Washington Wizards and Western Conference’s Portland Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns.
The six teams outside the top 16 are within six games of the eighth and final playoff spot in their respective conferences. The Orlando Magic (East) and Memphis Grizzlies (West) are currently the eighth seeds.
NBA to provide free testing
The NBA announced Wednesday it will be providing thousands of COVID-19 PCR (polymerise chain reaction) tests in NBA markets nationwide.
The league will provide the tests through the NBA Together program, which started earlier this month and will run through August. The NBA collaborated with the National Urban League, UnidosUS, and other private laboratories to identify communities that are most in need of free testing.