Four members of the Nets have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, the team announced in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon. Three of the players were asymptomatic at the time the statement was released, but one player is exhibiting symptoms, according to the statement.
The Nets declined to identify any of the players who have tested positive, but superstar Kevin Durant, who has missed the entire season while rehabbing from Achilles tendon surgery but who accompanied the Nets to Los Angeles and sat courtside during their win over the Lakers on March 10, is one of the asymptomatic Nets, according to a report from Shams Charania of @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium.
In a Twitter post Tuesday afternoon, Charania said Durant told him directly that he has the virus but said he is “feeling fine,” and he quoted Durant saying, “Everyone be careful, take care of yourself and quarantine. We’re going to get through this.” In a subsequent Twitter post, Charania wrote, “Durant has not had symptoms and was among four positive results on the Nets.”
The team declined to confirm the report by Charania or another report by ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski that the player with symptoms first displayed them on Tuesday morning. No further information was available from the Nets on Tuesday.
But the statement issued by the Nets said all four players who tested positive are “presently isolated and under the care of team physicians.” The statement further indicated the Nets’ plan to notify anyone who has had known contact with the players, including recent opponents, and is working closely with state and local health authorities.
“All players and members of the Nets travel party are being asked to remain isolated, closely monitor their health and maintain constant communication with team medical staff,” the statement added.
The last game the Nets played before the NBA suspended the season was a 114-112 victory over the Lakers on March 10 at Staples Center in Los Angeles. That was the first game of a scheduled four-game road trip and also was the first game played under social-distancing rules that closed locker rooms to the media and required media members to remain six to eight feet apart from players at morning shootarounds, pregame interviews and postgame interviews. Both the Nets and Lakers held shootarounds and news conferences that day under those rules to prevent direct contact.
The Nets subsequently traveled to San Francisco on Wednesday, March 11 to face the Warriors the next night in what the NBA originally said would be a game played without fans. Later that night, the decision was made to suspend the season, and the Nets returned to New York last Thursday. Durant did not accompany the Nets from Los Angeles to San Francisco and presumably flew home from Los Angeles after the season was suspended.
An NBA source told Newsday the Nets administered tests to their players on Saturday and received the results on Tuesday.
The fact that the Nets have been able to get tested while many other New Yorkers haven't drew criticism from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who tweeted "an entire NBA team should NOT get tested for COVID-19 while there are critically ill patients waiting to be tested."
The only other NBA players known to have tested positive for coronavirus are Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz and Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons.
The Pistons and Jazz played each other on March 7, but the Nets had not faced either since January.
Because of the nature of the virus, it is impossible to tell how or where the Nets were infected. As of Tuesday, the Lakers had not reported any cases on their team. Of course, Los Angeles and San Francisco have been identified as hot spots for the virus, but there is no definitive answer for the Nets.
Like everyone else, they are following community guidelines to isolate themselves, monitor symptoms, such as a cough or a temperature of at least 100.4 degrees, and to contact medical authorities if they display any symptoms.