Noah Vonleh Tests Positive For COVID-19, Waived By Bulls

DECEMBER 15: Vonleh’s release from the Bulls is now official, according to RealGM’s transactions log.

DECEMBER 14: Veteran forward Noah Vonleh has tested positive for COVID-19 and will be waived by the Bulls, reports Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Teams won’t be announcing which of their players test positive for the coronavirus this season, but Vonleh confirmed his diagnosis to Haynes.

“Unfortunately, I have tested positive for COVID, and so my time with the Bulls has come to an end,” Vonleh said in a statement to Yahoo Sports. “Thank you to the organization for everything. Though it was a short time, I appreciate the opportunity. I am thankfully feeling good, and I look forward to working my way to another NBA opportunity once I’m cleared to play again!”

The Bulls are carrying 15 players on guaranteed contracts and Vonleh isn’t one of them, so his positive test likely just accelerated his release — unless he earned a spot on the regular season roster, he would’ve been waived within the next week anyway. He’ll undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine as he awaits medical clearance, Haynes notes.

The ninth overall pick in the 2014 draft, Vonleh began his career in Charlotte before moving on to Portland, Chicago, and New York. In 2019/20, he began the season in Minnesota before being traded to Denver as part of the four-team mega-deal involving Clint Capela and Robert Covington.

In total, Vonleh averaged just 3.7 PPG and 3.4 RPG in 36 games (10.5 MPG) for the Timberwolves and Nuggets last season. He was more productive in 2018/19 for the Knicks, recording 8.4 PPG and 7.8 RPG in 68 games (25.3 MPG), and is still just 25 years old, so he should get another NBA opportunity.

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63 thoughts on “Noah Vonleh Tests Positive For COVID-19, Waived By Bulls

  1. Little_Dunker_45

    That’s really cold…not a good look for the organization, optics wise. It will be hard to root for the Bulls this year now.

    • zpgreen

      I mean I’m not sure this will have a lasting impact, but I agree, the optics of this right now are really bad.

    • Luckylefty2

      Don’t see how this makes the bulls look bad? Dude was probably going out or bringing people in his room. Let’s not be naive here and say “well he probably caught at the grocery store or a walmart”. As a fringe guy you practice and head back to your room, PERIOD.

      • Little_Dunker_45

        Get covid get cut is the message you send. All I can say is that I’m speechless.

        • Luckylefty2

          Ok, but what about dudes who get released for tearing their Achilles or ACLs. Where is the pity for them? This is a business.

          • Little_Dunker_45

            I feel bad for them too unless they didnt train properly then sorry it’s their fault.

        • harden (mvp),wall, and wood

          And how is that a bad message to send to the players? Should they be allowed to be irresponsible and risk infecting their own teammates not to mention players on other teams as well?

          • Little_Dunker_45

            Well it’s not necessarily his fault that he got it. Do you know his family situation? You dont have all the facts…so don’t act like you do. Ok? If it was for poor play on the court then okay, but that isnt the optics here. That is my POINT

            • mcmillankmm

              But anyone can read between the lines….Vonleh is been on and off rosters the last few years, non-guaranteed deal, Bulls with 15 guaranteed contracts already…

              • andremets

                Vonleh was solid on the Knicks just 2 seasons ago. He was probably our most well-rounded players, playing D, blocking some shots and getting boards. We finished with the second worst record in the NBA, but I thought Vonleh is at least a rotation player and solid backup. I hope the Knicks find a way to bring him back.

        • thebluemeanie

          Don’t act so indignant, 45. He wasn’t going to make the team anyway. Besides, he got an excused absence from Chicago and came back and tested positive. If he can’t follow simple protocols when away from the team, he has no one to blame but himself.

          • Little_Dunker_45

            Oh you were with him the whole time and know he didnt follow protocols? Okay, phew.

            My point is the OPTICS. Not reading between the lines. Any joe or Joanne who reads this will only see the headline, and they represent not just the bulls but the sport. I get this is a comment section but have a sliver or compassion.

            • rondon

              You’re totally reading between the lines based on your interpretation of the “optics”. You don’t really know any more than anyone else. What you see does not necessarily fill in the whole story.

            • thebluemeanie

              Never said that, but common sense dictates million dollar, professional athletes don’t test positive if they actually follow protocols when away from the team. You might be able to follow the logic if you “actually understand common sense”.

              And that’s not “all you said”. Rocket32 nailed it. You’re defensive, insinuated others are stupid because they don’t agree with you, play the victim and then justify it all by acting as if you’re a martyr doing a great service for all of those poor souls that only read the headline or don’t have access to this site. What?! Who does that?! That’s like pissing on someone leg and then telling them it’s raining. But you’re not a troll. Gotcha. Good luck with that!

              I’ll show myself out.

        • bravesfan88

          That isnt the message at all…He was likely getting cut anyways, at least this will give him time to hook on with another squad potentially..Instead of everyone already having cut down their rosters, and then there are zero spots for him..

          The Bulls actually did him a favor..

        • Jeff Zanghi

          That’s not really what happened though… he was going to be released regardless of whether he got Covid or not… he was just in camp on a non-guaranteed deal and not actually on the roster. All that happened is that he didn’t get a chance to suit up for any preseason games/camp games — he was still most likely going to be released in a week… its just that now seeing as he couldn’t suit up anyway there was no reason to wait a week to release him.

      • davidkaner

        Agree! Covid19 is preventable if you want it to be. He was not focused on his career. He was focused on his lifestyle. Sacrificed nothing.

    • He needed a strong preseason to force his way onto the roster – so if he ain’t playing, he ain’t getting in.

    • harden (mvp),wall, and wood

      He better not have infected any of the Rockets players last Friday, I’m glad he didn’t play in their second game on Sunday. His release was just a matter of timing, it’s not like he was going to make the team anyway.

    • Rocket32

      Little_Dunker_45 You and the Harden Super fan are the biggest trolls on the site. Vonleh was likely gonna be cut soon anyway. He was there trying to earn a roster spot. Can’t win a roster spot if you’re out with COVID-19. Pretty sure actual Bulls fans don’t care.

      • Little_Dunker_45

        I love how I make a reasonable point and all anyone can say is “troll this guy sucks”. He got covid, he got cut. The optics are bad. that’s all I said. Not everyone is on hoops rumors they’ll see it in the local paper and wont have the same context. Ever think of that? Or do only trolls see things at a high level for what they are. I’ll wait…

        • El Don

          @Lil’_ Dunker_45…
          You are sooo very right, it just looks plain wrong, is like firing someone ’cause they get cancer, it just looks awful!
          One must wonder if ZLV, WCJ, OPJ, Coby or Lauri got it… would they be cut as well?
          Paid full salary & released from the team?
          Don’t think so, as always in the US of A is all about the haves do as they please & the have nots… well just plainly no one cares about them, right?

          • Little_Dunker_45

            @Weldon exactly my point. Thank you. Is el done a troll now too because he actually understands common sense? This is why I am top 3 commentlr on this site.

            • Jeff Zanghi

              I was defending you above… but seriously… claiming to be the “top 3 commenter” based on what? There’s no ranking system lol… I’m sorry but that was pretty weak… stick to the original issue — which I think was just a misunderstanding/not expressed as well as it could have been… don’t go off on bizarre tangents about being a “top 3 commenter” … that’s not a thing.

          • Jeff Zanghi

            You’re missing the point of what actually happened…, the player wasn’t cut ‘because he had Covid’ he was going to be cut anyway… the two stories are really separate (more or less issues). Like (1) Vonleh tested positive for Covid. End of story. (2) Vonleh was cut because he wasn’t actually going to make the team anyway… it just so happens that he also has Covid and therefor is being released a week earlier than he otherwise would — because he can play in training camp/pre-season games anyway. End of 2nd (mostly unrelated) story.

        • bravesfan88

          At first glance, it may look bad, but then once you consider Vonleh’s actual basketball options, he is actually much better off going ahead and getting released..

          Everyone that knows anything about the Bulls roster knows he was getting the axe anyways. His getting cut wasn’t because of him getting COVID. He got cut, because he wasnt good enough to make the team..

          Also, if you want to look at it solely from a headline point of view. Then, you still don’t even know how he contracted it in the first place. He could have broken protocol for all anyone knows..

          How things look are for people that make assumptions…How things really are, that’s for people that wait to pass judgment after they know all the facts..

        • Jeff Zanghi

          I think this is just a situation where people are confused by what you initially said. It seemed like your original comment was saying that even for people who understood the situation the optics were bad. But what I think you were actually saying is that an average Joe who reads this headline on line CNN or Fox or something is just going to read “Player gets Covid and then gets cut” — anyone who knows/understands the situation knows that’s not really what happened. But I understand what you’re saying — that if someone JUST reads the headline and doesn’t actually follow/understand basketball — that the headline itself looks bad. Even though the actual story isn’t bad… you’re point (I believe) is that this headline could be taken out of context and thus have bad optics in non-basketball circles.

          • Little_Dunker_45

            Yes, exactly. Thank you. Now do you have an advanced degree in physics or english literature that you needed to tease that out? It seems like it was fairly obvious, that just me thougu

    • hiflew

      So should they cut a different healthy person with a guaranteed contract for this season just so they don’t look bad to you for this coincidence? He was going to get cut regardless.

      • Howie415

        Can’t take a joke. Harden doesn’t want to play for Houston. How does that help the Rockets. In the NFL, you can’t cut a player due to injury. They probably need an IR, or IL.

        • andremets

          I think players CAN be cut for injuries in the NFL during preseason. It’s a question if the contract is guaranteed for injury or not.

          • harden (mvp),wall, and wood

            Injured NFL players can be waived, but if no one claims him then the team has to either place him on IR or reach an injury settlement with said player.

        • hiflew

          Except he didn’t get cut due to injury. He got cut and got COVID. They are mutually exclusive. They cut him because he had a non-guaranteed contract. He is the one that announced his illness AFTER he was cut. Was the team supposed to keep him on the roster until the final day of cuts for appearances? He can’t play for the rest of the pre-season and wasn’t likely to make the final roster anyway, so might as well cut him now.

          As far as the first part of your comment, what exactly do the Rockets and Harden have to do with this? There are plenty of stories on this site to argue about Harden, this is not one of them.

          • Howie415

            Relax, it was a joke. In the NFL/MLB, a player can be placed on IR/IL for non-playing injuries, or diseases. It happens a lot. We don’t know if the Bulls viewed Vonleh as player on their regular season roster.

            • hiflew

              I am perfectly relaxed, just next time “funny up” the joke so it can be recognized better,

              Anyway, the NBA used to have a 5 game injured list and I honestly don’t have a clue why they got rid of it. I assume it had something to do with some team trying to manipulate the list in order to hoard players. I am not accusing any team in particular, so no one take offense.

              • Howie415

                When did the NBA have this 5 game injury list? Why do you make up this stuff?

                • hiflew

                  Before the 2005-06 season. The 2005 CBA abolished the 5 game injured list. Just because you are ignorant of something, does not mean someone made it up. Maybe try researching instead of lobbing accusations and people might like you a little more.

                  • Curtisrowe

                    Yeah, it was something like that as I recall with the 5 game injured list. It was before 2-way contracts obviously, so I believe teams would rotate guys who were not injured on and off the injured list to change up their active roster and to sign guys to 10 day contracts.

          • harden (mvp),wall, and wood

            The Rockets and Harden have everything to do with anything basketball related. They both live rent free in everyone’s head because they all Fear the Beard.

            • Howie415

              Yes, teams fear the beard??? Since the Beard hasn’t appeared in the NBA finals, is still feared. Are you going to pull a Donald Trump? You lost, but you pretend you won.

          • Jeff Zanghi

            Well said… idk why so many people aren’t grasping that he wasn’t literally “Cut because he got Covid” — they’re two separate things. He got cut cuz he didn’t make the team… and he also happened to have gotten Covid (which may have expedited his release… but it was inevitable and separate from getting Covid anyway)

        • Jeff Zanghi

          He wasn’t actually cut for having Covid!!! He was cut because he wasn’t good enough to make the team… even if ther was an IL/IR/etc. he still would have been cut because he wasn’t even on their 15-man active roster… he was just a camp-invite guy.

    • Jaysfan1981

      Guys guys guys. Enough of this SJW BS.

      Without covid his chances of making the team were slim.

      He got covid, which precludes him from completing his “try out”

      He did NOT get cut because he has covid.

      If he had a garunteed deal and was part of the rotation, he’d still be on the team

      Fml , whats our world coming to . I worry for the future generations

  2. well like the post said teams won’t be public with who gets the virus so other teams who have waived player or that will the player might have the virus . The neg outlook would not be right cuz other teams will waive players that get the virus too. if u can put players on IR cuz of the virus then this kinda would point towards him not gonna make the team but if u can’t put em on there cuz of the virus then it’s all about having space and the bulls can always see how he is after he’s better

  3. Eric Olson

    This player reduction has more to do with roster slots and guaranteed contracts than being a player issue. His positive COVID test only exhilarated his departure. Noah understands this and so does the rest of the league.

      • Jeff Zanghi

        Haha I actually lol’ed at that one. I’m assuming he meant expedited but still… good catch/comment!

  4. x%sure

    If everyone gets the justification why do so many post to say so.
    Do posters read previous posts before posting?— I was going to jest but either I gave up or it got modded.
    1. Optics not good. Won’t root for Bulls.
    2. But there were other reasons “between the lines”.
    3. The Bulls are compelling to watch anyway? (me. haha.)

  5. stevep-4

    He had 0 chance to make the team anyway, his position was full. Practice challenge signing.

  6. Just an FYI to those who are criticizing the Bulls. They had until December 21st to trim down their roster to 15. If they kept Vonleh, his almost 2 million dollar contract would have been guaranteed. Since he’d be unable to play until after that date due to testing positive and the Bulls brought him in to see what he could do, seems like this was the right choice and would allow him to look elsewhere as soon as possible.

    • Little_Dunker_45

      This is information that would have been useful to have in the original post.

        • x%sure

          But the optics ARE bad! Maybe this use of ‘optics’ is not understood? It means a bad look, not a bad reality. But “get covid, get waived” is all some casuals are going to want to take away from this headline. Too bad for them but the NBA is trivial in the world and Vonleh is trivial in the NBA.

          DO NOT REPEAT FOR THE 80th time the actuality of Vonleh’s candidacy. Everyone here gets it, even before the 80 explanations.

          People think they’re so incisive.

  7. Jeff Zanghi

    That sucks for him… I mean I know his release was inevitable anyway… but he doesn’t even get to suit up for a preseason/training camp game all because of getting Covid now… just sh#t luck for him.

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