COVID-19

Southeast Notes: Bridges, Wizards, Beal, Lowry, Chalmers

Hornets forward Miles Bridges met the “starter criteria” on Friday when he appeared in Charlotte’s starting lineup for the 41st time this season. The starter criteria applies to players who are eligible for restricted free agency at season’s end, and dictates the amount of their qualifying offer. By meeting the criteria, Bridges ensured his qualifying offer will increase to $7,921,300.

The amount of Bridges’ qualifying offer probably won’t have much of an impact on his free agency. He’s having a breakout season and is a good bet to be paid in excess of $20MM per year on his next contract, so accepting his one-year QO likely won’t be an option he seriously considers, even now that it’s worth a little more.

Rockets forward Jae’Sean Tate also met the starter criteria on Friday by making his 41st start of the season, but Houston holds a minimum-salary team option on Tate for the 2022/23 season, so he won’t reach restricted free agency until ’23, assuming he’s not extended before then.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • The Wizards announced today that Pat Delany, who was serving as the team’s acting head coach while Wes Unseld Jr. is in the COVID-19 protocols, has entered the protocols himself. Assistant Joseph Blair, Washington’s new acting head coach, told reporters that star guard Bradley Beal has exited the protocols and will be a game-time decision on Monday (Twitter link via Josh Robbins of The Athletic).
  • In an article for The Athletic, Robbins and David Aldridge discussed the Wizards‘ needs and identified some possible trade targets for the team, including Jerami Grant, Harrison Barnes, and Thaddeus Young.
  • Heat guard Kyle Lowry won’t face his old team for the first time on Monday after all, having been ruled out of Miami’s game vs. Toronto for personal reasons, as Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel tweets.
  • Veteran guard Mario Chalmers admitted he was disappointed not to play at all during his recent 10-day stint with the Heat, but said he didn’t want to be a “disruption” for the team and is looking forward to proving with Miami’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce, that he deserves another shot at the NBA level. “Hopefully another 10-day comes out of it and I get signed for the rest of the year,” Chalmers said, per Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

COVID-19 Updates: Haliburton, Clippers, Powell, Caruso, Bolmaro

For a brief period in late December and early January, there were well over 100 NBA players in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. However, the situation has improved considerably since that spike. The latest update of our protocols tracker shows just 15 players who are currently affected.

That doesn’t mean no one is entering the protocols anymore though. As Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee writes, Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton was placed in the protocols ahead of the team’s game vs. Houston on Sunday. Haliburton joins Robert Woodard as the two Sacramento players affected.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates:

  • Clippers teammates Luke Kennard and Justise Winslow have exited the COVID-19 protocols and are taking part in return to competition reconditioning, as Mirjam Swanson of the Southern California News Group tweets. Kennard is doubtful to play on Monday vs. Indiana, while Winslow is questionable.
  • Trail Blazers wing Norman Powell was upgraded to questionable for Monday’s contest in Orlando and his status is now listed as “COVID recovery,” so it sounds like he has cleared the health and safety protocols (Twitter link via Aaron Fentress of The Oregonian).
  • Bulls guard Alex Caruso won’t play on Monday in Memphis, but he’s no longer in the protocols, tweets K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago.
  • Timberwolves rookie Leandro Bolmaro exited the protocols on Sunday and was available vs. Golden State. He played the final 1:42 of garbage time in a 20-point Wolves victory.

COVID-19 Updates: White, Green, McLaughlin, Roby, Azubuike

Spurs guard Derrick White exited the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols last night, per Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News (Twitter link). White suited up for San Antonio and logged 25 minutes off the bench in an eventual 101-94 victory over the Clippers on Saturday.

The 6’4″ combo guard out of Colorado shot 7-of-11 from the field and 2-of-4 from the free-throw line for a total of 19 points in the victory. He also chipped in four assists, four rebounds, a steal and three blocks. White is currently averaging 14.6 PPG, 5.4 APG and 3.5 RPG during his sixth NBA season with the 16-27 Spurs.

Here are more COVID-19 updates from around the NBA:

  • Nuggets reserve power forward JaMychal Green has entered the league’s COVID-19 protocols, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The 31-year-old veteran is averaging 5.7 PPG and 3.7 RPG across 35 contests with the Jazz during the 2021/22 NBA season.
  • Timberwolves reserve point guard Jordan McLaughlin has entered the league’s coronavirus protocols and will be unavailable for Minnesota ahead of today’s contest against the Warriors, according to Minnesota’s PR team (Twitter link).
  • Thunder power forward Isaiah Roby has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to Joe Mussatto of the Oklahoman (via Twitter). The 6’8″ big man was available to play in yesterday’s 107-102 loss to the Cavaliers, though he was ultimately a DNP – CD.
  • Jazz center Udoka Azubuike has cleared the protocols, tweets Ryan Miller of KSL.com. The 22-year-old seven-footer has appeared sparingly for Utah thus far this season, suiting up for just six games.

COVID Updates: Porzingis, Chriss, Kidd, Jones

Mavericks big man Kristaps Porzingis has cleared the league’s health and safety protocols and is listed as a probable starter on Saturday. However, it’s not certain he will play, since Dallas has always been cautious regarding Porzingis’ health and he hasn’t practiced for a couple of weeks, Brad Townsend of the Dallas Morning News notes (Twitter links). Porzingis, who is averaging 20.6 PPG and 8.0 RPG, hasn’t played since New Year’s Eve.

We have more COVID-19 related news:

  • Marquese Chriss will remain with the Mavericks but will be inactive with Porzingis off the protocols list, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. The Mavs will look at their options to create roster spot for Chriss after his latest 10-day contract under the hardship exception expires on January 20. Chriss is averaging 6.8 PPG and 3.9 RPG in 12 games with the Mavs.
  • Dallas coach Jason Kidd is also out of protocols and will return to the bench when the team faces Orlando, Townsend tweets.
  • Kings big man Damian Jones has cleared the protocols, James Ham of The Kings Beat tweets. He made his last appearance on January 7 and is now reconditioning.

COVID Updates: Gobert, Gay, McDermott, Unseld Jr., Testing Procedures

The Jazz got some very good news on Friday, as center Rudy Gobert has exited the league’s health and safety protocols, Tim MacMahon of ESPN tweets. Utah’s defense has fallen apart without Gobert patrolling the middle. The Jazz’s defensive rating has ballooned to 120.8 in the five games he’s missed and they only won one of those contests. Forward Rudy Gay has also exited the protocols, Eric Walden of the Salt Lake Tribune tweets. Utah plays its next game on Sunday.

We have more COVID-related news:

  • According to the league’s injury report for this evening’s games, Spurs forward Doug McDermott is no longer in the protocols. McDermott has not played since New Year’s Eve.
  • Wizards coach Wes Unseld Jr. has entered the protocols, according to a team press release. Pat Delany will assume acting head coaching duties for Saturday’s game against Portland.
  • Hornets big man Kai Jones has cleared the protocols and was eligible to play on Friday, the team tweets.
  • Players who remain unvaccinated or who are eligible for a booster shot will remain under daily surveillance and game day testing through February 17, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets. Those who are currently ineligible for a booster due to having been more recently vaccinated won’t be under those restrictions, NBA Communications tweets. Those restrictions also won’t apply to league staff members, since they are all fully vaccinated.

Grizzlies Sign Dakota Mathias To Second 10-Day Deal

The Grizzlies have signed guard Dakota Mathias to a second 10-day contract using a COVID-related hardship exception, the team announced today in a press release. Mathias initially signed a 10-day pact with Memphis near the end of December.

During his first 10 days with the Grizzlies, Mathias appeared in four games, but was limited to garbage-time action, logging just eight total minutes.

The 26-year-old shooting guard went undrafted out of Purdue in 2018 and spent his first professional season in Spain. He joined the Texas Legends – Dallas’ G League affiliate – for the 2019/20 campaign, then began last season on a two-way contract with the Sixers before being waived in January.

The Grizzlies announced on Thursday that big man Killian Tillie has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols, joining Yves Pons. With two players in the COVID-19 protocols and no replacement players signed, Memphis qualified for a hardship exception to sign Mathias without having to open up a spot on the 15-man roster.

Mathias’ 10-day contract will pay him $85,578, but that money won’t count against the Grizzlies’ team salary for cap or tax purposes.

COVID-19 Updates: G. Hill, Budenholzer, Warren, F. Jackson, More

The Bucks received good news today, as veteran George Hill and head coach Mike Budenholzer have both cleared the health and safety protocols, Eric Nehm of The Athletic reports (Twitter links).

However, the team did place one more player in the protocols: Langston Galloway. Galloway’s 10-day contract expires on Sunday night, so it’s possible he’ll no longer be a Buck by the time he exits the protocols.

Here are more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Pacers forward T.J. Warren has exited the protocols, James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star tweets. Unfortunately, Warren is still sidelined as he recovers from foot surgery.
  • Pistons guard Frank Jackson has exited the protocols but needs to wait a couple days to recondition. He might return Sunday against the Suns, Rod Beard of The Detroit News tweets.
  • Robert Woodard has entered the protocols for the Kings, according to James Ham of ESPN 1320 (Twitter link).
  • Heat forward Markieff Morris has exited the protocols but needs time to recondition, tweets Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
  • Two-way rookie Ish Wainright has exited the protocols for the Suns, but is listed as questionable for Friday’s contest against Indiana due to reconditioning, per Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic (via Twitter).
  • Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson has entered the protocols, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic.
  • Marcus Smart of the Celtics is listed as questionable for Friday’s game against Philadelphia due to the protocols, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). Based on his status, Smart may have returned an inconclusive test, so we’ll have to wait for an update to see if he’ll actually be sidelined or not.

COVID-19 Updates: Whiteside, Adams, Barton, Hornets, Spurs, More

Jazz center Hassan Whiteside has entered the league’s health and safety protocols, per Eric Walden of The Salt Lake Tribune (via Twitter). Utah’s frontcourt depth is extremely depleted; in addition to Whiteside, Rudy Gobert, Rudy Gay, and Udoka Azubuike are all in the protocols, while 10-day hardship signee Norvel Pelle is out Wednesday against Cleveland with a non-COVID illness, Walden tweets. Whiteside is now the sixth Jazz player currently in the protocols.

Here are more COVID-related updates from around the NBA:

  • Grizzlies center Steven Adams is listed as questionable with a non-COVID illness for Thursday’s contest against Minnesota, Memphis’ PR department tweets, so he has cleared the protocols.
  • The Nuggets received two pieces of good news, as Will Barton has exited the COVID-19 protocols and Markus Howard, who was supposed to be sidelined at least six weeks with a sprained knee, is listed as questionable for Thursday’s contest against Portland, per Harrison Wind of DNVR Sports (Twitter link). Howard has missed the past four weeks.
  • The news out of Charlotte is a mixed bag, as Vernon Carey Jr. has cleared the protocols, but rookie big man Kai Jones has entered for the Hornets, per the team’s PR department (Twitter links).
  • Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell have cleared the protocols for the Spurs and are available Wednesday night against Houston, Jeff McDonald of The San Antonio Express-News tweets.
  • Bucks guard Grayson Allen said he was fortunate to have an asymptomatic case of COVID-19 and will be available Thursday against the Warriors, according to Jim Owczarski of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Twitter link). Allen also mentioned that the time away helped him recover from the flu.
  • Rockets guard Armoni Brooks has cleared the health and safety protocols and is available Wednesday against the Spurs, tweets Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle.

COVID-19 Updates: Beal, Gill, Pacers, Pritchard, Young, Sixers

Wizards guard Bradley Beal re-entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday, as Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. It’s Beal’s second protocol-related absence within the last month — he missed three games between December 23-28 due to contact tracing, Robbins notes.

Unlike last season, when any player determined to be a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was placed in the protocols, those guidelines only apply to unvaccinated players this season. Beal began the season unvaccinated, but confirmed when he returned in late December that he had recently received the vaccine. That could mean his absence this time around isn’t related to contact tracing, and that he returned a positive or inconclusive test.

The Wizards did get one piece of good news on Tuesday afternoon, as forward Anthony Gill exited the protocols, per Robbins (Twitter link). That means Beal is currently the only Washington player affected.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers announced on Tuesday that Caris LeVert and Goga Bitadze have exited the health and safety protocols, as James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star writes. Both players have a chance to be available on Wednesday vs. Boston. They’re listed as questionable for now.
  • The Celtics no longer have any players in the COVID-19 protocols, as guard Payton Pritchard has been cleared, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).
  • Spurs forward Thaddeus Young is no longer in the health and safety protocols, tweets Paul Garcia of Project Spurs. However, San Antonio still has five players in the protocols, tied with Utah for the highest current total in the league.
  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey and forward Paul Reed aren’t listed on the team’s latest injury report, indicating that they’ve both cleared the protocols (Twitter links via Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia).
  • Of approximately 2,400 “tier 1” staffers working for NBA teams, there have been more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 this season, creating major challenges for franchises, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. “You’re basically taking an assembly of people who help the athletes and taking a few people off the line every few days for a week or more,” one athletic training official told ESPN. “It has interfered significantly with the regular protocols and people being given responsibilities/duties they don’t normally have or are even qualified to do in order to get the job done. It’s been the Wild Wild West.”

COVID-19 Updates: McMillan, Casey, Dieng, Suns, Holmes, More

Two NBA head coaches have exited the health and safety protocols today. Hawks coach Nate McMillan was back at practice with the team on Tuesday, according to Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Twitter link). McMillan should be ready to return to Atlanta’s bench on Wednesday night when the team hosts Miami.

Additionally, Pistons head coach Dwane Casey is no longer in the protocols after having entered them on Monday. In a press release confirming Casey’s status, the club stated that Casey registered two consecutive negative COVID-19 tests following what was believed to be a false positive. Casey will coach Detroit on Tuesday night against Chicago.

Here are a few more protocol-related updates from around the league:

  • Hawks big man Gorgui Dieng has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Sarah K. Spencer of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Atlanta had one of the league’s worst COVID-19 outbreaks this season, with a staggering 13 players in the protocols at one point in late December. However, the team doesn’t have any players left in the protocols now.
  • The Suns got guard Landry Shamet out of the COVID-19 protocols on Monday, but saw two-way forward Ish Wainright enter them, as Kellan Olson of 98.7 Arizona Sports tweets. Wainright is currently the only Sun affected.
  • Richaun Holmes has cleared the protocols and is headed to the Kings‘ G League affiliate in Stockton for some reconditioning work, says James Ham of ESPN 1320 (Twitter links).
  • The Thunder placed forward Kenrich Williams in the protocols on Monday and ruled him out for Tuesday’s game vs. Washington, tweets Andrew Schlecht of The Athletic.
  • The Grizzlies are once again listing Yves Pons as being in the health and safety protocols (Twitter link). Pons initially entered the protocols on Saturday and exited them on Sunday. It’s unclear whether that status update on Sunday was a mistake or if his test results have been inconsistent in recent days, but Pons is once again listed in our health and safety protocols tracker.