When word broke on Sunday that Sixers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons had been ruled out of the All-Star Game due to being in close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus, there was some concern that the NBA was at risk of its worst-case scenario – a COVID-19 outbreak at All-Star weekend – playing out. However, Embiid and Simmons didn’t have any contact with their fellow All-Stars and the game was able to take place as planned, with no other players affected.
Now, the NBA is expressing confidence that its mini-bubble in Atlanta for the All-Star Game was a success. As Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press writes, the league said in a statement on Monday that all players, coaches, and officials involved in the event were tested three times in Atlanta, including right before the game, and there were no positives.
As for Embiid and Simmons, there’s no indication so far that their close contact with a barber who tested positive will result in positive tests for them as well. Head coach Doc Rivers said after the game that his two stars continued to register negative tests and that he hopes that continues for a few more days (Twitter link via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer).
“Both of them, their biggest concern would be if they could play the first two games when we get back,” Rivers said, per Reynolds. “So we don’t know the answer to that yet. That’s going to be really important for us. It would be tough to start the second half of the year and not have either one.”
Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- Former NBA first-round pick James Young has signed with Hapoel Tel Aviv, the Israeli team announced today (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). It’s the second stint in Israel for Young, who played for Maccabi Haifa in 2019/20. The veteran wing played for the Westchester Knicks in this year’s G League bubble but hasn’t appeared in an NBA game since 2018.
- In an in-depth piece for HoopsHype, Yossi Gozlan explores what each team can and should do at the trade deadline, including which clubs can afford to be aggressive buyers or sellers, and which ones have more limited trade options.
- Michael Lee of The Washington Post takes a closer look at 20-year-old G League forward Princepal Singh‘s goal of becoming the first Indian-born player to appear in an NBA game, and why his development is important for a league trying to establish a foothold in India.