As word spread of four more NBA players—all with the Brooklyn Nets—having tested positive for coronavirus, teams began to react with appropriate caution. That included, most prominently, the Lakers, whose final game of the season came on March 10 at Staples Center against Brooklyn.
The Lakers players and staff will now be under a 14-day quarantine and will undergo testing for the coronavirus, according to a report in the L.A. Times. Players were made aware of their exposure on Tuesday in a conference call. According to the paper, coach Frank Vogel and VP Rob Pelinka have been having twice-daily conference calls since league action was suspended on March 12.
With the four Nets that have had positive test results, the NBA now has seven players who have tested positive for coronavirus. Kevin Durant confirmed to The Athletic that he is one of the Nets with a positive test, though he is not yet showing symptoms of being sick.
Lakers Release Statement on Coronavirus
The Lakers released a statement detailing the steps the team would be taking next.
Today we were made aware that four players on the Brooklyn Nets have tested positive for COVID-19.We have been in immediate contact with our players and basketball operations staff members since being made aware of this development.
Given the exposure risks from our game against the Nets on March 10th, we are following the next steps of our COVID-19 procedures and protocol that are established in consultation with various health officials, the NBA and our UCLA Health doctors.
The health and well-being of our players, staff, fans, and society in general, is of paramount importance to us, and will continue to be our focus. We appreciate the support of our fans, family and friends, and wish everyone affected by this virus a speedy and healthy recovery.
Lakers Dealing with Coronavirus Hiatus
There have been a variety of reactions from within the Lakers when it comes to coronavirus and the shutdown of the season.
Guard Danny Green was on a Bleacher Report podcast and defended Gobert, who took heavy criticism for having joked about the pandemic before he was tested positive for it.
“People are blaming him for a lot of things, when obviously he was a little careless at times, but who’s to say that’s necessarily the reason why that’s happened? He probably should have been more careful, but it’s not all his fault,” Green said, via Bleacher Report. “Mind you, you got to look at the positive of things. This was gonna happen regardless of whether it was gonna happen to him or somebody else. Somebody in the NBA was gonna catch the virus and give us a wakeup call … I don’t think he should be blamed or bashed as much as he is. I mean, it could happen to anybody.”
LeBron James, before news of the positive test from the Nets came down, joked that he and his family were moving to Wakanda.
And swingman Jared Dudley looked longingly at the weather report just as the self-quarantine began.