There are two more NBA players on a growing list who are either out or, at least, iffy on participating in the league’s return at the Disney World complex at the end of July and this time, one is a legitimate star—Spencer Dinwiddie, the leading scorer on the Nets with 20.6 points per game, told The Athletic that he has tested positive for COVID-19.
His teammate, center DeAndre Jordan, has also tested positive he said on Twitter on Monday. Jordan won’t be participating.
The league, whose 2019-20 season has been on suspension because of the spread of the novel coronavirus since March 11, is scheduled to begin its restart in Orlando on July 30. The Nets’ first game is on July 31 against Orlando.
Here’s how Dinwiddie explained the situation to The Athletic:
Over the past few months, I have been diligent about protecting myself and others from COVID-19 by following all designated protocol and quarantining. I was ready and prepared to rejoin my teammates as we were to be an early entry team in the resumed season. I flew private to return to New York, passed multiple COVID-19 tests over my first several days in New York and was able to participate in a couple practices within the first week.
Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter into the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately, I am now positive. Given that I have experienced symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, it is unclear on whether or not I’ll be able to participate in Orlando.
Hindsight is 20/20.
Dinwiddie Carried Nets’ Offense
For the Nets, the possibility of losing Dinwiddie for the season restart is an obvious blow. The team held out some hope that, as the delay in bringing the NBA back continued, it might get the two stars it signed last summer—Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Kevin Durant (Achilles tendon)—back from an extended time away because of injury. But both players have said they will not participate in games in Orlando.
That left Dinwiddie to carry the load for the team, as he did for much of the year. In addition to his 20.6 points, Dinwiddie averaged 6.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds. Those were all career highs.
He did struggle with his shooting, though, making just 41.5% of his shots and 30.8% from the 3-point line. But for a team ranked second-worst in offensive efficiency among the 22 teams scheduled to play in Orlando, Dinwiddie was critical to the Nets’ hopes of putting together a strong close to the season.
Jordan played a significant role for Brooklyn, too, averaging 8.3 points and 10.0 rebounds in 22.0 minutes. The team is expected to sign a replacement for him.
High-Profile Losses Worry NBA Restart
For the NBA, the worry remains that more high-profile players who test positive for COVID-19 or suffer injuries could be forced out of action, weakening a field of players that is already shaky. Some have questioned the wisdom of the league pushing through with a finish to the season while the pandemic is still having a wide-ranging impact in the country.
Several players have already opted out of the reset, notably Avery Bradley of the Lakers, Davis Bertans of the Wizards, and Trevor Ariza of the Trail Blazers. The Nets were already planning to come back without reserve forward Wilson Chandler.
Last week, the league announced it found 16 positive coronavirus results out of the 302 players it tested. Those players could still be available for the NBA’s restart but if there continue to be positive cases as July moves on, teams will be looking at losing players to quarantines.
Dinwiddie is, by far, the biggest name to be potentially forced out of action. Jordan, too, is a former All-Star. They might not be the last big names to face these decisions, however.