“Found out last night and confirmed again today that I’ve tested positive for covid-19 while being back in market,” Jordan wrote on Twitter. “As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season.”
Dinwiddie’s positive test, which was first reported by the Athletic, leaves the guard’s status in question for the Nets, who compiled a 30-34 record before the NBA season was indefinitely suspended March 11. Durant and Kyrie Irving have both ruled themselves out as they recover from Achilles and shoulder injuries, respectively.
There have been more than 2.5 million coronavirus cases and 124,000 deaths related to the disease in the United States this year. New coronavirus cases began spiking last week in Florida as NBA teams prepared to begin traveling to the state on July 7.
“I probably wouldn’t have played because the unknown going into that situation looks crazy right now, seeing so many new cases,” he told the Dawg Talk podcast last week. “It’s just so unpredictable.”
Irving, meanwhile, emerged earlier this month as an opponent of the NBA’s restart plans, indicating that he felt basketball could distract from ongoing protests for social justice.
“Crazy to me how fans, ex-players and players criticized Kyrie for voicing his opinion,” Chandler wrote on Twitter. “A opinion that wasn’t wrong at all. Who cares if you didn’t like his delivery or the way he went about it. With everything that’s going on from police brutality to covid he had the backbone to speak his mind. Whether I’m on the court playing or not I respect and support his opinion.”
The losses leave Brooklyn perilously thin: Durant and Irving are their franchise players, while Dinwiddie, Jordan and Chandler were starters in the days before the NBA’s shutdown. The Nets enter Orlando as the East’s seventh seed, a half-game up on the Orlando Magic and 8.5 games back of the sixth-place Philadelphia 76ers.
The Nets, who parted ways with coach Kenny Atkinson in March, have yet to name a full-time replacement and will be led by interim coach Jacque Vaughn. Per the terms of the NBA’s restart, Brooklyn has been able to ink replacement players, including guard Tyler Johnson. Their remaining healthy rotation players include Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen.
Even before this latest round of roster hits, the Nets didn’t have much to play for in Florida. They stood little chance of upsetting the Milwaukee Bucks or Toronto Raptors, their most likely first-round playoff opponents, and are now at risk of falling out of the playoffs entirely.
The NBA’s restart plan calls for each of the 22 teams to play eight regular season games at a restricted single-site campus at Disney World that will isolate players from the general public. Then, a play-in round will be triggered to determine the final spot in each conference if the ninth seed finishes within four games of the eighth seed. Should the play-in be necessary, the eighth seed must win a head-to-head game against the ninth seed to advance, while the ninth seed must win two consecutive games to claim the final spot.
The Washington Wizards, currently the ninth seed and six games back of the Nets, went 2-0 against the Nets during the regular season. Brooklyn and Washington will play a regular season game on Aug. 2 before potentially facing off in the play-in round. Davis Bertans, the Wizards’ sharpshooting forward, will also miss the restart after he declined to participate due to his upcoming free agency.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Friday that more than 300 NBA players were tested for the coronavirus last week, with 16 players testing positive. The plan is to quarantine any player who tests positive while in Florida and to continue play without him.
“We ultimately believe it will be safer on our campus than outside it,” Silver said, leaving open the possibility that a “significant spread” of the coronavirus inside the bubble “might lead us to stop” the resumed season. “We’re not saying full steam ahead no matter what happens.”