Los Angeles, United States—The NBA announced Wednesday (Thursday Philippine time) that 48 players have tested positive for the coronavirus, a dramatic increase over the zero positive tests reported during last season’s quarantine bubble in Florida.
The league said the positive tests are the result of 546 tests carried out between November 24-30 as the NBA gets set to begin preseason games in nine days.
The zero positive tests were from the beginning of last season’s quarantine bubble to the end of the season in mid-October.
One team, the Golden State Warriors, has already delayed the beginning of their individual workouts by a day this week because of players testing positive.
This was the initial round of tests for players as they returned to their teams ahead of the start of individual workouts on Tuesday. The NBA says it will be testing all of its players daily throughout the season.
Meanwhile, reigning NBA finals MVP LeBron James, who will turn 36 this month, has agreed to a two-year, $85 million contract extension with the Los Angeles Lakers, his agent Rich Paul said.
The extension means James will make $39.2 million next season and will be a Laker through the 2022-23 season, American sports broadcaster ESPN reported Paul as saying.
James will also make $41.1 million in 2021-22 and $44.5 million in 2022-23. By the time his contract ends he will have played two decades in the NBA.
Last season, James averaged 25.3 points and led the NBA in assists with 10.2 per game.
The present infection rate number is higher than the 46 players that tested positive for Covid-19 in the weeks ahead of the start of the pandemic-disrupted season. The new results show the league has a positivity rate of 8.8 percent, which is high.
Under the league’s tough new Covid-19 protocols, a player who tests positive has to refrain from workouts for at least 10 days and more if he is showing symptoms.
The NBA’s first preseason games are December 11 with the regular season scheduled to begin less than two weeks later.
James was named playoff MVP after the Lakers beat the Miami Heat in six games for the NBA championship.
He became the first player in NBA history to win the award with three different teams. He also was finals MVP with the Heat in 2012 and 2013 and with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2016.
James enters his 18th NBA season in 2020-21 ranked third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 34,241 points, behind only Karl Malone (36,928) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387).
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