The sports world is almost entirely shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic, but the Olympic Games are still due to proceed as scheduled from July 24-Aug 9 in Tokyo.
At this point, the US men’s basketball team is still planning to be in Japan for the competition this summer, according to assistant coach Steve Kerr.
Kerr, the Golden State Warriors’ head coach, spoke with reporters on a Tuesday conference call, and he referenced discussions with US head coach Gregg Popovich.
“Pop and I have spoken a couple of times over the last week or so, and everything’s just up in the air,” Kerr said. “There’s no sense of whether things are going to be delayed or anything.
“We’re all kind of sitting here wondering what’s going to happen, and so is the rest of the world. We’re just going to plan as if this is going to happen, and we’re going to try and put together a roster, and that’s all we can do.”
As for his current team, Kerr noted that his Golden State Warriors were scheduled to face the Brooklyn Nets in San Francisco last Thursday before the NBA halted play the night before.
Had the game gone ahead, it would have been played behind closed doors due to virus-fighting measures that already were in place in San Francisco.
On Tuesday, the Nets revealed that four players have tested positive for coronavirus－including injured former Warriors star Kevin Durant. The Nets, but not 31-year-old Durant, were in San Francisco on Wednesday.
“I’m hoping none of our players went and hung out with them the night before our (scheduled) game,” Kerr said on Tuesday. “I don’t know if that is the case or not.”
The San Francisco Bay Area is now under “shelter in place” orders due to the pandemic.
Although at least seven NBA players have tested positive for the coronavirus, and the Los Angeles Lakers reportedly are asking all of their players to undergo testing, the Warriors will not follow the Lakers’ lead. All of Golden State’s players are currently healthy, according to general manager Bob Myers.
“I’ve been told by our doctors that we shouldn’t be testing asymptomatic people in California,” Myers said on a conference call. “We’ve been told there’s not enough tests to do that. And if we’re not interacting with each other, we’re not doing that right now.
“If somebody potentially became exposed and was tested, I think we’d act like anybody, which is that, if somebody you know was exposed or had it, then I think that you can get tested.”
USA Basketball revealed last month a list of 44 players－most of the league’s biggest American stars among them and 15 of the 16 US-born NBA All-Stars from this season－who are under consideration for the Olympic team. The original plan was to pick a 12-player roster by early June, and for that team to gather in Las Vegas in early July to begin training camp.
Lakers players are reportedly under quarantine for 14 days and will be tested for COVID-19.
At the time of writing, the Nets’ foursome, Utaz Jazz pair Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell, and Christian Wood of the Detroit Pistons were known to have tested positive for the virus.
The NBA is on hiatus for at least 30 days and is not expected to play again for eight weeks, if not longer.