Multiple NBA teams have been tested for COVID-19, an illness caused by a novel strain of the coronavirus, but the Timberwolves are not one of them, a team spokesperson said Thursday.
With news Thursday that Boston’s Marcus Smart and two unnamed Lakers tested positive — along with three members of the 76ers organization whose identities were not made public — 10 NBA players are known to have tested positive, including Nets star Kevin Durant.
But the Wolves did not recently face any of the teams on which players tested positive, and no players have shown symptoms, the spokesperson said, so there has been no dire reason to test.
The NBA has come under criticism from officials like New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who wondered how the NBA had such quick access to testing amid shortages across the country.
Commissioner Adam Silver addressed that in an ESPN interview on Wednesday.
“It’s unfortunate we’re at this point in society where it’s triage when it comes to testing, which is a fundamental issue obviously as there are insufficient tests,” Silver said. “I’d only say in the case of the NBA, we’ve been following the recommendations of public health officials.”
So have the Wolves, whose practice facility already had been closed to players and staff when the NBA instituted leaguewide closings that begin Friday and last until further notice.
The Wolves are in daily contact with players, who were allowed to leave for home earlier this week if they so chose. But the league has encouraged players to stay in the market of their team. The Wolves have been coordinating workouts players could do from home and providing them with meals and meal plans daily.
Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell and Kelan Martin broadcast some of their video game antics on Instagram, while Josh Okogie started making music on Twitter.
Okogie also took on Suns guard Ty Jerome in a game of NBA 2K on Wednesday night, the same night the Wolves were slated to play in Phoenix. Okogie lost 93-63.
“I blame the refs,” Okogie joked on Twitter afterward.
The Wolves donated perishable food from Target Center for a free community farmers market on Thursday at Public Square in St. Paul.
ESPN reported the league is hopeful it can resume play in June, likely without fans in attendance. That could mean the NBA Finals might take place in August.
ESPN asked Silver if he thought this could lead to a permanent change to the league calendar with the Finals in August as opposed to June.
“Possibly …” Silver said. “I will say the conventional television calendar has changed so much certainly since I got into this business. ‘Prime-time’ means something different than it used to.”
The NBA has been hesitant to make such a change because traditionally television audiences diminish as summer goes on, but it has been evaluating the change in viewership habits with the advent of streaming in the era of cord cutting.