There’s a lot going on with COVID-19 throughout the country right now and the NBA is no different. Spencer Dinwiddie and DeAndre Jordan, both of the Nets, tested positive recently and while Jordan has pulled out of Orlando, there’s still a chance Dinwiddie will try to play, despite showing symptoms, including tightness in his chest. At this point, with nearly 20 players testing positive, you have to wonder if the NBA is going to happen at the end of July or not. I still think they’ve come too far to turn around now, but positive tests are spiking across the country and in Florida, and anything could happen over the next three weeks.
Here’s a recap of some of the NBA news stories over the past several days.
The Nets are officially a mess and the health of the organization is a bigger story than the team trying to get into the playoffs starting at the end of July. In addition to Jordan and Dinwiddie, Kevin Durant (Achilles), Kyrie Irving (shoulder), Wilson Chandler (opting out of Orlando) and Nicolas Claxton (shoulder surgery) are all out right now.
Tyler Johnson should see all he can handle running the point for the Nets in Orlando, Caris LeVert will get a huge boost and can play point guard, shooting guard and small forward, while Jarrett Allen will get a ton of minutes at center with Jordan staying home. All three of these guys are going to be popular DFS plays when the season resumes. Additionally, Taurean Prince, who should start and get a ton of minutes at power forward, Joe Harris, Garrett Temple, Chris Chiozza and Rodions Kurucs should all see a boost, as well. The Nets may get run out of Orlando with its shell of a team but many of the ones who are going to play should be fun fantasy options once play finally resumes. Additionally, they signed Justin Anderson to replace Chandler on the roster. The Nets will also be able to sign players to replace Dinwiddie and Jordan for Orlando.
Portland will sign point guard Jaylen Adams to replace Trevor Ariza (opted out) and he was the runner up for MVP in the G-League this season. As long as Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Anfernee Simons are healthy it’s going to be tough for Adams to make a splash, but you never know.
John Wall is going to work out in Miami and not join the Wizards in Orlando. The good news is that Wall is doing well after his Achilles injury and should be good to go for next season. With Wall out, Bradley Beal should go off in Orlando, while Ish Smith and Shabazz Napier will continue to fill in for Wall.
The Cavs saw Andre Drummond pick up his player option (and may sign an extension in October), signed Jordan Bell to a two-year deal (which I kind of like) and converted PF Dean Wade’s two-way deal into a two-year contract. Wade will need for Kevin Love to be moved before he can make much of a splash in the NBA, but Love may not be in Cleveland too much longer and Wade averaged 14.2 points and 7.5 boards in the G-League last season.
J.R. Smith and LeBron James will be reunited in L.A. and JRS will replace Avery Bradley, who opted out of Orlando. I think Alex Caruso will be the better fantasy option both in Orlando and next season, but it should be interesting to see Smith and Bron back together again. In case you’ve forgotten, Smith appeared to be unaware of the score in Game 1 of the 2018 Finals and drew the ire of James. We still don’t know if Dwight Howard will be in Orlando or not, but he’ll need to make a decision shortly after this column is posted.
The Clips signed Joakim Noah for the rest of this season and he’s non-guaranteed for next year, as well. He’ll offer emergency depth for the Clippers in Orlando and may take some pressure off Montrezl Harrell and allow him to play more manageable minutes.
Jabari Parker tested positive for covid-19 and is feeling better, but the league is also looking into reports of him playing tennis without a mask. Either way, he wasn’t a big part of what the Kings were doing, even without Marvin Bagley last season.
Courtney Lee, who is done with a calf injury that required surgery, is anxious to join his teammates in Orlando as the Mavs will try to shock the world and sneak into the NBA Finals. Lee’s a big locker room guy and Luka Doncic seems to look up to him, so the fact he’s going to be with his team could be a big deal.
Nikola Jokic has tested positive but isn’t showing symptoms and is hoping to be ready to go for Orlando. He’s supposedly in great shape and as long as he doesn’t suffer a setback, my guess is he’ll be ready to rock in Orlando.
Assuming things go as planned in Orlando, NBA action will be back before you know it. And while most season-long leagues are dead ducks, DFS should be up and ready to roll along with the NBA. And I can’t wait.
Both Jonathan Isaac (knee) and Al-Farouq Aminu (knee) have not been ruled out for the Magic just yet, but coach Steve Clifford says it's also too early to tell if they have a chance at playing in Orlando or not. Isaac will be the guy to watch here, although you also have to wonder if he'll be limited if he does play.
Three Pelicans have reportedly tested positive for covid-19 but their identities have not been revealed.
Victor Oladipo has looked great at workouts and it sounds like he’s leaning toward playing in Orlando, while Justin Holiday made the tough decision to commit to playing for the Pacers. Rosters are due on July 1, so look for more signings and opt ins & outs throughout the day on Wednesday.