The Denver Nuggets expect to have All-Star center Nikola Jokic at their disposal for the NBA's restart, head coach Michael Malone said.

Jokic remains in his native Serbia having reportedly tested positive for coronavirus as the NBA plans to resume after the 2019-20 season was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The league is set to return via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30, with the New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers in action on the first day back.

Denver are scheduled to resume their campaign against the Miami Heat in the Orlando bubble on August 1 and the Nuggets expect Jokic to return to the United States in time.

"Nikola feels great," Malone told reporters via a Zoom call on Wednesday. "We are working on getting him back here.

"Next Tuesday we depart for Orlando; the hope and expectation is that Nikola Jokic will be with us on that plane.

"From everything that I have heard and talked to him, he feels great, he feels fine and is excited to get back."

Prior to the coronavirus crisis, Jokic was averaging 20.2 points, 10.2 rebounds and 6.9 assists per game for the Nuggets.

The Nuggets were third in the Western Conference with a 43-22 record, behind leaders the Lakers (49-14) and the Clippers (44-20).

Denver, meanwhile, opted to close down their practice facility following COVID-19 cases.

"We have closed down the facility," Malone confirmed. "We felt it was the right thing to do. Today was supposed to be the first day of Phase 3 where all our players were required to be back in the gym and we are allowed to work with them albeit just 1-on-0.

"We have put the safety of our team ahead of this Phase 3. There is a chance we can open the gym up before we leave, depending upon results in the coming days. I am not going to get into who tested but we have had multiple people in our travel party test positive."

Amid the unprecedented situation, Malone feels this season's NBA championship will be the toughest ever contested.

"There has been this ongoing dialogue and conversation that whoever wins it this year, there will be an asterisk by their name and I don't buy that at all," Malone later added.

"If you are able to go into a bubble and be isolated from your friends and family, to have no home-court advantage, to have a league interruption of four months and you are able to spend 90 days and come out of there a champion, I think this will be the toughest championship ever won. There is no asterisk."

Los Angeles Lakers vice-president of basketball operations and general manager Rob Pelinka believes the NBA restart in the Orlando bubble will be a "mental test".

The NBA season is set to resume on July 30 after the 2019-20 campaign was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic in March.

Orlando's Disney World complex will host 22 teams, with LeBron James' Lakers headlining the league's comeback against rivals the Los Angeles Clippers on July 30 after the New Orleans Pelicans face the Utah Jazz on the same day.

The Lakers topped the Western Conference with a 49-14 record prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

"I think Orlando itself is going to be as much of a mental test as it is a physical test just because of the extraordinary circumstances there," Pelinka said on a video conference call on Tuesday.

"I think a team like ours, that has such a strong togetherness component, will have an advantage at that part. This team of guys love being together and love playing together. I think that's the significant part of the [first] 63 games."

Pelinka, whose Lakers will be without Avery Bradley after he opted out of the restart, added: "We have put a ton of thought into the mental part of this journey. It is going to be as much as a physical grind as it's going to be a mental grind.

"And I think the mental component might even be more paramount. And so, yes ... we have mental wellness people on staff here and we've been working with them on developing a protocol to address some of the concerns that are going to come up from an extended time away from family or an extended time living in a city that's not your home."

The Lakers had gone 8-2 after the All-Star break, with James and team-mate Anthony Davis leading the way for the storied Los Angeles franchise, who have not won a championship since 2010.

"I think that we're in a unique situation where we've had such a strong chemistry, such a strong team chemistry, that I think that platform is going to be seamless in terms of guys jumping on and being part of that identity and chemistry that we already had formed," Pelinka said.

"I don't see that changing at all with the new additions, just because it's such a strong identity."

NBA commissioner Adam Silver conceded the league's planned restart could be scrapped due to coronavirus cases.

The 2019-20 NBA season is set to return via a 22-team format at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida on July 30 after the campaign was halted due to COVID-19 in March.

However, there are concerns after Brooklyn Nets pair DeAndre Jordan and Spencer Dinwiddie tested positive for coronavirus – the duo will sit out the team's campaign.

"Never full steam ahead no matter what," Silver told TIME 100 Talks when asked if the league does not go ahead. "One thing we are learning about this virus is much [is] unpredictable, and we and our players together with their union look at the data on a daily basis.

"If there were something to change that was outside of the scope of what we are playing for, certainly we would revisit our plans.

"We are testing daily. We haven't put a precise number on it, but if we were to see a large number of cases and see spread in our community, that would of course be a cause to stop as well."

Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans are scheduled to face the Utah Jazz in the first game back on July 30, with LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers also in action against the Los Angeles Clippers on the same day.

Silver added: "We are going to see as we go. Certainly if cases are isolated, that's one thing. A lot of the determination will be our understanding of how our community became infected. That will be part of our judgment in terms of whether we should continue. But certainly if we had a lot of cases, we are going to stop. You cannot run from this virus.

"I am absolutely convinced that it will be safer on this campus than off this campus because there aren't many situations that I am aware of where there is mass testing of asymptomatic employees.

"In some ways, this is maybe a model for how other industries can ultimately open. But I am only going to say we will be responsible and watch what is happening, but the biggest indicator will be if we begin to see a spread in our community."

Brooklyn Nets center DeAndre Jordan announced on Monday he has tested positive for coronavirus and will not join the team in Orlando when the NBA resumes its season in late July. 

Jordan's revelation came hours after team-mate Spencer Dinwiddie told The Athletic he tested positive for COVID-19. The point guard said he has yet to determine whether he will take part in the restart. 

"Found out last night and confirmed again today that I've tested positive for Covid while being back in [the Brooklyn] market. As a result of this, I will not be in Orlando for the resumption of the season," Jordan wrote on Twitter. 

The 31-year-old was a key reserve for the Nets prior to the NBA's suspension of the season in March and leads the team in rebounding at 10.0 per game.  

Dinwiddie, who also said he contracted the virus while working out in New York and added that he has experienced symptoms such as a fever and chest tightness, is averaging career highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game. His scoring average ranks second among Brooklyn players behind only Kyrie Irving, who underwent season-ending shoulder surgery in early March. 

The Nets also announced during the stoppage that star forward Kevin Durant will not return this season as he continues to rehab a torn Achilles tendon he suffered with the Golden State Warriors during the 2019 NBA Finals. The two-time Finals MVP was also one of four Nets players to test positive for COVID-19 in April, though he has since been declared symptom-free. 

In addition to Durant, Irving, Jordan and possibly Dinwiddie, Brooklyn will be without Wilson Chandler after the veteran forward told ESPN on Sunday he will not play in Orlando due to health and family reasons.

The Nets will enter the resumption holding the number seven seed in the Eastern Conference and are six games ahead of the ninth-placed Washington Wizards.

Brooklyn Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie announced on Monday he has tested positive for coronavirus and is uncertain to join the team in Orlando for next month's restart of the NBA season.

Dinwiddie confirmed his diagnosis in an interview with The Athletic and added that he has experienced symptoms related to COVID-19.

Per NBA medical protocols that have been established during the restart plan, he will be put into quarantine for at least 10 days and must pass at least two retests before being permitted to rejoin the Nets.

"Originally, we were supposed to be one of the teams to enter the Orlando bubble early, but training camp got switched back to New York and unfortunately I am now positive," he said. "Given that I have experienced symptoms, including fever and chest tightness, it is unclear on whether or not I'll be able to participate in Orlando."

Dinwiddie had planned on playing when the Nets resume their season July 31 at the Walt Disney World Complex and said he initially tested negative for the virus after returning to New York to take part in workouts.

"I was ready and prepared to rejoin my team-mates as we were to be an early entry team in the resumed season," Dinwiddie said. "I flew private to return to New York, passed multiple COVID-19 tests over my first several days in New York and was able to participate in a couple of practices within the first week."

Prior to the season's stoppage on March 11, Dinwiddie was averaging career highs of 20.6 points and 6.8 assists per game to help the Nets maintain a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference despite injuries to stars Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Brooklyn enter the restart seventh in the East and six games ahead of the ninth-placed Washington Wizards.

Neither Durant nor Irving are expected to return this season, and ESPN reported on Sunday that veteran forward Wilson Chandler informed the Nets he will not take part in the restart due to health and family reasons.

It is unclear if Dinwiddie is one of the 16 unidentified players the NBA announced last week were positive for COVID-19 during preliminary testing for the season's resumption. Other players who have either revealed they tested positive or reportedly done so include Denver Nuggets All-Star Nikola Jokic, Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon, Miami Heat forward Derrick Jones Jr. and three Sacramento Kings – Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker and Alex Len.

Brooklyn Nets veteran Wilson Chandler has opted to sit out the NBA's season restart, prioritising the health of his family amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The NBA has been suspended since March, but the 2019-20 campaign is scheduled to resume at the Disney World complex in Orlando, Florida next month.

Brooklyn are set to return to action against the Orlando Magic on July 31, however, Nets forward Chandler will not be involved.

"As difficult as it will be to not be with my team-mates, the health and wellbeing of my family has to come first," Chandler told ESPN on Sunday.

"Thank you to the Nets organisation for understanding and supporting me in this decision, and I will be watching and rooting for our team in Orlando."

The Nets were seventh in the Eastern Conference with a 30-34 record prior to the COVID-19 crisis.

Chandler, who joined the Nets at the start of the season, had been averaging 5.9 points and 4.1 rebounds per game for Brooklyn in 2019-20.

The season will officially resume on July 30, with the New Orleans Pelicans playing the Utah Jazz and LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers taking on Kawhi Leonard's Los Angeles Clippers.

The NBA officially revealed its schedule for the resumption of the 2019-20 season following the coronavirus-enforced break and opening night features a star rookie and a marquee matchup. 

Zion Williamson and the New Orleans Pelicans will face the Utah Jazz at the Disney World complex near Orlando, Florida on July 30 in the first game of the resumed season, which will consist of a 22-team format.

The second game of the nationally televised doubleheader has LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers facing Kawhi Leonard and the Los Angeles Clippers.  

The opening game will come more than four months after the season was paused on March 11 after Utah's Rudy Gobert became the first player in the league to test positive for COVID-19.

On Friday, the league officially completed talks with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) on the terms for restarting the season, paving the way for the 88-game schedule of what are being called seeding games between 22 teams to be released. 

"We're coming back because sports matter in our society," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said. "They bring people together when they need it most."

Each team will play eight "seeding" games that will take place in a 16-day span before ending on August 14.

The league will then begin a typical playoff format with the NBA Finals set to begin September 30 and ending no later than October 13. 

Excluding the opening night of the restart, there will be between four to seven games each day spread across three different courts. 

Games will start as early as 13:00 (local time) on weekdays, 12:30 on weekends and ending with 21:00 starts.  

Several players have opted out of the restart plan with reasons related to the coronavirus, while others – including the Denver Nuggets' Nikola Jokic, Sacramento Kings team-mates Jabari Parker and Alex Len and the Indiana Pacers' Malcolm Brogdon have tested positive.  

The NBA's suspended 2019-20 season is set to resume in Florida after the league and its Players Association formally agreed on a comprehensive plan to restart last month. 

The agreement clears the way for the NBA to play games solely at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida beginning July 30, with 22 of the league's 30 teams taking part in the resumption. Each team will play eight games to determine seeding for a 16-team playoff tournament, with the NBA to release a full schedule as well as national television broadcasts later on Friday. 

As expected, all games at the Disney complex will be played spectator-free and will be held under strict health and safety protocols designed to minimise risks related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The NBA had already begun the process of testing players eligible to take part in the restart for COVID-19, with the league and the union announcing on Friday that 16 of 302 players examined tested positive. Per those protocols, any player with a positive test will be required to self-isolate until being cleared by a physician to return to his team.  

That policy figures to be tested even with the league's attempts to contain players in a bubble environment. Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Florida have risen at a rapid rate of late, and have reportedly doubled within the Orlando era housing the Disney complex over the past few weeks.  

The plan also contains an initiative to further address the issues of racial inequality and systemic racism, topics that have been at the forefront of the minds of NBA players following last month's death of African-American George Floyd while in the custody of a white police officer in Minneapolis.  

"We have worked together with the Players Association to establish a restart that prioritises health and safety, preserves competitive fairness and provides a platform to address social justice issues," said Commissioner Adam Silver. "We are grateful to our long-time collaborator Disney for its role in playing host and making this return to play possible, and we also thank the public health officials and infectious disease specialists who helped guide the creation of comprehensive medical protocols and protections." 

Players are scheduled to report to Orlando in early July with training camps slated to begin July 9. The first round of the playoffs is scheduled to start on August 17 with September 30 the target date for Game 1 of the NBA Finals.  

"It is very exciting to officially announce the restart of the 2019-20 season," said NBPA executive director Michele Roberts. "It has taken true collaboration between the league and the union - special kudos to our executive committee and several other team reps - along with the continued support and assistance from medical experts, public health officials and many others." 

Sixteen NBA players have tested positive for coronavirus from the latest round of tests, the league has announced.

The results of Tuesday's COVID-19 tests on 302 players were released on Friday in a joint statement from the league and the National Basketball Players Association.

The statement said: "Any player who has tested positive will remain in self-isolation until he satisfies public health protocols for discontinuing isolation and has been cleared by a physician."

The news comes just over a month before the NBA plans to conclude the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs with a 22-team tournament in Orlando, Florida.

With numbers of new COVID-19 cases rising in the USA, including in the home states of franchises included in the 22-team format, some concern has arisen about the NBA's plan.

Arizona, Texas and Florida have been hit particularly hard in recent weeks.

The league is currently in a testing and transaction window, which allows teams to add free agents before rosters are set on July 1.

Training camps are scheduled to begin on July 9, and the NBA plans on resuming the regular season on July 30.

The NBA may be coming back next month, but Vince Carter will not be returning to the court again having confirmed his retirement.

Only the 22 teams with the best records will recommence the 2019-20 season in Florida, with the campaign already over for eight clubs, including Carter's Atlanta Hawks.

The 43-year-old became the first man to play an NBA game in four different decades this year, but he told the Ringer's 'Winging It With Vince Carter' podcast that he was "officially done playing basketball professionally".

Though 'Vinsanity' will not be afforded the farewell many of his peers received, we take a look at the eight-time All-Star's brilliant career using Stats Perform News numbers.

 

LONGEVITY

Carter entered the league in 1998 having been drafted fifth overall and he played in 50 games for the Toronto Raptors during a lockout-shortened campaign, during which he won Rookie of the Year.

Incredibly, the guard has barely missed any significant time over the past 22 years - only sitting out the final 22 games of the 2001-02 season and the start of the following term due to injury - and he started all 82 games for the New Jersey Nets in 2006-07.

In all, Carter has played 1,541 games, the third-most of all time and a total only Robert Parish and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar can better, and he was only 20 appearances away from moving up to second on the list.

The honour of playing in the most NBA seasons does belong to Carter, though, as this campaign was his 22nd, one more than Parish, Kevin Garnett, Dirk Nowitzki and Kevin Willis.

 

JOURNEYMAN

Unlike Dallas Mavericks icon Nowitzki - the NBA's ultimate one-team man - and Garnett, who represented only three clubs, Carter has called almost a third of the NBA home at one point or another.

After lengthy spells with the Raptors and Nets, Carter played for the Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings before arriving in Atlanta in 2018.

Of those to have played for eight NBA teams, Carter's 25,728 points are 6,314 more than anyone else, with Jamal Crawford next on that list ahead of Otis Thorpe and Willis.

Carter has played at least 50 games per season at each of those eight stops, another record he holds along with others such as Crawford and Matt Barnes.

 

POINTS

Naturally given such longevity, it is no surprise to see Carter flying high on all-time points lists too.

His 25,728 points are the 19th-most of all time, more than notable names such as Reggie Miller, Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley.

Moreover, Carter is a top-five scorer for two different franchises: the Nets (where he has the third-most points ever) and the Raptors (where he has the fourth-most). Others to own that distinction include Chris Bosh (the Raptors and Miami Heat) and LeBron James (Cleveland Cavaliers and Heat).

Carter's accuracy from beyond the arc certainly helped his numbers, as he drained 2,290 three-pointers - sixth-most of all time - from 6,168 attempts, the fifth-most of all time.

He may not get the rapturous send-off his career deserves, but Carter's impact on the NBA over the past two-and-a-bit decades has certainly been felt.

Vince Carter has officially announced his retirement after a 22-year NBA career, a decision that was expected once the Atlanta Hawks were not part of the 22 teams that will resume play next month in Florida.

The 43-year-old made the announcement on Thursday during the Ringer's 'Winging It With Vince Carter' podcast.

"I'm officially done playing basketball professionally," Carter told co-host Annie Finberg.

Carter's last appearance came against the New York Knicks on March 11, the same night the NBA suspended play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Since the end of March, I pretty much felt that it was over and that's kind of how I've handled it," Carter said. "It's unfortunate, but with the coronavirus, it was taking people's lives rapidly.

"That's the big picture in my mind so I was able to put the weird ending, the abrupt stoppage of play to an ending aside for the bigger picture."

Carter was selected by the Golden State Warriors with the fifth overall pick in 1998 before being sent to the Toronto Raptors in a draft-night deal. He was named the NBA Rookie of the Year during the lockout-shortened 1998-99 season.

That was just the beginning for Carter in an incredible career filled with accomplishments in which he also played for the New Jersey Nets, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies and Sacramento Kings.

Carter became the only NBA player to play 22 seasons and the first to appear in a game in four different decades.

His 1,541 games are the third-most of all time, and he ranks 19th in league history with 25,728 points and sixth with 2,290 three-pointers.

Carter was an eight-time All-Star, won the Slam Dunk Contest in 2000 and helped the United States win the gold medal at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney.

"When I played the game, I played to win," Carter said. "I had a smile on my face because I was thankful every day that I'm getting the opportunity to play in the NBA.

"I have never taken it for granted and I never will. Honestly, when you're walking away from it you appreciate the years you played even more."

Sacramento Kings forward Jabari Parker announced on Wednesday that he tested positive for COVID-19.

Parker has appeared in only one game for the Kings due to a right shoulder injury and an illness after he was traded to Sacramento by Atlanta in February.

He is averaging 14.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 33 games this season.

"Several days ago I tested positive for COVID-19 and I immediately self-isolated in Chicago which is where I remain," Parker said in a statement.

"I am progressing in my recovery and feeling well. I look forward to joining my team-mates in Orlando as we return to the court for the resumption of the NBA season."

The Kings are among the 22 teams to resume play beginning on July 30 at the Disney complex in Orlando, Florida.

Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon said he tested positive for coronavirus in a statement released on Wednesday. 

In his first season with the Pacers after arriving from the Milwaukee Bucks, the 27-year-old is averaging 16.3 points and a team-high 7.1 assists in 48 games. 

"I recently tested positive for the Covid virus and am currently in quarantine," he said in a statement.

"I'm doing well, feeling well and progressing well. I plan to join my team-mates in Orlando for the resumption of the NBA season and playoffs." 

Brogdon was poised to play upon the season's resumption having recovered from leg and hip injuries that sidelined him for Indiana's final three games before the NBA season was halted.

The Pacers (39-26) were in control of the Eastern Conference's fifth seed when the season went on pause on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

They will be one of the 22 NBA teams set for the restart at the bubble at Walt Disney World in July.

Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley will not be part of the NBA's restart in Orlando next month.

Bradley has a six-year-old son who has a history of struggling to recover from respiratory illnesses and would have been unlikely to be medically cleared to enter the bubble at Walt Disney World after the first round of the playoffs, when family members will be permitted to join players.

"As committed to my Lakers team-mates and the organisation as I am, I ultimately play basketball for my family," Bradley told ESPN.

"And so, at a time like this, I can't imagine making any decision that might put my family's health and wellbeing at even the slightest risk.

"As promised also, I will use this time away to focus on the formation of projects to help strengthen my communities."

Bradley stands to lose a projected $650,000 in salary by sitting out the season's resumption.

The Lakers enter the 22-team restart with the best record in the Western Conference. Bradley has been a key two-way player this season, averaging 8.6 points and 2.3 rebounds.

The 10-year veteran joins Washington's Davis Bertans and Portland's Trevor Ariza as players who have already said they will not participate in the restart in Orlando. Bertans and Ariza, however, are on teams currently on the outside of the playoff picture.

NBA champions the Toronto Raptors have flown out to Florida as they prepare for the 2019-20 season's planned restart.

The NBA is planning to resume the campaign at Walt Disney World Resort via a 22-team format in Orlando next month after the league was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Toronto travelled to Florida on Monday, with the Raptors to be based in Fort Myers until entering the NBA campus at Disney in early July for the remainder of the season.

"In keeping with NBA and team safety protocols, there will be no group workouts during this phase of return to play, and strict protocols have been designed to ensure this initial level of access will take place in a safe, controlled, and healthy way," the Raptors said in a statement.

Group workouts will only begin once teams have reported to the NBA campus at Walt Disney World Resort.

The Raptors (46-18) were second in the Eastern Conference prior the COVID-19 crisis, behind the NBA-leading Milwaukee Bucks (53-12).

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