Brooklyn Nets forward Taurean Prince became the third player on the team to test positive for COVID-19, thus ruling him out of the NBA's upcoming season restart in Orlando, Florida.
Citing sources familiar with the situation, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski wrote on Tuesday that Prince will have to miss the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season due to the "late timing" of his positive coronavirus test and the possibility that the "necessary protocols" would make it hard for him to recover in time for the continuation of the regular season.
"The necessary ramp-up in practice time once he satisfied testing protocols on negative tests, traveled to Florida, quarantined for several days and then resumed workouts made his participation prohibitive, even for a July 30 tipoff on a roster already decimated by injuries," Wojnarowski continued.
Prior to the new development on Prince, two other Nets starters — center DeAndre Jordan and guard Spencer Dinwiddie — had also tested positive for COVID-19 and were likewise confirmed to be sitting out the restart. A fourth Brooklyn player, forward Wilson Chandler, voluntarily opted out of the restart due to family concerns, while superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving were previously ruled out as a result of previous injuries.
A former first-round draft pick who played his first three seasons for the Atlanta Hawks, the 26-year-old Prince started 61 out of the 64 games he played in the 2019-20 campaign, as shown on his Basketball-Reference player page. His scoring and shooting numbers, however, have declined from his last season with the Hawks, as he is averaging 12.1 points and shooting 37.6 percent from the field and 33.9 percent from beyond the arc. He has, however, performed solidly in other statistical categories, with averages of six rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 0.9 steals in 29 minutes per game.
With three available roster spots to fill out ahead of the resumption of the regular season, the Nets appear to have multiple options from the free-agent pool as they seek replacements for Prince and other players who have been sidelined due to the coronavirus. As recapped by Bleacher Report, reports have suggested that Brooklyn is considering two veteran frontcourt players -- Lance Thomas and Amir Johnson -- as potential roster additions for the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign.
With just a few weeks remaining before the regular season's scheduled July 30 restart date, several players from other teams have recently tested for COVID-19. As of July 2, there were 25 confirmed cases among the NBA's players, with nine of those cases confirmed following tests that were conducted between June 24 and 29.