(REUTERS) – The National Basketball Association (NBA) said on Wednesday it was suspending the season until further notice after a Utah Jazz player tested positive for the coronavirus.The test result was reported shortly before the Jazz were due to play the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena. The game was then scrapped.The league said the affected player, reportedly Jazz centre Rudy Gobert, was not in the arena.“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the league said.“The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”Players from teams that Jazz have played in the past 10 days were told to self-quarantine, ESPN reported, citing sources.Those teams are Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors, the ESPN report added.More than 126 000 people have been infected globally by the flu-like virus and more than 4 600 have died, according to a Reuters tally based on official announcements. In the United States, about 1 280 people have been infected with 38 deaths. The pandemic rocked the North American sports calendar on Wednesday, leading to the cancellation of the figure-skating world championships and the announcement that college basketball’s annual ‘March Madness’ tournament would take place without fans in attendance. Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James tweeted bit.ly/2IF2noL: “Man, we cancelling sporting events, school, office work, etc etc. “What we really need to cancel is 2020! Damn it’s been a rough 3 months. God bless and stay safe,” he wrote, likely alluding to the death of NBA great Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash in January.Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said his team were “stunned”.“This is a very serious time right now. I think the league moved appropriately and prudently,” he said.Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said the situation was “crazy”.“This can’t be true,” he told ESPN as his team played the Denver Nuggets.“This is not in the realm of possibilities. This seems more like out of a movie than reality.”A game between New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings was also called off at the last minute, leading to tears from at least one young fan in attendance.The NBA playoffs were scheduled to tip off on April 18 with the finals set to begin on June 4.Following the NBA’s announcement, the National Hockey League said it was consulting with medical experts and would have had a further update yesterday. Reporting by Rory Carroll in Los Angeles, Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien and Rama Venka
Clippers hiring Tyronn Lue as Doc Rivers’ top assistant coach, report says This year’s United States FIBA World Cup team is not the most exciting group ever, with many fans questioning whether it can get the job done.Members of Team USA are speaking up about America’s lack of faith and are confident they can bring the U.S. its sixth straight gold medal in Olympic and World Cup competitions. “It’s like they picked us up off the street,” Celtics forward Jayson Tatum told The Undefeated at camp when addressing speculation the U.S. might not win it all. “We’re NBA players. We’re pretty good at what we do. It’s added a chip on our shoulder, and we’re going to take it with us.”NBA stars such as James Harden, Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard and Anthony Davis elected early on not to participate in the 2019 tournament, set to begin Aug. 31 in China. This certainly made a team usually stacked with All-NBA talent look less appealing on paper, and players continued to drop like flies as the final roster was being determined. Related News Rockets forward P.J. Tucker left camp with an ankle injury last week while Kings guard De’Aaron Fox decided he’d rather focus on the upcoming NBA season following Team USA’s 90-81 exhibition win over Spain, the second-ranked team in this year’s World Cup.The team’s only All-NBA performer, Kemba Walker, says the squad is “hungry” to be successful though, despite the doubts.Kings forward Harrison Barnes is the lone survivor from the U.S.’s 2016 gold-medal squad and claims Team USA isn’t listening to what skeptics have to say.“We hear the noise,” Barnes said. “It’s about just us, getting better, continuing to grow closer on and off the floor, and we’ll go from there.“We’re motivated more than anything to keep the gold standard going, by the teams that went before us that went and won the World Cup, that went and won the Olympics multiple times. That’s what we’re chasing right now.”The U.S. will face Australia Thursday in its second international exhibition game of the summer.