The former superstar of the OKC Thunder, Russell Westbrook has tested positive for COVID-19
This past weekend marked the one-year anniversary of the trade between the OKC Thunder and Houston Rockets. That deal witnessed the exit of franchise superstar Russell Westbrook to the Rockets in exchange for the new team leader Chris Paul. Included in the trade package were two first-round draft picks as well as two first-round draft swaps.
Our article this weekend on the trade examined how it is affecting both clubs after each has played 64 games this season.
While all 22 teams have arrived in Orlando the Rockets traveled without their two superstars as Russell Westbrook and James Harden remained behind. Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni said they were awaiting the duo’s arrival and didn’t indicate anything was wrong.
Russell Westbrook tests positive for COVID-19
But—- in conversation with TI writer Rylan Stiles we pondered if the Rockets were the team who the NBA cited as having four positive COVID-19 tests. If you recall when players returned for mandatory workouts on June 23rd it was also the point when the players were all being tested either daily or every other day. The initial test results produced a quantity of 16 positive tests which eventually increased to 25.
At the time the league didn’t offer all the player’s names but did cite one ‘Western Conference playoff team’ as having four positive tests.
Today, Westbrook made his announcement that he has the coronavirus.
As per Westbrook’s Twitter, he confirmed he’s tested positive and is in quarantine at home. The former MVP also stated he’s feeling well but there is no additional information as to whether he is asymptomatic or feeling any of the coronavirus side effects.
With three small children no doubt the Brodie is isolated away from them to ensure their safety. His positive test does raise the question if this occurred while he was out with the many who marched in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement. The Bucks Malcolm Brogdon who also marched was another NBA player who tested positive.
In addition, with Harden not in Orlando, it begs the question if he also has tested positive. Pictures of Harden working out with his trimmed down body showed him not wearing any protective mask and surrounded by at least four other people.
For Westbrook to enter the Disney bubble he’ll need to pass two successive COVID-19 tests and then another two once he arrives to the Disney campus during his quarantine there (just like every other player has).
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The Rockets’ first scrimmage is scheduled for July 24th versus the Toronto Raptors and their first game of the eight seeded matches is on July 31st when they’ll play the Dallas Mavericks.
While the scrimmages are meant to help teams get back in ‘game-shape’ it’s not necessarily essential Westbrook would play in those situations.
However, his presence would certainly be helpful in the contest versus Dallas since the Mavericks are the seed directly behind the Rockets. Dallas trails Houston by 1.5 games and three games in the loss column having played three more games than Houston.
In his virtual media session, Mike D’Antoni said the players not in Orlando (this also includes Luc Mbah a Moute) were all at home working out. That statement is slightly concerning given the recent ESPN article by Baxter Holmes which highlighted the potential lingering heart concerns and cardiac health.
Let’s hope Westbrook is asymptomatic and that he’ll be able to join his teammates in Orlando as soon as possible and be fully healthy. Sending out our best wishes to Russell Westbrook for a speedy recovery.