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Phoenix Suns Reportedly Had COVID Outbreak Around Game 7 Against Dallas Mavericks

Devin Booker

The COVID-19 virus has changed the way that a lot of people live, with many now taking precautions against the virus and testing themselves whenever they feel the symptoms. 

The NBA has been at the forefront of being safe about the COVID-19 virus. However, they have also, loosened some of their protocols over time. Recently, there might have been a breach of that protocol.

Sam Amick and Joe Vardon of The Athletic have recently revealed that the Phoenix Suns had a "COVID-19 outbreak" around the time of Game 7 of the Western Conference semifinals. If this is true then this is certainly a bad look for the team, as they didn't report their symptoms whatsoever:

The Phoenix Suns were managing a COVID-19 outbreak as their season fell apart, multiple sources told The Athletic, with six individuals — including one player — testing positive either late in the Western Conference semifinals or the day after Game 7.

With their season on the line, the Suns were destroyed at home by the Dallas Mavericks 123-90 on May 15. One Phoenix assistant coach, Bryan Gates, tested positive after Game 6 and missed the final game, while at least some of the other Suns indicated to colleagues they weren’t feeling well prior to Game 7.

The player tested positive the day after Game 7. The Athletic does not identify individuals who test positive for COVID-19 unless their names are made public by the team, league or the individuals themselves. The others who tested positive were support staffers.

As a result of the outbreak, the Suns could not hold season-ending exit meetings between players and coaches at their practice facility and instead conducted a team-wide meeting via Zoom. Information in this story was confirmed by more than a half-dozen sources.

The ordeal raised questions internally about whether they were following the league’s rules for testing. The NBA requires all team personnel, regardless of vaccine status, to test for the virus if they are experiencing symptoms, and they may not play, coach or be at team facilities if they test positive.

The Suns, who privately insist there was no breach of protocol, declined to comment publicly for this story.

“I think it’s very clear that nobody wanted to report stuff,” said one source with knowledge of the Suns’ positive tests who was not authorized to speak publicly about them. “And this is where it gets dicey.”

A league spokesman told The Athletic, “The NBA has seen no evidence to suggest any rules violations by Suns players or staff.” A league source added the NBA could always revisit the situation if new information emerged.

It remains to be seen if there will be any further information on this situation. There's no doubt that if there were in fact any violations, then they should be dealt with by the league.

As of now though, we'll have to hope that teams are better about following the league's COVID-19 protocol in the future. Even though the virus won't ever be fully eradicated, it is still prudent to be safe.