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Brooklyn Nets defend coronavirus testing after New York mayor criticism

Kevin Durant pictured at the NBA 2K20 launch in Los Angeles
Image: Kevin Durant was one of four Brooklyn Nets players to test positive for coronavirus

The Brooklyn Nets have defended their decision to have their players tested for the coronavirus, following criticism from New York mayor Bill de Blasio.

On Tuesday the Nets announced that four of their players had tested positive for the virus, with former NBA most valuable player Kevin Durant later confirming he was one of them.

De Blasio questioned why tests for the Nets had been prioritised over critically ill patients, and added that "tests should not be for the wealthy, but for the sick."

"As we learned that NBA players on other teams had tested positive for COVID-19, we noticed that several of our players and staff had symptoms," a Nets statement said on Wednesday.

"Based on this information and the judgement that all of our players are subject to high exposure due to the close physical nature of basketball, the communal nature of teams and the possibility of an accelerated spread from team to team, our medical experts advised that our players get tested.

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"We sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to CDC's public resources."

The Nets said on Tuesday that of their four players who tested positive, only one was experiencing symptoms, with the other three asymptomatic.

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Durant, who has yet to play for the Nets after joining last summer, because of a ruptured Achilles tendon, confirmed he was asymptomatic.

"Using the test results, we were able to take immediate precautions and strictly isolate the players who tested positive. If we had waited for players to exhibit symptoms, they might have continued to pose a risk to their family, friends and the public," the Nets statement continued.

"Our hope is that by drawing attention to the critical need for testing asymptomatic positive carriers, we can begin to contain the spread and save lives.

"We believe it is not only the right thing to do for our players and their families, it is the responsible thing to do from a medical and epidemiological standpoint."

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder have confirmed that none of their players or staff have tested positive for the virus after being exposed to infected Utah Jazz players earlier this month.

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The Thunder were set to play Utah on March 11 before a positive test by Jazz center Rudy Gobert saw the game postponed moments before it had been scheduled to start, with a full crowd in attendance in Oklahoma City.

Gobert's Jazz team-mate Donovan Mitchell later tested positive for coronavirus, leaving any Thunder staff members who had been exposed to the duo requiring testing.

A Thunder statement said: "The Oklahoma City Thunder consulted with infectious disease experts for a recommendation on the players and staff who needed COVID-19 testing based on their exposure at the game on March 11. All results have come back negative.

"The Thunder will continue to work in co-ordination with team physicians, public health officials and infectious disease experts while focusing on the health and safety of everyone in our community."

"Recognising the stress on the state of Oklahoma's medical system, the Thunder did not use state resources and chose an alternative path for testing personnel."

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