The NBA will not require its players to be vaccinated against the coronavirus this season, a person familiar with the situation confirmed Tuesday to The Washington Post.

As first reported by ESPN, the league’s players union is opposing a vaccine mandate, the person confirmed. Approximately 85% of NBA players are already vaccinated, a spokesman for the league reportedly stated Tuesday.

The NBA came to an agreement last month with its referees union that requires all of them to be vaccinated. In addition, there are vaccine mandates for all team, arena and other game-day personnel whose duties require them to be stationed within 15 feet of players, referees and areas used by players or referees.

In a memo sent to NBA teams earlier this month, the league noted that it would adhere to laws enacted by local governments regarding vaccination requirements. It specifically cited recent regulations in New York and San Francisco that would, in effect, bar any unvaccinated players for the Knicks, Nets and Warriors from participating in home games. The NBA also noted in the memo that an unvaccinated player who lacked an approved exemption on medical or religious grounds, and whose status in that regard limited his availability to his team, could be considered in breach of his contractual duties and thus subject to fines, suspensions and/or loss of pay.

Major United States professional sports leagues are already in compliance with sweeping vaccine mandates announced recently by President Joe Biden. Rates of player vaccination in the NBA, as well as in MLB and the NFL, are well above overall rates for the country.

The NBA’s full array of coronavirus-related protocols this season is still being negotiated with the union, but players who have not been inoculated may face more stringent measures – including mandatory coronavirus testing on days of games and practices – than their vaccinated teammates.

NBA training camps open later this month, and the league’s 2021-22 regular season starts Oct. 19.

GRIZZLIES: Memphis waived center Marc Gasol, days after acquiring his rights in a trade with the Los Angeles Lakers.

The Grizzlies got Gasol from the Lakers along with a 2024 second round draft pick and cash for the draft rights to center Wang Zhelin (57th overall draft pick in 2016) on Sept. 10. The move saved the Lakers about $10 million against the salary cap and the league’s luxury tax.

Gasol, 36, spent his first 11 NBA seasons with Memphis. He averaged a career-low 5.0 points and 4.1 rebounds per game last season with the Lakers. The 7-foot-1 center never found a regular role in the injury-plagued Lakers’ rotation while they lost in the first round of the postseason.

Gasol made three All-Star teams during his career with the Grizzlies, who first acquired his rights from the Lakers in the trade sending his older brother, Pau, to the Lakers in November 2008. The former NBA Defensive Player of the Year was traded from Memphis to Toronto in February 2019, and he won a championship ring later that season.

TIMBERWOLVES: Minnesota filled out its roster by re-signing forward Jarred Vanderbilt and guard Jordan McLaughlin, both of whom were restricted free agents.

The contracts were agreed to last week and finalized on Wednesday, with Vanderbilt getting a three-year, $18.3 million deal and McLaughlin getting a three-year deal worth about $6.5 million that comes with a team option for the third year.

The 6-foot-9 Vanderbilt averaged 5.4 points on 60.6% shooting, 5.8 rebounds and 17.8 minutes in 64 games last season, his first full season with Minnesota.

McLaughlin averaged 5.0 points, 3.8 assists and 18.4 minutes in 51 games, his second season with the team.


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