Miami Heat forward and reigning Slam Dunk Contest champion, Derrick Jones Jr. has tested positive for COVID-19.
According to the Sun Sentinel, Jones Jr. has remained asymptomatic and is expected to travel with the Heat for their projected July 8 bus trip to Disney’s Wide World of Sports campus.
The NBA began mandatory testing players for COVID-19 on Tuesday, anticipating that those who test positive will have enough time to recover and return to their teams by the leagues scheduled July 30 return to play.
As of now, multiple players have reportedly tested positive for COVID-19 this week, including Denver Nuggets’ Nikola Jokic, Sacramento Kings’ Buddy Hield, Jabari Parker, and Alex Len, and Indiana Pacers’ Malcolm Brogdon. Jones Jr. is the first known Heat player to have tested positive.
Jones, 23, is averaging 8.9 points, 4.2 rebounds, 1.1 assists, and 1.1 steals in 51 appearances (15 starts). He’s set to become an unrestricted free agent following the season.
The 23-year-old, who’s set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer, is putting all risk aside and plans to suit up for the season’s return in hopes for a championship run.
“Honestly, I haven’t been thinking about it much,” Jones Jr. told the Miami Herald on becoming an unrestricted free agent this offseason. “I just focus on the task at hand. My task at hand is to make the playoffs this season, and we did it. My next task is to make it as far as we can in the playoffs and try to contend for a title. That’s what I got on my mind right now, and that’s what I’m thinking about right now. When that time comes for free agency, that’s honestly when I’m probably going to think about it.”
However, if Jones Jr. decides not to play, the Heat will be eligible to replace him with any available free agent.
Heat Close AAA Workouts
In addition to Jones Jr., one Heat staffer has also tested positive for the virus, according to sources. Because of such, the team has decided to stop player workouts at the American Airlines Arena practice facility until Monday.
The practice facility will remain open for players and employees for COVID-19 testing. The Heat, similar to other organizations, will not disclose who has tested positive.