16 NBA players tested positive for the coronavirus – so what happens now?

The NBA is set to restart in 35 days, picking back up in Orlando, Florida, after being put on hold since March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But before play resumes, 302 players from the 22 teams that will arrive in Orlando were tested for COVID-19 and the results are in.

The 16 positive tests equals 5% of the pool of players.

The news comes on the heels of a select handful of players that previously tested positive for the virus earlier this week.

Three of those players are members of the Sacramento Kings: forward Jabari Parker, center Alex Len, and guard Buddy Hield.

As well as Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon and Denver Nuggets All-Star center Nikola Jokic.

These new positive results come after several players previously acquired the virus during the first wave of testing back in March, and the league suspended play back on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was the first positive case reported.

A day later, his teammate, All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell, was revealed to have tested positive as well.

Gobert, Mitchell, and Jokic weren’t the only All-Star players to contract the virus either, with Brooklyn Nets star forward Kevin Durant also registering a positive test.

However, these new positive tests, combined with the previous test results, will not halt the NBA’s return to play – at least not yet.

In a Friday conference call, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he thinks the return of the league is actually vital in American society at this point in time.

He also believes the NBA’s proposed bubble, on the site of the Walt Disney World Resort, will be a safe way to ensure players and staff are not at risk of contracting or spreading the virus.

Testing will also be administered daily to players upon their arrival in Orlando, to ensure that there is full transparency, as well as an AdventHealth clinic being present on the campus.

But even with the guidelines in place for Orlando’s bubble, Silver acknowledges that there are concerns, not just with the positive tests in the pool of players but also the spike in cases across the country, most notably in the state of Florida.

And if a mass outbreak were to occur, there is potential for the league to stop play once again.

With the risk of contracting the virus being ever-present, some players have already decided to remove themselves from the remainder of the season, most notably Los Angeles Lakers starting guard Avery Bradley.

Free agent guard Jamal Crawford joined Colin Cowherd on The Herd Friday morning to discuss the unpredictability of what the league is gearing up for in Orlando and why some players will avoid the health risk altogether.

“Each person has to make an individual decision. Obviously there is no playbook that we’ve seen to go through something like this. So a guy like Avery Bradley, without teammates knowing the whole situation when they first heard about him sitting out, they might have said ‘OK, why is he not coming? We’re fighting for a championship.’ Not knowing that he is dealing with family issues, or potentially could be dealing with family issues. So there will be guys with situations like that, that you just can’t hold it against them.”

Despite the reports of the positive tests on Friday, the NBA is charging forward, evidenced by its release of the 8-game schedules for each team entering the bubble before the playoffs begin.

And there will be fireworks from the jump, as the two LA teams will matchup on July 30.

According to FOX Bet, the Lakers and the Clippers, along with the Milwaukee Bucks, have the best odds to win a title in Orlando.

The Clippers won’t be the Lakers’ only test, considering seven of their eight games will be against current playoff teams, including the five teams directly behind them in the Western Conference standings.

The Clippers’ schedule, comparatively, features five teams that are currently in the playoffs: the Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Brooklyn Nets, Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Bucks, who currently sit atop the Eastern Conference standings and have the league’s best record at 53-12, also have a tough road when they return to play in Orlando.

The Bucks will face seven teams currently in the playoffs during their 8-game schedule.

The NBA will also take on a tournament style format. Games will begin at 2:30 pm ET and the last game will be played at 9 pm ET.

The NBA has a little over a month until play resumes, giving them time and wiggle room to perfect protocol for the bubble before teams arrive in Orlando.

But there is little margin for error when play resumes.

How the league handles the bubble and player safety will be the determining factor in whether or not the 2019-2020 NBA season truly does reach the finish line.