“The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight’s schedule of games until further notice,” the league said in a statement. “The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic.”
League officials did not identify which Jazz player tested positive. However, a source with knowledge of the situation said the player was Jazz center Rudy Gobert.
The results came shortly before Utah's game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena, prompting the game's immediate cancellation. An initial announcement said the cancellation was "due to unforeseen circumstances."
“This morning a player on the Utah Jazz tested negative for influenza, strep throat and an upper respiratory infection,” the Jazz said in a statement. “The individual’s symptoms diminished over the course of today, however, in a precautionary measure, and in consultation and cooperation with NBA medical staff and Oklahoma health officials, the decision was made to test for COVID-19.”
“A preliminary positive result came back right before tip-off of the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City game. Subsequently, the decision was correctly made by the NBA to postpone the game,” the team's statement continued. “When it was determined that the individual would be tested, we immediately informed the league office. The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation are paramount in our discussions.”
The suspension of all NBA games after tonight came just hours after league officials and team owners held a teleconference to discuss potential next steps for coronavirus. Owners "shared a consensus" at the time that NBA games should move forward without fans in attendance, ESPN reported.
That plan was nullified following the events prior to tonight's Jazz-Thunder game.
Prior to the suspension, NBA officials expected to lose hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue due to coronavirus-related interruptions. The expected losses are the latest financial setback for the NBA, which lost up to $200 million in revenue after Chinese sponsors cut ties en masse over Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey’s tweet last October in support of pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong.
The NBA's action is the most drastic measure taken to date by U.S. sports leagues as they work to contain the situation. The NCAA announced earlier Wednesday that it would proceed with its March Madness basketball tournaments without fans in attendance at games.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for updates.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.