The Miami Heat’s week ahead of next Sunday’s NBA playoff opener at the FTX Arena turned a little more complicated on Sunday, with the team announcing that center Bam Adebayo had entered the league’s health and safety protocols.
As a result, Adebayo will be away from the team for five days this week as the Heat prepare for the best-of-seven opening round.
The NBA has removed mandatory COVID testing, but symptomatic players are still required to be tested for the coronavirus.
Under league guidelines, players entering the protocol must remain in isolation for five days unless they test two negative in the interim.
Adabio was one of the few players on the Heat roster to enter protocol so far this season. After being away from the team for two matches, coach Erik Spoelstra returned from protocol on Friday night.
Adebayo joined the team in Sunday night’s season finale against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center, with the Heat announcing their entry into protocol 90 minutes before that tip-off.
The Heat also went into Sunday’s game without backup center Dwayne Deadmon, who is battling an ankle sprain.
during an appearance On JJ Reddick’s Old Man and Three podcast, Adebayo told former NBA 3-point specialist and current ESPN analyst JJ Reddick that a season in his Heat career saw him move to Minnesota for current Heat teammate Jimmy Butler in early 2018. Traded in Timberwells. -19.
At the time, Butler was pushing for his departure from the Timberwolves, eventually to be traded to the Philadelphia 76ers for Robert Covington and Dario Saric on November 12, 2018. The Heat were pushing ‘Wolves’ at the time with offers from Josh Richardson, Dion Vetters and Draft Capital. Richardson would then be introduced to Philadelphia the following summer in a sign-and-trade package for Butler.
“You heard the situation in Minnesota,” Adebayo said on a recently released podcast. “And it’s crazy, because I’m almost traded for Jimmy for Minnesota.”
13 from Kentucky by the Heat in 2017, Adebayo was coming off an uneventful rookie season, playing his initial NBA season as the understudy of Hassan Whiteside.
That, Adebayo said, was when Heat president Pat Riley stepped down.
“But I almost traded it for Jimmy,” Adebayo continued. “Pat wouldn’t do business with me. He was like, ‘No, I see something good in this kid.’ Yadda, yadda, yadda.
“And, at that point, I’m sweating bullets. Like, I’m trying not to do business. I love it in Miami. It’s hot. I kind of got my feet wet. I place I’m familiar with.”
With nearly the entire Heat roster sidelined by NBA health and safety protocols this season, Spoelstra said his own absence for those reasons last week gave him a deep appreciation for the plight.
“The thing about it is that we’re all in this position now, where we’ve been a part of it,” Spoelstra said, “and we’ve also been a part of where we’re looking out in. And I felt like I was abandoned.
“So now I get to experience it, and it’s good to be back in the mix.”
Spoelstra tested positive last Sunday in Toronto, recalling the Heat’s ensuing victories over the Raptors and Charlotte Hornets, before returning to coach Friday night’s win over the Atlanta Hawks. He was replaced by assistant Chris Quinn.
While the NBA no longer requires COVID testing, teams must test negative to fly back to the United States. Toronto stands as a potential Heat second-round playoff rival, which could put Spoelstra and its players in a similar testing situation in two weeks.
Spoelstra said veteran point guard Kyle Lowry has been studied going into playoff mode over the past few weeks.
“I’ve really enjoyed watching his entire process for the regular season,” Spoelstra said. “He’s moved. He’s been a chameleon in many different roles: invigorating people, giving young people confidence, letting people get into a great rhythm, facilitating. You’ve seen that many times during the year When we had injuries, when he was more outspoken.
“But you can see that in the last three weeks he’s really focused on getting ready for the playoffs, and that’s a different level. Because he’s got all the shooting skills. But he’s just manipulating and Knows how to take advantage of various cracks and defenses.”