Even in the best of times, the last week of training camp is a stressful period for anyone fighting for an NBA roster spot. This year, with the coronavirus pandemic sweeping across the country, it's even worse. Not only do you have to be on top of your game, but you have to make sure you don't get sick.
If you do, you could end up losing your spot regardless of what you're doing on the floor, as Noah Vonleh found out on Monday. The veteran forward tested positive for COVID-19, and was immediately waived by the Bulls.
A short time later, he issued a statement to Yahoo Sports, which read:
Unfortunately, I have tested positive for COVID, and so my time with the Bulls has come to an end. Thank you to the organization for everything. Though it was a short time, I appreciate the opportunity. I am thankfully feeling good, and I look forward to working my way to another NBA opportunity once I'm cleared to play again!
The most important thing here is that Vonleh is feeling well and doesn't appear to be suffering the worst effects of the virus. Even elite athletes aren't immune to serious, and long-lasting symptoms, as the case of Orlando Magic big man Mo Bamba has made clear.
They're also, apparently, not safe from losing their job for something that's largely out of their control. It's one thing if you have a bad camp and get beat out by a better player, or the team is simply too deep at your position. That's just part of the game, and while frustrating, is something you could accept. It would be a lot more difficult to lose your job because you were forced to work during a deadly pandemic, and ended up getting sick.
Vonleh, who played for the Timberwolves and Nuggets last season, had signed a one-year deal with the Bulls during free agency this offseason. His contract was set to become guaranteed on opening night.