Here is what has happened over the last couple of weeks in the NBA:APRIL 26According to Baxter Holmes of ESPN, 10 of the NBA’s referees are currently sidelined, primarily due to COVID-related issues, and adding that 24 refs have missed at least one game this season due to the league’s health and safety protocols. Read more here.APRIL 24Evan Fournier's return to the court Friday didn't go as planned, but it was still a step in the right direction. The Boston Celtics guard missed the previous nine games due to COVID-19. Fournier opened up about his experience with the virus after missing all of his shots in a 109-104 loss to the Brooklyn Nets, according to Justin Leger of NBC Sports Boston. Read more here.Magic coach Steve Clifford has returned a positive COVID-19 test, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. Sources tell Charania that Clifford has received his first vaccine and is considered asymptomatic, and there’s hope that the test result is a false positive. Read more here.APRIL 23Already missing Damion Lee due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, the Warriors placed swingman Kent Bazemore in those protocols as well, tweets Anthony Slater of The Athletic. According to Slater, Bazemore is expected to be out for the next seven days, which suggests he may have been a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Bazemore confirmed in a tweet that he didn’t test positive for the virus himself. Read more here.Kings star guard De’Aaron Fox is expected to miss 10-14 days after being placed under the league’s health and safety protocols, according to Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic. Read more here.APRIL 22Kevin Porter Jr. will be out until at least Sunday for violating the NBA’s health and safety protocols, ESPN’s Tim MacMahon reports. Rockets head coach Stephen Silas said prior to Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz that Porter will be sidelined for several days, though he did not specify the reason. According to MacMahon, the NBA has ruled Brown ineligible because he visited a strip club with Brown. The league’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols limit where players can go during road trips. Read more here.APRIL 21Three new NBA players returned confirmed positive COVID-19 tests during the last week, the NBA and NBPA announced on Wednesday in a press release. A report last week indicated that Bulls guard Zach LaVine was of them. He remains in the health and safety protocols and out of Chicago’s lineup. Read more here.APRIL 19The NBA has not permitted personnel to travel internationally to scout players since October due to COVID-19 concerns. ESPN's Jonathan Givony reports the league office will be eliminating such travel restrictions for individuals who are fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Personnel who do travel internationally for scouting purposes must "comply with all applicable government regulations" and adhere to NBA health and safety protocols. Read more here.On Monday, the NBA confirmed that free agency will begin on Aug. 2 at 6 p.m. ET, when clubs can first start negotiating with out-of-contract players. Teams will be permitted to officially sign free agents on Aug. 6 at 12:01 p.m. ET. Read more here.APRIL 18The Los Angeles Lakers will not visit the White House to celebrate their 2020 NBA title when the team travels to Washington D.C. for a game against the Wizards later this month, according to ESPN's Dave McMenamin. Scheduling conflicts and COVID-19 protocols will prevent the Lakers from visiting President Joe Biden in the nation's capital. Read more here.APRIL 17The condensed NBA season continues to take a big toll on its players, both physically and mentally. Now Fred VanVleet is letting his thoughts on the matter be known. The Toronto Raptors point guard went off on the league Saturday for its handling of the 2020-21 campaign, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports. Read more here.APRIL 16After having to cancel it in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA will once again hold its G League Elite Camp prior to the draft combine this year, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who says the event will take place from June 19-21. The combine will follow, in the same location, from June 21-27. Read more here.APRIL 15Bulls star Zach LaVine is expected to miss several games after entering the NBA’s health and safety protocols, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Wojnarowski’s report comes on the heels of the Bulls’ PR department announcing that the team had to call off Thursday’s practice due to the protocols, per K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports Chicago. Read more here.APRIL 14Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum has been dealing with the effects of COVID-19 for months. As of late, he has started to look more like himself. Tatum said he's feeling "very close" to 100% and added some new information about his recovery from the coronavirus. "I take an inhaler before the game since I've tested positive," Tatum said, according to Boston.com's Tom Westerholm. "This has kind of helped with that and opened up my lungs and, you know, I never took an inhaler before. So that's something different. I for sure feel better now than I did a month ago." The 23-year-old added that he's not sure when he'll be able to stop using the inhaler. Many people who have tested positive for COVID-19 deal with symptoms for many months after the virus is gone. Read more here.Quietly and without much fanfare, the NBA has established the standard among North American leagues for avoiding costly and potentially dangerous COVID-19 outbreaks. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association announced on Wednesday that zero new players tested positive for the coronavirus over the past week. Read more here.An Olympic qualifying tournament in Victoria, Canada, will be played under “bubble” rules if negotiations with the Canadian government are successful. That news came Wednesday from FIBA headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, as planning for this summer’s international basketball tournaments continued. Read more here.The tightened schedule the NBA adopted to squeeze 72 games into five months is being criticized amid an increase in injuries, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. Holmes talked to several general managers and training-staff officials who believe players are more at risk than ever. Read more here.APRIL 12Both the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals announced on Monday they're welcoming fans back to Capital One Arena for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic caused the NBA and NHL to halt their seasons over a year ago. Approximately 2,100 fans, or 10% of the arena's capacity, will be permitted to watch the Wizards host the Golden State Warriors on April 21. From there, the Wizards will have six remaining home games on their schedule. Per health and safety protocols listed by the clubs, fans wishing to attend events must verbally answer health survey questions to enter the arena, wear masks at all times inside the venue and follow social distancing guidelines. Read more here.APRIL 9Los Angeles Lakers owner, CEO and governor Jeanie Buss received the COVID-19 vaccine this week, and she used her inoculation to encourage others, including the extended “Lakers family,” to do the same. Buss shared an image on Instagram Thursday showing her receiving a shot at a drive-thru vaccination site. On a coincidental note involving Buss’s announcement, the Lakers announced the same day she received the vaccine that the team has scheduled its championship banner ceremony for July 12. Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium also reported Thursday that fans will be allowed to attend the ceremony, although the exact number of fans allowed into Staples Center is unclear at this time. Read more here.During a typical NBA league year, a player must be waived by March 1 in order to retain his postseason eligibility for a new team. However, due to the late start in 2020-21, that date has been pushed back to Friday, April 9 — Friday. That means that any player who remains on an NBA roster after Friday won’t be eligible to suit up in the postseason for a new team, though there are a few exceptions to that general rule. Crucially, a player who is currently on a 10-day contract represents one such exception. For instance, once DeMarcus Cousins‘ 10-day deal with the Clippers expires next Wednesday, he’d still be able to re-sign with L.A. or join a new team and be eligible to play in the postseason, since he’s not being placed on waivers after April 9. Read more here.APRIL 8The Golden State Warriors announced Thursday that fans will be welcomed back at Chase Center beginning with an April 23 game against the Denver Nuggets. Chase Center is expected to accommodate up to 35% capacity initially. However, that number “is subject to the State’s physical distancing requirements, and the actual percentage of fan capacity that will be permitted on a per game basis may vary based on local health approval and subsequent guidance issued by the State and the County,” per the statement. Additionally, fans will have to “produce either proof of a full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test that was administered within 48 hours prior to the game” before entering Chase Center. Read more here.APRIL 7The NBA reportedly expects arenas to be at full capacity for the 2021-22 season and is hopeful that it can safely welcome more fans into the stands this season, according to ESPN's Baxter Holmes. Holmes reports a "key aspect" toward allowing more fans to attend games is the NBA's league-wide partnership with Clear, "a biometric screening company known for its expedited security process at hundreds of airports worldwide." The partnership makes Clear's COVID-19 health-screening technology available to all NBA teams. The deal could be announced as soon as Wednesday morning, Holmes says. Read more here.The NBA and NBPA have formally announced that of the 483 players tested for the coronavirus within the last week, one has returned a confirmed positive test. Read more here.APRIL 2The BIG3, a summer league that features many former NBA players, will return for its fourth season, the league announced on its website. The 2020 season had to be canceled because of COVID-19 concerns. Read more here.MARCH 31The Oklahoma City Thunder organization, specifically members of the roster and basketball operations staff, received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, as first reported by ESPN. The number of personnel who participated in the inoculations was called “significant.” A link was also provided in the social media messages through which Oklahomans could schedule vaccine appointments of their own. Read more here.The NBA and NBPA have announced their COVID-19 testing results for the past week, stating in a press release that just one player of the 481 tested since March 24 returned a confirmed positive result. Read more here.MARCH 30The NBA has incentivized getting vaccinated, allowing teams that have 85% of both players and staff fully-vaccinated to be freed from the restrictions that have kept them masked in locker rooms, confined to their hotel rooms without guests on the road and banned from eating at restaurants. However, despite the incentives, some players and staff are refusing to be vaccinated, citing religious reasons, health concerns (such as allergies) or other personal reasons. NBPA executive director Michele Roberts spoke with the Wall Street Journal and confirmed that at least a sect of players have concerns about being vaccinated. Roberts suggests, however, that the vaccines -- which she says are “auditioning” -- are “earning credibility” with her constituents. Read more here.MARCH 26Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr revealed that approximately one dozen members of the team, apparently players and coaches, received the COVID-19 vaccine this week. The news of the inoculations arrives amid reports that some Warriors players do not intend to get the vaccine. Kerr disclosed that the players and coaches who were inoculated Thursday received the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, which means a second shot will not be necessary. As noted, some Warriors players previously expressed an aversion to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. This week, both Andrew Wiggins and Kent Bazemore indicated vaccinations are not in their future. Bazemore provided a blunt “no” when asked. Wiggins, meanwhile, said, “I don’t really see myself getting it anytime soon, unless forced to, somehow.” Read more here.MARCH 24Some members of the Los Angeles Lakers organization will receive the COVID-19 vaccine at some point this week, according to a report from Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The Lakers will join the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat as NBA organizations that have disclosed receipt of COVID-19 vaccines since inoculations became more readily available to the general public. Read more here.MARCH 23Per the Associated Press (h/t ESPN), the Heat intend to open two sections in their lower bowl only for fans fully vaccinated against COVID-19 beginning with their April 1 game against the Golden State Warriors. The Heat are the first NBA franchise to announce such a move, but the AP added other clubs are working to follow in Miami's footsteps. Read more here.MARCH 18The NBA and NBPA have reached an agreement to lighten health and safety protocols for players who have been vaccinated. There were also be changes in guidelines for teams where 85% of players and staff have received the vaccination. The NBA considers someone fully vaccinated 14 days after they have received the final dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. According to ESPN's Baxter Holmes, vaccinated individuals will no longer be required to quarantine due to exposure to the coronavirus. Further, they also will be able to have up to four guests on the road without prior testing and allowed to go to outdoor restaurants. For teams that reach 85% vaccination for players and staff, they will no longer be required to wear masks at team practice facilities and they will have more flexibility to leave the hotel when they are on the road, including eating both indoors and outdoors at restaurants. Read more here.MARCH 14Eligible members of the New Orleans Pelicans organization, including several players, received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday, the team announced, according to ESPN's Andrew Lopez. Pelicans reserve guard Sindarius Thornwell was among the players. Read more here.MARCH 13While the COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on every pro sport and team, the scale of the damage seems to be known for the Sacramento Kings. According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick and Jason Jones, the Kings lost approximately $100 million over the last year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Read more here.MARCH 6NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Saturday that he's "optimistic" the 2021-22 season will start on time with "fairly full arenas," according to Marc Stein of the New York Times. Read more here.The NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL and NCAA, unsurprisingly, took a massive hit due to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. When the entire country came to a halt about one year ago, Forbes estimated that the four major American sports leagues and the NCAA would lose a combined $5 billion in revenue. According to Forbes' most recent report, the revenue losses for the NCAA and the four major U.S. sports leagues have now hit at least $14.1 billion. Read more here.