Lakers GM Pelinka: All players on team will be vaccinated by the start of season

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

LOS ANGELES — The Lakers will have a fully vaccinated team by the time the team opens its season on Oct. 19 against the Golden State Warriors at Staples Center.

Team general manager Rob Pelinka made the announcement during a news conference less than a week before the team begins training camp.

"All of the players that are currently signed on our roster, on that night, will be deemed fully vaccinated," Pelinka said. "We're really grateful for that. I think in collaboration with UCLA and the doctors and people internally, we will be grateful that we won't have interruptions caused by the vaccinated status of a player or a staff member."

Players are considered fully vaccinated 14 days after their final dose of an authorized vaccine. NBA coaches, team staff, game operators within 15 feet of the court and referees are required to be vaccinated. Players are not.

However, protocols that have been sent to teams make it clear how much easier it will be to navigate the league's health and safety protocols if a player has been fully vaccinated.

Unvaccinated players would be subject to rigorous testing and quarantines after being exposed to close contacts. They would also be forced to sit separately in locker rooms, during travel and meals and subject to mask requirements.


According to an NBA source, approximately 90% of NBA players are fully vaccinated.

The team also is expected to enter training camp next week without any injuries limiting players' availability. LeBron James is organizing a minicamp in Las Vegas this weekend.

Pelinka said James' mindset this offseason is focused on another championship, a mentality a trimmed-down James has heading into his 18th season. He has posted videos from his 6 a.m. workouts and is refreshed after the Lakers' first-round exit last season.

"LeBron's been working hard, working really early in the morning. And I think the thing that stands out is just his fitness level. He's slimmed up," Pelinka said. "And we all know LeBron studies the greats, and he adds things into his game, and I think going into this stage of his career, he's made a decision to come back a little bit leaner, and I think that's going to translate in his explosiveness and quickness.


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