The bad news just keeps coming in the NBA. On Sunday, the NBA postponed the Boston Celtics–Miami Heat game due to the Celtics not having enough eligible players. Then the news came this morning that the New Orleans Pelicans–Dallas Mavericks game is postponed. The Boston-Chicago Bulls game is also postponed due to more issues with COVID-19 protocols. The big question remains: Will there be a postponement of the NBA season?
Is a Postponement Coming for the NBA?
The NBA and Players’ Association are meeting today to discuss potential modifications regarding the league’s health and safety protocols. The league currently says a team must have eight eligible players to carry out a game.
The Philadelphia 76ers had technically eight players for Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets, although Mike Scott wasn’t entirely ready to play. Albeit, Scott dressed in uniform for the game to take place.
The Mavericks shut down their facility Monday morning due to COVID-19 issues. Rick Carlisle’s squad also didn’t have enough eligible players to play on Monday evening.
The Celtics are without star Jayson Tatum for 10-14 days due to a positive test. They also don’t have more players due to contact tracing.
Where to Go From Here?
The NBA and Commissioner Adam Silver have been as adamant as possible regarding these protocols. Silver has repeatedly stated they intend to get through this with brighter days ahead.
Silver stated that the league is “Optimistic about improvements in February…after we get through the darkest days,” Shams Charania of The Athletic tweeted out Monday morning.
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweeted yesterday: “While the Celtics-Heat game has been postponed tonight, the NBA has no plans to pause the season despite thinning rosters because of COVID-19 protocols in several places.”
This seems to be a recurring theme, and from a financial standpoint, the league can’t afford another pause. However, the fact they are meeting Monday makes this an intriguing situation to keep an eye on.
There have been some strange situations regarding “contact tracing” so far this season. Perhaps the strangest of them all was the Jonas Valančiūnas situation.
The Memphis Grizzlies’ center left at halftime of Friday night’s game due to “health and safety protocols,” and not a positive test. Washington Wizards’ guard Bradley Beal was also out due to contact tracing after playing the Celtics and Tatum’s positive test result was confirmed.
The COVID-19 has been a mess for the NBA, and it shouldn’t be that surprising considering the circumstances.
The Next Step
The NBA already requires rapid testing regularly, and for many teams, it hasn’t been an issue. As of Monday, there are now four games that have been postponed. Four teams will not be playing Monday’s slate. While four of 30 isn’t a huge deal per se, there are so many questions that remain going forward.
Will Silver push for the league to receive vaccines? Will the NBA pitch another “bubble” idea? Yes, the bubble worked out well, but there are so many games remaining. While neither of those seems realistic, something has to be done and quickly.
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