The NBA’s effort to press on through the 2020-21 season has hit a rather significant snag in recent days as the number of COVID-19 cases in the league have spiked and, in turn, the number of players in the health and safety protocols both for positive tests and contact tracing has increased significantly.
On Sunday, the Celtics were set to bring eight eligible players to Miami to face the Heat, but that game became the second to be postponed this season after Miami had a contact tracing issue that kept them from getting to the minimum 8-man roster. On Monday, the third and fourth postponements of the season arrived as the Dallas Mavericks — who were set to bring Kristaps Porzingis back into the lineup — and New Orleans Pelicans game was postponed due to Dallas’ COVID-19 issues, and the Celtics-Bulls game on Tuesday was pushed due to Boston’s problems.
The NBA announces that it has postponed New Orleans at Dallas tonight and Boston at Chicago on Tuesday night pic.twitter.com/T0W1oIBZwA
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) January 11, 2021
The Mavs had to close their facility on Sunday after another positive test, reportedly by Maxi Kleber, while already down three players — Josh Richardson, Jalen Brunson, and Dorian Finney-Smith — after one of those three tested positive on Friday. Contact tracing from Kleber apparently didn’t add any players to the COVID-19 list, which Tim MacMahon of ESPN reports means five new players, at least, were added for other reasons on Monday.
Mavs had four players out due to health and safety protocols — Jalen Brunson, Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Maxi Kleber — and did not add any due to contact tracing after Kleber's positive test yesterday. That means at least five more Mavs entered protocols today.
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) January 11, 2021
Boston was already at the minimum of eight, so any more additions to the COVID-19 list would have dipped them under that number.
In the league’s release on the postponements, they note that they will be meeting with the NBPA to discuss changes to the league protocols, which one has to wonder exactly what that means. With four postponements already and the situation seemingly spiraling out of control around the NBA, how they proceed will be critical to their ability to get through this season, because clearly what is happening right now is not working.