The NBA has not been immune to the impact of this winter’s surge in COVID-19 cases. Players continue to test positive for the virus, which in turn forces teammates that have come into contact with those players to sit out. Every team in the NBA has been affected either directly or indirectly thus far this season, with the biggest consequence being the league’s recent rash of postponed games.
On Wednesday, the NBA postponed the scheduled game between the Memphis Grizzlies and Portland Trail Blazers at Moda Center due to ongoing tracing within the Grizzlies organization, leaving the team with fewer than the league-required eight players available to play. In addition, the league postponed the Friday night matchup between the Washington Wizards and Milwaukee Bucks.
That brings the league’s total so far this season up to 17 postponements, with more almost certain to come.
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Last season, the NBA managed to make its way through the playoffs by playing in a bubble at Disney World in Orlando. To this point, going back to that arrangement has not reported as a possibility, and players have been adamant about their refusal to even consider the idea. LeBron James even cited PTSD when asked about potentially playing in a bubble again.
But as the league has seen, playing in standard environments has proven exceedingly difficult. Their COVID-19 protocols were updated in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus within the league, but that, too has seen pushback from players. So far, the NBA has not considered pausing the season, but should the virus continue to make playing games untenable, that is a solution the league may need to consider.