NBA adjusts handling of COVID-19 scenarios

The NBA’s postponement of three consecutive Memphis Grizzlies games marks an evolution in the league’s handling of COVID-19 scenarios within teams, essentially parking a team and taking it out of circulation once a roster has been exposed to the virus, sources told ESPN on Thursday. In previous instances, the league has allowed teams to isolate positive players and sideline others in contact tracing believed to have been in close proximity to infected individuals — yet still allowed teams to proceed with games if they had eight eligible players. – via Adrian Wojnarowski @ ESPN

Again, it’s an exponential function. If teams exchange opponents every two days, one player can spread the disease to 16 teams within a week. Extend that period to four days, and it’s only four teams, which gives the league a far greater chance of putting out the fire. This takes us to our next point: The league can still fix this. Not immediately, but it can. With the situation likely to get worse before it gets better, and the schedule locked in through March 4, the league faces no choice but to limp through the next six weeks, much as baseball did, and try to avert worst-case scenarios. – via John Hollinger @ The Athletic

After that, however, the ball is in the league’s court. The schedule is not sacrosanct, people, and the league can get to 72(ish) games by mid-May any way it damn well pleases. Given the situation and the stakes, the league should look really hard at a second-half schedule that puts teams in small groups of six to 10 teams, which would prevent team-to-team spread and contact-tracing situations. Save your whining about strength of schedule considerations for another day; the primary consideration here is completing the season in any way possible. – via John Hollinger @ The Athletic

And starting Wednesday, team security were to be stationed at midcourt before and after games to remind players not to hug each other. – via Sopan Deb @ New York Times

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