New rules stipulate that teams missing multiple players because of positive tests must sign replacements
With more than 70 players in COVID health and safety protocols and the Omicron variant spreading at shocking speed, the NBA and the players union have agreed to new rules aimed at helping teams field fuller rosters. Teams will be permitted to sign one replacement player for each player who tests positive for COVID-19, and they will be required to sign at least one replacement player if two test positive, at least two replacement players if three test positive and at least three if four or more test positive, per ESPN.
The new rules, which will be in effect until Jan. 19, stipulate that replacement players’ salaries will not count toward the salary cap or luxury tax. When a team has multiple COVID cases on its roster and must sign a replacement, the player must be available by the beginning of its next game.
For an NBA game to be played, both teams are required to have eight players available. The league has postponed seven games this season, and several teams have played severely shorthanded.
Before the rule changes, there had already been a wave of signings using the hardship exception, which allows a team to temporarily bypass the roster limit. In one particularly preposterous case, the Chicago Bulls signed Stanley Johnson to a 10-day contract on Dec. 9, only for him to test positive two days later, to which coach Billy Donovan said, “We need a hardship for a hardship right now.” The Bulls only played one game before Johnson’s 10-day expired, the result of two postponements, and he was inactive for it, isolating in accordance with health and safety protocols.
You’re probably aware that Isaiah Thomas is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, having joined the team on the heels of a 42-point performance in his G League debut. You might not have seen that, as of Monday, C.J. Miles is a member of the Boston Celtics, having joined the team almost immediately after signing with the G League Ignite.
If you’re having trouble keeping track of who has gone where, here is a team-by-team list of recent 10-day contracts, along with the date they signed (or, in some cases, the day the signing was reported):
- C.J. Miles (Dec. 20)
- Justin Jackson (Dec. 18)
- Wenyen Gabriel (reported Dec. 18)
- James Ennis III (Dec. 18)
- Shaquille Harrison (Dec. 18)
- Langston Galloway (Dec. 16)
- Alfonzo McKinnie (Dec. 20; second 10-day)
- Davon Reed (Dec. 19; second 10-day)
Los Angeles Lakers
- Chris Silva (reported Dec. 20)
New York Knicks
- Freddie Gillespie (reported Dec. 19)
- Aleem Ford (Dec. 17)
- Hassani Gravett (Dec. 17)
- BJ Johnson (Dec. 17)
- Admiral Schofield (Dec. 17)
- Justin Robinson (Dec. 17)