As COVID-19 once again sweeps across the NBA, the league has had to make major adjustments. Seven games have already been postponed, and as more players enter the health and safety protocols each day, it’s possible that number will rise in the near future.
In particular, the league is concerned about the big Christmas Day slate, and has started making contingency plans, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Changes to the schedule could come as late as Dec. 24, and the NBA is planning to prioritize the 2:30 p.m., 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. ET time slots on national TV, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
But while there may have to be further schedule changes, Adam Silver made it clear on Tuesday that the league has no plans to pause the season. “This virus will not be eradicated, and we’re going to have to learn to live with it,” Silver said.
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As it stands, this is the Christmas Day schedule:
- Atlanta Hawks at New York Knicks, 12 p.m. ET
- Boston Celtics at Milwaukee Bucks, 2:30 p.m. ET
- Golden State Warriors at Phoenix Suns, 5 p.m. ET
- Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers, 8 p.m. ET
- Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz, 10:30 p.m. ET
Entering Tuesday, the Suns and Jazz are the only teams scheduled to play on Christmas that don’t have at least one player in the health and safety protocols. Though given the current situation, that could obviously change by the time we get to the 25th.
Here’s how many players on each team are currently in protocols, and when they entered:
- Miles McBride (Dec. 18)
- Immanuel Quickley (Dec. 17)
- Kevin Knox II (Dec. 16)
- Quentin Grimes (Dec. 14)
- R.J. Barrett (Dec. 12)
- Obi Toppin (Dec. 11)
- Josh Richardson (Dec. 19)
- Brodric Thomas (Dec. 18)
- Jabari Parker (Dec. 16)
- Al Horford (Dec. 17)
- Grant Williams (Dec. 17)
- Juancho Hernangomez (Dec. 17)
- Bobby Portis (Dec. 16)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (Dec. 14)
- Donte DiVincenzo (Dec. 14)
- Wesley Matthews (Dec. 14)
- Kevin Durant (Dec. 18)
- Kyrie Irving (Dec. 18)
- Day’Ron Sharpe (Dec. 18)
- LaMarcus Aldridge (Dec. 14)
- DeAndre’ Bembry (Dec. 14)
- Bruce Brown (Dec. 14)
- Jevon Carter (Dec. 14)
- James Harden (Dec. 14)
- James Johnson (Dec. 14)
- Paul Millsap (Dec. 13)
The Nets are currently the hardest-hit team in the league, with 10 players currently in protocols, including Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving — the latter of whom tested positive for COVID-19 almost immediately after starting the process of rejoining the team. They’ve already had two games postponed: Dec. 19 vs. the Denver Nuggets and Dec. 21 vs. the Washington Wizards.
Players who test positive for COVID-19 must isolate for at least 10 days from either the onset of symptoms or the positive test. They can exit protocols after those 10 days pass, or if they return two negative PCR tests at least 24 hours apart. That means the Nets could have a number of players back by Christmas, including Harden, who entered on Dec. 14. Durant, however, entered on Dec. 18, which means he may not be available.
Other big names scheduled to play on Christmas who are currently in the protocols include Giannis Antetokounmpo, Trae Young, Andrew Wiggins and Al Horford. The former entered on Dec. 14, so he could be cleared by Christmas, but the latter three are unlikely to be available that day.