One day after the end of the regular 2020-21 season, the NBA postponed its first game. The NBA announced late on Wednesday afternoon that the game between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder is scheduled for 8 pm. AND was postponed because the Rockets didn’t have eight players available.
The news only underscores the countless challenges facing the league as it attempts to end its season outside the bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, where the NBA ends the 2019-20 season.
As the NFL, MLB and MLS have already proven, trying to play a season outside the bubble brings all sorts of complications. This is what we do and don’t know about the postponed game, the last game against James Harden and what’s next for the Rockets and the rest of the NBA.
What’s going on in Houston?
The Rockets are dealing with two different coronavirus problems, according to reports by ESPN’s Tim McMahon and Adrian Wojnarowski.
After a video of Harden was exposed and surfaced in the clubhouse on social media, the NBA began investigating whether Harden violated the league’s security protocols by attending an unpunished indoor event last week. The Rockets also conducted three tests on returning players who were positive or unclear and had to add four more players to the league’s contact tracking program, including former All-Stars DeMarcus and John Wall Cousins and rookie Kenyon Martin Jr. who was among the players with inconsistent COVID-19 test results. Wall, Cousins and Martin were among the Rockets players who gathered at the player’s apartment Tuesday night to get a haircut.
The combination of the two events left Houston with less than eight players available, forcing the Rockets to postpone the start of the season against the Thunder.
When will the game against Thunder be caught up?
The competition has not yet announced a rebroadcast date, but has built some flexibility into the schedule to accommodate this scenario. For matches played for 4 years. In March, the NBA has three deferral options: for the season break, from 5 to 10 March, during that break, or during the second half of the season, the schedule of which is not announced until February.
As ESPN’s Royce Young reports, thunder will return to Oklahoma City on Wednesday. They plan to leave Oklahoma City on Friday afternoon and fly to Charlotte for the season opener on Saturday.
What is the union looking for on Harden?
The league has sanctioned certain restaurants in each NBA city that players, coaches and staff members of the traveling team of each team may visit. The protocols prohibit these people from going to bars, lounges or clubs and from attending social gatherings of more than 15 people. Some markets, such as San Francisco and Los Angeles, are also developing stricter leagues that prohibit teams from leaving the hotel or the arena.
In Harden’s photos circulating on social media, he wasn’t wearing a mask at the club. The NBA ruled that Harden was unavailable due to a violation of health and safety protocols and fined him $50,000.
How does contact tracking work?
The union has deliberately given itself some leeway in tracing contacts in order to be able to respond flexibly to each individual situation.
The core of the NBA plan is formed by strict testing procedures. Players are now tested twice a day, every day, in the hope that this will enable the league to catch any virus cases as quickly as possible, reducing the need to isolate players or waste time.
However, situations such as the one reported are more difficult when players gather on the field outside training or a match and there is a positive test. Earlier this month, for example, Utah Jazz guard Mike Conley had to remain in quarantine for a week after contacting a family member who did not participate in the competition’s testing program.
Fault! The file name is not specified. Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP
What are the protocols to return to the game?
For players who test positive for COVID-19, there are two possible ways to return: temporary resolution and test resolution.
According to the provisional authorisation, the infected person should have disappeared at least 10 days after the first positive test result or the occurrence of symptoms, if any, at least 24 hours after the disappearance of the fever without taking any medication and showing any other symptoms which have improved. The protocols state that the loss of a sense of taste or smell should not prevent a person from coming out of isolation.
In the case of authorisation based on testing, a person must submit at least two consecutive negative PCR tests from samples that are at least 24 hours apart.
In any event, a Player who has a new positive result may not participate in training for at least 10 days from the date of the positive result or the resolution of any symptoms.
After waiting at least 10 days, the player must train for two days alone, without interacting with others or participating in team activities, and undergo a cardiological evaluation.
Any player who has had a serious case of COVID-19 or who has been hospitalized at any time must be checked for at least three full days before playing.
What are the possible penalties for breaches of security protocols?
The NBA has a section in its health and safety protocols that outlines disciplinary measures and sanctions for players and team staff.
Although no specific sanctions are mentioned, the sanctions for players who do not abide by these league rules include possible warnings, fines or suspensions. Teams that do not adhere to this rule also risk altering or losing their design selections and forfeiting the game.
Players who violated protocols – such as Lou Williams of the LA Clippers – were forced to miss matches, resulting in lost pay for every missed match. In this case, Harden lost $572,985 (1/72nd of his salary) for failure to provide services due to protocol violations.
The grey area in this interpretation is that the Rockets-Thunder game has been postponed, not cancelled, so technically Harden hasn’t missed a single game yet.
Will this affect Harden’s business value?
When asked whether Mr. Harden’s behavior would be a red flag for the former MVP, team officials told ESPN that they thought it was selfish and reckless, but that it wouldn’t end the deal.
The teams have already done their homework at Harden, both on and off the field. An NBA director told ESPN that the team had hired a private investigator to thoroughly monitor the process of gathering information about him as a prospect.
If the team feels comfortable with the acquisition of Harden, the biggest challenge will be to increase the salary enough (at least $33 million) to make the company legal without breaking the existing file.
The teams are in the early stages of evaluating their lists and at this stage are reluctant to make a quick judgement. That could change if the missiles lower their price on Harden. Currently, reports indicate that they need a mix of young players with star potential and strong strengths in the design.
ESPN’s Bobby Marks contributed to this report.