NBA rumors: NBA discussed expanding rosters from 17

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The NBA called off two more games because of COVID-related and contact tracing issues on Monday, and a person with knowledge of the situation said the Miami Heat were preparing to be without “at least five" players for the next several days because of possible exposure to the coronavirus.
Miami scheduled a flight from Boston to Philadelphia on Monday night in advance of a game there Tuesday, but was preparing to leave some players behind because of the tracing results, said a person familiar with the situation. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because those details were not publicly released. The identities of those players was not revealed, and it is unclear if other members of the Heat travel party were affected. “Definitely been a unique start to the year,” Heat guard Duncan Robinson said Monday in an appearance on Reddit. “Been different challenges with all the protocols and new norms. I think the general sentiment is that everyone wants to play but also everyone wants to be safe first.”
Marc Stein: Benches, locker rooms and planes -- those are among the areas of prime concern for the NBA, sources say, in combatting COVID-19 More stringent rules and enforcement on masking, limiting in-person meetings and curbing pre- and post-game socializing are all potential measures
Kelly Iko: “We haven’t spoken about it as an organization yet.”— Rockets head coach Stephen Silas on the possibility of a league pause with rising COVID cases.
Marc J. Spears: Hawks:”Out of an abundance of caution & in consultation with state and local health officials, including infectious disease doctors from Emory, that the team will continue to play games at State Farm Arena with limited guests & now target Jan. 26 for the return of ticketed fans.”
Anthony Chiang: Can confirm that the Heat is arranging for players out because of contact tracing to be flown back to Miami on a private plane. Others who are cleared will travel to Philadelphia if enough are eligible to play tomorrow's game.
The Athletic has acquired a copy of the league’s health and safety protocols. The document begins its section on contract tracing by defining “close contact,” which is what contact tracing is generally looking for. Consistent with current CDC guidance, close contacts are defined as any individual who (a) has been within six feet of an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (i.e., consecutively all at once or in multiple separate time blocks), starting from two days before illness onset for symptomatic individuals, and two days before specimen collection for asymptomatic individuals or (b) had direct contact with infectious secretions or excretions of the infected individual (e.g., being coughed on or bare-handed palm- to-palm handshakes or hugs).
It will likely be months until league-wide vaccinations are possible. Until then, playing- and non-playing personnel alike must navigate an imperfect set of protocols — one Adalja is skeptical could be reformed in a way that fully guarantees safety. “I don’t think you can come up with a one-size-fits-all (answer),” he says. “It’s really gonna depend upon each individual’s circumstances and what their risk tolerance will be, because no activity is going to have zero risk, unless you do it the way they did it before with the bubble.”
Barry Jackson: New Orleans-Mavs,Boston-Chicago postponed. Discussions ongoing with league&union about how to deal with growing problem, per a team source. NBA had opted not to go to 19 player roster instead of 17 (economics in play). Not sure why when MLB smartly agreed to 60 player pool in '20
Tim Bontemps: With the Celtics already having their game postponed tomorrow, their next scheduled game is at home Wednesday vs Orlando. With @Adrian Wojnarowski reporting Boston doesn't have enough players, that means additional players beyond the seven in the Health & Safety Protocols yesterday are now.
Tim MacMahon: Source confirms that Pelicans-Mavericks game tonight is postponed due to COVID-19 issues, as first reported by @CallieCaplan
Silver on Dec. 30 addressed a group of team governors; general managers and presidents; coaches; and NBPA leadership such as Michele Roberts, Kyle Lowry and Dwight Powell. The league office provided additional guidance to these constituents stemming from the advice and notice it received from the top health and medical experts. “January is going to be the worst month,” Silver told the group, according to sources. “We are optimistic about improvements in February … after we get through the darkest days.”
Getting owners on board with another bubble could be challenging. “They don’t want to pay for it,” a high-ranking team executive told SI. Indeed, the cost of the Orlando bubble was in the neighborhood of $180 million. While the majority of teams are not bringing in gate revenue, the appetite for forking over millions to rebuild a secure environment is expected to be minimal.
But these are all unknowns. It’s worth noting that the NBA will have the infrastructure in place for a bubble The league announced this week that the G-League will play its season in a Disney bubble. In February, 18 teams will call Lake Buena Vista, Fla. home for a season that is expected to last around a month. There is also a growing number of team officials who believe, regardless of a bubble, that the NBA should consider a weeklong pause of the season. “It’s f------ crazy right now,” an NBA coach told SI. “Honestly, we go to work every day wondering who is going to be available.”
But the league sees evidence of an even greater risk of infection when the league's shuttered, which is another reason health and medical experts advising the NBA aren't pushing for a stoppage now, sources told ESPN. When players were tested upon returning to team training camps, the NBA saw spikes in positive tests -- including 48 cases on December 2.
Executives and coaches are frustrated that quality of play and preparations have suffered, and competitive balance is being compromised. Teams are struggling for ways to build camaraderie and chemistry when staffs and players are constantly being separated, and rituals once as simple as shoot-arounds became pointless when players sometimes have to wait an hour-to-90 minutes for the return of test results before they are allowed inside the facility.
Brad Townsend: Poor Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson remain in Denver, I'm told. No indication of when/how they will be able to return to Dallas.
Some team executives have privately raised concerns in the turbulent past several days, but commissioner Adam Silver has remained committed to pushing through games with a minimum of eight available players per team and trying to complete as much of the schedule as possible prior to widescale access to vaccinations that could start to bring normalcy back to the league and country.

https://twitter.com/ChrisForsberg_/status/1348388148372516871
Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: While the Celtics-Heat game has been postponed tonight, the NBA has no plans to pause the season despite thinning rosters because of COVID-19 protocols in several places.
Shams Charania: The Boston Celtics-Miami Heat game tonight has been postponed, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. A Heat player has returned an inconclusive test, and team does not have required eight players to proceed with game tonight due to contact tracing.
Alex Schiffer: Nash said he thinks Tyler Johnson is on the same week-long protocol as Durant was in terms of contact tracing. He'll be out the next few games. Said he wants to ramp Durant back up after a week away from the team but still wants to treat things carefully in terms of restrictions.
TJ McBride: Source: all Nuggets players and staff members with the team returned negative COVID tests — both rapid and regular — this morning. So despite playing Dallas three days ago and Philadelphia last night, Denver’s roster is ready to go.
In these first three weeks of the season, the league is learning that the hard way. One team official asked before the season, half-jokingly, if it would wind up going on a road trip and leave players in one city after another as it went. So far, two teams -- the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks -- have had to leave players behind; and in another instance, staff from the LA Clippers had to drive back home from Salt Lake City. The Toronto Raptors, who are playing in Tampa, Florida, this season, reversed course on having fans in attendance at games this week due to spikes in the virus.
"I do think the reality is that we know this is rampant right now," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "And we're doing everything we can, as I've said before, to prevent it, and it's still going to find its way into the league, through travel parties; so we're all assuming some level of risk. "And I think we accept that and, at the same time, we trust that the people in charge have health and safety as the No. 1 priority; and if it becomes too much, that'll be somebody else's decision who's an expert at it."
The Nuggets will arrive at the Garden on Sunday having played their last two games against the 76ers — who played with eight active players Saturday because of health and safety protocols stemming from Seth Curry’s positive test — and the Mavericks, who have quarantined three players after one tested positive following Thursday’s game in Denver. “We just gotta do our part individually,” Knicks guard Austin Rivers said Saturday. “It’s tough, though. It is everywhere. Unfortunately in our country, people don’t wear masks all the time. You have ignorance displayed every day, which is causing this to be more delayed and more serious. … It’s frustrating to see people mess around with that stuff. We just control what we control and do our part. The Knicks have done a great job of keeping us in line with that stuff.”
Brad Townsend: Rick Carlisle says Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson are still in Denver. Burke is available tonight.
Brad Townsend: Rick Carlisle: "We’re all dealing with a vast set of circumstances, so we’ve got to remain calm and we’ve always got to have a plan for adversity. We’ve been expecting that this kind of thing was certainly a realistic possibility and now we’re dealing with it.”
Brad Townsend: Carlisle: "We've got to remain calm. We've been expecting this sort of thing." It is what it is, what the NBA is going through right now.
Mark Murphy: Per source: Jayson Tatum tested positive for Covid today, and is now awaiting the results of a confirmation test. He is asymptomatic.
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