Just days after having to reschedule games against the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls, the contest scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 13 is also on ice for the time being as the Celtics are reported to not have enough eligible members of its roster to meet the league’s mandated minimum number of eight players available. This comes as the league is beginning to show a greater willingness to adapt its approach to conducting an NBA season in the midst of a pandemic.
The question circulating throughout the league’s media sphere is whether the proposed measures will be enough.
According to Wojnarowski, the league and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) may agree to a tightening of the existing protocol, including a reduction of the interaction between players from rival teams and increased focus on mask use.
There is doubt in some circles of the media whether that may be enough, with some analysts like The Athletic’s Tim Cato and Jared Weiss recently publishing work noting the NBA’s protocol may not take into account the dynamics of live-game action on community spread.
The Celtics have now had three games in a row postponed, out of five total games the league has postponed this season. Sunday’s game was postponed because Miami didn’t have enough available players; tonight vs. Chicago and tomorrow vs. Orlando are because Boston is short players. https://t.co/nen5RtSKsl
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) January 12, 2021
Whatever the league decides, a check-in with experts may be in order to see whether there are ways to tweak the existing approach further, as well as to determine if bigger changes need to be made — or events like more contagious strains showing up suggest old practices are now outdated.
With postponements starting to rack up, the league should consider all its options — including a short pause to get its bearings — to best ensure the health of their players and the communities in which they play.