NBA reportedly preparing contingency plans for Christmas Day games


COVID outbreaks continue to plague several NBA teams with a handful of games already postponed and now the league is faced with a decision about its Christmas Day lineup.

According to NBA insider Shams Charania, the NBA has begun making contingency plans in the event that it would need to reschedule due to COVID-19. Those changes could come as late as Dec. 24.

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Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the league is prioritizing the games scheduled for 2:30 p.m. (Bucks-Celtics), 5 p.m. (Warriors-Suns) and 8 p.m. ET (Nets-Lakers) on national TV.

The Atlanta Hawks and New York Knicks are scheduled to play at noon on Christmas while the Mavericks and Jazz have a 10 p.m. ET tip-off.

As of Tuesday morning, the Suns and Jazz are the only teams scheduled on Christmas that do not have a player with a positive test.

The rest were as follows:

Hawks (3)
Knicks (6)
Celtics (6)
Bucks (4)
Warriors (2)
Nets (10)
Lakers (3)
Mavericks (3)

The Nets have been hit the hardest with a total of 10, although the majority of them entered protocols last week and could soon be cleared. Players who test positive must isolate for at least 10 days before exiting protocols or if they return to positive PCR tests 24 hours apart.

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving entered the protocols on Dec. 18, though, making it more unlikely that they will not clear in time for Christmas, although James Harden could be back.

The Bucks and the NBA would certainly like to have Giannis Antetokounmpo back, too, after he entered COVID protocols on Dec. 14.

The Hawks may also be without their star player, Trae Young, who tested positive for COVID on Dec. 19.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver spoke with Malika Andrews of ESPN on Tuesday and said the league has no plans to pause the season and is looking at shortening the 10-day protocol mandate for vaccinated-and-boosted individuals.

He also acknowledged that 90% of current cases were from the new Omicron variant, which is shown to be much more transmissible.

“We can sequence every single positive case we get, and it’s beyond dominant in the league right now,” Silver said. “We’re up probably around 90 percent of cases that we’re sequencing are omicron.”

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