NBA Reportedly Looking to Allow Teams to Expand Rosters amid COVID-19 Concerns

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 16, 2021

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The NBA and its general managers are reportedly discussing expanding rosters to help teams better deal with missing players because of COVID-19 protocols.

According to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski, GMs were on a call with the league Friday and talked about the possibility of adding a third two-way contract slot for the remainder of the 2020-21 season.

Wojnarowski noted that while the NBPA would have to approve such a measure, there is "momentum toward it."

In anticipation of COVID-19 issues, the NBA allowed teams to expand the number of players active on game nights from 13 to 15. Teams also have two players on two-way contracts apiece, but adding a third would provide even more flexibility.

Multiple games have been postponed over the past two weeks because of teams having positive COVID-19 tests and also having to sit other players because of contact tracing protocols.

While several teams have been impacted, the Washington Wizards have had an especially tough week. They have had four games postponed, and Wojnarowski reported that three Wizards players have tested positive for COVID-19.

Teams are required to have at least eight players active in order to play, so a third two-way contract would give teams another player they could call up in case of emergency.

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The NBA has had to deal with plenty of adversity on the heels of ending the 2019-20 season inside the NBA bubble in Orlando, Florida.

No positive COVID-19 tests were reported in the bubble, but with no bubble concept for the 2020-21 season, things have been far more challenging.

The NBA isn't the only league that has expanded rosters in an effort to give more teams more options during the pandemic.

The NFL increased gameday rosters from 53 to 55 and altered practice squad rules, the MLB made it easier to call players up if needed and the NHL has a taxi squad for each team including players who can slide into the lineup if need be without getting called up.

The NBA has followed suit and adding another contracted player for each team would allow for an even greater cushion than has already been established.