Report: NBA, NBPA to Discuss Guidelines for Signing Replacement Players amid COVID-19

Adam WellsDecember 18, 2021

ARCHIVO - En esta fotografía del 15 de febrero de 2020, el comisionado de la NBA, Adam Silver, habla durante una conferencia de prensa en Chicago. (AP Foto/David Banks, Archivo)
AP Foto/David Banks, Archivo

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are discussing ways to add players to team rosters amid a spike in players entering the health and safety protocols.

Per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Baxter Holmes, the plan will "allow teams to add additional replacement players" as needed. 

According to Wojnarowski and Holmes, there was "an overwhelming sentiment among NBA owners to do whatever is necessary to avoid postponements and cancellations this season" during a board of governors call on Friday. 

On the call, the governors approved an outline of the plan for replacement players. Both the league and union have to agree to the plan before it can be implemented. 

The report also noted teams would be permitted to add one player on a 10-day contract after a first positive COVID-19 case, but they would be required to add a 10-day player in the event of a second, third and fourth positive test. 

Players signed to a 10-day contract in that event wouldn't have their salaries count against the cap. 

The potential addition of replacement players comes as a result of a COVID-19 outbreak across the NBA that has impacted the schedule.

The league had to postpone the Chicago Bulls' games against the Detroit Pistons on Tuesday and Toronto Raptors on Thursday because Chicago had 10 players in health and safety protocols. 

Isaiah Thomas signed a 10-day contract with the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. They currently have six players in health and safety protocols.

Holmes noted as of Wednesday morning a total of 43 players had been entered into the health and safety protocols in the past two weeks. 

Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, all NBA players and personnel with Tier 1 status will be tested for COVID-19 daily from Dec. 26 through Jan. 8 in order to account for families gathering during the holiday season. 

Charania added that all players and Tier 1 personnel are required to wear masks at all times when traveling and at team facilities regardless of vaccination status. 

The NBA currently has a hardship provision that creates a temporary roster spot that allows teams to exceed the traditional 15-man roster limit if multiple players are unavailable due to injury or illness.