Bulls vs. Grizzlies Game on Wednesday Postponed Due to COVD-19 Contact Tracing

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistJanuary 25, 2021

Memphis Grizzlies head coach Taylor Jenkins, front right, talks with forward Brandon Clarke (15) in the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Brandon Dill)
Brandon Dill/Associated Press

The NBA announced Sunday that Wednesday's matchup between the Chicago Bulls and Memphis Grizzlies has been postponed due to "contact tracing within the Grizzlies and the length of time preceding the game during which Memphis will be unable to practice."

It will be the fourth straight game Memphis has had postponed due to the NBA's health and safety protocols. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the Grizzlies "have no new players entered into the health and safety protocol" but that the "league continues to be cautious with a return to play for Memphis."

The Grizzlies last played Jan. 18, beating the Phoenix Suns 108-104. Memphis is 7-6 on the season and had won five games in a row before the forced hiatus.

The NBA has now had 21 games postponed this season, a staggering number less than two months into the 2020-21 campaign, especially given how successful the league's resumption in the Florida bubble was last year. 

The Grizzlies have already had six of their games postponed. Another team that had a string of five postponements, the Washington Wizards, returned to action Sunday vs. the San Antonio Spurs. 

The news of another Grizzlies postponement comes on the same day the NBA announced several franchises would be allowing fans to attend games:

Marc Stein @TheSteinLine

The NBA will soon be up to nine teams allowing reduced crowds with Atlanta and Miami planning to start admitting fans this week, Indiana starting last week and Memphis allowing floor-seat and suite-ticket holders. Cleveland, Houston, New Orleans, Orlando and Utah are the others

Part of the NBA's reasoning for only releasing the schedule for the first half of the season—from Dec. 22 to March 4—was ostensibly to keep room for make-up dates that "can reasonably be added" in the event of potential postponements. 

The second half of the season will run from March 11 to May 16. The more postponements that stack heading into the second half of the campaign, the more possible it becomes that the NBA will simply decide to cancel some of them altogether.