With a recent spike in the country in COVID-19 cases, the NBA for a third straight season is once again being noticeably impacted by the disease. Based on vaccination status and contact tracing NBA players are subject to go through quarantining and be absent from games, and as of now there are around 90 players going through the leagues COVID protocols. Nearly every star in the NBA from LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Luka Dončić, and even more players from every team being affected from top to bottom in terms of players that are missing games. Even coaches have been missing games while going through protocols
With the rise of cases the league has been subject to postponing many games as well, as teams are signing many players for short term 10-day contracts to fill in for players that are going through the league’s protocols. As a result of missing players, coaches, and many postponed games the NBA has greatly suffered as a result. The NBA has not helped its own case either with no real definition of what does or does not give cause for a postponement, with teams like the Nets most notably having to play games with eight active players and some teams having less cases and having their respective games postponed.
When the games are being played the product has not been nearly as good with players that are usually relegated to riding the bench to playing more minutes. In addition, many veterans that have been without a team for quite some time such as Isaiah Thomas along with Joe Johnson being picked up by teams. The end does not seem to be in sight for the hectic season and Adam Silver recently said that he has no intention of pausing the season or going back to the bubble in any form, citing they’re being no clear reason to, and if that is going to be the case the NBA needs to find a middle ground somewhere to stop the season from being determined by what teams are healthy and are getting the most out of their reserve players and players they are picking up solely to fill in for sick players.
With the season roughly around the halfway point the NBA still has time to find a solution in an attempt to fix this, but it seems that it is going to stick to its guns and try to make this season work in any way they can. However, it seems more and more that a change is going to be made. The league needs to reconsider its stance on a possible pause on the season in order to reset the number of players that are going through the league’s protocols and are ineligible to play. While a brief pause might be the best solution, the NBA should look at all available options in order to stop these ongoing issues as the league continues throughout this year.
With seemingly every player having come out since the bubble and admitted their disdain for it as a whole that no longer seems like it will be a viable option with it very unlikely that players will agree to doing that again. As time goes on, it is going to be on the NBA to fix the poor product that they are putting out by allowing the games to continue with so many players out and they must act soon because as stated above there is reason for yet another NBA championship to be impacted so greatly by COVID.