Due to the recent surge of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases with multiple teams, the NBA and NBPA announced they agreed on additional measures to expand the current health and safety protocols previously implemented for the 2020-21 season.
The announcement comes after several games were postponed this past week due to teams not having enough active players. The league requires each team to have at least eight players dressed for games.
One of the main additions is the restrictions on activities outside team environments. For at least the next two weeks, players and team staff members must stay at their place of residence when they are in their home market.
They are only allowed to leave for team activities at their facility or arena, exercise outdoors, perform essential activities, or in the case of an extraordinary circumstance/emergency.
Regarding road trips, teams must now create seating plans on planes to mirror arrangements on the bench during games. On game day, players must arrive to arenas no more than three hours before tipoff and any pre- or postgame greetings will be limited to elbow or fist bumps.
Also, all players must now wear facemasks on the bench, as well as in the locker room, during strength and conditioning activities, and when traveling with anyone not in their household.
There were also more measures added to the testing section, where any individuals who visit players or staff members must now undergo coronavirus twice a week. In the event of a positive case or high-risk staff member case, the NBA is considering requiring players and staff to go through five consecutive days twice-per-day testing.
Marc Gasol hopeful NBA can finish 2020-21 season
Los Angeles Lakers players like Wesley Matthews and Montrezl Harrell have praised the organization for their due diligence in regards to the protocols, but this new wave of measures adds to the stress the players find themselves in.
Marc Gasol sounded hopeful the league can finish out the season, but notes they will need to get through January first. “That’s the hope, obviously,” he said. “I think the NBA is trying to get us through the schedule as safe as possible.
“I’m sure they have many plans. We do as best as possible to stay on the court and do our job, but I have no idea what this might turn into. Hopefully we can get through this month, which they anticipated being a tough month, and then we’ll go from there.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!