Without the ability to have an entire season take place inside a bubble with all 30 teams, it was always expected that the NBA would have to deal with a coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak unlike one anything they faced in finishing out the prior campaign.
While many teams haven’t been greatly affected, including the Los Angeles Lakers, a number of others have been hit hard and forced to play with limited rosters or postpone games altogether. The Washington Wizards have arguably been hit hardest, having had four consecutive games postponed.
Meanwhile, teams like the Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat have played games without most or all of their star players. The league has already enforced stronger protocols, and now there looks to be some roster help coming as well.
The NBA and NBAPA are in discussions that will grant teams an additional two-way spot, allowing roster expansion, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
Amid thinning rosters in the darkest days of the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA is progressing toward an expansion of regular season rosters, sources tell ESPN. The NBA and National Basketball Players Association must still agree on the details of granting teams an additional two-way roster spot for the balance of the regular season, but those talks are expected to soon culminate with an agreement and deeper roster options for teams struggling with COVID-19 issues, sources said.
This possibility was something that was talked about before the season began as it was always likely that the league would deal with a serious outbreak at some point. And after the holidays when players were more likely to be around family and others, seemed like a real possibility.
By allowing teams to add a third two-way player to the active roster, they will have an extra player with the team, able to practice and learn the systems in case they’re needed to step in on a moments notice due to a player entering the league’s health and safety protocols.
The Lakers have been fortunate enough to not be hit hard as the only player affected so far was Alex Caruso, who was in contact with a friend who tested positive.
Assuming the roster change is implemented, the possibility of the Lakers making an addition may not be great however as the team remains on a hard cap and may not have the room to add another player, even on a two-way salary.
LeBron James unbothered by NBA tightening protocols
While the additional roster spot is the latest reaction to the NBA’s ongoing issues, the first move for the NBA was to further tighten up its protocols. For some these extra rules may be a bother, but LeBron James simply sees it as normal.
“Not too much has changed on our landscape for us as a franchise,” James noted. “It’s pretty much standard for us anyway, so it’s easy for us to go about the new protocols in any way, shape, or fashion.”
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