The coronavirus situation escalated quickly on Wednesday night. Early in the evening, the league postponed the Utah Jazz-Oklahoma City Thunder matchup after Rudy Gobert reportedly tested positive for the virus. A short time later, the NBA announced that all play would be suspended following the conclusion of the night's games.
That final game was supposed to be a matchup between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings, but it too was postponed. The primary issue was that a referee scheduled to work the game, Courtney Kirkland, was part of the crew for the Jazz-Raptors game on Monday. Once that was made clear, players from both teams pushed for the game to be called.
"That's when players from both teams expressed a lot of concern that they weren't comfortable taking the court," Andrew Lopez of ESPN reported on TV. "The Pelicans never came out from warm-ups. The Kings did, but the Pelicans were adamant they really didn't want to play, and ultimately the NBA made the decision."
A short time later, the game was officially called off. Fans booed the decision, and there was even one little girl crying in the stands.
"The National Basketball Association game between the New Orleans Pelicans and Sacramento Kings scheduled for tonight at Golden 1 Center has been canceled," the league said in a statement. "The game was canceled out of an abundance of caution because one of the referees assigned to work in the game also worked a Utah Jazz game earlier this week. Earlier tonight, the NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19."
Per Lopez, players from both teams weren't sure what to do after the game was postponed.
"The Pelicans were kind of bewildered, walking around like 'what do we do now?'" Lopez said. "Lonzo Ball actually came back out on to the court after the cancelation because the Pelicans' plane wasn't leaving for three hours."
At this point, it's unclear when the league will resume play, but according to Tim Reynolds of the Associated Press, it will be at least two weeks.