The NBA announced on Monday the postponement of two games, New Orleans Pelicans at Dallas Mavericks, and Boston Celtics at Chicago Bulls, in accordance with precautions over the league's health and safety protocols. The league, which has been hit hard with several outbreaks within different organizations over the past week, will hold a call with general managers and the NBPA on Monday to discuss ways to modify the current protocols in place.
The Mavericks-Pelicans game has been postponed because Dallas doesn't have the required eight players available to suit up. After the Mavs' win over the Denver Nuggets last Thursday, three players entered quarantine after a positive test was discovered just before the team was set to fly back to Dallas. That led to Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson having to stay behind in Denver to quarantine, and as of Monday they are still there.
At the time, it was expected that there wasn't any further spread on the team, and Dallas proceeded to play another game against the Orlando Magic on Saturday. Then, Maxi Kleber tested positive on Sunday, which led to the team closing down the practice facility for the day. With the game postponed, that means that at least five additional Mavericks players have entered quarantine protocols after further contact tracing was conducted.
For the Celtics-Bulls game, this is the second game on Boston's schedule that has been postponed. On Sunday, the Celtics were set to play the Miami Heat, but contact tracing left Miami without eight available players to put on the floor. The Celtics were already going to be incredibly shorthanded for that game, as they had nine players who were going to be out for that game, seven of which are due to COVID-19 health and safety protocols. Those seven players are: Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Tristan Thompson, Semi Ojeleye, Grant Williams, Robert Williams and Javonte Green.
Now, though, Boston is the reason that the game against Chicago is being postponed, as contact tracing found that more players needed to be quarantined.
The NBA recently said that it has no intention on pausing the season due to these recent outbreaks. In fact, the league anticipated that January would be a rough month with a spike in cases, due to the recent holidays near the end of last year. However, as more games continue to be postponed and the number of players sidelined due to healthy and safety protocols rises, something will need to change in the way the league is going about this season during a global pandemic. A board of governors meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, where the league will likely discuss where the season goes from here.