Activity in NBA offices is frenzied. The cascade of casualties that falls on the teams threatens to paralyze the competition. Nine games had to be postponed, the last two, which were to be played at dawn from Wednesday to Thursday by Brooklyn and Portland, and from Thursday to Friday by Toronto and Chicago. The Nets didn’t have the required minimum of eight players. They number ten in the covid protocol, including its top three stars, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant and James Harden.
More than 80 players are counted on the covid-19 health protocol lists. And the special day of Christmas Day is just around the corner, a crucial day in the promotion campaign of the League, in which five games are scheduled among the most attractive in the competition. On this occasion, they are: Knicks-Atlanta, Milwaukee-Boston, Phoenix-Golden State (23.00, #Vamos), Lakers-Brooklyn (2.00, early morning from Saturday to Sunday, #Vamos) and Utah-Dallas.
The NBA and the players’ union have agreed on new rules so that teams can face games with squads with minimal guarantees to compete. It is allowed to sign a substitute for each player who tests positive, and teams are obliged to sign at least one replacement if two players from their squads test positive; two, if three test positive; and at least three, if there are four or more positives. Those incorporated will not count towards the salary cap or luxury tax.
The rules that, for the moment, will be in force until January 19, have reopened the doors, albeit with ten-day contracts, to veterans who had been left out of the NBA. The latest case is Joe Johnson, who at 40 and after three courses out of the League, has signed a ten-day contract with the Celtics. The Spanish Juancho Hernangómez is one of the players of the Boston team included in the covid protocols. The Lakers, also with casualties, signed Isaiah Thomas. The career of the 32-year-old and 1.75-meter point guard, the lowest in the NBA and who had stood out in the playoffs of 2016 and 2017 with the Celtics, he was in a waning phase. The injuries crushed him. He was fired by the Clippers in 2020. He made his G-League debut last week. His extraordinary performance, with 42 points, eight assists, six rebounds and two steals, earned him the Lakers, a team in which he already played the 2017-2018 season, to turn to him.
CJ Miles, 34, who had played his last game with Washington in November 2020, has joined the Celtics. And also returning is Lance Stephenson, the 31-year-old forward who left the League in April 2019, when he belonged to the Lakers. He then played in China and has now signed for Atlanta.
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