CHICAGO – The NBA is adjusting the upcoming schedule after four San Antonio players tested positive for COVID-19.
The League postponed five games as a result, including the next two for the Hornets while contact tracing is completed. Charlotte’s games have been halted because they were the last team to play the Spurs, losing to them on Sunday. The league is reviewing data to see if any Hornets may have been exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19, a process that takes time.
The Bulls were supposed to take the court in Charlotte Wednesday night, but they will host the Pistons at the United Center instead.
The postponements announced Tuesday push the total of games that have been moved back this season because of positive tests or contact tracing issues to 29, including the Spurs’ game at Detroit that was to have been played Tuesday night. The NBA called that game off on Monday.
Meanwhile, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms — whose city was picked to play host to the NBA All-Star Game and skills competitions on March 7 — raised major concerns about the notion of fans coming to the city for the events.
“People should not travel to Atlanta to party,” she said.
Four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks, two-time NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard of the Los Angeles Clippers and others have spoken out in recent days to express their unhappiness about the idea of playing an All-Star Game during a pandemic — and wedging it into an already jam-packed and truncated season.
The NBA told teams Monday that strict protocols will be in place for the All-Star events; players will be allowed a very limited number of guests, all participants must travel to Atlanta by private car or plane, and for the most part players will be allowed to leave their hotels only for All-Star events at the arena.
Tickets will not be sold. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported earlier this week that some vaccinated front-line workers will be invited to attend, but there will not be events for the general public — an obvious change from past All-Star weekends, which tend to attract tens of thousands of fans for the game, parties and atmosphere.