Just when you thought the NBA was getting a handle on this pandemic thing, there comes another rash of COVID-related postponements.
The San Antonio Spurs have had their next three games postponed after they had four players test positive for the coronavirus, the league announced on Tuesday. These three postponed games are in addition to their Tuesday night matchup with the Detroit Pistons that was called off on Monday.
The contests San Antonio is having postponed are their Wednesday matchup with the Cleveland Cavaliers, a Saturday night date with the New York Knicks, and a tilt with the Indiana Pacers next Monday.
The NBA does not divulge which players are the ones to have contracted the virus, but we know that the positive Spurs tests did not come among the coaching staff. San Antonio’s 72-year-old head coach, Gregg Poppovich announced that he had received the COVID-19 vaccine last month as well.
Unfortunately, the entire Spurs team has had to remain quarantined in Charlotte since Sunday’s game, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Since the Charlotte Hornets were the last team to play the Spurs—a 122-110 Spurs win on Sunday—the league has decided to postpone their next two games as well as the team goes through contact tracing measures as a precaution, the league said.
Charlotte’s scheduled matchup with the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday has been pushed as well as their Saturday night date with the Denver Nuggets—who are, it so happens, one of the best bets for today’s NBA action as +2.5-point underdogs at -116 NBA odds against the Boston Celtics on Tuesday night.
And speaking of the Nuggets, since both they and the Cavs have had games postponed this week the two teams will instead play each other on Friday, the NBA said.
This game was originally planned for the second half of the season and will replace the postponed Nuggets-Hornets showdown on the schedule. The league has said that it will be flexible and shuffle games around where necessary. This strategy will help the league avoid a second-half schedule back-loaded with too many makeup games.
As long as the Hornets don’t have any COVID-related snafus over the next week, they should be able to return to NBA action on Saturday for a home date with the Golden State Warriors and Steph Curry, who has always loved playing in North Carolina where he grew up. Curry has only scored at a higher rate against two other teams in the league in his career, so keep an eye out for his points prop come Saturday.
The Spurs, meanwhile, won’t be able to take the court until February 24th, when they will hopefully be cleared to play away to the Oklahoma City Thunder. That will mark over a week—10 days, in fact—between games for the Spurs, an occurrence that is becoming more and more common, with both the Memphis Grizzlies and Washington Wizards suffering similar enforced breaks in January.
These five postponements together with the Tuesday night Spurs vs. Detroit Pistons contest that the NBA called off on Monday brings the season’s total to 29 total games pushed due to health and safety protocols or contact tracing related to the pandemic.
It’s unclear if it is related to the postponements, but Spurs guard Quinndary Weatherspoon played 10 minutes in San Antonio’s game against the Atlanta Hawks last Friday before being flagged by the protocols on the weekend.
The league has remained coy about what exactly is keeping players out when they’ve been ruled out by the protocols. This could mean anything from a positive test, to contact with someone with a positive test, to contact with someone with a suspected positive test, to contact-tracing data showing that a player had come into contact with someone with COVID-19 at some point.