Update: The Wizards’ next two games, both against the Cavaliers, have been postponed.
The National Basketball Association games scheduled for Sun., Jan. 17 and Mon., Jan. 18 between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Washington Wizards at [in Washington] have been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety Protocols.
Because of ongoing contact tracing within the Wizards, the team does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with the scheduled games against the Cavaliers.
Now, it’s up to four and five.
Fred Katz of The Athletic:
The Washington Wizards are now up to five players who have tested positive for coronavirus, sources tell @ShamsCharania and me.
— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) January 15, 2021
This is a number of simultaneous team confirmed coronavirus cases we haven’t seen.
The Mavericks recently had four positive tests. The Nets had four positive tests, including Kevin Durant, in March. The Suns reportedly had four or five cases, including Ricky Rubio and Aron Baynes, around the time the bubble started in July. A 2020 Western Conference playoff team reportedly had four cases in June – but before teams regathered from the hiatus.
Which is a good reminder: These five Wizards didn’t necessarily give it to each other. Coronavirus is spreading throughout the surrounding community. Until recently, NBA players were permitted more contact with people not regularly tested.
However, it appears increasingly likely there was intra-team transmission. Washington shouldn’t be playing until the situation is under greater control.
The Wizards’ game against the Pistons, originally scheduled for tonight, has already been postponed. A Sunday-Monday series against the Cavaliers in Washington already appeared to be in jeopardy.
The NBA requires a team have eight players to play. Five Wizards are now out at least 10-14 days with coronavirus cases. Thomas Bryant is out for the year with a torn ACL. Russell Westbrook might return from his quad injury by the time this gets sorted out. But that’d leave just 11 players from Washington’s roster before contact tracing. It doesn’t leave much margin for error.