The moves come a day after the Miami game in Boston was canceled due to contact tracing issues within the Heat. It would have been a game where the Celtics only had eight players available after seven were excluded, in accordance with league health and safety protocols for playing amid the pandemic.
The Mavericks-Pelicans game and the Bulls-Celtics game increase the total number of games postponed this season due to coronavirus issues to four and means the league will have three consecutive days of postponement. The Heat are due to play in Philadelphia on Tuesday – but as of Monday afternoon, they remained at their Boston hotel unsure of their next steps. The 76ers played on Saturday with eight players available, but only seven of them healthy in a loss to the Denver Nuggets.
Dallas did not have the minimum of eight players allowed to play on Monday, sources told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
The league said it will meet with the National Basketball Players Association on Monday about “changing the league’s health and safety protocols.” The NBA also has a special board of governors meeting scheduled for Tuesday, sources told Wojnarowski.
Topics that will be discussed at Monday’s meeting, sources say, are potentially revisiting shooting sessions and practice times, socializing before and after the game on the field, other restrictions on dining out. and stricter rules on wearing a mask.
There were four Dallas players on the COVID-19 protocol list Sunday night, with the most recent addition then being Maxi Kleber, who tested positive for the coronavirus, sources told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon. Starters Josh Richardson and Dorian Finney-Smith, as well as substitute Jalen Brunson had previously been excluded; those three stayed behind in Denver after a win over the Nuggets on Thursday and missed Saturday’s home win over Orlando.
The other game, in addition to Sunday’s Boston-Miami game, to be postponed was the December 23 game between Oklahoma City and Houston. The NBA said Sunday night that the league anticipates there will be problems and has no plans to suspend the season due to the current issues some teams face.
“It really was a unique start to the year,” Heat goalie Duncan Robinson said in an appearance on Reddit on Monday. “I have experienced different challenges with all the protocols and new standards. I think the general feeling is that everyone wants to play but also that everyone wants to be safe first. ”
Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.