Due to ongoing contact tracing, Washington does not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with the game. https://t.co/qhb7dwLDNb
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) January 13, 2021
The Wizards have become the central story in the NBA relative to COVID-19 problems. Los Angeles Clippers blogger and analyst Justin Russo pieced together the COVID-19 timeline connected to Washington's schedule a few days ago:
January 3: Wizards play Nets
January 5: Kevin Durant has to quarantine
January 6: Wizards play 76ers
January 7: Several 76ers players quarantine
January 8: Wizards play Celtics
January 9: Jayson Tatum has to quarantine
— 𝐉𝐮𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐧 𝐑𝐮𝐬𝐬𝐨 (@FlyByKnite) January 9, 2021
The NBA is wrestling with COVID-19 and dealing with an increasing number of game postponements in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic. The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat had a postponed game this week. Then came a Dallas Mavericks – New Orleans Pelicans postponement. It's not just the Wizards.
Yet, one can look at the past 10 days of news stories in the NBA and notice that the Wizards have more connections to COVID-19 situations than other teams in the league. This is creating a lot of discussion within the Association if there needs to be a pause of the season — not a long-term halt, but a one-week break. The reasoning behind such an idea — which has not yet been implemented — is that a one-week break would enable the league to gather information and, just as importantly, stop the cross-country travel which did not exist during the very successful Orlando bubble plan from the past summer.
Wizards dealing with more than two players in contact tracing, to be clear. As part of process, league will be probing to understand how long players may have been in contact with Covid-positive teammates and opponents during recent days — before, during and after games. https://t.co/AHtz81htLj
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 13, 2021
The NBA announced a number of modifications to its suite of COVID-19 policies and recommendations. The league is in scramble mode to minimize the recurrence of situations such as the one the Wizards are involved in right now:
On road, players and staff can’t leave hotel — except for team activities or emergencies, sources tell ESPN. No more list of approved restaurants. https://t.co/fU7QnElnBq
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
If more and more postponements accumulate, one wonders how the scheduling framework of the season will change in the coming months. Remember that the league shortened its schedule from 82 regular-season games to 72 in order to fit in this season before the planned 2021 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, with NBA players' participation in those games being a priority for Adam Silver. The Wizards could be represented on that team by Bradley Beal, so that is something to watch in the coming weeks and months.