NBA teams that break Covid-19 protocols may lose games

The NBA announced last Saturday that the teams that do not comply with the league’s rules designed to minimize the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic this season might face key penalties, including forfeiting games or draft picks.

According to the announcement, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) will also discuss coaches, players, and other staff being required to receive a Covid-19 vaccine as soon as it becomes available, urged teams to encourage players and staff to get flu shots, and effective immediately Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel, basically including coaches, players, and some essential staff, have to avoid lounges, clubs, bars, public gyms, spas, pool areas, and most live entertainment or gaming venues.

Those rules apply both when teams are on the road and when they are at home. Preseason games started last Friday and the regular season will begin on December 22.

The protocols document has much more detail than the draft version distributed to the teams last weekend. The rules and protocols in the updated document have been agreed by both the NBA and the NBPA.

The testing program started on Sunday. Players and coaches will be checked every day. There are 48 players who were tested positive for the virus before the training camps started. They will start to include immediate families, if they desire so. The NBA has told the teams to work with the league’s testing provider, BioReference, to make voluntary PCR testing that is available for any household member of Tier 1 and Tier 2 individuals twice per week. All the household members of those individuals are also being urged to get flu shots.

The final protocols of the league’s rules also make clear that if teams don’t seriously take the health and safety rules, they will have to pay a serious price.