NBA & NBPA Quickly Agree To Allow Teams To Sign Replacement Players

Source: Patrick Smith / Getty

The NBA and National Basketball Players Association came to a quick agreement to help tackle the league’s current COVID-19 crisis. 

The NBA is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of COVID-19 among its players since the pandemic began. No, there is no bubble coming, and the league already had to postpone several games, something the NBA is trying to avoid at all costs. Sunday night (Dec.19), the  NBA and NBPA agreed on rules allowing teams hampered with players entering health and safety protocols to sign replacement players according to a memo obtained by ESPN’s NBA Insider Adran Wojnarowski.

Per ESPN:

Under the agreement, a team will be allowed to sign a replacement player for each positive COVID-19 case that crops up across its roster. So, if a team has five positive cases of COVID-19, for example, it could sign five replacement players.

Meanwhile, teams will have to sign at least one replacement player if they have two positive COVID-19 cases; at least two if they have three positive COVID-19 cases; and at least three if they have four or more positive COVID-19 cases.

The memo also states that any time a team is required to sign a player, that player must be available by the start of the team’s first game after the allowance to sign a replacement player is granted by the NBA.

ESPN also reports that any replacement player signed under the new agreement will not count towards a team’s yearly salary and add to its potential luxury cap payment. That’s big news for teams like the Brooklyn Nets. They are currently dealing with an outbreak among its players, with stars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and others heading into health and safety protocols after testing positive for COVID-19. The Nets have postponed two games, a Sunday matchup against the Denver Nuggets and Tuesday’s upcoming contest against the Washington Wizards.

The sports network also reports that the new agreement between the NBA and NBPA will scrap the limit on the number of games a two-player can suit up for. Under the previous contract, there was a 50-game limit. We will quickly find out whether this agreement works as more players continue to test positive for the virus.

The NBA, a superstar-driven league, has seen a number of its All-Stars enter health and safety protocols in the past week. The Milwaukee Bucks, Giannis Antetokoumpo, Atlanta Hawks Trae Young, Brooklyn Nets James Harden, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Los Angeles Lakers head coach Frank Vogel are all currently out.

Teams are currently hovering around the eight-player mark that still allows them to play. This new agreement could add some insurance to help ensure the games will not be postponed.

Photo: Patrick Smith / Getty