As the coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, the NBA is working to protect its teams and players. According to a report from Shams Charania of The Athletic, the league has sent a memo to teams indicating that they should start preparing for the possibility of playing games without fans. At this point, nothing seems imminent in that regard, but should the necessity arise, teams need to be prepared to implement strategies like this.
Earlier this week, a separate memo was issued to teams with suggested measures for avoiding the virus, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe. Among other steps, the league has suggested players fist-bump instead of high-five and avoid taking items from fans to autograph.
To this point, cases of the virus in North America have been fairly minimal compared to other countries. More concerning is the disease’s impact on foreign countries that the NBA scouts. There is reportedly concern around the league that pre-draft scouting visits and workouts could be limited or even canceled entirely thanks to the virus. As of now, the NBA is preparing for upcoming events such as the Global Hoops Summit and NBA Draft Combine to proceed as scheduled.
The NBA has been in communication with both the CDC and private experts according to this report. Their expectation, at the moment, is that a player infected with the virus would be sidelined for around two weeks. Additionally, players are taking their own steps to remain healthy. C.J. McCollum, for instance, announced that he would not be signing autographs for the foreseeable future.
So far, the NBA has not canceled, rescheduled or otherwise altered any games. The EuroLeague has already played some games without fans or media in attendance in an effort to curb the spread of the virus, but so far, that is not a step that the NBA has publicly taken.
For the time being, all the league can do isas it develops in North America and prepare for the possibility of a wider spread if it comes to that. Hopefully, though, the league will be able to proceed with minimal disruptions.
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