NBA Developing Replacement System For Injured Or Sick Players

The NBA is developing a system that will allow teams to replace players who suffer serious injuries or test positive for COVID-19 once play resumes, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks.

The league isn’t expected to place a limit on the number of replacement players a team can sign during training camp or the eight additional regular-season games, the authors state. However, sources tell them that the only players eligible to be added must have either played in the NBA or G League this season or have been signed to a training camp contract. Teams won’t be permitted to sign international players or veterans who haven’t been in the league all season, such as Jamal Crawford.

Roster flexibility will end once the postseason begins, with teams only permitted to call up their two-way players.

The league office is considering a requirement that any player who is replaced because of injury or the coronavirus would become ineligible to play for the rest of the season, including the playoffs. Sources say players who test positive will likely be quarantined for at least seven days and possibly as long as two weeks.

Wojnarowski and Marks cover a few more important issues as negotiations continue on the bubble environment:

  • The league continues to oppose the idea of bringing two-way players to Orlando, but teams are hoping that stance will be reconsidered. Owners view those players as insurance policies who would provide easy replacements in the event of injury or illness. Medical experts recommend keeping the number of players in the bubble as low as possible, and the league is opposing the idea of expanding rosters to 17 to include the two-way players.
  • Players will undergo coronavirus testing every night, with results to be available the following morning. Sources say all 22 teams involved in the restart will be housed in three Disney complex hotels.
  • The NBA plans to provide a brief window, likely from June 22 to July 1, for teams to convert two-way players to standard contracts and place them on the 15-man roster. The authors note that Thunder guard Luguentz Dort, who started 21 straight games before the hiatus, is among the players likely to be affected.
  • After training in their home markets, teams are expected to arrive in Orlando on a staggered schedule during the first week of July. Training camps in the bubble environment are expected to begin about July 9-11.
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