Coronavirus Notes: Two-Way Contracts, Cuban, Latest Testing, Vaccine

A proposal in November would have allowed teams to carry four players on two-way contracts to help ensure adequate personnel amid COVID-19 risks, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times. Teams are currently limited to two players at a time on two-way deals.

Although that idea wasn’t accepted, the league expanded the amount of time that two-way players can spend with their NBA teams. Previously limited to 45 days throughout the season, they can now be active for 50 of their team’s 72 games. The league will also allow teams to have 15 players in uniform each night, up from the previous limit of 13, with a formal announcement expected later this week.

While the change in two-way rules will benefit NBA teams, it will have the opposite effect on their G League affiliates, Stein notes. It’s another consideration to factor in as G League officials determine how to handle the upcoming season.

There’s more news related to the coronavirus:

  • Mavericks owner Mark Cuban is optimistic that the league can begin to get back to normal by spring, Stein adds in the same story. Cuban expects a “huge snap back” by March or April, when much of the U.S. population should have access to the new COVID-19 vaccine. He believes that safety measures the Mavericks have imposed are working well so far. “The most important aspect is that the players and staff that are traveling are treating each game as a self-imposed bubble,” Cuban said. “We won’t be able to eliminate cases and outbreaks, but if we can minimize them, then hopefully it can be as close to a normal season as possible.”
  • Only one new confirmed positive test was reported among the 549 players who have undergone COVID-19 testing since December 10, the NBA and the players union announced today.
  • No decision has been reached on when the new vaccine will be made available to NBA personnel and whether it will become mandatory, writes Mark Medina of USA Today. For now, the league will continue to rely on testing, sanitary conditions, masks and social distancing to keep players safe. Under the league’s health and safety protocols, the NBA and its players union will hold discussions on whether the vaccine will be considered mandatory or voluntary once infectious disease specialists determine that it is “safe and effective.” “We’ll address that when it comes as far as a union and players,” said NBPA president Chris Paul. “But when it comes to all different types of vaccines, a lot of that stuff is personal.”
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