New rules stipulate that teams missing multiple players because of positive tests must sign replacements
With more than 80 players in COVID health and safety protocols and the Omicron variant spreading at shocking speed, the NBA and the players union have agreed to new rules aimed at helping teams field fuller rosters. Teams will be permitted to sign one replacement player for each player who tests positive for COVID-19, and they will be required to sign at least one replacement player if two test positive, at least two replacement players if three test positive and at least three if four or more test positive, per ESPN.
Fully-vaccinated G League players who are being called up amid COVID-19 surge must register five consecutive negative tests before joining NBA team activities, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania. The new rules, which will be in effect until Jan. 19, stipulate that replacement players’ salaries will not count toward the salary cap or luxury tax. When a team has multiple COVID cases on its roster and must sign a replacement, the player must be available by the beginning of its next game.
For an NBA game to be played, both teams are required to have eight players available. The league has postponed eight games this season, and several teams have played severely shorthanded.
Before the rule changes, there had already been a wave of signings using the hardship exception, which allows a team to temporarily bypass the roster limit. In one particularly preposterous case, the Chicago Bulls signed Stanley Johnson to a 10-day contract on Dec. 9, only for him to test positive two days later, to which coach Billy Donovan said, “We need a hardship for a hardship right now.” The Bulls only played one game before Johnson’s 10-day expired, the result of two postponements, and he was inactive for it, isolating in accordance with health and safety protocols.
Some of the big names to sign on with teams include Isaiah Thomas (Los Angeles Lakers), Lance Stephenson (Atlanta Hawks) and Joe Johnson (Boston Celtics). If you’re having trouble keeping track of who has gone where, here is a team-by-team list of players who have recently signed 10-day contracts, along with the date they signed (or, in some cases, the day the signing was reported):
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- Wenyen Gabriel (Dec. 18)
- James Ennis III (Dec. 18)
- Shaquille Harrison (Dec. 18)
- Langston Galloway (Dec. 16)
- Ersan Ilyasova (reported Dec. 21)
- Mac McClung (reported Dec. 21)
- Alfonzo McKinnie (Dec. 20; second 10-day)
- Justin Anderson (Dec. 21)
- Luke Kornet (Dec. 21)
- Brandon Knight (reported Dec. 22)
- Carlik Jones (reported Dec. 22)
- Charlie Brown (reported Dec. 21)
- George King (reported Dec. 21)
- Marquese Chriss (Dec. 20)
- Theo Pinson (Dec. 20)
- Davon Reed (Dec. 19; second 10-day)
Golden State Warriors
- Quinndary Weatherspoon (reported Dec. 22)
Los Angeles Lakers
New Orleans Pelicans
New York Knicks
- Tim Frazier (Dec. 21)
- Freddie Gillespie (Dec. 21)
- Aleem Ford (Dec. 17)
- Hassani Gravett (Dec. 17)
- BJ Johnson (Dec. 17)
- Admiral Schofield (Dec. 17)
- DJ Wilson (reported Dec. 22)
- Tremont Waters (reported Dec. 21)
- Brandon Goodwin (reported Dec. 20)
- Juwan Morgan (reported Dec. 20)
- Nik Stauskas (reported Dec. 20)