Celtics Talk Podcast: How should NBA address its growing COVID problem?

Darren Hartwell
·3 min read

Celtics Talk Podcast: How should NBA address its COVID problem? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

The Boston Celtics haven't played since Friday thanks in part to a global pandemic that is threatening the 2020-21 NBA season.

The league postponed Boston's game against the Miami Heat on Sunday and its contest with the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday after at least one team in each matchup couldn't field a roster of at least eight players.

The Celtics' issue stemmed from Jayson Tatum's reported positive COVID-19 test, but the C's aren't alone: Philadelphia 76ers guard Seth Curry and Mavericks big man Maxi Kleber also tested positive -- Dallas' game against the New Orleans Pelicans was postponed Monday -- while Washington Wizards star Bradley Beal had to miss a game due to health and safety protocols.

So, what is the NBA to do as the virus impacts more teams? ESPN's Baxter Holmes joined NBC Sports Boston's Chris Forsberg on the latest Celtics Talk Podcast to discuss a few of the league's options -- and why they may be problematic.

Celtics Talk Podcast: Celtics vs. COVID; Where does Boston rank in the beefed-up East? | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

"It's a tough standard, but it's a completely different situation," Holmes said in response to those proposing the NBA recreate the successful Orlando bubble that hosted the 2020 NBA Playoffs. "That was a contained environment, and this isn't. It was always going to be an uphill battle outside a contained environment.

"Everyone says, 'Oh, just send them back to the bubble. We'll do another bubble. (NBA commissioner) Adam Silver said that's untenable and (NBA Players Association executive director) Michele Roberts has said it's untenable to try to have 30 teams inside one location for five months to play all of these games."

What if the league hit pause on its season to allow players who tested positive to safely quarantine and recover?

"When I hear people say, 'Shut (the NBA) down for two weeks,' I say, 'OK: Everyone who's got it now is going to get healthy. You're going to get everybody out of protocol. But then you're right back on planes. You're right back sharing cabs,' " Forsberg said. "Like, it's gonna keep coming up. At that point, I understand why the league wants to grit its teeth and get through this."

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The NBA Board of Governors had a meeting scheduled for Tuesday about how to proceed as COVID cases rise. That meeting may include an honest discussion about how bad things need to get before drastic measures are taken.

"There are probably bigger questions we don't have answers to about the threshold," Holmes said. "I've reported previously that the NBA doesn't have a threshold for how many cases it would take to necessarily stop a game or stop a season."

Holmes doesn't believe we're close to the league shutting things down, however.

"I'm not at point where I'm personally sounding the alarm and saying, 'I think the season may be over with,' " Holmes added. "I think if we look back at the starts and stops with other leagues, I think that's where we're at."

Forsberg and Holmes also discussed whether COVID protocols will increase players' chances of getting injured, while Holmes shared his view from the West Coast on the evolution of Brad Stevens.

Check out the latest episode of the Celtics Talk Podcast on your favorite podcast app or watch it on YouTube below.

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