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NBA COVID fallout: Joe Johnson (Celtics) and Isaiah Thomas (Lakers) among list of players on 10-day contracts

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With more than 90 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 and helping the league avoid postponements. Teams are permitted to sign one replacement player for each player who tests positive for COVID-19, and teams are 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.

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.

For an NBA game to be played, both teams are required to have eight players available. 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.

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