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Steve Kerr confident in NBA’s approach to playing season during pandemic

Steve Kerr confident in NBA’s approach to playing season during pandemic

In the wake of the NBA’s second game this season being postponed because of coronavirus-related protocols, Warriors head coach Steve Kerr remains confident in the league’s attempt to play through the pandemic.

“I feel like the league is putting us in a good position where we’re getting constant testing and I feel safe,” Kerr said. “But I’m also well aware of what’s happening around the country, in the world and of course now with a couple of games being canceled. So we have to remain vigilant with everything we’re doing.”

Hours before the Warriors were set to tip-off against the Toronto Raptors at Chase Center, Sunday night’s game between the Celtics and Heat in Boston was called off because Miami did not have the minimum eight players available due to ongoing contact tracing.

Earlier Sunday, Heat guard Avery Bradley was ruled out for Sunday night’s game after submitting an inconclusive result for a coronavirus test. The Celtics were set to play with the minimum eight players after nine players were ruled out, including seven because of the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

This is the second game postponed in the NBA this season. A game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets on Dec. 23 was postponed when Houston was unable to reach the benchmark for active players because of contract tracing efforts. Until Sunday, all other NBA games this season had gone on as scheduled.

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia 76ers narrowly avoided a postponement of Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets after guard Seth Curry tested positive Thursday and multiple teammates were placed in the league’s health and safety protocols. Testing and contact tracing delayed the 76ers’ leaving New York, though they made it back to Philadelphia in time to play Saturday.

The NBA has ramped up its efforts in recent weeks, requiring players to wear masks on the bench in games and contact tracing sensors during team activities.

“I believe that we’re in good hands with the league,” Kerr said. “They are in touch with people who are qualified to make those decisions every single day. We’re obviously trying to make this work. We’re a business. I think all businesses out there are trying to make it work with whatever circumstances they have.”

After the NBA’s successful completion of last year’s bubble, several players are currently in quarantine because of positive tests or recent exposure, including Brooklyn’s Kevin Durant, Boston’s Jayson Tatum and Washington’s Bradley Beal.

Though Draymond Green and rookie center James Wiseman missed training camp and preseason because of positive coronavirus tests, the Warriors have not had a player enter health and safety protocols in the regular season.

Despite mounting cases, ESPN reported Sunday that the NBA does not plan to pause the season. It’s unclear what it would take to put games on hold. Anticipating disruptions, the league released its 2020-21 schedule in two parts to allow flexibility to make up postponed games if necessary.

“I’m confident that if we get to a point where we feel like this is endangering people’s health and people’s lives that we’ll stop,” Kerr said. “We’re trying to listen to the league, listen to our own people in our own organization, to our city officials, and just do everything according to what’s being laid out for us.”

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