Fans around the NBA might have to delay their excitement for the league’s Christmas Day slate of games as the Omicron variant of COVID-19 continues increasing caseloads around the globe and in the league itself. The Golden State Warriors are scheduled to highlight the Christmas schedule, facing off against the Phoenix Suns. However, the Dubs have also recently been hit by COVID, with starters Jordan Poole and Andrew Wiggins unavailable.
While NBA commissioner Adam Silver dismissed suggestions about delaying or pausing the NBA season in an interview on Tuesday with Malika Andrews on NBA Today, Silver also revealed that 90% of the league’s current COVID cases are the Omicron variant. Later that day, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported that the league has spoken with teams scheduled to play on Christmas Day and warned them that the NBA is constructing contingencies to reschedule the games.
The report was not specific and, given some notable backlash to Silver’s public dismissal of a pause, could simply be a strategic public-relations move by the league office to feign a consideration of all available options. However, given the significant number of players across the league currently unavailable, it would be hard to blame the league for rescheduling games and even hitting pause. It’s worth noting that the National Hockey League has decided to pause its schedule from December 22-25.
Beyond the Warriors, stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kevin Durant, and Trae Young highlight a growing list of players who have either recently tested positive for COVID-19 or been close contacts of someone who had. According to a Tweet by Tom Haberstroh of Meadowlark Media, 35 unavailable players are on teams currently scheduled to play on Christmas Day.