Toronto Raptors vs Chicago Bulls postponed as COVID-19 continues to impact NBA schedule

COVID-19 continues to impact NBA schedule

The Toronto Raptors have seen their game against the Chicago Bulls and former franchise player DeMar DeRozan previously set for Wednesday postponed given their inability to field eight players for the contest.

The NBA requires all teams to have at least eight players available in order to see fixtures go on as planned but, with COVID-19 having forced several players into the league’s health and safety protocols, games are being postponed at a scary rate.

On Wednesday, it was announced that the Raptors game vs. the Bulls was among those postponed. The Brooklyn Nets fixture against the Portland Trail Blazers has also been pushed back.

Nine NBA games have been postponed so far and Wednesday’s happens to be the third involving Toronto as they had already seen games against the Bulls and Orlando Magic chalked off.

The Raptors already had seven players in health and safety protocols prior to Wednesday’s announcement. Those included Fred VanVleet, Malachi Flynn, Gary Trent Jr., Pascal Siakam, and Toronto’s own Dalano Banton.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski Reported OG Anunoby had become the latest Raptors player to join the list, taking the team’s total up to eight. Khem Birch has also been ruled out due to knee swelling while David Johnson is nursing a calf injury and Justin Champagnie is out with a non-COVID-related illness. Goran Dragic remains away from the team.

Toronto have added four players under the league’s hardship extension, including Nik Stauskas, Tremont Waters, Brandon Goodwin and Juwan Morgan, so it’s not clear why they were unable to get eight players to take the floor against Chicago.

However, basketball journalist Marc Stein has reported that some of the players signed under said exemption might have entered health and safety protocols themselves.

The Raptors have not played since they hosted the Golden State Warriors on Saturday night. Their next scheduled match is set for Boxing Day in Cleveland against a Cavaliers side doing well in the Eastern Conference and, should they be able to play, it will be interesting to see the odds put out by bookmakers on the Ontario online sports betting scene. When it comes to futures, the Raptors have some of the widest title odds in the league, and hopeful punters could grab 275/1 bets on their chances.

COVID-19 continues to impact NBA schedule

The depleted Brooklyn Nets remain the frontrunners for the championship and have been the betting favorites since the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Phoenix Suns to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy earlier this year.

Meanwhile, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said there are no plans to pause the current campaign. Silver acted quickly after Rudy Gobert became the first player to test positive for the coronavirus last March and the NBA was by far the most exemplary organization in terms of dealing with the pandemic in 2020.

The league was able to complete the season in isolation.

This time around, however, Silver has no intention of stopping play.

The commissioner was interviewed by ESPN on Tuesday and revealed the NBA has taken multiple options into consideration and hasn’t yet found a reason to pause.

“Frankly, we’re having trouble coming up with what the logic would be behind pausing right now,” he said. “As we look through these cases literally ripping through the country right now, putting aside the rest of the world, I think we’re finding ourselves where we sort of knew we were going to get to for the past several months _ and that is that this virus will not be eradicated and we’re going to have to learn to live with it. That’s what we’re experiencing in the league right now.”

The 10 teams set to play Christmas Day fixtures have been told that some times may be shifted if COVID-19 concerns force changes to the schedule.

“There’s no doubt those five Christmas Day games are important,” Silver added. “But as you know, we play many games every day.”

He also told said network that a very small number of the NBA’s positive cases involve players or coaches who have been fully vaccinated with either Pfizer or Moderna and have also received a booster shot. He noted that most of them are asymptomatic and those who aren’t have only experienced mild symptoms.

“Boosters are highly effective,” he continued. “We’re comfortable with the protocols we’re following right now.

“This virus, unfortunately, isn’t going anywhere.”

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