NBA and NBPA Introduce New Rule Amid COVID Outbreak

NBA insider Shams Charania reported on Sunday night that NBA teams will have new regulations regarding hardship signings. This comes as an effort to reduce the number of games being postponed due to the high amount of players entering COVID health and safety protocols.

Fellow NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski provided further clarity on the rule and how it might affect a team's salary cap situation.

Teams being able to sign replacement players certainly would seem like a preferable option to the NBA rather than continuing to postpone games. The NBA recently resorted to rescheduling five games that were set to take place from December 19 to December 21. 

It's not just the quantity of players entering the league's COVID health and safety protocols, but the quality as well that assuredly has been troubling the league. It's no secret that the NBA thrives on the strength of its star power, which had taken a large hit in recent days. 

After months of not showing up for the Brooklyn Nets, Kyrie Irving returned to the team as they were struggling with so many players being absent due to COVID. Ironically, Irving was absent due to political beliefs surrounding the virus. More ironically, he was placed in health and safety protocols for COVID the very next day.

On that same Saturday, fellow Nets' star Kevin Durant, was also placed into protocols. As Irving was not present at any point in the season, his absence won't be anything new in Brooklyn. Durant, however, was having himself an MVP-worthy season, while leading the league in points per game with 29.7.

A close second in the scoring race is the Atlanta Hawk's young guard Trae Young. Young arguably had his breakout moment in last year's playoffs, and he seemed to be picking up right where he left off. Unfortunately, he was also placed into COVID protocols.

This rule change will certainly lead to many opportunities for fringe-NBA players to earn a spot on some team's bench if nothing else. However, there likely won't be as inspirational of a comeback story as was already had by Isiah Thomas and his recent play for the Los Angeles Lakers.

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