As the NBA implemented stricter health and safety guidelines amid a breakout of positive coronavirus tests and close contacts, Oklahoma City Thunder guard George Hill questioned some of the logic behind the protocols following a 112-102 home loss to the San Antonio Spurs Tuesday night.
“We want to play the game … but I do not understand some of the rules,” Hill said. “We can sweat for 48 minutes with a guy next to us for 48 minutes, but we can’t talk to them afterwards. It makes no sense.”
Within the improved rules, interaction with pregame and postgame with opposing players is limited to only elbow or fist bumps, with “extended socialization”
Also in the new guidelines: Hotel rooms are now closed to guests who are not on the team. Along with that, the movement of players and staff is limited on the road, as both are now banned from leaving the hotel for activities outside the team. Previously, players received two guests in their rooms, including family and longtime personal friends.
“I’m a grown man. I want to do what I want to do. If I want to see my family, I have to see my family,” Hill said. “They can not tell me to stay in a room 24/7. If it’s that serious, we might not have to play. But that’s life; no one will be able to just cancel their whole lives for this game. . “
The NBA postponed four games this week due to COVID-19 issues, including three involving the Boston Celtics. Along with the Celtics, the Miami Heat, Philadelphia 76ers, Dallas Mavericks, Washington Wizards and Chicago Bulls are dealing with significant issues in fielding the required eight players due to positive tests and contact tracking.
Players are now also required to wear a mask at all times they do not play. There is a short “cooling off period” in a certain area when they have just come out of the game, but masks are required on the bench and in the locker room.
“That’s what’s needed, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get rid of this COVID thing,” said Thai Guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. “If that means I have to wear a mask on the bench all the time, that’s what it is and I have to do it. I want to return to normal living, and what it takes to get back is what I want to do. that. “