"The NBA announced Sunday that tonight's game between the Toronto Raptors and Chicago Bulls in Tampa has been postponed in accordance with the league's Health and Safety Protocols," The Raptors said in a statement. According to The Athletic's Shams Charania, the Raptors had a positive coronavirus test that disrupted the availability of players. Between the test and the contact tracing, the Raptors do not have the required eight players available.
Sunday's postponed game is the second coronavirus-related issue for the Raptors in recent days. The team also had a member of the coaching staff test positive prior to Friday's victory over the Rockets. All of the coaches, including head coach Nick Nurse, had to go into quarantine due to contact tracing. Raptors star forward Pascal Siakam also missed the game.
While the coaches remained in quarantine, the Raptors turned to veteran assistant Sergio Scariolo for the important game. He has coached at multiple clubs. He also has been the Spanish national team's coach for more than a decade.
"Obviously we have had him here for a few years and the experience he brings, not only what he's done in the NBA but as an international head coach, whether it was in Europe or as a national team head coach," said general manager Bobby Webster, per ESPN. "Designating Sergio was not a difficult decision for us."
ESPN reports that the postponement puts the remaining games before the All-Star Weekend in jeopardy. The Raptors host the Pistons on Tuesday. The team then travels to Boston on Thursday for a game against the Celtics. Regardless of whether the team plays the games or deals with further postponements, they will not have a key player in the lineup. Siakam is expected to remain in the league's health and safety protocols through the All-Star break.
Prior to Sunday's announcement, Toronto was one of four NBA teams to avoid having any postponed games. The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, and Brooklyn Nets are the other three teams. The Bulls, on the other hand, have dealt with multiple postponements during the 2020-21 season.
The Raptors are spending the season in Tampa due to the border restrictions and quarantine requirements for those entering Canada. The team also spent extended time in Florida last summer before the season restart at the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando.