Wednesday night, the NBA shut down operations for at least 30 days after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19. This decision was made after a lengthy delay prior to tip-off. All of the games were suspended due to safety concerns, catching Cleveland Cavaliers star Tristan Thompson by surprise.
"This is crazy," Thompson wrote in response to the news. He was among millions stunned by the NBA's decision to halt the remainder of the season, especially with such short notice. There had been previous plans to hold games without fans in attendance, but these were not tested due to the sudden stoppage of play.
"The NBA announced that a player on the Utah Jazz has preliminarily tested positive for COVID-19. The test result was reported shortly prior to tip-off of tonight's game between the Jazz and the Oklahoma City Thunder at Chesapeake Energy Arena," the league said in a statement on Wednesday night.
"At that time, tonight's game was canceled. The affected player was not in the arena. The NBA is suspending game play following the conclusion of tonight's schedule of games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus epidemic."
According to the NBA's Twitter account, the stoppage will not simply end the season. The current plan is to resume play when the coronavirus is no longer a concern for the players, coaches, fans, and everyone associated with the league. A delay of at least 30 days is the expectation, but the official timeline could be altered based on the coming weeks.
"They just wanted to stop you and [Andre Drummond] from dominating!" one NBA fan wrote on Twitter. They understood that this is a serious situation but also felt that a joke about the Cavaliers would help ease some of the tension. Others grew worried about Thompson's contract status. He is scheduled to be a free agent at the end of the year, and the Cavaliers fans don't want him leaving town.
At 19-46, the Cavaliers sit in the last place in the NBA's Eastern Conference and are out of the playoff race. However, they had an opportunity to disrupt the playoff scenarios in upcoming games against the Milwaukee Bucks, Portland Trail Blazers, and Indiana Pacers. Now, however, Thompson and co. will have to wait until play resumes to begin wreaking havoc on the schedule.
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