NBA COVID fallout: Lance Stephenson, Isaiah Thomas, Tyler Johnson among 10-day contract players list


With more than 80 players in COVID health and safety protocols and the Omicron variant spreading with shocking speed, the NBA and the players’ union have agreed on new rules to help teams come up with more comprehensive rosters. Teams will be allowed to sign a replacement player for each player who tests positive for COVID-19, and they will be obligatory to sign at least one substitute if two are positive, at least two substitutes if three are positive and at least three if four or more are positive, by ESPN.

Fully vaccinated G League players who are called in amid the COVID-19 outbreak must register five consecutive negative tests before joining NBA team activities, per Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The new rules, which will be in effect until January 19, state that the salaries of replacement players will not count towards the salary cap or luxury tax. When a team has multiple COVID cases on their roster and need to sign a replacement, the player must be available at the start of their next game.

For an NBA game to be played, both teams must have eight players available. The league has postponed seven games this season and several teams have played shorthanded.

Before the rule changed, there had already been a wave of signings using the hardship exception, which allows a team to temporarily bypass the squad limit. In one particularly absurd case, the Chicago Bulls signed Stanley Johnson to a 10-day contract on December 9, only to be tested positive two days later, which coach Billy Donovan said, “We need a test for a test right now.” The Bulls only played one game before Johnson’s 10 days expired, the result of two postponements, and he was inactive for that, isolating himself according to health and safety protocols.

You probably know that Isaiah Thomas is a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, having joined the team following a 42-point performance on his G League debut. You may not have seen that, as of Monday, CJ Miles has been a member of the Boston Celtics, having joined the team almost immediately after signing with G League Ignite.

Also back: Lance Stephenson, who is reportedly en route to the Atlanta Hawks on Tuesday. Stephenson last recorded NBA minutes in April 2019 as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers, and he spent the 2019-20 season in China. Prior to this call-up, he played in 12 games for Grand Rapids.

If you’re having trouble figuring out who went where, here’s a team-by-team list of players who have recently signed 10-day contracts, along with the date they signed (or, in some cases, the day the signature has been reported):

Atlanta Hawks

Boston Celtics

brooklyn nets

Chicago Bulls

The Cleveland Cavaliers

The Dallas Mavericks

Denver Nuggets

the Los Angeles Lakers

miami heat

Minnesota Timber Wolves

New Orleans Pelicans

New York Knicks

Magic of Orlando

Philadelphia 76ers

Kings of Sacramento

Toronto Raptors

Wizards of Washington