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NBA to allow extra replacement players amid COVID-19 surge

NBA to allow extra replacement players amid COVID-19 surge
Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (R) recently entered the league's health and safety protocol. File Photo by Jon SooHoo/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 20 (UPI) -- The NBA and National Basketball Players Association reached an agreement to allow shorthanded teams to sign extra replacement players amid the league's surge in COVID-19 cases, the NBA said in a memo sent to teams.

The memo, obtained by The Athletic and ESPN, was sent late Sunday to the 30 basketball franchises. It says that teams will be allowed to sign one replacement player for each player who tests positive for COVID-19.

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The new rules also say that two-way players, who previously had a 50-game maximum, no longer will be limited in appearances.

The rule changes are effective immediately and run through Jan. 19. Salaries for players signed through the COVID-19 hardship will not count toward a teams' salary cap or luxury tax.

The NBA postponed five games Sunday due to outbreaks within several organizations. Dozens of players have entered the league's health and safety protocol over the past two weeks.

Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are among 10 Brooklyn Nets players to recently enter the league's protocol. Giannis Antetokounmpo of the Milwaukee Bucks and Trae Young of the Atlanta Hawks are among other NBA stars to enter the protocol.

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Eight active players are required on a team's roster to play an NBA game. The Nets and Orlando Magic had a combined 24 players out -- due to injury or health and safety protocol -- for their matchup Saturday in Brooklyn.

Six NBA games are scheduled Monday night.

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