The novel coronavirus is making teams around the NBA, including the Chicago Bulls, take precautions to slow down the spread.
The city of Chicago itself has yet to come under much of a reported novel coronavirus scare as of March 11. But the Chicago Bulls, along with the rest of the NBA, already seem to be preparing for what’s to come.
According to a report from the Chicago Tribune on the morning of March 11, the city of Chicago was up to 19 total cases of COVID-19. That’s not to the degree that cities on both coasts in the United States like Seattle, Los Angeles, and New York City are at right now. But COVID-19 is starting to spread around the country faster.
What does that mean for the Bulls and the rest of the NBA?
According to a report from ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski on March 11, the league is mulling over options to move games away from cities where COVID-19 it at its worst. The NBA already released a joint statement with the MLS, NHL, and MLB, that it will be closing locker rooms to the media earlier this month.
That joint statement with three other major professional sports leagues in the United State was the first step to start to prepare for the worst of COVID-19 domestically. But there might be other precautions that the NBA takes to make sure it is well prepared through the end of the regular season.
Here’s what else that report from Woj and ESPN on the matter of potentially moving games to cities with less of a spread of COVID-19 this season.
"As the NBA’s board of governors prepares to confer with the commissioner’s office Wednesday in a critical conference call on the coronavirus crisis, one scenario introduced into the league’s conversation involves moving some games to NBA cities that have yet to suffer outbreaks, league sources told ESPN.If the virus clusters and forces a team out of its city and arena for a period of time, there has been discussion about moving games to the away opponent’s arena if that city hasn’t suffered an outbreak — or even moving games to neutral cities and sites, league sources told ESPN.The NBA is discussing a number of possibilities — including eliminating fans from buildings for games or, more drastically, suspending game operations for a period of time — but sources said decisions on those options remain complicated by the fact that there has been a limited amount of public testing for the coronavirus in the United States. There is no full understanding of how widespread and debilitating the virus could become in the country."
Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine also recently opened up on the potential COVID-19 scare and how players are feeling about it at this point in time. LaVine stated on the closing of the locker rooms and the adjustments that the NBA is making to prepare for the worst that “it’s going to be different” (per Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times).
Next up for LaVine and the Bulls is a battle with the Orlando Magic on the road on March 12. They are coming off a win at home at the United Center on March 10 over the Cleveland Cavaliers, getting their 22nd win of the season.