OKC Thunder: 2020-21 season debut postponed due to COVID-19

Due to some complications in testing for COVID-19, the OKC Thunder v. Houston Rockets season debut has been officially postponed.

This morning, fans woke up with the joy that their favorite NBA franchise, the OKC Thunder, were once again taking to the hardwood and tipping-off their 2020-21 campaign.

Now, as the hours have passed, news has officially broke that their season-debut against the Houston Rockets has been postponed due to COVID-19 related issues.

As reported by Bleacher Report, many players were effected either directly by the virus or had contact with someone who tested positive recently:

The NBA noted the Rockets had three players return positive or inconclusive COVID-19 tests, with four other players quarantining as a result of contact tracing. Rockets star James Harden was also deemed “unavailable due to violation of health and safety protocols.”

Between COVID-19 protocols and injuries, Houston did not have the eight-player minimum required to play.

Notable names that were reportedly “ineligible” to play tonight including the likes of Harden, John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Kenyon Martin Jr,  Jae’Sean Tate, Mason Jones, and Ben McLemore.

In regard to this postponement, the NBA put out a personal statement:

The National Basketball Association game scheduled for tonight between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets at Toyota Center has been postponed in accordance with the league’s Health and Safety protocols.

Three Houston Rockets players have returned tests that were either positive or inconclusive for coronavirus under the NBA’s testing program. Following the contract tracing protocol, four other players are quarantined at this time. Additionally, James Harden is unavailable due to a violation of the Health and Safety Protocols. All orther Rockets players were tested again today, and all returned negative results. Houston has one additional player who is unavailable due to injury.

As such, the Rockets do not have the league-required eight available players to proceed with tonight’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

After such an impressive showing by the league during last season’s NBA bubble in regard to their handling of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic, come opening day for the OKC Thunder their season, unfortunately, has been put on hold.

With the excitement surrounding the idea of seeing how Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the rest of the team’s core-group would fair in their first game of the new league-year, this news comes with some great disappointment.

That said, all we can hope for are more negative tests from the Rockets organization and that those who tested positive make speedy recoveries.