Seven members of the LA Clippers support staff — including one who tested positive for COVID-19 — are in quarantine away from the team, sources told ESPN.
The quarantined group, which traveled via vans from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles over the weekend, includes no players, coaches or team management, sources said.
The Clippers traveled to Phoenix to play the Suns on Sunday night.
Contact tracing of the positive test led back to a New Year’s Eve staff gathering with food and drinks in a presidential suite of a Salt Lake City team hotel that included intermittent mask wearing, sources said.
This episode becomes one more cautionary tale in a league fighting to play a 72-game regular-season schedule and playoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic while limiting outbreaks within teams.
The Clippers lost 106-100 to the Jazz on Friday night in Salt Lake City before departing for Phoenix for Sunday’s game.
The NBA recently encouraged teams to monitor and mete out punishment to staff and players in violation of protocols, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
The league told teams that they must follow normal disciplinary processes in handing out punishments, including “determining the facts, providing the person alleged to have violated the protocols with an opportunity to be heard, and using principles of fairness, proportionality and progressivity in determining discipline.”