Pistons' Cade Cunningham enters COVID health and safety protocols

Rod Beard
The Detroit News

Miami — The Pistons had been one of the few NBA teams that had not had a player enter the COVID health and safety protocols this season.

Until now.

Rookie Cade Cunningham, the Pistons’ No. 1 overall pick in the draft, has entered the health and safety protocols, according to Wednesday’s team injury report.

Cunningham, 20, played in Tuesday night’s loss to the New York Knicks and had seven points, nine rebounds and eight assists in 33 minutes. The Knicks, however, had a player, Nerlens Noel, who also entered the health and safety protocols on Wednesday.

Shams Charania of The Athletic reported Wednesday that the Pistons are signing big man Cheick Diallo from the Motor City Cruise, their G League affiliate, to a 10-day contract. The Pistons have a full roster and didn’t have an open spot, but with Cunningham going into the protocols, they are allowed to add a player on a 10-day deal, which won’t count against the salary cap.

The Pistons are scheduled to play against the Miami Heat on Thursday, and it's not clear whether there are any other players who might enter the protocols because of close contact or contact tracing. Cunningham was the only Pistons player listed on the report who was in health and safety protocols.

The NBA has had more than 100 players enter the health and safety protocols, as the omicron variant has spread rapidly throughout the country in recent weeks. NBA commissioner Adam Silver said Tuesday on ESPN’s NBA Today show that omicron is the dominant variant spreading around the league currently and that 90% of the cases that the league is sequencing are the omicron variant.

Silver also said that the league has no plans to pause the season, including its marquee slate of Christmas Day games, because of the spread.

"We've looked at all the options, but frankly, we're having trouble coming up with what the logic would be with pausing right now," Silver told host Malika Andrews.

The NBA has made a push to have all of its players vaccinated and to receive the booster dose as well. Silver said that 97% of the league's players are vaccinated and 65% have received a booster dose.


Twitter: @detnewsRodBeard

Pistons at Heat

►Tipoff: 7:30 p.m., Thursday, FTX Arena, Miami

►TV/radio: BSD-Plus/950

►Outlook: The Pistons (5-25) have lost 14 of their last 15 games, including their only win during that streak, a 100-90 victory over Miami on Sunday in Detroit. The Heat (19-13) will be without All-Stars Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, who are injured, along with P.J. Tucker.