Atlanta Hawks-Cleveland Cavaliers postponed as Trae Young enters protocols

Atlanta Hawks License Agreement. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images)
Atlanta Hawks License Agreement. (Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) /

With the Atlanta Hawks set to take on the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday in an attempt to get their season back on track, the game has been postponed, per ESPN’s Adrian WojnarowskiTrae Young also entered health and safety protocols shortly before the announcement. That means he could be out for a big re-match with the New York Knicks on Christmas day.

The impetus is a breakout among the Cavs with five more players including center Jarrett Allen testing into protocols joining stud big man Evan Mobley and second-year wing Issac Okoro. Young is the first player for the Hawks to enter protocols.

Head coach Nate McMillan and his son Jemelle, an assistant on the team, were both isolated after the latter tested positive earlier in the year.

The Atlanta Hawks could lose Trae Young through Christmas as game vs Cavs gets postponed

There are many layers of concern with this positive result. After lauding the Hawks ability to remain mostly above the COVID fray this season, it had come to light that the masking policies at State Farm Arena, and most venues around the NBA, are not being enforced as they should be.

Both the NBA and NFL have had record numbers of players entering protocols in the last week with games for both leagues having to be postponed and rescheduled.

The Chicago Bulls became the first team to have games postponed, having games against the Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors put on hold until Chicago dealt with an outbreak that had as many as 10 players out.

Canada has tightened its border rules in recent weeks as well.

Several of the Hawks recent opponents have been a part of this outbreak of COVID in the NBA with Brooklyn Nets superstar Kevin Durant entering health and safety protocols this week. Durant was all over Young when the two teams faced off just over a week ago.

Brooklyn’s game against the Denver Nuggets has also been postponed.

It’s been well-documented how Young-centric the Hawks overall attack is. Though their defensive rating does improve by 6.7 points, their offensive rating drops 13.7 points when he sits.

There is also the very real concern that this won’t be the last positive for the Hawks and more players have to miss games.

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Hopefully, since the Hawks are reportedly fully vaccinated, this will be a minor setback for a major comeback. One which the Hawks needed even before Young’s positive test.