By Peter Gleason

Even before Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was diagnosed yesterday with COVID-19, forcing the game with Oklahoma City to be postponed, the NBA contemplated playing games with essential personnel and no fans or suspending play.

Initially, the NBA postponed a decision until the NCAA announced it would hold the men’s and women’s basketball tournaments without fans and several other events were postponed or canceled hours after the World Health Organization said COVID-19 was a pandemic.

Then, Gobert (above right fist-bumping Sixers Joel Embiid) was diagnosed.

That forced the NBA’s hand, and it suspended the season. It was the only decision the league could make, and it’s one the league should’ve made earlier Wednesday before Gobert’s positive test.

Gobert played four games in the past week, against the New York Knicks, Boston Celtics, Detroit Pistons and Toronto Raptors and his teammates were on the court with the Oklahoma City Thunder last night.

And, for some reason, Gobert touched microphones and reporters’ recorders during a news conference Monday — after the NBA had sent memos informing players of the serious and growing health issue.

So, the NBA suspended “games until further notice. The NBA will use this hiatus to determine next steps for moving forward in regard to the coronavirus pandemic,” the league said in a statement.

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