The Raptors announced Friday that star forward Pascal Siakam, head coach Nick Nurse as well as five assistant coaches would be unavailable for Toronto’s game in Tampa, Florida, on Friday night against the Houston Rockets due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols.
Toronto assistant Sergio Scariolo will serve as the team’s head coach. Scariolo was previously in quarantine following a return to the United States after serving in his other role as head coach of the Spanish national team for qualifying games for EuroBasket 2022 earlier this month. The coaches who are out for Friday’s game will continue to work remotely.
The Raptors are already shorthanded on the bench, with assistant coach Chris Finch recently having left the team to replace Ryan Saunders as the Minnesota Timberwolves‘ head coach.
Despite having most of Toronto’s coaching staff unavailable for Friday’s game, the NBA ultimately ruled that any contact tracing would not extend to players other than Siakam, which allowed Friday night’s game to be played. The league reviews all of these decisions on a case-by-case basis, depending on how much time people are around someone who tests positive, whether masks were worn and other factors.
That has, at times, led to some controversy, like when the league initially ruled Kevin Durant couldn’t play against the Raptors shortly before the game began earlier this month — only for Durant to then be allowed to play during the first quarter and then yanked back out of the game again in the third quarter due to health and safety protocols.
The Raptors last played Wednesday, when they lost in Miami to the Heat. They lost to the Philadelphia 76ers at home on Tuesday.
Toronto is spending this season in Tampa because of border restrictions and quarantine requirements for those crossing the U.S.-Canada border. The Raptors also had to spend extra time in Florida ahead of the NBA’s bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort outside Orlando last summer for the same reason.