The Knicks’ Christmas plans still might be altered.
The NBA sent out a memo Tuesday morning informing teams scheduled to play Christmas games — including the Knicks against the Hawks at noon — they should be prepared for a potential time change if any of the games in the later time slots are forced to be postponed due to the virus outbreak.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver also told ESPN that the league has “no plans right now” to follow the NHL’s lead in temporarily pausing its season due to COVID concerns.
All of the Knicks — and 95 percent of the league’s players — have been vaccinated for COVID-19, but more than 70 NBA players — including six Knicks — were in protocols as of Tuesday, with seven games already postponed in the past week and the league revamping its rules to allow decimated teams to sign emergency replacements.
“I think there’s so many variables to this season that you just take it day by day,” Tom Thibodeau said before Tuesday’s 105-91 win over the Pistons. “You know the one thing about the league in general is there’s always change, but to this degree is different.
“And then it becomes how quickly can we adapt? That’s the challenge for us. Just find a way. Understand what goes into winning, and that the same things go into winning. And just whoever is called upon, get in there and get the job done.”
The Knicks at least have been able to add three players on 10-day hardship contracts in recent days: guards Damyean Dotson, who played for them from 2017-20, Tyler Hall and Mark Mooney. Dotson played four minutes off the bench in the first half, but he did not score or attempt a shot.
“It’s all part of a normal season. What is unusual is [signing] multiple guys at the same time,” Thibodeau said. “So then you have to put a little extra into that.”
MSG Networks play-by-play man Mike Breen said analyst Walt “Clyde” Frazier is ”feeling better” and expects to be back from COVID protocols for Thursday’s game against Washington.
The Pistons reported no players in health and safety protocols, but they were without forwards Jerami Grant (thumb) and Kelly Olynyk (knee) and guard Killian Hayes (non-COVID illness).