Before the Dallas Mavericks left town on Tuesday to fly to Charlotte for Wednesday’s preseason game against the Hornets, coach Jason Kidd was asked about the NBA’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols.
“We’ll follow the NBA protocols,” Kidd said. “For example, tonight when we get into Charlotte the guys will have a team dinner, which is cool, and then we’ll go from there.
“And then when we get to Milwaukee (where the Mavs play on Friday), we’ll hopefully have something scheduled. But we’ll follow the protocols and try to remain safe.”
Last year the Mavs had seven plyers miss a total of 56 games under the NBA’s health and safety protocols. In a perfect world, Kidd would like to reduce that number down to zero.
But Kidd knows the reality is that if the Mavs do have players who have to sit out games because of the health and safety protocols, he doesn’t want his team using their absence as an excuse.
“I think the team that can handle it the best tends to find a way to win,” Kidd said. “We’ll talk about that as we get ready for our first official road trip (on Oct. 20) to Atlanta and Toronto about we can’t have any excuses.”
Unlike last year, the players largely aren’t getting tested as often this season. But the unvaccinated players are under much stricter guidelines than the players that are vaccinated.
“COVID is here,” Kidd said. “As I said earlier, it seems like it’s going to stay. So we just have to go with the guys who can go.”
And hope for the best.
“There could be a positive test,” Kidd said. “We can’t use that as an excuse, but we can only control what we can control.
“We feel that we’ve got enough guys that can compete. You just got to go play the game.”
And play it — under the NBA’s new health and safety rules — without being tested as many times as they were last season.
“You can call it our new norm,” Kidd said. “There’s always going to be restrictions. We just got to make sure that we’re accountable for our actions.
“And again, you see throughout the league, a player comes up positive, no one panics now. It’s just part of the fabric. And we got to keep pushing forward, but we can only keep trying to give out the right information for everybody to follow and be responsible.”
Briefly: According to backup center Boban Marjanovic, he and his teammates like what they see out of first-year coach Jason Kidd. “He’s so amazing to be around,” Marjanovic said. “The guys love it. He, every time, gives us some advice. So far, I really enjoy every moment spending here, every moment spending around the team, and he is an amazing coach.” . . . Former Mavs superstar Dirk Nowitzki has been chosen by the NBA to be one of this season’s five ambassadors. In conjunction with the league’s 75th anniversary season, the four other ambassadors are Magic Johnson, Oscar Robertson, Clyde Drexler and Bob Pettit. Nowitzki and the other four players represent different eras of the NBA’s first 75 seasons and will make appearances in arenas throughout the season. They also will have a significant presence in Cleveland on Feb. 20 at the league’s All-Star game . . . After playing at Charlotte on Wednesday, the Mavs will conclude preseason play on Friday in Milwaukee before returning home to prepare for the Oct. 21 regular season opener in Atlanta.