NBA preparing for possible postponements after impending Derek Chauvin verdict

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The NBA is preparing for the possibility of postponing games after instructing teams to be “vigilant about the impact” of a potential verdict this week in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, ESPN reported Sunday.

“The looming specter of possible protests, civil unrest and team reactions in the aftermath of a verdict has the league office preparing for the prospect that a night or two of league games could be postponed this week,” the report stated, citing sources.

Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, is facing charges of second-degree and third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the death of George Floyd in May 2020. Chauvin, who pleaded not guilty to the charges, was shown on video pressing his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes. Final arguments in the case are expected to be made Monday.

The NBA postponed a game last week between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Brooklyn Nets after unarmed 20-year-old Daunte Wright was shot by police during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center. The T-Wolves began a four-game road trip on Sunday against the Clippers in Los Angeles.

Following an initial boycott of a playoff game by the Milwaukee Bucks, the NBA also had postponed three days of games in the Orlando bubble last August after another unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The WNBA also postponed games at that time.

The Knicks are slated to play at home Tuesday and Wednesday against Charlotte and Atlanta, respectively, while the Nets have games in New Orleans and Tampa (against Toronto) on those nights before returning to Brooklyn to face Boston on Friday.

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