The 2021 NBA All-Star Game was affected by health issues even before tipoff when Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid were scratched Sunday morning because of contact tracing.
The NBA announced Sunday that Embiid and Simmons — prior to traveling to Atlanta — had contact with an individual who was confirmed to have tested positive for the coronavirus. Therefore, Embiid (Team Durant) and Simmons (Team LeBron) were ruled out for the game and kept away from other players and personnel.
Team Durant coach Doc Rivers tabbed New Orleans Pelicans big man Zion Williamson to replace Embiid in the starting lineup.
The NBA announced Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will not play in tonight's All-Star Game. pic.twitter.com/DhU6ftCCnJ
— NBA TV (@NBATV) March 7, 2021
Participation for other All-Stars and members of the 76ers coaching staff in Atlanta is not affected because they were not exposed to the individual in Philadelphia.
There were no plans to replace the players because of the proximity of the announcement to the start of the All-Star Game (8 ET, TNT).