LA Clippers staff members in quarantine after New Year's Eve event, sources say

Seven members of the LA Clippers' support staff -- including one who tested positive for COVID-19 -- are in quarantine away from the team, sources told ESPN.

The quarantined group, which traveled via vans from Salt Lake City to Los Angeles over the weekend, includes no players, coaches or team management, sources said.

Paul George scored 39 points and the Clippers outlasted the Suns 112-107 Sunday night in Phoenix to improve to 5-2.

Contact tracing of the positive test led back to a New Year's Eve staff gathering with food and drinks in a presidential suite of a Salt Lake City team hotel that included intermittent mask-wearing, sources said.

Despite not having the quarantined staff members, the Clippers said they had enough support staff for their game against the Suns.

"We have the ample amount of staff that we need," Clippers coach Ty Lue said before the game. "No excuses. 'Next man up' has been our mentality all season, but we have the people that we need to play the game."

"Nothing changed," Lue added of the team's preparation. "We continued to do what we've been doing. Guys are prepared. ... It's no distraction. With this thing going on all year, you never know what's gonna happen, so you gotta be prepared, next man up, and we're ready to play a game tonight."

This episode becomes one more cautionary tale in a league fighting to play a 72-game regular-season schedule and playoffs amid the coronavirus pandemic while limiting outbreaks within teams.

The Clippers lost 106-100 to the Jazz on Friday night in Salt Lake City before departing for Phoenix for Sunday's game.

The NBA recently encouraged teams to monitor and mete out punishment to staff and players in violation of protocols, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.

The league told teams they must follow normal disciplinary processes in handing out punishments, including "determining the facts, providing the person alleged to have violated the protocols with an opportunity to be heard, and using principles of fairness, proportionality and progressivity in determining discipline."

ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.