As the Los Angeles Lakers were preparing enter the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, for the completion of the season, there were several restrictions in place.
Among them were teams only being permitted 35 people in their traveling party to start, which included players, coaches, staff members, executives and medical personnel.
Because of that, some valuable members of the Lakers’ staff were be forced to remain back in L.A. “Honestly, it was fairly miserable having to place a value on everybody’s contributions,” Lakers head coach Frank Vogel said of the process to decide who was travling.
“There are several members of our staff that we’re not going to be able to bring into the bubble. That’s just part of the pandemic life and situation we’re in. It was a miserable experience trying to measure all those things and figure it out. We landed in a place of basically giving us the best opportunity to be healthy, support our players and compete to win games.
“I will say, like most teams, we did load up on medical personnel. Just because of the history of players coming back in lockout-type situations, the high risk of injury, additionally with the COVID protocols and potentially having guys out. And we did decide to bring 17 players, so we make sure we have enough practice bodies. What that does is leave you a little bit shorthanded on the coaching front.”
Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka was among those joining the team, and he agreed narrowing it down to 35 people was challenging.
While the Lakers have faced initial limitations, Vogel hoped their staff would eventually begin to fill out. “I’m not sure where it landed, I think the initial protocol said that after the first round of the playoffs we’d be able to add staff,” he said.
“There’s been sort of a push within the Coaches Association, because a lot of teams are doing what we did with regard to being heavy on players and medical personnel, so they want to get their coaches and rest of their staff in there. We’re hopeful to be whole by the time we get deeper into the later rounds of the playoffs. We’re definitely looking forward to adding staff as quickly as possible.”
In addition to more staff, family members are now on the verge of beginning to enter the bubble, which players understandably were thrilled with.
NBA approves more staff
The NBA reportedly informed teams they could begin adding the process of two staff members ahead of the semifinals beginning. It’s unclear if that came with any restrictions, and who, if anyone, the Lakers opted to have join them.
Assistant Lionel Hollins would not be part of that, as he was deemed a medical risk and continues to contribute remotely.
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