After several games were postponed around the league last week, the NBA and NBPA agreed on coronavirus (COVID-19) measures to expand on the health and safety protocols that had already been in place for this season.
While it has sidelined other NBA players, the Los Angeles Lakers have been able to avoid such issues despite being in a hotspot. It speaks to the maturity of the Lakers team, which consists of 10 players who are 27 years old or older.
Strict restrictions in and around L.A. help some, but Marc Gasol admitted the new protocols will require some adjustment — specifically with wearing a mask while exercising.
“In L.A. county, I think it’s even more strict than the NBA protocols so far. Like I said, we’ve been following that and have great communication with the team leaders and management. They do a great job of letting us know if there are any updates. And we do a good job of keeping each other accountable,” Gasol began.
“It’s tough. When you have family, it’s hard. You can’t keep your family in the house. They’re going to go outside, play in the park. You get stuff delivered at home. Nothing is 100% proof, so we do as best as we can.
“I haven’t read them all yet. There’s quite a few. I don’t know which one is the toughest or most restrictive, but I think having a mask all the time, when you’re working out pregame in the weight room and stuff like that, it’s pretty restrictive. It’s not ideal to work out with your mask pregame. Outside the court, you’ve got to have a mask every time. Like I said, it’s for the best of everyone, and we understand that.”
With younger players on the roster like Talen Horton-Tucker, Kostas Antetokounmpo and Kyle Kuzma, the Lakers veterans have led by example and avoided getting coronavirus or being contact traced.
LeBron James, in particular, has done a great job of creating a goal-driven culture where the team holds each other accountable. The Lakers want to repeat and, therefore, players being out with the virus could be detrimental to the team’s development.
Vogel trusts NBA protocols
Although the league has dealt with a slew of postponements and increased number of players testing positive, Lakers head coach Frank Vogel previously voiced his confidence in the NBA health and safety protocols.
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