After a more than three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NBA is set to resume and finish its season with all games being played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The NBA recently laid out its health and safety regulations to teams, which will include players remaining in a “bubble” at the resort to avoid contact with anyone that could possibly have coronavirus.
While the NBA is taking as many precautions as possible to avoid another shutdown, there reportedly is growing concern amongst players, teams and league officials as coronavirus cases continue to spike in Florida.
It is NBA commissioner Adam Silver’s job to ensure that the environment the players are being placed in is as safe as possible, and it appears he recently had a call with executives to discuss that as concern grows, via Baxter Holmes and Zach Lowe of ESPN:
In at least one recent call with high-level team executives, NBA commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged the spiking numbers in Florida. Multiple team sources described the general tone of that call, including the questions asked of Silver on it, as tense. Another called Silver’s tone “resolute but somber.” He expressed a resolve to go on — a confidence in the NBA’s bubble concept — while recognizing the seriousness of the coronavirus spike, sources said.
In addition to health and safety, players have also expressed concern that finish the season will draw attention away from the Black Lives Matter movement and other social issues prevalent in the country.
Silver has given players the ability to opt-out and not play if they don’t feel comfortable, although they must decide soon as a June 24 deadline has been set to do so. The NBA will also have a window for teams to sign free agents from June 23-30 if they have vacated roster spots due to injuries or players sitting out.
While the NBA is doing what it can to ensure player safety in Orlando, it will also be on players to take the bubble seriously considering they will come in contact with numerous other players during games. The NBA is reportedly setting up an anonymous hotline for players to report those that are violating the bubble rules, although hopefully it will not come to that.
As coronavirus cases continue to surge in Florida, it will be interesting to see if the NBA decides to make any changes in the coming weeks as they still have a little more than a month before play resumes on July 30.
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