Although the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat finished their thrilling NBA Finals matchup less than two months ago, those two teams and the rest of the league will commence training camp this week.
The Dec. 22 start to the 2020-21 NBA season is indicative of how eager commissioner Adam Silver and the league office are to get the campaign going, and while the players will be asked to quickly ramp up activity it is the best financial decision for both sides.
However, there are issues with starting the upcoming season so quickly and the major one is the safety and health of the players. The NBA proved they could feasibly host games after the bubble experiment in Orlando went on without a hitch, but this is an entirely different situation as teams will be traveling out of their respective markets.
The ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) has only gotten worse since the bubble and it is likely that there will be positive cases during play of the 2020-21 season. In an effort to hold everyone accountable, the league will reportedly implement an anonymous hotline to report anyone breaking protocols via Shams Charania of The Athletic:
The NBA will establish an anonymous hotline to report potential violations of safety protocols during in-market play in 2020-21 season, sources tell @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium. There was also a hotline for the Orlando restart.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 28, 2020
The news was released in conjunction with guidelines regarding any positive coronavirus tests. With so many moving parts, the league is counting on the players and team staffs to hold each other accountable and hopefully minimize the potential impact COVID-19 can have on the season.
While the initial wave of protocols and guidelines seems fine on paper, they are subject to change depending on how the pandemic situation evolves in the coming months. The NBA was hoping for the virus situation to improve by the end of the year, but it has proven to be even more of a roadblock than anticipated.
NBA hoping to avoid situations occurring in the NFL
While the NBA did its due diligence during the 2019-20 season restart, it is possible they could experience some of the issues that have happened in the NFL.
Just recently, nearly a third of the Baltimore Ravens roster was placed on its COVID-19 reserve list and their game with the Pittsburgh Steelers had to be rescheduled. Team-wide infections would cause a scheduling nightmare in the NBA, so it will be something to watch going forward.
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