The 2019-20 NBA season will be resuming in late July at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, but there is still hesitancy from several players on whether or not they will actually compete.
Multiple players, including Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley, have already declared they will sit out the remainder of the season, and more people are likely follow suit in the coming days.
Although the league originally gave a deadline of June 24 for players to decide, teams are treating July 1 as the target date, giving them a little more time to consider their options.
While the bubble concept is a means to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) as much as possible, there are still concerns about possible infections, especially because of the recent spike of cases in Florida. There also is the matter of protecting high-profile athletes.
According to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, the NBA plans to lean on multiple law enforcement agencies to provide security:
The league will use local, state and federal law enforcement agencies, as well as experienced venue and contracted security professionals and team security staffs. A source familiar with the league’s plans said there will be no law enforcement within the campus. Law enforcement will only be used outside of it to keep the campus secure.
In addition, Orange and Osceola County sheriff’s offices will have a presence at team hotels and at the three arenas being used at Disney’s Wide World of Sports Complex. The Florida Highway Patrol will escort team buses to and from games.
The league also has arranged for security to be part of potential off-campus outings:
Any off-campus movement would be limited to either a preapproved emergency or a planned movement supported by NBA security. For any off-campus events that are organized for leisure purposes, league security will be supplemented by former special-operations forces personnel in order to “provide a scalable safety bubble.” On-campus activities will be handled by individual team security.
Under the current rules provided by the league, players are not permitted to simply leave the bubble and re-enter. The added security is an extra precaution to prevent any outsiders from entering and raising the risk of passing along the virus.
Despite the NBA and NBPA approving the 22-team format, there is plenty of concern among players and executives about the proposed restart. The risk of COVID-19 is still high and does not appear on slowing down, and those around the league have admitted that a positive case in the bubble is more likely than not given all the variables involved.
Commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly said the NBA will continue to monitor the situation and make adjustments when necessary and the health and safety manual that was given to teams is reportedly thorough and well put together.
However, complications or issues once the teams make their move will inevitably happen and it will be interesting to see how well the league maneuvers when this happens.
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