Since the NBA put an emphasis on ensuring player and staff safety for its 2019-20 regular season, the league has established guidelines regarding the protocols that will be involved at the Walt Disney World campus in Orlando, Florida.
Aside from the obvious health risks involved, players have expressed concern over whether or not the return of basketball will distract from the efforts being made to put an end to racial injustice and usher in police reform.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has since voiced his support for players that potentially intend to skip out on the return-to-play plan by assuring they will not be penalized for their decision.
However, players that do decide to finish out the season in a bubble environment will need to abide by the safety protocols. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, players that leave the bubble without approval will undergo a potential two-week quarantine period and could miss out on pay for games missed during that time:
If a player leaves without prior approval, upon re-entry he will be subject to enhanced testing (including nasopharyngeal (deep nasal) swab testing), a 10-14 day self-quarantine period, and a reduction in compensation for any game in which he is unable to play as a result of his absence from campus.
A 14-day maximum quarantine period means that any player planning to leave the bubble environment without permission would effectively be ruling themselves out for a solid portion of the remaining season that will feature three scrimmages, eight seeding games and playoffs.
The prospect of being docked 1/92nd of the money owed to them for games missed clearly provides enough motivation for the players to stay within the confines of the bubble. Regardless, there is no telling what series of events that could cause them to leave, especially those with championship aspirations that are expecting to be there until mid-October.
The NBA and NBPA have reportedly set up an independent panel of doctors to help determine which players will be excused with pay due to medical reasons. Meanwhile, teams will have the option to replace anyone that chooses leave or suffer any other health issues from a group that will only feature players that are signed with an NBA team or any of its affiliates.