All of the details of the NBA return are still being ironed out as the league, owners and players continue to have discussions over the specifics. There are a multitude of issues that must be finalized, but the league is determined to get everything in order and finish out the season.
One ongoing point of contention was the size of the rosters that teams would be allowed to bring to Orlando.
For safety reasons the league wanted to limit the amount of people being brought as more people would increase the chance of a potential outbreak should someone contract COVID-19. Teams, however, were concerned that there was a need for more players for that exact reason, so that they could replace anyone lost to the virus, or due to injury.
Teams were pushing for the league to allow them to bring 17 players and now that looks to be the case, according to Adrian Wojnarowski and Bobby Marks of ESPN:
Teams are allowed to bring as many as 17 players to Orlando, including 14 or 15 players on a standard NBA contract and additional two-way spots. Playoff rosters will consist of 15 players, including 13 active and two inactive. Once the playoffs start, teams can replace any player who tests positive for the coronavirus with a substitute player. This new player would be subject to a minimum seven-day quarantine period.
This is huge for teams as there was undoubtedly some very legitimate concerns across the league about this possibility. With the league being stopped and restarted in a short period of time, the potential for injuries is heightened as other shortened and seasons have led big injury issues.
Additionally, the league has plans in place to keep the season going if someone does contract the coronavirus (COVID-19) and such a player would be away and quarantined. By allowing teams to bring this many players, it will allow them to have a player already in the bubble and who has been practicing with the rest of the roster to replace someone should that be necessary.
Hopefully the need for these replacement players isn’t massive as it would be awful for players of any teams to go down for a significant injury or this virus that has caused a global pandemic. The league has the right idea in prioritizing the safety of players and trying to limit any potential outbreak, but for the betterment of the NBA as a whole, having the replacement players already there and on call is likely the better option.