Despite the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the NBA is set to resume the 2019-20 regular season after a plan was approved by both the league and the NBPA.
The 22-team format will take place at Walt Disney World in Orlando and teams will begin their move at the end of June and early July with training camp and practices to take place once everyone is settled. There are discussions in place to have a couple of exhibition games before the regular season resumes either on July 30.
However, the bubble location has a been a controversial topic recently as there is hesitancy from the players to participate because of health concerns. That includes Los Angeles Lakers teammates Avery Braley and Dwight Howard, who participated in the conference call.
Meanwhile, according to Gary Washburn of Boston Globe, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts explained that the players expect positive test cases to come up while in Orlando:
“Of course [the players] understand it could be a positive test and they want to know what the protocol is,” Roberts said this past week. “No one is saying, ‘Suppose a player tests positive?’ We’re beyond that. The question now is, ‘When a player tests positive, what are we going to do?’”
“That’s the only realistic mind-set you can have going into this. A player is going to test positive,” Roberts said. “It’s not any more of this ‘if’, it’s ‘when’ and what can I do to mitigate against the ‘when.’ When it happens, if I’m not successful, what treatment is available to me, what are my chances of being really, really sick, and how are you detecting the presence of an infection? Honestly, I don’t think this is any different than what any American has to come to grips with.”
The current plan is to test players on a regular basis but the method in which that will be completed is still undecided as the league discusses options. Group testing appears to be the most popular option right now due to its ease and the minimum amount of people that need to be involved to determine results.
However, while the bubble is arguably safer for the players and the rest of the travel parties it is likely that a positive could come about as the NBA also has to account for the non-NBA employees on site who could be infected.
Factors like that are why players are considering not reporting and they have every right to prioritize their health despite the competitive and financial implications that come with such a decision.