A group of 40-50 NBA players held conference calls over the last several days to voice their concerns about restarting the season in “the bubble” in Orlando.
What We Know:
- The NBA announced its plan to restart the season on July 31 at ESPN’s World Wide of Sports Complex in Disney World. The announcement included 22 of the league’s 30 teams and a reduced schedule with regular season games, a possible play-in tournament, and the NBA playoffs, with hopes of crowning a champion no later than October 12.
- The NBA’s return will come with serious health precautions and restrictions for players. Players will quarantine when they arrive and practice social isolation. They will take COVID-19 tests and have their temperatures taken every day. They cannot leave without facing another quarantine. No visitors will be allowed until after the first round of the playoffs – seven weeks after their arrival.
- These restrictions have raised concerns about how players will adapt to the environment. Players worry about their family situations, conditions within the bubble, the coronavirus pandemic, and the nationwide protests, which several players have taken part in. Some players, especially those who are not on championship-contending teams, do not see the upside in resuming the season.
- It is likely that players who decide against participating in the the bubble will not face any punishment from their teams. They will not receive pay for games missed, however. The NBA started withholding 25% of player paychecks on June 15, invoking the force majeure clause in the collective bargaining agreement. The league plans to allow replacement players for teams dealing with injuries, positive coronavirus tests, or players opting out of the season’s return.
Sources: Players deciding against participating in Orlando could be replaced by a substitution player. NBA plans to allow replacements for players who test positive for COVID-19 or suffer injuries. Replaced players become ineligible for the rest of 2019-2020 season. https://t.co/6J62J0k8Nv
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 11, 2020
The NBA and Players Association plan to finalize terms of the restart and get information and health protocols out to teams this week. The NBA’s plan has its flaws, however, league officials are confident that they will be able to keep players safe and finish the season.