After reporting on Wednesday that several dozen players have expressed reservations about the NBA’s plan to resume its season in Orlando this summer, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski provided a few more details in a full story and in subsequent tweets.
According to Wojnarowski, approximately 40 to 50 players were “on and off” a conference call in a 24-hour stretch from Tuesday to Wednesday to discuss their concerns. However, there has been no formal petition to the NBPA from any group asking not to be included in the restart, sources tell ESPN.
The “restrictive and isolated” nature of the proposed Orlando bubble is a major issue being discussed ny those concerned players, per Wojnarowski. Players who leave the bubble are expected to be subjected a 10-day quarantine, and family members won’t be permitted to join players at Disney until after the first round of the playoffs — players will have been in Orlando for nearly two months by that point.
It remains to be seen how many players will seriously consider skipping the restart altogether. However, sources tell ESPN that if a player does decide not to participate, his team will likely be permitted to replace him with a substitution player. A player who is supplanted by a replacement player wouldn’t be eligible to participate in the remainder of the season, Woj notes. In other words, a player who stays home and gets replaced wouldn’t be able to change his mind and report to Orlando if his team makes a deep postseason run.
According to Wojnarowski, if a player has a medical issue that may increase his risk of suffering more serious COVID-19 symptoms, he’ll be permitted to seek an independent medical evaluation. Even if he’s deemed fit to participate in the resumed season, the player could stay home without consequence (beyond not being paid for the games they miss).
Here’s more on the NBA’s restart:
- According to a Professional Basketball Writers Association memo obtained by Robert Silverman of The Daily Beast, there’s a chance that a select group of reporters could be permitted to cover the resumed season and interact with players and coaches in Orlando. However, those reporters wouldn’t be permitted to re-enter the bubble if they leave, and their employers would have to pay for their housing during their three months at Disney, the cost of which may be prohibitive for many outlets.
- ABC and ESPN play-by-play announcer Mike Breen isn’t sure what the plans are for his role this summer, but hopes he’ll get the opportunity to call games in person in Orlando, as he tells Richard Deitsch of The Athletic. “We could possibly be doing games from a remote location, from a studio, or we could possibly be down in Orlando and doing the games there in a booth that socially distanced away from the players,” Breen said. “Everything is going to be determined over the next couple of weeks. But I would like to be in the arena to call the games.”
- A panel of ESPN writers takes a closer look at the nine competitors for the final three playoff spots, evaluating the cases for and against the Grizzlies, Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Kings, Spurs, Suns, Nets, Magic, and Wizards earning a postseason berth.