The NBA is almost exactly one month away from the first games of its planned 22-team restart tipping off at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. However, news of players testing positive for the coronavirus and the state of Florida’s rising cases have raised concerns as the league prepares to depart for Orlando. Sam Amick of The Athletic (subscription required) polled 10 GMs whose teams are part of the NBA’s restart and gained insight on their hesitations or confidence in the league’s bubble-based plan.
One GM detailed their feelings about the uncertainty that awaits in Orlando:
“Uncomfortable — how can anyone not be,” a fourth GM said when asked how he felt about the surreal experience to come. “A lot of uncertainty. I know all the proper measures are being taken but (there) is still a lot (of) unknown. You know and I know why we are playing — for the money. If not that, do you really think we would be playing? I get it, and I’m in…but with hesitation.”
Another GM conveyed their downright optimism in the bubble plan:
“I think the precautions the NBA is taking to enhance the safety of the bubble participants are nothing short of extraordinary. … Once (everyone is) on campus, I think (people within the league) will appreciate the NBA’s work on this.”
With other sports leagues identifying a number of COVID-19 cases within certain teams, concerns about NBA players and staff contracting the coronavirus are on the minds of executives:
“When I see the (infection) rates of college football teams and other organizations (in the news), and it says, ‘Players and staff,’ that’s what worries me the most is the ‘and staff’ part,” a GM said. “Which staff members are the ones contracting COVID, and am I putting them at risk?”
You can read more for Amick’s discussion with league GMs here (subscription to The Athletic required).