SALT LAKE CITY — As the NBA and National Basketball Players Association worked on Wednesday to finalize a plan to resume play, including an extensive health and safety plan, not everyone in the league feels safe enough to join the Orlando bubble, according to reports.
In a string of tweets on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski outlined conversations that were taking place over the last couple of days including a large group of “several dozen” players who believe resuming play in Orlando is a bad idea.
According to Wojnarowski, because of the dissenting views, the NBA and NBPA are likely to agree on a provision in which players would not be required to join their respective teams for the restart of the season. The two sides are working toward an agreement that would not include disciplinary action for players who choose to stay home, though they would lose a portion of their salary for games missed.
Sources: As NBA and NBPA are finalizing terms on return-to-play plan today, there’s a faction of players discussing as a group whether restarting season in the Orlando bubble is a good idea. Several dozen players participated in a conference call in last 24 hours to discuss it.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 10, 2020
As part of the extensive health and safety plan, players and staff are expected to submit a detailed personal health history to a panel of physicians who would review their risk related to the coronavirus during their time in the bubble at Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort. It’s unclear, according to Wojnarowski, what kind power the group of physicians would have in the way of limiting who can and cannot enter the bubble.
There is some fear, according to reports, that coaches who are over the age of 65 — Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni, the New Orleans Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry and the San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich — who are at a higher risk for complications related to COVID-19, would be vulnerable to health evaluations and perhaps not allowed to join their team, leading to a competitive disadvantage.
In an ESPN report, legal experts with knowledge of the Americans with Disabilities Act and from within the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission weighed in saying that it would be extremely difficult for the NBA to exclude people from participating in the league’s resumption solely on the basis of age, or even preexisting conditions so long as certain safety measures and accommodations are made to reduce risk.
While many are worried about being excluded from the NBA bubble, there still remains a large faction of players who are not comfortable with joining their teams in Orlando for myriad reasons including health risk to themselves and their families, being away from their families, as well as social justice issues.
The NBA and NBPA are nearing completion on items needed to reach a final agreement on parameters of a return-to-play, sources said. Some players with hesitation have been discussing a number of issues on return, including family concerns, COVID-19, social justice, and more.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 10, 2020
Though Wojnarowski reported that 40 to 50 players have been in discussions expressing their concerns over the plan to resume and the NBPA has been working to include provision that would allow players to stay home rather than take part in the Orlando bubble, there has not been any formal petition from that group.
Multiple reports suggest that the NBA and NBPA will reach a final agreement on plan to resume play plan along with health and safety protocols sometime in the next couple of days.