SALT LAKE CITY — On Friday morning, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported details that indicate the NBA is pushing forward with its plan to restart the 2019-2020 season, but throughout the day, both they and others reported that some key aspects of the plan to play in a bubble at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando are far from decided.
Most notably as far as the Utah Jazz are concerned, Charania reported Friday night that All-Star Donovan Mitchell was a key figure on an evening player conference call in which the idea of sitting out because of potential injury, COVID-19 concerns and the protests around the country was discussed.
Donovan Mitchell, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard among others spoke out about possibly sitting out due to social/COVID-19 issues, per sources. NBPA leadership, Paul/Garrett Temple, provided insight too. Every player had a voice — wants to find purpose, whether they play or not.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 13, 2020
Less than an hour later, however, Mitchell tweeted “Stop it......” in response to an article written off Charania’s report.
Earlier Friday, Yahoo’s Chris Haynes reported that a group of players is unhappy the decision to return to play wasn’t voted on, and that some believe it’s a bad look for the league to play in the midst of the movement for racial justice after the death of George Floyd.
“What message are we sending by agreeing to this during this time?” Haynes quoted an unnamed black player as saying. “We’re out here marching and protesting, and yet we all leave our families in these scary times and gather to perform at a place where the owners won’t be at? What type of sense does that make? We’ll be going backwards. That place (Disney) isn’t that magical.”
Meanwhile, NBC Sports’ Tom Haberstroh reported Friday that Disney workers have not been told to quarantine on campus, according to Eric Clinton, president of Disney’s labor union. Haberstroh quoted an NBA executive as saying, “This isn’t a bubble. This is a mesh hat.”
New Orleans Pelicans guard JJ Redick, who has long been a more outspoken voice in the NBA, quoted a tweet of Haberstroh’s story and wrote, “So...there isn’t a bubble,” which got responses from Jazz wings Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson.
Ingles replied with six “crying laugh” emojis, and Clarkson wrote, “very confused at this point.....” Ingles responded to that by writing, “Bubble with a couple holes in it” and added another crying laugh emoji.
NBA reporter Keith Smith, who was the first to report the concept of the league setting up a bubble at Disney in Orlando, quoted a Disney World source Friday morning as saying, “How cast members (employees) are handed within the bubble has not been decided upon. There are still layers of negotiating to be done with the NBA and with our own unions. Nothing has been finalized if they still stay in the bubble or not. Still TBD.”
Smith added from the source, “It’s disappointing that so many are willingly speaking on the record, knowing that we are far from the finish line on how this will work. We have many, many details to still work out. Nothing has been finalized yet.”
Walt Disney World sources: "How Cast Members are handed within the bubble has not been decided upon. There are still layers of negotiating to be done with the NBA and with our own unions. Nothing has been finalized if they still stay in the bubble or not. Still TBD."— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 12, 2020
Walt Disney World sources: "It's disappointing that so many are willingly speaking on the record, knowing that we are far from the finish line on how this will work. We have many, many details to still work out. Nothing has been finalized yet." https://t.co/2MBDqIV5RS— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 12, 2020
A few hours later, Charania reported that protocols for Disney staff who would be in the bubble have been set, and they include always wearing facemasks and gloves, never being within 6 feet of an NBA participant, temperature and symptom checks and housekeeping staff will never be in the same room as an NBA participant.
Sources: Protocols for Disney staff working NBA return site:— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 12, 2020
- Always wearing facemasks/gloves
- Strict physical distancing, never within 6 feet of NBA participant
- Temperature/symptom checks
- Housekeeping staff will never be in the room at same time as NBA participants
Should the league resume, Wojnarowski reported that the timeline for training camp in Orlando is July 9-29, that players traveling outside of the United States need to report by June 15 to team markets, others by June 22 and that beginning on June 23, a head coach can be one of the two coaches working with players in voluntary workouts.
NBA has instructed teams of full training camp timeline, including July 9-29 in Orlando with three intersquad scrimmages, sources tell ESPN. Again, season re-starts on July 30.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 12, 2020
Players traveling outside of the U.S. need to report by June 15 to team markets -- rest of players need to arrive by June 22, per sources.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 12, 2020
Charania, meanwhile, reported that the window for team traveling parties to get tested for the coronavirus prior to leaving for Orlando is June 23-30.
Wojnarowski also reported that Game 7 of the NBA Finals will likely be on Oct. 13 if it becomes necessary and that the league and players association are still working on a plan for the eight teams that wouldn’t be in Orlando to create an offseason program to keep players engaged and fit.