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In bubble we trust? NBA's tenuous faith in Orlando restart plan will be tested

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is wearing some of the effects of the NBA's shutdown all over his face. With the kind of beard you'd expect to see on someone cast away on a remote island and talking to a volleyball, Morey has his anxieties concerning what's to come for the league.

Teams will make their way to Orlando, Fla., for the NBA restart over a three-day span beginning Tuesday before training camps can begin in preparation for reopening day July 30.

Positive tests for COVID-19 continue to register. Some teams have closed their practice facilities. And for people such as Morey, who doesn't know for sure whether 69-year-old Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni will be cleared to participate, it's a critical time.

Still, all things considered, the wild-bearded exec has faith. It's why he'll be on one of those planes.

"I think it would be pretty bad to ask the players to do something that I'm not doing," he said during a Zoom call Monday. "I do feel comfortable that we have the best plan in a tough situation. Does that make the situation perfect? No. But I do think a lot of work has been put into this.

"It's about as safe as you can get."

 

There are varying levels of trust in the NBA's bubble, but most everyone agrees this is the best the league can do amid the conditions. NBA sources have insisted the plan, while exhaustive, isn't cemented and that the league is ready to adjust if necessary.

Between June 23 and 29, 25 players tested positive for the coronavirus. An additional 10 staff members also tested positive. Seven of the 22 teams heading to Orlando have closed their practice facilities after learning of positive tests.

"I think every day there's new info and you have to make the best decision based on that info. As I talk to you right now, I think we're on the right path, on the right plan," Morey said. "But I think every day, there's new information. We'll see what comes in the future. If anyone is certain about anything right now, I think they're making a mistake."

According to the league's health and safety guidelines, within the 48 hours leading to a team's departure to Orlando, it is required to hold a virtual education and training seminar conducted by either a team physician or infectious disease expert.

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