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

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

Teams will travel either by chartered plane or bus. All passengers must have tested negative throughout the league's testing. If they have returned a positive test, the passengers must have satisfied the league criteria to rejoin their teams. If a passenger is presenting any COVID-19 symptoms or lives with someone who has or recently had the virus or symptoms, they will not be allowed to travel with their teams.

Passengers will be directed to clean their hands before and after the security screening process and will undergo a temperature and symptoms check before boarding. They also will be asked to wear masks for the trip.

On the plane, passengers will be spread out with as many empty seats and rows between them as possible. Food and drinks will all be prepackaged, if there is service. Hand sanitizer and wipes will be readily available.

After landing, two buses and a luggage truck will await a team, with the drivers wearing masks. As the team arrives on campus, everyone must either wash or sanitize their hands.

After checking in, everyone must quarantine in their hotel rooms for up to 48 hours (or until each traveler passes two coronavirus tests more than 24 hours apart).

"Just stretch and watch Netflix," New Orleans Pelicans guard Lonzo Ball said about the quarantine. "There's really not much more you can do -- try to get my series in."

Getting healthy players to the bubble -- and keeping them that way -- is the critical priority for the upcoming weeks. Teams will be moving into the next phase of training, full-team practices, which can begin Thursday.

"I believe in the plan that's been put together by the NBA. I think everyone -- this has affected everyone in the world -- has anxiety with the horrible results that have happened in the United States and around the world," Morey said. "I think everyone is going through it. Everyone must assess the risk they're deciding to take on versus the upside of what we will have to do to continue to live our lives. It's a tough balance."

That confidence isn't shared by everyone.


Pelicans All-Star Brandon Ingram hasn't stressed too much about what's happening around him. He's from a town that's experienced many challenges, and this isn't too much to handle, he said.

"As far as the players that are testing positive, I tell everybody, I feel like I'm from Kinston (N.C.). I feel like I'm immune to a lot of stuff, and I'm not really worried about this virus," Ingram said.

That doesn't mean he believes this will be smooth sailing. Asked whether he thinks the league can pull off this season, Ingram said ...

"I'm not that confident about that," he said. "It looks like everything is going through Orlando. But like you said, new cases are coming up, different things are happening. I'm not very confident. But they've got us going to Orlando (on Wednesday), so we'll see."

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