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Five NBA teams begin practices in Orlando bubble: 'Honestly, it feels strange'

Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times on

Published in Basketball

The Magic walked into a carpeted hotel ballroom Thursday in Orlando, Fla., outfitted with two NBA courts and four baskets, and made a little news.

Even though they never played 5-on-5, even though never did any drills that required contact and even though they didn't travel far to get there, the Magic became the first NBA team to hold an actual practice since the league shut down March 11 because of the global coronavirus outbreak.

"Honestly," Orlando forward Aaron Gordon said, "it feels strange."

After months of writing and revising plans and negotiating with the league's players (and then doing it over and over again), the NBA's ambitious bubble concept began in earnest, with Orlando, Brooklyn, Utah, Washington and Phoenix holding practices.

To get to this point, those teams had to clear quarantine in Orlando -- approximately 36 hours -- by passing a pair of coronavirus tests, including one submitted almost immediately upon arrival.

The Clippers arrived in Orlando without Kawhi Leonard and Landry Shamet on Wednesday night and are scheduled to practice Friday afternoon. The Lakers departed Los Angeles on Thursday and practice for the first time at Disney World on Saturday.

 

They might not return until mid-October.

"Just left the crib to head to the bubble," LeBron James tweeted. " ... felt like I'm headed to do a bid man!"

Center Dwight Howard is set to meet the Lakers in Orlando on Thursday night. Guard Avery Bradley opted out of the restart and assistant coach Lionel Hollins won't attend because of health concerns.

Clippers center Montrezl Harrell is one of a handful of players who have taken to social media to complain about the food served while in quarantine. And Lakers guard Rajon Rondo posted a photo of a room at the Gran Destino, where the Lakers and Clippers are staying, and compared it to a Motel 6.

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