BOSTON (CBS) — The NBA has an elaborate plan to return, hoping that a “bubble season” at Disney World in Orlando will allow the league to finish the 2020 campaign amid the coronavirus pandemic. There are a lot of moving parts to the plan, and one of those parts is not sitting well with Celtics head coach Brad Stevens and other teams around the league.
The NBA has 22 teams set to arrive in Orlando between July 7-9, with play resuming July 30. Part of living in the “bubble” in Orlando will require players, coaches and staff members to say goodbye to their families for nearly two months, as families won’t be welcomed to Orlando until after the first round of the playoffs. That is currently scheduled for the end of August.
That’s a long time to go without seeing your family, especially in a time of crisis. Having to go upwards of seven weeks before welcoming family to the mix has Stevens throwing out one of his coach’s challenges before play even resumes.
“A source said Boston coach Brad Stevens has consistently pushed the league to reconsider its ruling that the families of staff members will not be allowed,” Sam Amick of The Athletic wrote Wednesday.
Stevens isn’t alone, either, with the Los Angeles Clippers also being extremely vocal about having more family allowed in Orlando before the second round of the playoffs. But with Florida currently seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases, and the Orlando area setting new records on a daily basis, chances are the NBA won’t soften its stance.
It makes sense too, given 14 teams will be sent back out into the real world by the time the second round of the playoffs roll around. If everyone was allowed to bring family when play first resumes, that would be a whole lot of people staying for only a brief period of time.
Players are only getting one additional room when family is allowed to join them in the bubble, and those who join them must quarantine like everyone else. Adding more people to the mix increases the chances of one of those folks sneaking out of the bubble, and potentially contracting the disease and spreading it upon their return.
It’s certainly understandable that players and coaches want to be with their families and not apart for an extended period of time, especially in the middle of the pandemic, but the NBA has plenty of reason to limit the number of people allowed inside its bubble. It’s not an ideal situation for anyone, one that could create another speed bump for basketball’s return.