Assistant coaches around the NBA aren’t sure if they will all be headed to Orlando when the season resumes, writes Sean Deveney of Forbes. On the advice of medical professionals, the league is trying to limit the number of people being brought into the bubble environment, and some teams carry huge coaching staffs.
“Honestly, I don’t know if they’re gonna consider me essential,” said an unidentified assistant. “We’ve got teams who are seven, eight coaches deep, 10 if you count the scouts. They haven’t told us if they’re taking us all. I don’t know how many of us they think they need. I am not sure I want to be there.”
Deveney points out that head coaches are always in the spotlight, but assistants handle the majority of studying film and breaking down match-ups. Head coaches also make significantly higher salaries, which means assistants will be asked to face the same coronavirus hazards for smaller paychecks.
“Look, the head coaches, they’ve got plenty of reason to go back and coach and win,” the assistant said. “There are only 30 head jobs. I want our team to win, too. Coaches at all levels invest a lot personally. But you start talking about the health risks and then the health risks to families? It changes the conversation. We are not getting the same level of pay as everyone else on the floor but we’re taking as much risk.”
There’s more regarding the NBA’s restart:
- Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum wants contact to resume in workouts before players travel to Orlando, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. Only individual workouts are permitted at the moment, with contact and group activities banned under the rules regarding the reopening of team facilities. “We have players that need to get contact in for the last steps of clearance,” McCollum said. “I don’t want anyone to get injured because of having over 100 days of no games.”
- Although there’s strong support among players for finishing the season, some are concerned about the health risks they will face, notes Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Ganguli talked to Lakers center JaVale McGee, who is at greater risk because he has asthma and suffered from pneumonia last year, and Maurice Harkless, who discussed his concerns before learning that the Knicks wouldn’t be part of the resumption. Harkless didn’t visit family members after the hiatus began because he had just played against the Pistons and Jazz — both teams had players who had tested positive.
- Joe Vardon of The Athletic examines whether the NBA can recover from what is shaping up to be its worst season ever.