The NBA pulled off an impressive feat over the summer, making it through the end of its 2019/20 season and the entire playoffs at Walt Disney World without any COVID-19 cases among players. However, now that the NBA has left its bubble for the ’20/21 campaign, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is among those worried about whether or not the league will be able to replicate that success, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN.
“Man, I tell you I’m very concerned if we can pull this off,” Rivers said, pointing to COVID-19 outbreaks in college football and in the NFL as ominous signs. “The difference in football is they play once a week. They have 1,000 players, so when you miss three or four players, you can still get away with it.
“If we miss three or four players, we’re in trouble, especially with the amount of games (we play). We’re playing three to four games a week. So if one of our guys, or two of our key guys, get the virus and they miss 10 days to 14 days, that can be eight games. In a 72-game season, that can knock you out of the playoffs.”
Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:
- After the Thunder and Celtics created record-setting traded player exceptions this offseason, some executives around the league are wondering if the TPE rules aren’t functioning as intended and should be tweaked, says Sean Deveney of Forbes.com.
- Former NBA first-round pick Jarell Martin has signed with the Sydney Kings in Australia’s National Basketball League, sources tell Olgun Uluc of ESPN. Martin, who appeared in 184 NBA games for Memphis and Orlando, will replace newly-retired big man Andrew Bogut in Sydney’s frontcourt, Uluc notes.
- We’re less than two weeks removed from the 2020 draft, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to look ahead to the 2021 offseason. Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) previews what to expect next summer, Danny Leroux of The Athletic projects which teams will have the most cap room, and John Hollinger of The Athletic identifies some star players worth watching leading up to the ’21 offseason.
- Just days after having his draft rights traded to the Knicks in their Austin Rivers deal, Belgian power forward Axel Hervelle has announced his retirement, as Emiliano Carchia of Sportando relays. Hervelle, 37, never signed an NBA contract after being drafted 52nd overall in 2005.