Assuming the NBA can resume its season, the league appears to be leaning strongly toward doing so in one or two centralized “bubble” locations, where players and teams will stay and play their games for two or three months. Discussing that scenario during a video conference call on Wednesday, Lakers forward Jared Dudley explained that players and others inside the bubble wouldn’t be forced into quarantine during their time there.
“You will be allowed to leave,” Dudley said, per ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Now just because you leave, if we’re going to give you that leeway, if you come back with corona, you can’t play.”
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As Dudley noted – citing discussions with commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts – the plan is for frequent COVID-19 testing to take place within that bubble, which Silver has referred to as a “campus”-like environment in which players can spend time at hotels, gyms, and dining areas. However, the veteran forward suspects that not every player will be satisfied to remain within that limited space for the duration of the season.
“When you’re dealing with 300 different players — if you’ve seen (The Last Dance), every team’s got a (Dennis) Rodman. He just doesn’t have green and blue hair,” Dudley said. “There’s always someone who’s outside the box, who does that, takes the risk and says, ‘Hey, listen, man, I’m healthy, and I feel good.'”
Still, Dudley doesn’t think there are many players who would take that risk, pointing out that contracting the coronavirus during an outside excursion would force the player out of action for at least a couple weeks and would put his teammates at risk. As such, there will be “added pressure” not to do so. Dudley also believes that individual teams, like his Lakers, would impress upon their players that they don’t want them to leave, even if the NBA doesn’t explicitly prevent it.
“Bron, AD and all the top guys we have, we’ll be wrapping them in a bubble and not letting them go anywhere,” Dudley said. “You’ll have that be a team rule. Now, it won’t be a league, an NBA rule, but you’d want to say, ‘Listen, guys, we’ve come too far. We’re going to put our family on hold. … It’s going to be hard for two months, but it’s something we have to sacrifice.'”
As we relayed on Wednesday, Walt Disney World – near Orlando – has emerged as a “clear frontrunner” to host a potential NBA return. McMenamin notes within his report that ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe have heard the league is considering a two-site format which would also include Las Vegas.