Three NBA head coaches fall in the 65-and-older category of being at high risk for severe coronavirus symptoms:
- Spurs’ Gregg Popovich (71)
- Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni (68)
- Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry (65)
D’Antoni, who’ll turn 69 tomorrow, is the only one of the three coaching a team in playoff position. That raises concern if the NBA holds a postseason.
Houston Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni would have no reservations about being on the sideline if the NBA season resumes, despite his age increasing the risk of severe illness or death from the coronavirus, sources told ESPN.
Rockets sources, however, said that D’Antoni has determined that he would coach if the season resumes, in large part because of confidence in NBA commissioner Adam Silver and the league office to create as safe an environment as possible.
Remember: The NBA – which boasted about being on top of this crisis – held games with fans present after coronavirus was spreading in the United States. The league planned to continue having players play (without fans present) right up until Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus. Even after Gobert’s diagnosis, games continued. The league even planned to start a game that hadn’t begun.
The NBA has sounded more cautious lately, and I do believe the league will wait until it’s sufficiently safe to resume games. But I also wouldn’t blindly trust Silver, who – however progressively he presents himself and his league – is still running a business.
It’s also very possible the NBA resumes when it’s deemed safe for healthy young people (like NBA players) to interact. Social-distancing restrictions might still apply to at-risk groups. Hopefully, if there is that distinction, it gets communicated properly to older coaches like D’Antoni.