Starting July 7, life inside the NBA bubble for 22 teams of players and team staff will be ruled by a 108-page health and safety protocol handbook — one written in a tiny, Apple warranty sized font. The handbook dictates the rules about anything and everything with the NBA’s return to play.
What is in the handbook? What will life inside the NBA bubble be like?
Here is an outline based on sources who spoke to NBC Sports about the rules and regulations, plus reports from other media.
• From July 7 to 9, players will arrive at the Walt Disney World complex in Orlando. Team arrivals will be spread out over three days to avoid congestions.
• Upon arrival, players will be quarantined in their hotel room until they have two negative coronavirus tests 24 hours apart. After that, players will be tested “regularly,” according to the handbook, although that could be daily or close to it for much of the time in Orlando.
• What hotels are the players at? Here’s the breakdown.
Sources: NBA teams Disney hotels based on seeding:
-Grand Destino: Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat
-Grand Floridian: Thunder, 76ers, Rockets, Pacers, Mavericks, Nets, Grizzlies, Magic
-Yacht Club: Blazers, Kings, Pelicans, Spurs, Suns, Wizards
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2020
The Grand Destino is considered the primary player hotel, and if a lower seed team advances far enough they may be asked to move to the Grand Destino from their hotel.
• Yes, the Orlando Magic have to stay in an Orlando hotel. Letting them go home would defeat the point of a bubble.
• Each player will be given a “MagicBand” — a bracelet that serves as a room key and wallet throughout the hotel and Disney property. It also will be used to check-in players for testing.
• Players also can wear a “proximity alarm” that will notify the wearer if he or she spends more than five seconds within six feet of another person with the alarm. All team and league staff will be required to wear these.
• Everyone will be required to wear a facemask, except when eating, at a workout or practice, in their room, or if they are swimming or doing something more than six feet away from another person (laying out by the pool with nobody around).
• All the food will be cooked by Disney chefs on-site, and each team will work with a “culinary team” that will make every effort to design a menu that fits dietary needs of each team. Players can have private chefs who prepare meals off-site, which can be brought into the players.
• Disney is open to setting up dining experience for players/teams at some of the restaurants on the Disney property but outside the bubble area, or having that food brought into the bubble, according to friend of this site Keith Smith.
WHAT IS THERE TO DO WHILE IN THE BUBBLE?
• The hotels will have a players-only lounge area (with televisions and gaming areas, including NBA 2K, of course), plus barbers, manicures and spa services, and more. There also will be movie screenings, some DJ sets, cards for booray games, bowling (Chris Paul will be there nightly), and other games such as ping pong — but players are not allowed to play doubles. Seriously.
Per Walt Disney World Sources: Disney will make movies available for players and their families (once they join). This is likely to include movies that have not been released to the general public, including Marvel's Black Widow.
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 16, 2020
They have thought of everything. When NBA guys get together for card games at Disney, the deck of cards must be thrown out when the game is over. "Sufficient
packs of cards will be available on the campus for players
and team staff interested in playing," the NBA wrote.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 17, 2020
• There are pools at the hotels that will be open for use by the players. There will be hiking and biking trails for use by the players.
• There will be golf available, but no caddies. Doc Rivers is going to have to carry his own clubs.
Per a Walt Disney World source: "We're looking forward to developing private experiences for NBA personnel. These could include backstage tours of our parks and attractions. We're going to make sure NBA personnel are entertained while they are our guests."
— Keith Smith (@KeithSmithNBA) June 17, 2020
• Players are encouraged to stay in the bubble. Arrangements to leave for major life events or emergencies — the birth of a child, sick relative, wedding — can be made with the league, but the league has to be informed and as far in advance as is possible.
• While players are allowed to leave the campus/bubble, he will face a 10-14 day quarantine upon his return and will have to have two negative tests. Also, the player will not be paid for any games missed.
• Any team staff that violates the rules of the bubble or leaves the bubble without prior approval will be removed and cannot return to the Disney campus. Teams will not be able to replace that person.
• Players and staff will have to sign a document saying they will abide by the rules of the bubble.
Per NBA health and safety protocols for return: All players, team staff and guests will be required to certify in writing that they will adhere to all
pre-arrival rules and league rules while on campus.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 17, 2020
• There will be a hotline set up where players or staff can call and report a violation of the health and safety rules in the bubble. Insert your own Chris Paul “his mask is untucked” joke here (or how every Clipper is going to call and say LeBron James is in violation of the rules).
IF A PLAYER TESTS POSITIVE
• If — or, to be more practical, when — a player tests positive inside the NBA bubble he will immediately be moved to a separate location termed “isolation housing.” The NBA is looking at some rental homes outside the Disney property to use for this.
• The player will be retested to make sure this was not a false positive.
• Teams and the league will more closely monitor and test anyone who was in close proximity to that player between tests.
• The player can return to the bubble and his team after consecutive negative tests.
• A memo to teams told them the games would not stop because of a positive test and to be prepared for that. The exact quote is, “the occurrence of a small or otherwise expected number of COVID-19 cases will not require a decision to suspend or cancel” the season restart. (What happens if one team has multiple positive tests impacting key rotation players will be something to watch.)
GAMES AND PRACTICES
Games inside the NBA bubble will take place at one of three facilities:
• The HP Field House will be the primary game court, it is broadcast ready.
• The Arena will have a game broadcast court plus has a couple of side practice courts.
• The Visa Center has a court that can be used for game broadcasts, but this will primarily be a practice facility.
• All three areas have weight and training areas, in addition to modern locker rooms (although not ones as nice as teams have at their home arenas).
• There will be about four hours between games, allowing time for a complete sanitization of the court, plus time for teams to do their standard pregame-warmup routines.
• There will be about 5-7 games a day during the seeding rounds, with some games not starting until 10-10:30 p.m. Eastern (which is 7:30 on the West Coast, a standard start time for the Lakers, Clippers, and Trail Blazers).
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 16, 2020
• Benches at the games will have two rows, just like at a regular NBA game. The players and coaches on the front bench do not have to wear masks (although it is encouraged for coaches), but coaches and trainers on the second row of the bench must wear masks.