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What life will be like inside the NBA bubble in Orlando

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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.

ARRIVAL

• 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.

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.

• 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.

• 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.

• 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).

• 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.

Report: Bulls likely to keep Jim Boylen as coach for financial reasons

Bulls coach Jim Boylen
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The Bulls appeared ready to fire Jim Boylen. After all, Chicago just hired a new team president in Arturas Karnisovas who’d want to pick his own coach. That was unlikely to be Boylen, whose tenure had been defined by players disliking him, ill-timed timeouts and losing.

Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times:

But as the Sun-Times learned this week, even if Karnisovas didn’t like what he would have seen from Boylen he would likely be handcuffed from making a change.

According to several sources, there is strong growing momentum that financial concerns the Reinsdorfs have about the 2020-21 NBA season will keep Boylen in his current seat, as well as most of the coaching staff.

Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf has earned a reputation for his frugality. However, the economic downturn surrounding the coronavirus pandemic has caused many teams to tighten their belts. The financial consequences will likely continue into next season.

But this puts Chicago at a disadvantage.

Boylen has looked like one of the NBA’s worst coaches. Though Bulls ownership is more optimistic than most on Boylen and he could exceed expectations, it’s telling that Chicago probably wouldn’t have kept him based on merit. This is about saving money and hoping for the best.

That’s obviously great news for Boylen. He has improved significantly since taking over last season. More time on the job could allow him to grow into it. That said, improving from a near-mutiny in his early days doesn’t exactly mean he’s in an acceptable place now. Boylen still has a long way to go, and it could be more difficult if players are tired of him.

Nets fined $25K for injury-reporting violation

Brooklyn Nets
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Earlier this season, Kyrie Irving missed several weeks with a shoulder injury. Throughout the absence, the Nets provided few details and no clear timeline. Eventually, a report said Irving could miss 2-3 additional weeks with bursitis. The Nets denied it. Later, Irving confirmed he had bursitis then returned nearly three weeks after the report.

Finally, Brooklyn caught the league’s ire.

NBA release:

The NBA today announced that the Brooklyn Nets have been fined $25,000 for failing to comply with league policies governing injury reporting.

It’s unclear what specifically caused this violation. Caris LeVert, Joe Harris, Jarrett Allen, Jamal Crawford and Rodions Kurucs have all appeared on the Nets’ injury report during the resumption. As 19-point underdog, Brooklyn pulled a historic upset of the Bucks. Remember, public injury disclosures are primarily about preserving gambling integrity.

For the NBA not to reveal even basic details while fining the Nets for their lack of transparency is ironic. It’s also ironic this fine comes amid a restart that featured the NBA being highly secretive about player heath.

The Clippers got fined $50,000 earlier this season for saying Kawhi Leonard was healthy. What did Brooklyn do that was less egregious but still worth of a fine?

LeBron James says Lakers have off-court issues, out vs. Rockets (groin)

Lakers star LeBron James
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The Lakers’ offense has stumbled so far in the bubble.

Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

LeBron gave a weird answer about this. He agreed that he and the Lakers were looking for a rhythm on offense. And then he said: “It’s just some things that you can’t control that’s here, that I really don’t want to talk about, that’s off the floor.”

Mike Trudell of the Lakers:

Was LeBron referring to his groin injury? I wouldn’t call that an off-court issue, but maybe he would.

LeBron knows how to work the media. This subtle comment will draw attention and sets up LeBron to look better if he leads the Lakers through this mysterious issue.

Without more context, it’s easy for imaginations to wander – especially about a team with Dwight Howard, Dion Waiters and J.R. Smith. The Lakers could be facing a major hurdle. Or a minor nuisance. Who knows? But the unknown is scary.

It’ll be difficult to detect the Lakers’ progress during remaining seeding games. The Lakers have already clinched the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, and without a home-court advantage in the NBA Finals, there’s no reason to chase the NBA’s best overall record. That’s why LeBron missing tonight’s game against the Rockets could be mostly precautionary.

76ers: Ben Simmons suffered subluxation of knee cap, considering treatment options

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Ben Simmons injured his knee during the 76ers’ win over the Wizards yesterday.

The diagnosis is in, and the prognosis sounds worrisome.

Serena Winters of NBC Sports Philadelphia:

How quickly will Simmons recover? Once he recovers, will he face elevated risk of re-injury?

These questions now haunt Simmons and Philadelphia.

Simmons is a young star who’ll begin a max contract extension next season. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons opened Philadelphia’s championship window, and now rain is drizzling through. Philadelphia can’t reach it ceiling without Simmons healthy and providing value.

Even more modest goals in a disjointed season will be more difficult to reach.

The 76ers were just adjusting to playing Simmons at power forward. Now, they must again re-configure their plan – maybe for a significant chunk of the remainder of the season.

Even more burden falls onto Embiid, who has been shouldering so much with this mismatched roster. Simmons plays across the positional spectrum, so any number of 76ers could fill in while he’s out. Many of those lesser players will complement Embiid more smoothly than Simmons did. But the talent deficit without Simmons can’t be offset.

That’s the scary issue for now – and maybe a while.