The NBA and coaches have drawn battle lines in the debate of how to treat older coaches – like the Spurs’ Gregg Popovich (71), Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni (68) and Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry (65) – as the league resumes play at Disney World amid the coronavirus pandemic
The league’s recently released protocols – including medical evaluations of participants – haven’t ended the standoff
D’Antoni recently shared the same medical information that league doctors would evaluate with an independent doctor in Houston and was given clearance to coach the Rockets in the Orlando restart, sources said.
Consider this a second opinion before the main opinion is even given. D’Antoni is clearly trying to show that it’s safe for him to coach in Disney World – that if NBA doctors determine otherwise, they are the ones who are wrong.
D’Antoni also has the support of Rockets general manager Daryl Morey.
There is a compelling case coaches’ should determine their own risk tolerance. On the other hand, even beyond genuine concern from NBA higher-ups about people at greater risk of more severe symptoms if they get coronavirus (including people 65 and older), there’s no way around this: It would look very bad for the NBA if a coach got coronavirus at Disney World and dies.
So, the debate continues. Lowe and Wojnarowski have more on the relevant legal opinions.