There is a 113-page handbook detailing the protocols for the 22 teams at the NBA’s Orlando restart, detailing everything from daily coronavirus testing to throwing out decks of cards after a night of booray.
For the eight teams not in Orlando — all of whom want to have team workouts and some games, maybe like a mini Summer League — there is no plan. Yet.
“I think there are conversations that could be had if there’s anything we can do with the other eight teams,” Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, said Friday in a conference all with reporters. “I know there are some players, particularly young players, that seem concerned they’re not getting enough [opportunities]. I think our teams are incredibly smart and creative and can come up with ways to get their guys engaged, if not now, before the season starts.
“But I am very concerned and frankly… in terms of play that doesn’t have the same guarantees of safety and health that we’ve provided for the teams in Orlando.”
“I couldn’t agree more with Michele, that we want the same standards to be met,” NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum said on the same call. “And there have been conversations that we’ve been having with the Players’ Association on how to present and whether or not we can do that. We know it’s something that our teams would love to do, that some of the players would love to do, but as Michele said, it has to be done in the right way, and we’ll continue having those conversations with Michele and her team on what that looks like.”
At some point, those eight teams will have some kinds of workouts, which have been compared to NFL OTAs. The teams want games as well, but as the 113 pages of NBA protocol demonstrate, it’s not that simple to play games.
But the league needs to figure something out.