Did anyone actually expect NBA players to stay home, hunkered down with their nuclear families, trying to be safe during the All-Star break?
With a few days off in the middle of a compressed season, many NBA players were looking for a party. Throw in restrictions on international travel put in by the league plus the need to be tested for the coronavirus daily at an NBA-sanctioned facility, and players made their choice:
“I think the place the NBA is worried about was not Atlanta. The place the NBA is worried about is Miami.
“Last I heard, there were around 150 players planning to be in Miami. The reason the NBA knows is because the players have to have COVID tests while they’re there. They had to sign up for them. The NBA had an accurate count of how many. I was told, two days ago, maybe it has grown. I was told it was in the neighborhood of 150 players in Miami over the weekend.”
The NBA has a count because players had to be tested at the Heat facility, and there were so many players that a schedule had to be set up to handle the crush, Windhorst said. He added that several private planes with players leaving the successful All-Star bubble in Atlanta were headed to Miami.
While there is a mask mandate and other restrictions in Miami, how closely those guidelines are being followed is up for debate.
There has been a concern in league circles about a spike in COVID-19 cases in the wake of the All-Star break because players were expected to be at larger gatherings where masks and social distancing were not enforced.
We’ll see in the coming week if those concerns are borne out.