With each passing day, it’s looking more and more likely that NBA basketball is imminent.
NBA teams are expecting the league office will issue guidelines around June 1 that will allow franchises to start recalling players who’ve left their markets as a first step toward a formal ramp-up for the season’s resumption, sources told ESPN.
As to when teams would be allowed to expand upon the individual workouts that in-market players are already participating in, an answer is expected around the same time.
Life hasn’t been the same since the NBA season was put on pause in March, but should the league resume, players could be subjected to a brief period of quarantine at a “bubble location”, followed by individual workouts at team facilities and a formal two to three-week week training camp before the season resumes.
As we’ve recently reported, Orlando’s massive Walt Disney World Resort has emerged as the “clear frontrunner” for the NBA’s big comeback, due to its multiple basketball courts on-site, assortment of hotels, proximity to the Orlando Magic’s training facilities and “immediate readiness for broadcasting.”
With safety a primary concern, it’s assumed that players and team staff wouldn’t be allowed to interact with the outside world until the season is over, but Lakers forward Jared Dudley has dismissed that as a “misconception.”
“You will be allowed to leave,” he told reporters Wednesday during a video conference call. “If you come back with corona, you can’t play. [...] There would be added pressure not to potentially leave so you don’t get the COVID-19.”
He continued, “[LeBron], [Anthony Davis] and all the top guys we have, we’ll be wrapping them in a bubble and not letting them go anywhere. You’ll have that be a team rule. Now, it won’t be a league, an NBA rule, but you’d want to say, ‘Listen, guys, we’ve come too far. We’re going to put our family on hold.’”
It’s a difficult position to be in as a player, but to Dudley, the sacrifice is part of being a professional athlete.
“That’s where the responsibility comes for us,” he said. “Sometimes it’s out of our realm, in the sense of, ‘Hey, we got to stay within the bubble. Let’s do this. We got to stay isolated. It’s going to be hard for two months, but it’s something we have to sacrifice.’”
Let me go circle June 1 on my calendar right now and keep my fingers crossed that we’ll finally get an answer on the NBA’s return.