THE NBA coaches’ union is concerned that the league’s return-to-play setup at Walt Disney World Resort will risk their members’ health and hurt their future job prospects.
At the end of what will be a four-plus-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA will have 22 of its 30 teams resume action at the Disney campus near Orlando, Fla., with training camp due to run July 9-29 and games to commence on July 30.
All players and staffers will essentially be quarantined for the duration of their stay in the NBA’s “bubble” while undergoing regular COVID-19 testing.
The National Basketball Coaches Association is questioning the details of the “bubble” protocols, particularly whether the league’s oldest head coaches will be permitted to execute all their regular duties.
The San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, who is 71 years old; the Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni, 69; and the New Orleans Pelicans’ Alvin Gentry, 65, all fall in the age bracket that is viewed as being at risk to severe consequences if they contract the coronavirus.
In a statement to ESPN, the union wrote, “The health and safety of all NBA coaches is our main concern. However, we are also concerned with a coach’s opportunity to work and to not have their ability to secure future jobs be severely jeopardized. The league assured us that a coach will not be excluded solely because of age.
“We feel the medical review process is designed to flag only those individuals who pose significant threats of substantial harm to themselves that cannot be reduced or eliminated by the NBA’s considerable steps to create a healthy and safe atmosphere in Orlando.