The National Basketball Association is pushing ahead with its plans to resume the 2019-20 regular season at the end of July. Teams can start holding training camps soon, but the league has strict rules in place.
There will be 22 teams heading to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World in July, and teams will be competing to reach the 16-team playoff field. On Tuesday, the NBA sent out a 100-page return-to-play document to teams outlining what life will look like on the campus in Orlando, Fla.
The league has been working closely with healthcare professionals to come up with their “rules,” and they are taking player safety very seriously. Below are some of the most important aspects of that 100-page document.
Initial Arrival Will Be Tough
Teams are expected to start making their way to Orlando in the early part of July, and this will be a huge awakening for everyone involved. The league will require everyone in the traveling party to isolate for 48 hours, and two negative tests must be recorded before they can leave their rooms.
Life doesn’t get much easier at first, as players and team personnel cannot visit any other hotel rooms until at least July 21. Three hotels are housing the teams, and players cannot visit other hotels until July 21.
Player Testing and Positive Tests
The league has not set a specific number of tests that will be administered, but they note that players and team personnel will be tested “regularly.” The regular testing that is done will be less invasive than the deep nasal swab.
If anyone in the traveling party tests positive for COVID-19, that individual will be isolated for 14 days, the league will begin providing treatment to that individual, and negative tests have to be produced before they can rejoin the campus.
If a player tests positive for the coronavirus, they will be restricted from doing any cardiovascular activity for 14 days. The player will also have to pass some tests before they are deemed eligible to compete again.
Not All Players Forced to Go
The league has also made it clear that players cannot be forced to head to Orlando, and they have provided some provisions as a part of this plan.
Players can be put on a “protected” list, which means that they have a higher chance of suffering health complications if they contract the disease. Protected players will not lose any salary if they choose not to play.
Players also have the option of choosing not to go to Orlando, but they will be losing some game checks if they make this decision. Players who were previously out with a season-ending injury do not need to report, and they will keep their guaranteed salary.
Several Amenities Provided to Players
Even though life on the campus in Orlando will be much more restrictive than in the real world, the league will provide a certain number of amenities to each team. The league is hoping to make life comfortable for the players in an effort to keep them isolated to their hotel.
Each team will have its own players lounge equipped with video games and other recreational activities. Players are expected to adhere to social distancing guidelines when they are in the players lounge.
Each team will also be given their own team chef, and there will be a food lounge that is open 24 hours a day. Players can also choose to eat their meals outside at the number of dining options available at Disney.