July first is here, it’s the unofficial deadline for athletes across most sports to decide if they want to participate in their particular sport this season. The decision is determined by the individual and their families.
One sport that’s returning is the NBA. Although, basketball will have some changes that both fans and players will have to get accustomed to.
The major change will be the centralized location of play. All teams will be playing in Orlando, Florida. The games will be played HP field house; and if needed the Visa Center, which is the NBA’s practice facility.
The two courts will have the logo “Black Lives Matter” and each player will be allowed to have a cause or charity that they have concern for on their back in lieu of their individual last names.
Every player will be tested often for Covid-19. Should a player test positive, the player will isolated to a rental home where they will be retested to ensure it wasn’t a false positive. When a player is cleared to return to play, they must complete 2 negative test in 24-hours before being allowed around their teammates.
This isn’t a complete restart, every team will be in the same playoff position they were prior to the Covid-19 shut down. Teams will have staggered arrivals to Orlando beginning July 7th through the 9th.
Games will resume July 30th with the regular season ending with play in games mid- August. The NBA finals is set to begin September 30th with the last possible game October 13th.
What’s unclear is how the players will perform being isolated from their families and their home crowd. The players will spend the vast majority of their time within the NBA “bubble”.
Players, officials, and coaching staff will all live in hotels in the Disney World Resort area. All meals will be provided by the chefs provided by Disney.
Each person related to the NBA will wear bracelets which act as their room key, monitor when a player has been tested, and players will even wear monitors that will alert each individual if they have been standing too close to another person for more than 5 seconds.
As for Southern California basketball, fans will be able to see the Lakers and the clippers face off on July 30th. The Lakers will be the home team and currently have a 5.5 game lead on the visiting Clippers. The Lakers will be without Guard Avery Bradley who opted out of the season. Bradley has a 7 year-old son who has a history of respiratory infection and distress. To replace him the Lakers have signed JR Smith who was a teammate to Lebron James on the Cleveland Cavilers.
The Clippers have added The extremely talented and energetic Joakim Noah. Both teams are powerhouses in the Western Conference and are stacked teams that are very well rested. Look for this local rivalry to get intense and heated as both teams are set to go far in the playoffs.
This setup remains fluid, with the spike in Covid-19 infection throughout the country, and Florida specifically, more updates are most likely coming!