The 22 teams that participated in the NBA restart were all on the Disney campus together for the first time Friday.
However, none of them went to Orlando, Florida, with their usual travel party.
Leaving families for several weeks – or maybe even three months, depending on how deep a team goes in the playoffs – during a pandemic is not the only difficulty the team faces during this reboot. Space constraints within that quasi-bubble at Disney also meant that teams had to reduce their official travel parties to 37, including players, so many people who usually travel with a club are not included on this trip.
It is expected that when the bubble population shrinks after six teams have been eliminated from the playoffs and then eight come off in the first season round, the team will bring in more staff.
But until then, while teams play games on site at Disney, there will be plenty of work back in the home and home markets. Some teams left player development coaches behind, others even left assistant coaches, and all teams traveled with only one media relations staff and one equipment manager. Under normal circumstances, some teams travel with as many as three people to handle media requirements and two for equipment.
“You know, it’s tough,” said Orlando president of basketball operations Jeff Weltman. “We threw ourselves a little from any of the language thrown around – the whole idea of necessary (staff) and non-necessary (staff). It’s not about that. This is a very narrowly defined circumstance, and it requires certain skill sets to deal with that circumstance. “
Players counted against the list of 37, and most teams brought 17 complete complements. It left 20 places for coaches, assistant coaches, player development, video, security, strength and conditioning, athletic training, media relations and content creators.
Miami coach Erik Spoelstra said the process of finding out who goes and who was not brutal.
“We have already had a model where everyone shares responsibility,” Spoelstra said. “We already had a meeting about this where there is an absolute understanding that this is an” all hands on deck “situation. And that means bags, laundry, cleaning, everything … it’s not just for equipment managers, it’s everyone – buses, coaches, staff in the weight room, head coaches, buses, we will all be involved in every aspect of it ”.
Oklahoma City coach Billy Donovan also expressed disappointment that tough decisions need to be made at the staffing end.
He completely understands the NBA perspective. Keeping the number of people in the bubble manageable is an important part of the NBA’s plan to end the season; the more people in the bubble, the greater the risk of something going wrong.
“Everyone deserves the opportunity, but we can’t do it for the safety of the league and the players,” Donovan said. “So, what we have to do is understand, whether it’s myself or the assistant coach, we may need to install video equipment, we may need to have one of our coaches film in Orlando. There are things we will need to do that will be off the box that will normally be taken care of. “
REMARKS: Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said Kawhi Leonard, who was not on the flight to Orlando with the team earlier this week, was due to arrive later Friday night. … Denver coach Michael Malone said All-Star Nikola Jokic should be at Disney for the next few days. Jokic tested positive for coronavirus in its original Serbia last month. … There were 14 teams scheduled for practice Friday. All 22 teams are scheduled to practice on Saturday, which will likely be the first day that every team at Disney will have received through their first quarantine and ready to speak. … Law expects jerseys with messages of social justice on the back will come next week, though they will not be worn in the exhibition games beginning July 22. The jerseys with messages like “Equality” and “Black Lives Matter” will debut when the seeding game begins July 30. Teams will wear the regular jerseys for regular seasons in their three shows.
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