Report: NBA will not separate players, coaches from families in order to finish season

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The idea to finish the season in a bubble of sorts is one that the NBA has been contemplating in recent weeks amid the COVID-19 pandemic, and has reportedly been looking at holding games in one location in Las Vegas or at Walt Disney World. 

Following that path, however, would mean separating players, coaches, team staff and more from everyone — including their families — for however long it would take to finish the season.

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That, according to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, isn’t something the league is willing to do.

“The NBA is not interested right now in a bubble where [players, coaches and staff] could not bring their families in,” Windhorst said on ESPN on Saturday, citing league sources. He also addressed testing, something that would need to be readily available for everyone involved in the season being resumed. The league reportedly would need anywhere from 15,000 to 100,000 tests.

The NBA suspended operations on March 11 due to the coronavirus, and currently has no set plan to resume play anytime soon. The league announced that it has postponed both the draft lottery and scouting combine this week, and is expected to postpone the draft in the near future, too.

There were more than 1.1 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States as of Saturday night, according to The New York Times, and more than 66,000 deaths attributed to the virus.

Playing in a bubble

The two most popular plans to finish the season in an isolated location involve both Disney World and Las Vegas. 

MGM reportedly pitched the league a plan to finish the season at its resorts in Las Vegas this week. It said that it could build 24 courts at its convention centers for practices and games with the central hub at Mandalay Bay, while having the connecting casinos be where players, coaches, staff and families stay for the duration

Disney World in Orlando would have a similar setup, with 12 on-site basketball courts and plenty of hotel rooms available, along with plenty of other amenities to stave off boredom. The entire resort could be easily locked down, too, whereas in Vegas only certain casinos would be cordoned off. 

Regardless, the NBA doesn’t sound like it’s ready to make any decisions anytime soon. If the time does come for the league to finish in a single location, the NBA will ensure that families will be allowed to stay on-site too.

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