Coaches fret over NBA restart plan


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Coaches fret over NBA restart plan

LOS ANGELES • The National Basketball Association (NBA) coaches’ union is concerned the league’s return-to-play set-up at Walt Disney World Resort next month may limit the function of its older members.

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, Florida. Training camp is due to run from July 9-29 and games to commence on July 30.

All players and staff will essentially be quarantined for the duration of their stay.

The National Basketball Coaches Association is questioning the details of the “bubble” protocols, particularly whether the league’s older head coaches will be permitted to execute all of their regular duties.

San Antonio Spurs’ Gregg Popovich, 71; Houston Rockets’ Mike D’Antoni, 69; and 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 virus.

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. The league assured us that a coach will not be excluded (from games) solely because of age.

“The NBA has created a situation in Orlando that is likely far safer than in our coaches’ home markets. Absent a significant threat, we believe a coach should be able to coach in Orlando.”

NBA commissioner Adam Silver had said in a TNT interview on June 5: “It may be certain (older) coaches may not be able to be the bench coach. They may have to maintain social distancing protocols… we’re not going to want them that close to players in order to protect them.”

However, the union’s president, Rick Carlisle, subsequently spoke to Silver.

“(Silver) admitted that he jumped the gun with his statement to TNT,” Carlisle told ESPN. “The health and safety of our coaches is first and foremost. It’s entirely possible that an NBA coach in his 60s or 70s could be healthier than someone in their 30s or 40s.”

REUTERS

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June 19, 2020 5:00 AM

LOS ANGELES • The National Basketball Association (NBA) coaches’ union is concerned the league’s return-to-play set-up at Walt Disney World Resort next month may limit the function of its older members.

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