There is an undeniable level of risk and unpredictability for the National Basketball Association and its restart of the 2019-20 season from Walt Disney World in Orlando during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The league is doing as much as possible to limit that with countless precautions and rules in place for the 22 teams at the bubble in order to keep everyone safe so the season can be finished.
Ultimately, the next few weeks are huge for commissioner Adam Silver to maintain the level of confidence he has from his players and keeping them onboard.
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton is one who believes in Silver’s plan and the league’s ability to execute it.
“I trust the league,” he said Thursday.
“It is dangerous. It is a thing. I think if we just follow the rules correctly, we will be good.”
Mandatory testing has already been underway for over a week, catching everyone who tests positive and quarantining them until they are clear, hopefully snuffing out any potential spread of the virus.
Once everyone arrives in Orlando the week of July 6, testing will continue throughout the stay, again with the hope that within a week they’ve managed to block off any other positive tests that got through before teams traveled.
A period of self-isolation is imposed on everyone during their free time in Orlando up until July 21, when players and staff can eat meals together and hang out in neutral spaces, all with certain social distancing guidelines in place. Yes, this includes the likes of replacing a deck of cards every time it is used and limitations to ping pong.
Those in attendance aren’t necessarily banned from leaving the premises, but if they do, they enter a rigorous testing phase and a self-quarantine period of 10-14 days.
The obvious hesitation here is all of these people following the rules. Ayton, though, is not concerned about his team doing so.
“Everybody else can break the rules,” he said. “We’re good. We will wear our masks and gloves and rings.”
Ayton’s not the type to go stir-crazy and get out of his room anyway.
“I don’t really have much interest in this world, or to even think outside of Disney World,” he said. “I’m going to have my video game, and I’m gonna have my phone and be around my teammates.
“So, I would love to see my family but I’ve been around long enough in quarantine — I [am thinking differently]. I’m ready. Ready to play basketball.”