OKC Thunder: NBA delivers comprehensive safety, health guideline manual

JANUARY 22: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder facing off with Nikola Vucevic #9 and Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images)
JANUARY 22: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder facing off with Nikola Vucevic #9 and Evan Fournier #10 of the Orlando Magic (Photo by Harry Aaron/Getty Images) /

NBA delivers safety and health guidelines to OKC Thunder and peers for resuming season in the Orlando bubble.

After months of uncertainty about what a resumption of the NBA season would look like players on the OKC Thunder and their peers received a manual on Tuesday. Inside the over 100 pages along with an additional player’s document are specifics such as the timelines for teams moving to Walt Disney World in Orlando and more importantly detailed health and safety guidelines.

The dense manual covers every conceivable issue including testing protocols for COVID-19, daily life for practicing social distancing, game day schedules, and off-time activities.

What OKC Thunder can expect inside the Disney bubble:

Players can review the specifics and have until June 24th as the cut off to inform their teams if they plan to participate. As noted previously, there won’t be repercussions to opting out other than collecting a paycheck for games missed. However, if a player can’t medically attend or gets approval from their team they could receive payment. T.I. noted the main concerns of players in our recent article of which the majority are covered in this manual.

In terms of COVID-19 testing, the manual notes ‘regular’ testing which implies the players may not be tested daily. Our previous article noted testing would occur every other day beginning June 23rd. A positive test will result in 14 days for quarantine at a separate hotel and the player will not be able to return until they produce negative tests and pass a cardiac test.

More from Thunderous Intentions

While players previously noted concerns about being isolated in the bubble the league notes off-court activities players can participate in such as ping pong (no doubles) and card games although playing decks will be thrown away after each session.  Other activities like movies and video games are available as are pools, trails, and golf. Masks must be worn except when working out, if outside practicing safe distancing or in their individual rooms.

Players are encouraged to stay in the campus bubble but can leave if given prior approval. For example, if a player needs to attend the birth of a child. Upon return, the player would be quarantined between four and 10 days and would receive the more intrusive deep nasal swab test. There is also a hotline available to report on breaches of staying within the bubble.

Three different hotels will accommodate the players based on where the teams are seeded and cannot interact with players in different hotels. The OKC Thunder will be housed in the Grand Floridan along with the 76ers, Rockets, Pacers, Mavericks, Nets, Grizzlies, and Magic.

The Grand Destino will house the Bucks, Lakers, Raptors, Clippers, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, and Heat while the Yacht Club will house the teams not on the playoff ladder entering Orlando. Zach Lowe’s tweet gives a good optic of where the complex and where each hotel is located.

In terms of overall numbers, each team can bring 37 people including the players, coaches, trainers, strength coaches, security, and other staff. As teams progress through the playoff rounds additional people can be added. After the first round, family members can come to Orlando although the 15 to 17 hotel rooms that can be reserved implies one room per player (paid for by the player). The family would also undergo quarantining and testing.

Teams are being encouraged to bring a mental health professional with them or make telehealth resources available to the players. Personal chefs can also be brought to the bubble but must stay in a different hotel from the team and paid for at the expense of the player (or team).

Several articles offer greater details including Shams Charania of the paid-for subscription Athletic, and two articles on ESPN from Brian Windhorst and Tim Bontemps as well as a more detailed article from Tim Bontemps on coronavirus testing protocols.

Moving forward, the next steps are likely to include greater details on how the league and players will merge efforts to use their platform to keep social injustice efforts top of mind as well as specific game schedules. Of note, games played between western squads are likely to occur later in the day to coincide with the times those fan bases are used to watching games while the eastern teams will predominantly occur earlier.

Next. 5 strengths OKC Thunder can utilize to win 8 ‘seeded’ games. dark