All 30 teams can send up to three executive staff to Orlando but must stay off-site and cannot interact with players.
With a full week under their belt, the NBA has witnessed strong evidence the safety protocol put in place is working. The OKC Thunder hasn’t had any players test positive for COVID-19. In fact, only two players out of all 22 teams have produced positive results.
One of those was Michael Beasley who has left the bubble. There is uncertainty over who the second player is but no doubt we’ll eventually uncover who is missing from a team’s practice.
The other key factor as we noted recently was the traveling parties who also are at Orlando. Undoubtedly, the league would be updating if anyone tested positive and to date, there hasn’t been an indication anyone has.
So, news that the NBA is allowing teams to increase the staff who can be on-site isn’t surprising. The ‘who’ can attend and under what circumstances is the part that is news.
OKC Thunder can send three executives to bubble
All teams, including the eight clubs not participating in the season resumption, will be able to send representatives to scout games. Each club can send up to three executive staff members. The three individuals can include a governor, assistant governor, and a senior basketball operations executive as per Sam Amick of The Athletic.
The mandate for these new arrivals will be strictly prohibited to only attending games as of July 30th, they cannot have direct contact with players and must sit at least 25 feet from the court. Everyone who does come to the Disney campus will need to undergo the same testing and quarantine mandates the players and team staff underwent.
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In addition, they will have to stay off-site (not in any of the three hotels players are currently housed in) and cannot come onto the campus area.
With Florida continuing to be a hot spot for the coronavirus this decision reconfirms the assessment living in the bubble might be the safest place to be in Florida.
For those wondering why this move is necessary it’s part and parcel of the typical end of season process. In preparation for free agency, it’s common for teams to scout players whose contracts are ending.
The OKC Thunder has a number of players who’ll be in this situation at season end with the most pressing being Danilo Gallinari and Nerlens Noel. The team has an option on Hamidou Diallo although given he will only be entering his third season the club could extend his rookie contract likely with an economical offer.
The other free agent is Andre Roberson. With ARob back on the court, it opens up all sorts of questions regarding his value. Should he play in the restart and playoffs it will most definitely affect how teams view him. A strong performance could allow him to sign another contract which isn’t something we were expecting just a few weeks ago. That said, I’d be shocked if Roberson didn’t give the Thunder first and last chance to re-sign him since they’ve been supportive throughout his two and a half seasons off the court.
With the coronavirus raging in America, it could have a dramatic impact on what next season looks like. As the NBA previously noted 40 percent of league revenue comes from fan attendance and purchases. If the situation doesn’t dramatically improve that means the NBA could be forced to postpone the season, play in a bubble again, and/or have all games conducted without fans.
Regardless of how the season is constructed the salary cap will undoubtedly be lower than what it was expected to be and that factor will impact roster construction. Free agents will undoubtedly feel the pinch and we could witness teams making trades to lower their overhead.
It might seem like sending these three extra team staff isn’t worth the bother since they can’t interact with other staff or players. However, like the rest of the world, the NBA is dealing with a new unprecedented dynamic due to the pandemic and any little bit of intelligence that can be gained could be the difference in how a team performs in the near future.