Boston Celtics guard Kyrie Irving (11) dribbles against Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) in the first quarter of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 26, 2019, in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

NBA Orlando Plan has COVID Troubles

The NBA nears its resumption of the season in Orlando, Fla. COVId-19 cases in the State of Florida are hitting record highs at the same time.

Orange County, where Orlando is, has seen the number of new cases per day increase consistently since June 8. With the NBA season starting in a month and players reporting to Orlando sooner than that, this needs to be addressed.

The Situation in Florida

Most of the state if in Phase 2 of reopening following the COVID-19 lockdown. People are going back to, with limitations, eating at restaurants, going to the gym, etc. Along with increased testing, people going back out and about is contributing to the skyrocketing of cases.

So far, there are no plans to re-shutdown the state. The NBA has no protocols for a canceled season either. This means the NBA is setting up shop in a COVID-19 hotpot.

Location impacts the NBA’s return much more than the NHL’s. Las Vegas, the most likely hub, is fairing much better by a long shot. It’s a more reasonable location to create a bubble. Fewer cases on the outside mean that there’s a much lower chance of infection inside the bubble.

The NBA is going full speed ahead on their current plan, so we’ll have to wait and see how it pans out.

Players Opting Out of Return

As the return nears, players need to decide if they’re going to play. Many will play, but some are not. Players have until June 24 to decide if they are going to come back. Players choosing to opt-out are doing so for various reasons: COVID-19, free agency, risk of injury, etc.

According to NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski, Wizards forward Davis Bertans has opted out. The Wizards lose point guard John Wall as well.

Other notable players not returning:

About Harrison Smajovits

Harrison is a sports coordinator at ESPN 98.1 FM/850 AM WRUF. He served as a beat writer for Florida Gators football for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. He also contributes to WRUF's Gainesville Sports Center segments and makes appearances on the Clash on Harp on Sports. Harrison has been a content writer for WRUF since January 2019 as well.

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