Jared Dudley: NBA players will not have to remain in ‘bubble’ when season resumes
The NBA is not going to require players to remain in a protective “bubble” when the 2019-20 season resumes, but Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley is hoping the league’s best players opt to do that anyway.
Dudley said in a conference call with reporters this week that it is a “misconception” that players will be required to remain in quarantine at the NBA’s designated sites — likely Walt Disney World and Las Vegas — when play resumes. Players will be allowed to leave, though there will be frequent testing and they will have to quarantine if they contract COVID-19.
“You will be allowed to leave,” Dudley said, via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin. “Now just because you leave, if we’re going to give you that leeway, if you come back with corona, you can’t play.”
Dudley says Adam Silver has likened the NBA’s two-site format to a “campus” environment, which will include places like gyms, hotels and restaurants that will be closely monitored. Dudley expects some players to venture outside the “bubble,” and he cited the way Dennis Rodman infamously went to Las Vegas during the middle of a season with the Chicago Bulls. However, Dudley feels it would be “somewhat selfish” for a player to do that, and he says there will be “added pressure” on guys like LeBron James and Anthony Davis to not risk contracting the virus and potentially having to miss much of the playoffs.
“Bron, AD and all the top guys we have, we’ll be wrapping them in a bubble and not letting them go anywhere,” Dudley said. “You’ll have that be a team rule. Now, it won’t be a league, an NBA rule, but you’d want to say, ‘Listen, guys, we’ve come too far. We’re going to put our family on hold.’
“If you don’t have that, it’d be a bummer not only for the teams but for fans of Kawhi [Leonard], Giannis [Antetokounmpo], LeBron and AD. And if they can’t play in the playoffs, it’s going to be a real stain.”
The NBA has seemingly placed a timeline on when it will make a decision about resuming the season, but all signs continue to point toward a champion being crowned. The availability of testing will be key, and it would be naive to think not a single player will test positive in the several weeks teams are together. Dudley is right that a star player having to quarantine would be a huge issue for the NBA.