Since the NBA season was abruptly suspended last month, the league’s decision-makers have been kicking tires on ways to save the season. Among the options that’s been discussed is a playoff tournament in Las Vegas, according to a report by Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated.
The crux of the idea is that teams would stay in the same, relatively controlled environment for the duration of the postseason in an effort to limit the possibility of players contracting and spreading the coronavirus. In theory, it’s a fine idea, but not everyone is sold that it would work in practice.
During an interview with Allie Clifton of Spectrum SportsNet earlier this week, Lakers center JaVale McGee said he’s skeptical of how receptive players would be to the idea of staying in one place for weeks at a time:
“I thought that was a great idea, but I also know, or I assume ... I don’t think people are really going to be able to be quarantined for six weeks. Like, I just don’t think that’s going to be possible — I understand that they want it to be possible. And then you have to think about the hotel staff, they go home every day. I just think there’s a lot of factors that you can’t put into it.”
Here’s the thing: whether or not the NBA season resumes, these players are going to be quarantined somewhere. What McGee likely means is that players might not feel comfortable being away from the comfort of their home for that long, especially since they’d have less control over the people in their environment — why else would he mention hotel staff going home?
McGee might sound like a pessimist here, but his concerns are valid, and until the NBA can make all of its players feel safe about the season resuming, it won’t matter if they play in Las Vegas or a deserted island.