There has been a lot of (somewhat justified) consternation since Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley revealed to the world that even as the NBA moves towards a return at a bubble site — likely Disneyworld — that as of right now, it sounds like players and other NBA staffers will be allowed to come and go from that bubble as they please.
There are a lot of reasons medical experts say that would not be a good idea, and could potentially lead to infections that might force the NBA to shut the whole thing down again, which could potentially lead to the straight-up cancellation of this season. As things stand now, anyone who contracted the virus would have to be isolated for at least 14 days, and any players who get it would just miss games during that time.
But setting aside whether or not the NBA itself would be able to stop people from getting the virus with these somewhat lax restrictions, Dudley told reporters on a conference call that he and his teammates are willing to take measures into their own hands to make sure the Lakers’ two superstars — LeBron James and Anthony Davis — don’t miss any time (via ESPN):
“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.’” Every player, Dudley says, owes it not only to their team, but to the league at large, to do whatever he can to reduce risk.
“That’s where the responsibility comes for us,” Dudley said. “Sometimes it’s out of our realm in the sense of, ‘Hey, we got to stay within the bubble. Let’s do this. We got to stay isolated. It’s going to be hard for two months, but it’s something we have to sacrifice.’”
Basically, the Lakers are absolutely willing to do what is known in NBA parlance as “pulling a Blake Griffin,” aka locking their star teammates in a house so they can’t leave. The only problem is that, as many defenses have found out this season, stopping James and Davis from doing something they want to do is easier said than done.
But what Dudley says makes sense on one level, as the Lakers really do need James and Davis if they’re going to do anything of consequence in the postseason. That said, if they and others are still going off the grounds and then ending up in close proximity to those two stars, or if James and Davis leave, there is no way to execute this plan with zero risk. And if players, coaches, staffers or all of the above end up getting hit by an outbreak, then it may be hard to isolate everyone possibly infected quickly enough to even continue the season. That’s the big risk with this type of scheme, whether the Lakers’ roster kidnaps James and Davis every time they leave the floor or not.
We’ll see what direction the NBA goes in, but it does appear that they’re rapidly heading towards the nearly foregone conclusion of playing games again. Whether it’s with this plan, or players and other staffers agree to tighter restrictions, all we can do is hope that all possible precautions are taken to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in trying to give us the distraction of basketball back.