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Lakers assistant Lionel Hollins doesn’t want to let age or the threat of coronavirus stop him from joining team at Disney World

Lionel Hollins wants to be with the Lakers at Disney World, which just further highlights the importance of the NBA establishing a true “bubble.”

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Los Angeles Lakers v Brooklyn Nets Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

Last week, some headlines were made when NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said on TNT’s “Inside the NBA” that coaches over the age of 65 might not be able to be on the bench with their team’s when the season resumed at Disney World, something that led to significant pushback from various coaches and their union as a whole:

Now, aside from there being reason for some level of concern that the NBA has approved a plan to resume the season without having details like that ironed out yet, it also is pretty clear that the league’s older head coaches don’t want to be singled out, even if it is theoretically for their protection. And if Broderick Turner of the L.A. Times’ latest report is anything to go off of, it would seem that assistant coaches — like Lionel Hollins of the Lakers — are no less determined to join their teams on the bench in Orlando:

Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins is 66, but has insisted that he wants to be with the team for the eight seeding games and playoffs at Walt Disney World.

“Lionel wants to go. Lionel is in,” one person said. “Those older coaches like Lionel believe it’s going to be safe in Orlando.”

Such faith in the league is to some degree earned. Silver did make the NBA the first league to shut down when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus, not even consulting with his bosses — the NBA’s Board of Governors — before doing so. The league clearly does prioritize the health and safety of its workforce pretty highly. It’s also completely understandable that Hollins and other coaches over the age of 65 would want to be with the teams they’ve grinded with all year to finish this journey together, and not be singled out for isolation.

That said, this is why it’s so important that, despite Florida being as open as any state in the U.S., it’s important for the league to come to an agreement on their being a fully isolated bubble in Disney World. JaVale McGee and some other players may not like the idea of being fully sequestered — and the league should not be allowed to force them to be — but for the safety of everyone, the players’ union should come to a mutual agreement with the NBA that it’s best that everyone coming to the bubble stays there once inside, just to mitigate the risk of someone bringing the virus back in and spreading it.

If they can’t do that, the risk of coaches like Hollins being on the bench — without even a mask, if the other coaches’ pushback is anything to gauge this off of — is a lot higher, no matter how well-intentioned everyone is about this. The league testing players every day is a great start to a plan, but there is still more of a risk of spread if people are able to go in and out of the complex without quarantining, raising the risk of bursting the “bubble.” We’ll see what the league ultimately does, but hopefully the league provides some clear answers — and reasons for those conclusions — when it reveals its health and safety protocols at some point this week.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.