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Podcast: What can the NBA do to slow the apparent league-wide COVID outbreak?

The NBA isn’t shutting down anytime soon, so is this something they are ready to live with from now on?

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Los Angeles Lakers v Dallas Mavericks Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Usually, tweet notifications from the NBA’s various news breakers has something to do with potential moves the Lakers or other teams might be thinking about. Hell, just a few days ago we got to spend some time thinking about how insane a Russell Westbrook trade might be. Now, however, you can’t go a full hour without finding out from Adrian Wojnarowski or Shams Charania that some new player has entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols.

And by the way, the NBA is far from alone in dealing with this. The NFL and NHL are both enduring outbreaks of their own, too, as the world now apparently is just going to have to live with COVID from here on out. This week on “The Hook” — because anytime you even try to talk about basketball it seems to circle back to availability — Aaron Larsuel and I discussed the role travel has played in the rapid spread, and what these leagues are facing when deciding how best to move forward.

(Note: This episode was recorded before any news of players exiting, entering or going back into protocols. For more on that, check those links and the home page, as this is obviously a fluid situation.)

Yes, the safest thing to do right now would be to shut everything down and push the season back a week or two, thus limiting travel (a major focus of today’s show) and allowing everyone to hit a reset button. The issue there, though, is that putting an NBA schedule together that also fits works with arenas across the country is insanely difficult, and this would have ripple effects that most teams and cities aren’t ready to deal with.

The other issue here, and this sucks to have to admit, is that COVID just isn’t going anywhere, and having NBA players spend more time away from the team might put them at further risk than if they just played this thing out. We’ve already seen the NFL opt for loosening protocols for asymptomatic players just to have available bodies, but somehow, throwing hands in the air at yet another outbreak just doesn’t seem like the move, even if we’re all sick of dealing with this.

There is no perfect solution, either. No matter what the NBA does, COVID isn’t going anywhere, and even the safest path forward is lined with potential pitfalls. Anyone taking a hardline stance on this probably isn’t thinking deeply enough about the situation.

From that cheery conversation, Aaron and I segued to a discussion about new Laker Isaiah Thomas. We then wrapped up the show by laughing at very clearly single Dell Curry, though, which should send you into the weekend with a laugh.

You can listen to all that and more in the full episode below, and to make sure you never miss a single show moving forward, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts.

And for a short-form recap pod, check out Lakers Lowdown, in which Anthony Irwin recaps the previous day’s news and gets you ready for the day ahead in LakerLand, every weekday morning on the Silver Screen & Roll Podcast feed.

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