As players prepare to report to Orlando for the NBA restart, a handful of them are not optimistic about everyone following the rules. Portland star Damian Lillard is one of them.
“My confidence ain’t great,” said Lillard when asked if he thought players would follow the league’s protocols and rules related to the COVID-19 virus. The 22 teams and their traveling parties will begin to arrive at the Walt Disney World Resort next Tuesday.
Players (and coaches and staff) will be tested immediately and then quarantined for 48 hours. The league issued a 113-page document outlining the protocols and rules while in Orlando. Despite the best intentions of the league, its players, and everyone that travels to the NBA bubble; there will likely be players that test positive for the coronavirus.
Players testing positive, as well as other injuries that may occur, are a big reason why substitute players are going to play a role in which team comes out of all this with an NBA championship. The league readjusted its roster limitations for the restart moving from a maximum of 15 players to 17.
A handful of players – like Portland’s Trevor Ariza, for example – have already declared that they will not finish the season and have opted out of the restart. Teams can begin replacing those players prior to arriving in Orlando.
Players eligible to be added as substitute players are those who have been under contract in the NBA or G League this season or last. That means players like Joe Johnson, Jamal Crawford, and J.R. Smith – guys that haven’t played this season – are the top targets to be signed. The group of players that are ineligible to be signed are international players that were not under contract with an NBA or G League team this season or last.
The NBA will resume the 2019-20 season on July 30.