The new NBA safety guidelines were released yesterday, and they’re well… let’s say strict. The NBA had great success in the bubble with no positive tests and just a couple of hiccups that didn’t come back to bite them. Plus, we found out where we can get the missed wings in Atlanta, so everybody wins. Anyway, after an abundance of positive Covid tests and canceled games across the NBA, change needed to happen, and Adam Silver finally put his foot down. The NBA currently has a two week minimum on these guidelines. So, let’s grade some new rules.
No more hotel guests on the road
Among protocol changes now agreed upon: NBA players can no longer interact with non-team guests at road hotels, sources tell ESPN. Players were allowed to have guests in rooms, but that is no longer the case.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
“Guests,” huh? Okay, we’ll run with that. This is probably the one new guideline that the NBA should have implemented before the season. What did they think was going to happen? Some states aren’t shut down at all, and in some cases, multiple teams in them. Look, I’m not here to assume anything except for the fact that I am. If you’re telling me players were going to Miami with no intention of having “guests,” then you’re lying to yourself.
I’m going to have to give this one a solid A+ on the part of the NBA. Does it suck for the players? Yes. What else would suck is if the whole season had to be shut down and they didn’t get paid, and more people got sick.
Staying at home
More changes to protocol, sources tell ESPN: At home, players and team staff must remain at residence except to attend team-related activities at facility orarena, exercise outside, perform essential activities or the occurrence of extraordinary circumstances.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
Even if the player is not on the road, they still can’t leave their home unless they are going to exercise or go to the facility. I get where the NBA is coming from with this, but I am not sure why they have to workout outside of their home. These players likely have state of the art facilities inside their homes or live in a condo or banging apartment. I guess they can go to the facility to get a life in, but I feel like this one isn’t as clear. We’ll see if fines come down—curious who will use it as an excuse, not to workout.
I’ll give this one a B. They’re coming from a caring place here, but I have no idea how they can tell them to stay inside and workout outside. Looking forward to seeing the first fed up superstar go outside and do chin-ups on their basketball rim in the rain or snow as a shot at the NBA.
No more leaving the hotel or going to restaurants
On road, players and staff can’t leave hotel — except for team activities or emergencies, sources tell ESPN. No more list of approved restaurants. https://t.co/fU7QnElnBq— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
This goes back to the first one, but the NBA posted it under a different bullet, it looks like, so I will too. So, they can’t go out and meet “guests” or get dinner with “guests.” This has to kill trips to South Beach. On a serious note, this also should have been implemented before the season. It’s just another no brainer.
This is an A+ all the way. Why would you even allow it in the first place during a global pandemic? Why does the NBA even have to tell players, coaches, staff, and so on that they can’t leave the hotel? I get wanting to get out and meet all the “guests,” but that’s just irresponsible. We don’t know where these “guests” have been unless they’re in a James Harden or Kyrie Irving video.
Covid testing for Professional visitors
Any person who regularly visits the inside the home of a team staff member or player for professional purposes must undergo Covid testing twice per week, sources tell ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
Basically, if they have a chef or a trainer, they have to get tested twice a week. I like how they outlined ‘professional.’ I guess in this case, the “guests” do not apply to the professional manner. If they do, then that’s a whole other story. I’m curious to see how they will be able to hold players accountable here. Surely they won’t do check in’s because that would defeat the purpose. I don’t see how they can be for sure if a player is having someone tested.
I’ll give it an A. Why not? If a player has someone regularly come in their home to cook for them or come in their home and then out of their home apparently to workout outside, they should be tested.
Masks on the bench
Sources: League’s mandating increased mask wearing for players in games, except for “cool down chairs” arranged at least 12 feet from bench and 6 feet apart. Players can go there immediately after leaving court during game, but must return to regular seat on bench wearing a mask.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
This is another no-brainer, and we’ve seen a fair share of players doing it already. What I like is the cooldown part of it. Just a wide-open space so you can go chill without a mask on next to other people without masks on after you just got done sweating all over other people without masks on. Sounds safe. I see what the NBA is trying to do here, but I feel like this is one of the unavoidable things they can’t really help with. Anyway, without fans on the floor, this could lead to some interesting altercations underneath the rim.
I’ll give it an A for effort. There’s no real way to avoid these guys from just being all over each other throughout the game. I had to guess; there’s going to be some disputed fines early in this process. However, fines are better than more postponements and, more importantly, better than more cases of Covid.
10-minute pre game meetings
For minimum of next two weeks, pre-game meetings in locker rooms are limited to 10 minutes — with masks on, sources tell ESPN. All other meetings with players and team staff must be on the court, or a larger space that allows for 6-feet of social distancing.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 12, 2021
Got to appreciate a good pre-game. I wonder who the first coach will be to get fined for this to put new plays in, and they take 20 minutes. It seems odd that they can be around each other on the court but only together for a pre-game for 10 minutes in the locker room. The locker rooms are smaller, so I can see where they are coming from. If it is safer, then I’m all in for it.
Another A for effort. Honestly, it makes sense to keep them out of tight and confined spaces as often as they can. I’m counting on a few fines here, but I get it. I’m sure some players won’t mind this, but I can only assume it will mess with the coaches.
How this will turn out
Honestly, no idea. I’m sure some players will be fine with it, and others will not just like everything in life. This is really the first test Adam Silver has had where the NBA players may really try to push back. The bubble seemed like it could be one of those times, but the NBAPA helped a lot there, and Silver backed everyone. At the end of the day, he’s the boss, and he has to do what is necessary to keep his company running. In this case, he had to implement these safety guidelines.
While this may seem fair or unfair depending on who you are, it’s the nature of the beast. The ideal thing to do would be to shut down and possibly think about another bubble if the players got on board, but that won’t happen. The money is too important to the league, and the NBA will power through just as every other professional sport has. I will be curious to see if there will be any opt-outs from players given the recent Covid cases in the league and games’ postponements. Either way, the ride is just beginning. Maybe the safety guidelines will be loosened up in the coming weeks, and players can get back to their “guests” on the road. Jokes aside, this is very serious, and I think the NBA is trying to do everything they can to salvage the season and keep players safe.