No one still knows how this thing is going to play out, and every day the NBA gets closer to restarting its season, more questions begin to arise.
On Tuesday–amid news that several players have either tested positive for the coronavirus or elected to not rejoin their respective team–the first few franchises taking part in the truncated restart arrived down in the Orlando bubble. So far, the Magic, Nuggets, Nets, Jazz, and Wizards are the teams that were expected to reach Florida on Tuesday, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
But as teams slowly begin to trickle into the bubble, concerns about safety continue to grow louder and louder.
Several franchises–including the Brooklyn Nets–were recently forced to shut down its practice facilities due to positive coronavirus tests. Four players from the Nets alone have tested positive since testing began and, thanks to other injuries, they’re getting to the point where they might not even be able to field a competitive team.
Superstar players such as Jayson Tatum (Celtics) and Joel Embiid (76ers) came out on Tuesday to express their loyalty to playing with their teammates but showed little enthusiasm for how it could all play out. Washington Wizards superstar Bradley Beal has even been ruled out entirely.
Joel Embiid on restarting the season in Orlando in a bubble:
"I'm not a big fan of the idea. But then again, I'm going to do my job. I'm not going to let the city down…I don't like the idea."
Embiid says he's not confident in everyone following protocols and being responsible.
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) July 7, 2020
Jayson Tatum says he made his decision to join the team in Orlando a couple days ago.
“Still not excited about it, not thrilled."
— Tom Westerholm (@Tom_NBA) July 7, 2020
Bradley Beal will not play in the Orlando restart due to a shoulder injury, Wizards announce pic.twitter.com/F8JWvuuUPZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 7, 2020
Over the next two days, the remainder of the 22 teams will join the rest of the bunch at the Walt Disney Resort before a 20-day training camp period, where the real strength of the bubble will be put to the test immediately. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been adamant that one single test within the bubble wouldn’t cancel the restart, but he admitted a cluster of positive tests could spell disaster.
“Certainly if we had any sort of significant spread within our campus, we would be shut down again,” Silver said on Tuesday, according to ESPN‘s Ohm Youngmisuk.
Silver spoke during a virtual interview with Fortune Brainstorm Health where he said he expects to see more positive cases even when the bubble is in place. The idea is that isolation inside the bubble will prevent any positive tests, but there are more critics of the idea within NBA circles than there seem to be optimists. The percentage of cases in the Sunshine State continues to rise and Disney World is set to reopen to the public on July 11.
The season is currently expected to restart on July 30, but that sure does feel like a long way away.