NBA teams begin arriving for camps
ORLANDO, Fla. - Welcome to Orlando, NBA.
Teams will begin rolling into the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World during the next few days as the league moves closer to the season restart.
Several teams were scheduled to arrive Tuesday as part of the first phase of arrivals. The second group is set to arrive on Wednesday and the third on Thursday.
Teams in the first group are expected to start training camps on Thursday after a two-day quarantine.
Players, coaches and staff will be required to remain on the Disney campus for the duration of the restart, and daily COVID-19 testing will be among the safety procedures. If a player leaves, he will be subject to at least a 10-day quarantine upon his return and must show two negative COVID-19 tests before being allowed to play again.
For players, the arrival at Disney World will mark a return nearly four months in the making. The league has been shut down since March 11 when Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus.
The Magic were closing in on their second consecutive playoff berth when the season was shut down. They will restart in eighth in the Eastern Conference but trail the Brooklyn Nets by just half a game. With just eight seeding games on the schedule, the playoff push will begin immediately, and that's fine with shooting guard Terrence Ross.
"That's the one thing I've been missing more than anything is just going out there and competing, being on a team and having fun and playing in those moments," Ross said last week during a videoconference with reporters. "We were in a good spot where we were playing really well and I think everybody's kind of anxious to get back to that."
"I'm ready to play. It's been a long time. It's the longest I've gone without basketball, so personally I'm ready to play."
Not everyone shares that approach.
While the NBA has created a detailed health and safety plan, commissioner Adam Silver has acknowledged that no plan is without some risk. As a result, some players, such as Lakers guard Avery Bradley and Nets forward Wilson Chandler, have opted not to take part in the restart due to COVID-19 concerns.
Nets center DeAndre Jordan, meanwhile, also has decided not to play after testing positive for COVID-19. Brooklyn guard Spencer Dinwiddie, arguably the team's top player, also has tested positive but had planned to reevaluate his status after a 14-day self-quarantine.
The list of players opting out likely will grow before the season begins July 30, especially with the recent surges in COVID-19 cases in Florida and other parts of the country.
Since the NBA began mandatory COVID-19 testing on June 23, 25 of the 351 players tested came up positive. That means some teams will arrive in Orlando without some players. The Bucks, Clippers, Heat, Kings, Nets, Nuggets and Suns are among the 22 teams in the restart that recently have closed practice facilities because of COVID-19 infections among players or staff.
The Nuggets were still expected to arrive Tuesday, according to reports.
Still, the NBA anticipated positive tests would emerge before teams reached Orlando. The goal is to make sure that no one who has tested positive enters the Disney campus until they've gone through a self-quarantine period, tested negative twice and been medically cleared.
Orlando is set to begin the scrimmage portion of the restart on July 20 and will play its first official game on July 31 against the Nets.