NBA rumors: Owners wouldn't want to pay for new bubble

Getting owners on board with another bubble could be challenging. “They don’t want to pay for it,” a high-ranking team executive told SI. Indeed, the cost of the Orlando bubble was in the neighborhood of $180 million. While the majority of teams are not bringing in gate revenue, the appetite for forking over millions to rebuild a secure environment is expected to be minimal.

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But these are all unknowns. It’s worth noting that the NBA will have the infrastructure in place for a bubble The league announced this week that the G-League will play its season in a Disney bubble. In February, 18 teams will call Lake Buena Vista, Fla. home for a season that is expected to last around a month. There is also a growing number of team officials who believe, regardless of a bubble, that the NBA should consider a weeklong pause of the season. “It’s f------ crazy right now,” an NBA coach told SI. “Honestly, we go to work every day wondering who is going to be available.”
But the league sees evidence of an even greater risk of infection when the league's shuttered, which is another reason health and medical experts advising the NBA aren't pushing for a stoppage now, sources told ESPN. When players were tested upon returning to team training camps, the NBA saw spikes in positive tests -- including 48 cases on December 2.
Executives and coaches are frustrated that quality of play and preparations have suffered, and competitive balance is being compromised. Teams are struggling for ways to build camaraderie and chemistry when staffs and players are constantly being separated, and rituals once as simple as shoot-arounds became pointless when players sometimes have to wait an hour-to-90 minutes for the return of test results before they are allowed inside the facility.
Brad Townsend: Poor Josh Richardson, Dorian Finney-Smith and Jalen Brunson remain in Denver, I'm told. No indication of when/how they will be able to return to Dallas.
Some team executives have privately raised concerns in the turbulent past several days, but commissioner Adam Silver has remained committed to pushing through games with a minimum of eight available players per team and trying to complete as much of the schedule as possible prior to widescale access to vaccinations that could start to bring normalcy back to the league and country.

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Adrian Wojnarowski: ESPN Sources: While the Celtics-Heat game has been postponed tonight, the NBA has no plans to pause the season despite thinning rosters because of COVID-19 protocols in several places.
Shams Charania: The Boston Celtics-Miami Heat game tonight has been postponed, sources tell @The Athletic @Stadium. A Heat player has returned an inconclusive test, and team does not have required eight players to proceed with game tonight due to contact tracing.
Alex Schiffer: Nash said he thinks Tyler Johnson is on the same week-long protocol as Durant was in terms of contact tracing. He'll be out the next few games. Said he wants to ramp Durant back up after a week away from the team but still wants to treat things carefully in terms of restrictions.
TJ McBride: Source: all Nuggets players and staff members with the team returned negative COVID tests — both rapid and regular — this morning. So despite playing Dallas three days ago and Philadelphia last night, Denver’s roster is ready to go.
In these first three weeks of the season, the league is learning that the hard way. One team official asked before the season, half-jokingly, if it would wind up going on a road trip and leave players in one city after another as it went. So far, two teams -- the Chicago Bulls and Dallas Mavericks -- have had to leave players behind; and in another instance, staff from the LA Clippers had to drive back home from Salt Lake City. The Toronto Raptors, who are playing in Tampa, Florida, this season, reversed course on having fans in attendance at games this week due to spikes in the virus.
"I do think the reality is that we know this is rampant right now," Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. "And we're doing everything we can, as I've said before, to prevent it, and it's still going to find its way into the league, through travel parties; so we're all assuming some level of risk. "And I think we accept that and, at the same time, we trust that the people in charge have health and safety as the No. 1 priority; and if it becomes too much, that'll be somebody else's decision who's an expert at it."
The Nuggets will arrive at the Garden on Sunday having played their last two games against the 76ers — who played with eight active players Saturday because of health and safety protocols stemming from Seth Curry’s positive test — and the Mavericks, who have quarantined three players after one tested positive following Thursday’s game in Denver. “We just gotta do our part individually,” Knicks guard Austin Rivers said Saturday. “It’s tough, though. It is everywhere. Unfortunately in our country, people don’t wear masks all the time. You have ignorance displayed every day, which is causing this to be more delayed and more serious. … It’s frustrating to see people mess around with that stuff. We just control what we control and do our part. The Knicks have done a great job of keeping us in line with that stuff.”
Brad Townsend: Rick Carlisle says Dorian Finney-Smith, Josh Richardson and Jalen Brunson are still in Denver. Burke is available tonight.
Brad Townsend: Rick Carlisle: "We’re all dealing with a vast set of circumstances, so we’ve got to remain calm and we’ve always got to have a plan for adversity. We’ve been expecting that this kind of thing was certainly a realistic possibility and now we’re dealing with it.”
Brad Townsend: Carlisle: "We've got to remain calm. We've been expecting this sort of thing." It is what it is, what the NBA is going through right now.
Mark Murphy: Per source: Jayson Tatum tested positive for Covid today, and is now awaiting the results of a confirmation test. He is asymptomatic.
Scott Agness: A limited number of fans will soon be allowed at Pacers home games, where a lot is different. - Pre-arrival screening/x-ray machines - Mandatory masks - Seating pods - Only cards accepted.
Kevin Durant is expected to play against the Thunder after missing three games due to the league’s coronavirus health and safety protocol. Durant came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 on Jan. 1 and the league requires players quarantine and register consecutive negative coronavirus tests for seven days from the day of the encounter.
Drew Hill: No positive test for JV, team sources say, which could mean it's a contact tracing issue. Wouldn't make sense for him to play if he tested positive, but the issues last night prove otherwise, I suppose.
Mirjam Swanson: Kerr on any COVID-related logistical issues the Warriors have faced: "Knock on wood, we have not had any issues since training camp, we are constantly reminding everyone on our team and our staff to continue to be smart."
Seth Curry, held out of Thursday’s game with an ankle injury, was removed from the Sixers’ bench and placed in isolation after being notified of the positive test during the first half, according to two people familiar with the circumstances who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the details publicly.
Weiss added: “The testing strategy we have implemented of two daily P.C.R. tests creates a process that aims to identify an infected individual before they become infectious to others. Combined with our data that analyzes contact time and distance during on-court play, our experts believe that the game can safely proceed in these circumstances.”
Michael Singer: League source: If a player was positive and played in a game, it doesn't necessarily mean both teams' next games would be impacted. I.e., If a player was positive in last night's Nuggets-Mavs game, that doesn't automatically mean Denver's next game (@ PHI) would be affected.
Malika Andrews: Steve Nash said the Nets weren’t aware during Thursday’s game against Philadelphia of Seth Curry’s positive test. They found out later. Curry sat on the bench for the first quarter of the game before the positive test result returned.
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