After four months of waiting and planning, the NBA bubble is ready to be tested.
The first six teams — Brooklyn, Denver, Orlando, Phoenix, Utah and Washington — are scheduled to arrive Tuesday at the Disney complex. Another eight teams arrive Wednesday, the last eight arrive Thursday, and with that training camps will be on the cusp of beginning.
If the plan works, all teams will be at Disney for at least 5-1/2 weeks and some teams will be there for more than three months. And not everyone in the league has an abundance of optimism that the experiment — involving daily testing, separation from friends and family for weeks if not months, and strict regulations regarding just about everything imaginable at Disney — will be enough to complete the season.
“I’m not very confident,” New Orleans guard Brandon Ingram said. “But they’ve got us going ... so we’ll see.”
The process for arrivals will be streamlined — players and team staff will be immediately taken to the testing room at their Disney hotel after clearing security when arriving on the premises. They’ll receive a short briefing on the testing program and other matters, receive what will serve as their room key, then go through initial testing for both the coronavirus and the presence of antibodies. Virus testing will continue daily; the antibody testing is intended to be a one-time event at Disney.
In their rooms, a welcome kit including a thermometer, pulse oximeter and two optional items — a physical distancing sensor and an Oura Ring that tracks sleep and activity — will be awaiting players and staff, as will some personal protective equipment such as wipes to clean the exterior of their luggage.
“I think we’re on the right path, we’re on the right plan,” Houston general manager Daryl Morey said. “But I think every day there’s new information so ... I think if anyone’s certain about anything right now I think they’re making a mistake. I think we all have to intelligently continue to understand the risks, manage the risks versus the potential outcomes, and go from there.”
For some teams, the getaway comes not long after the reality of the virus struck yet again. Miami closed its facility late last week following positive test results, Milwaukee and Sacramento followed over the weekend after the same circumstance, and now seven of the 22 Disney-bound teams have had to shutter their practice gyms.