While the NBA reportedly is sorting out its plans to relaunch the season in a t0-be-determined bubble location, teams like the Boston Celtics are looking for ways to ease their transition back.
It’s been widely reported that the league is targeting June 1 as the date for players to return to their markets before increasing individual workouts and eventually expanding into formal training camps. The Celtics, among other teams like the New York Knicks and Toronto Raptors, are attempting to bypass that return and go straight to the bubble location (most likely Orlando, Fla.), according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
A majority of Boston’s roster has left the city during the coronavirus pandemic, meaning they would need to quarantine for up to 14 days upon their return before they begin group workouts at the Auerbach Center. While many teams have begun individual workouts with numerous health regulations, the Celtics have yet to reopen their facility. Boston, as well as the entire state of Massachusetts, continues to adhere to stay-at-home policies.
The Celtics asking to bypass a return to Boston for out-of-market players makes perfect sense. Sending players directly to Orlando would avoid back-to-back quarantine periods for a majority of the Celtics’ roster. Kemba Walker, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Smart, Grant Williams, Robert Williams and many others would have to quarantine twice. Why make them quarantine once in Boston and once in Orlando?
According to Wojnarowski’s report, the NBA has told the Celtics, Knicks and Raptors that they “plan to work with them on solutions that possibly include redirecting some teams directly to campus/bubble sits instead of team facilities to hold training camps.” Doing this would simplify things for the Celtics and any traveling personnel.
Additionally, Boston setting up its temporary training camp at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando would allow the Celtics to get accustomed to the new surroundings. That added benefit could go a long way, especially since the remainder of the season would be spent in that setting.
The structure of the schedule remains up in the air. Will it be an adjusted 30-team regular-season slate? Or will the NBA ultimately decide to go straight to the postseason? Luckily for teams like the Celtics and Raptors, it doesn’t matter. They’re locked into the playoffs, meaning either format will include them.
Regardless of what the league decides, out-of-market players returning to the currently-restricted Boston environment is a rough formula for the Celtics. Heading directly to Orlando, on the other hand, certainly works in their favor. Boston, like other teams, is smart to push for that solution.