COVID-19 cases spiking as San Antonio Spurs prepare to enter bubble

ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 23: Walt Disney World remains closed to the public due to the Coronavirus threat on March 23, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. The United States has surpassed 43,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the death toll climbed to at least 514. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
ORLANDO, FL - MARCH 23: Walt Disney World remains closed to the public due to the Coronavirus threat on March 23, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. The United States has surpassed 43,000 confirmed cases of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and the death toll climbed to at least 514. (Photo by Alex Menendez/Getty Images)
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COVID-19 are spiking as the San Antonio Spurs prepare to head to Florida

The news around the spiking numbers of COVID-19 cases in Florida, especially in cities such as Orlando, Tampa, and Miami, is alarming, especially as NBA teams such as the San Antonio Spurs prepare to head to Florida to enter the Disney bubble in preparation of the resumption of the regular season.

The Orlando Magic were the first team to head into the bubble as they departed for the Disney campus earlier today. The San Antonio Spurs are scheduled to depart for Orlando on July 9th.

These dates are important because they fall right as cases are skyrocketing in key Florida markets, especially Orlando. A recent Forbes report noted that 43 hospitals in 21 Florida counties including Orange County, which includes Orlando, have hit maximum capacity and show zero ICU beds available while another 32 hospitals show less than 10 percent of ICU beds available.

San Antonio Spurs are heading into the middle of the spike and into the bubble

This unsettling news is compounded by the numerous NBA practice facilities that have been shut down in the wake of positive cases being discovered. The Milwaukee Bucks, Sacramento Kings, LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets, Miami Heat, and Brooklyn Nets have all closed the doors on their practice facilities within the last week and a half.

The Brooklyn Nets are also dealing with the news that a crucial player, Spencer Dinwiddie, is symptomatic and will not be traveling to Orlando with the rest of the team.

After another positive test yesterday and considering the symptoms, @BrooklynNets, team doctors and I have decided that it would be in the best interest for me and the team that I do not play in Orlando. I will be supporting the guys every step of the way! #AudienceOfOne

— Spencer Dinwiddie (@SDinwiddie_25) July 7, 2020

Other players such as Trevor Ariza, Avery Bradley, and Wilson Chandler will also be abstaining from the restart of the NBA season. Celtics star Gordan Hayward has also said that he will not hesitate to leave the bubble to be with his wife when she is expected to give birth to the couple’s fourth child in September.

Look, this all has to be weighing heavily on the minds of every player heading into the bubble. There is clear risk associated with heading to an area that’s seeing a massive increase in cases. But each player has to balance that with their loyalties to their team, title aspirations, and individual goals. It’s a tricky juggling act and no one can fault the players who are deciding to stay back for the sake of their families’ health.

There is also the matter of several coaches who fall into the high-risk age range for COVID-19 traveling to Florida. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich falls into that range and given the Spurs low chances of making the playoffs it wouldn’t be at all surprising if he elected to stay away from the bubble and hand off the head coaching duties to someone like Becky Hammon. Frankly, that might be the better move for the franchise at this point.

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There’s no easy answer to any of this and you can be sure the NBA is carefully weighing their options with every new development but the restarting of the NBA season is looking like a greater and greater risk with every passing day.

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