The New Orleans Pelicans plan to land in Orlando for the NBA’s resumed season on a quarantined campus in about a week and a half. Yet, Pelicans executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin told his players on Monday they should adopt their routine “as if we’re already in the bubble.”
“We need to go from the gym to the house and make sure that we’re eating well and carry ourselves as if we’re already there,” Griffin said Tuesday on a conference call. “I think we have players that are committed enough to do so.”
Griffin admitted “that’s to be determined” on whether all of his players and coach Alvin Gentry will be part of the Pelican’s resumed season that begins July 30 against the Utah Jazz. The Pelicans had three of the league’s 16 NBA players that tested positive for the novel coronavirus after testing began on June 23. Griffin did not name those players because of privacy laws, but he noted “they’re in self-isolation and tested daily.” The Pelicans have until Wednesday to turn their final roster in. They also have to see their players complete the required two-week quarantine and record two negative tests before they leave for Orlando.
Nonetheless, Griffin remained optimistic about the team’s health.
“When we turn our roster in, we may or may not have to make replacements even when that roster is turned in on the 1st. We’re sort of at the mercy of the virus in that regard,” Griffin said. “But we have no reason to believe at this moment that anyone will not go.”
Gentry, 65, said he had no reason to think he would not be able to go, either.
“My plans right now is to be with the team in Orlando. I’m looking forward to it, really,” Gentry said Tuesday on a conference call. “No one on the team has ever said they’re not going. It’s a situation where these guys are ready to get back into playing and ready to compete. No one has ever mentioned that or come up in any conversations I’ve had with them on Zoom calls or individuals calls that they will not be going to Orlando.”
Griffin said he has not yet finalized the team’s traveling party that can hold up to 35 people. But he plans to attend despite being a cancer survivor.
“I’m almost 10 years out from my experience from a chemo standpoint. I’m not at all in a high-risk area,” Griffin said. “I’m not going to ask my players to do anything I wouldn’t do. If they have to go survive the quarantine and battle like we are, I’m going to do the same thing.”
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