Ira Winderman: NBA resumption more than a game

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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Among the suggestions on the NBA packing list for those traveling to Disney World for the league’s resumption are “books for personal entertainment and comfort.”

Or the players simply can leaf through the 150-plus pages provided in the “2020 Season Restart Player Handbook,” the “Health and Safety Protocols,” and the accompanying league memos.

For those not “bubble” bound, a look at some of the more nuanced elements of the paperwork obtained by the Sun Sentinel:

— In a memo, the league noted that in addition to regular testing, “the NBA is exploring options for certain on-court personnel (including players, coaches, and referees) to undergo point-of-care testing on the campus approximately two to four hours prior to a game (or practice), pending the availability of such point-of-care testing machines and, if applicable, the ability to contribute to, validate, and support ongoing research and related efforts to better understand the coronavirus.”

In many ways, the NBA’s campuslike return very much will come in a laboratory-type setting.

— The league has mandated that “a senior executive from the team’s basketball operations department” be included in the 35-person limit for each team’ traveling party.

“Given the unprecedented nature of the season restart,” a league memo reads, “the involvement of a senior basketball executive is essential to help the team and league identify and resolve issues on the NBA Campus at Disney in real-time.”

There has never been as “real” a time as what the NBA is about to attempt to undertake.

— The traveling-party limit also could open a window on the degree teams cater to leading men.

As stated by the NBA, “Each team may include a player’s private personal trainer, massage therapist, or security professional as a member of its 35-person basketball operations travel party, provided that not more than one of such individuals can be included in respect of any individual player.”

For the Heat, the likely means the presence of assistant trainer Armando Rivas, who effectively is Jimmy Butler’s personal trainer, having moved with Butler from Chicago to Minnesota to Philadelphia and now on to the Heat.

Such an allowance was far more prevalent for the Heat during the Big Three era, with LeBron James afforded his personal trainer and others in the team’s traveling party.

— Among the call teams will have to make is support staff vs. players. According to the NBA, “Teams will travel with a minimum of 13 and maximum of 17 players.”

It remains possible that a team could elect to add support staff as a priority over players unlikely to see action, considering only 13 can be on the active list for games (with the others required to sit behind the bench, while wearing facial protection).

The Heat have the NBA-maximum 17 players under contract.

Allowances will be made by the NBA for addition support staff in later rounds of the playoffs.

— The actual number of personnel in the bubble will be 37 per franchise, with the NBA also allocating spots for a member of a team’s media relations staff and a member of the team’s social-media staff.

— Efficiency will be part of the process, with each team granted four baskets for such sessions on one of the seven available practice facilities.

By means of comparison, the Heat have nine baskets on their practice court at AmericanAirlines Arena.

And from the somewhat curious:

— While the league will handle all game- and practice-related laundry, “the NBA will cover the costs of one bag of laundry per week for each player and team employee … The costs of dry cleaning and additional laundry services will be at either the team’s or individual’s expense.”

Understand, this is for a week’s worth of laundry in a setting with daily highs in the 90s.

— The player handbook notes, “Excursions may include access to the NBA Experience, Disney’s Animal Kingdom or Disney’s Wild Africa Trek.”

But, no, no amusement-park participation, thus no “DNP-Space Mountain.”

— All food outside of the designated meals produced at Disney, “will be at either the team’s or individual’s expense.”

Somehow, can’t see Pat Riley passing along laundry and food tabs when this is all over.


LONELY DAYS: Center Bam Adebayo says he expects the weeks, perhaps even months, the Heat spend at Disney will be more bearable than the first two months of the NBA shutdown. “I think it’ll be easier that we can play basketball,” he said. “I think that’s the thing that made everybody go stir crazy, because we can’t play basketball. Like, we’re basketball players, that’s what we do. So I felt like that’s the problem, that we couldn’t play basketball. Once you play basketball, I feel like everybody — it’ll still probably bother everybody that we’re not home — but at the end of the day, like I said, a lot of dudes will be happy to play basketball.”

ANOTHER REASON: In the wake of former Heat guard Ray Allen this past week discussing with TNT’s Ernie Johnson his disappointment over his fractured relationship with former Boston Celtics championship teammates, one of those former teammates, retired center Kendrick Perkins, offered insight a day later. Perkins said on ESPN’s “The Jump” that it was due in part to Allen, toward the end of his Celtics tenure, pushing Boston to trade for Chris Paul at the cost of incumbent point guard Rajon Rondo. “Us, as a whole, in the family, our starring five had never lost a playoff series when healthy. We figured we got more than enough,” Perkins said. “But Ray was one of the people that entertained it. And it got back to Rondo.” Perkins added, “Since that situation in particular, Ray and Rondo never really, really, really have seen eye to eye after it.” Paul Pierce, during that same discussion, said Celtics teammates also did not appreciate Allen going to then-Celtics coach Doc Rivers and accusing Rondo of isolating him out of the offense. And, yes, Pierce acknowledged bringing boxing gloves to practice, to have Allen and Rondo “hash it out.”

HEAT ENCORE?: The New York Knicks’ considerations in finding a full-time replacement for former Heat assistant David Fizdale apparently include keeping their coaching search in the Heat family. Among the candidates for the Knicks’ opening, which has been filled by Mike Miller (not the former Heat forward) since Fizdale’s Dec. 6 dismissal, is former Heat video coordinator and G League coach Pat Delany. Delany has spent the past six seasons as an assistant to Steve Clifford, four with the Charlotte Hornets and these past two with the Orlando Magic. Delany spent 11 seasons with the Heat, six as a scout. He had been among those previously considered for Fizdale’s Knicks’ staff.

STILL GOING: Give former Heat guard Briante Weber credit, he leaves no stone unturned. After numerous Heat tryouts, time with the Heat’s G League affiliate, stints overseas and even time in USA Basketball 3-on-3 program. Weber has signed with the Hamilton Honey Badgers of the Canadian Elite Basketball League (yes, the same franchise where former Heat center Joel Anthony is serving as a consultant). Weber, 27, spent this past season in France. The Honey Badgers are scheduled to play in July and August.


4. Items listed in the NBA’s Player Handbook that should be considered in a packing list for “special accommodations” while at Disney for the league’s resumption: preferred pillows, blankets or sheets; room fragrance; humidifier; eye mask. (For those not familiar: Orlando in the summer is a humidifier.)


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