NBA coaches union concerned that restart at Disney World will jeopardize jobs

The NBA and NBPA laid out guidelines on Tuesday for the NBA’s planned restart at Disney World.

The league’s coaches union announced on Wednesday that it’s worried that the bubble league will jeopardize jobs.

The National Basketball Coaches Association released a statement to ESPN expressing concern that the league’s COVID-19 guidelines could exclude older coaches and threaten future job opportunities.

"The health and safety of all NBA coaches is our main concern," the statement reads. "However, we are also concerned with a coach's opportunity to work and to not have their ability to secure future jobs be severely jeopardized. The league assured us that a coach will not be excluded solely because of age.”

Union: Coaches safer in bubble than at home

The NBCA then argued that the safety protocols in place in the Disney World bubble presents a safer environment for at-risk coaches than their everyday environments.

"Adam (Silver) and the NBA have created a situation in Orlando that is likely far safer than in our coaches' home markets. Absent a significant threat, we believe a coach should be able to understand and assume their individual risks, waive liability and coach in Orlando.”

The coaches union is worried the NBA's bubble-league protocol will restrict older coaches. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)
The coaches union is worried the NBA's bubble-league protocol will restrict older coaches. (Photo by Ronald Cortes/Getty Images)

Union mentions Popovich, Gentry, D’Antoni

NBCA leadership expressed specific concern to ESPN that guidelines could restrict San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich (71), Houston Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni (69) and New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry (65) — along with several assistants — from participating in the league’s restart.

Executive director Dave Fogel and president Rick Carlisle told ESPN that they’re worried those restrictions could halt some coaches from future job opportunities.

Protocols laid out by the league on Tuesday require team staff members to fill out a questionnaire addressing multiple health issues including: asthma, heart problems, ongoing cancer treatments, smoking habits, a body mass index above 40 as a measure of obesity, kidney or liver diseases and other indications of a compromised immune system, per ESPN.

Silver alluded to restrictions earlier in June

Earlier in June, NBA commissioner Adam Silver acknowledged in an interview with TNT that “certain coaches may not be able to be the bench coach.”

“They can be in the front of a room, a locker room or a ballroom with a whiteboard, but when it comes to actual play we're not going to want them that close to players in order to protect them,” Silver told TNT.

D'Antoni and Gentry’s agent Warren LeGarie put legal action on the table in a statement to ESPN Wednesday.

“I hope there is a basketball solution to this issue rather than a legal one.”

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