Report: NBA won't require players to return as some question decision to restart season in Orlando

It seems not everyone’s on board with the NBA’s decision to restart the season at Disney World.

As the league makes plans to start a 22-team “bubble” in Florida to finish the 2019-20 season and crown a champion, some players are reportedly hesitant about the idea.

A “faction” of players gathered on a conference call in the last 24 hours to discuss whether the Orlando bubble is a good idea, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. The discussion occurred amid the backdrop of the NBA and NBPA meeting to finalize the details of the restart plan that’s largely already been agreed upon.

No players were named in the report, and how large that “faction” is is unclear.

No punishment for players who stay home

Wojnarowski reports the NBA and NBPA are expected to agree to a provision that doesn’t require players to return. Players who choose not to return won’t be subject to discipline, but will lose a portion of their salary congruent with games missed.

Some players are reportedly unsure about resuming play in Orlando next month. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)

Players who claim medical issues that could prevent them from safely playing amid the COVID-19 pandemic will be permitted to seek an independent medical evaluation, according to the report. Even if a player is cleared medically, he will still be permitted to remain home without consequence from the league.

State of COVID-19 in Florida

The league is tentatively scheduled to restart on July 31 after suspending play on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

Much of the nation’s business have started to reopen after the coronavirus shutdown as the pandemic maintains its foothold in the United States. Florida was one of the first states to reopen and has seen a steady rise in COVID-19 cases and deaths as numbers in the Sunshine State continue to trend upward.

The Orlando Sentinel reported on Wednesday that Orange County, where Disney World resides, has seen a 64 percent increase in COVID-19 cases from May 5 to June 9 as the state has opened for business. In addition to increased social interaction in the state, officials attribute part of the rise in positive cases to increased testing, according to the Sentinel.

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