Lakers' Jared Dudley: 'Misconception' Players Can't Leave 'Bubble' Post-Restart

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 21, 2020

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 12: An NBA logo is shown at the 5th Avenue NBA store on March 12, 2020 in New York City. The National Basketball Association said they would suspend all games after player Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz reportedly tested positive for the Coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Jeenah Moon/Getty Images)
Jeenah Moon/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers forward Jared Dudley said Wednesday that NBA players won't be in a confined "bubble" if the league is able to restart its suspended regular season at a neutral site.

"You will be allowed to leave," Dudley said on a video conference call (h/t ESPN's Dave McMenamin). "Now just because you leave, if we're going to give you that leeway, if you come back with [COVID-19], you can't play."

The league went on hiatus in mid-March because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there's growing optimism about its chances of resuming play. Shams Charania and Sam Amick of The Athletic reported Wednesday that Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, is a "clear front-runner" to host games if the league returns.

The NBA would be able to house operations and host games on the private property, enabling it to create a bubble of sorts. But NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told players that the league isn't planning to completely cut them off from the outside world, per Charania and Amick.

"NBA Commissioner Adam Silver informed players on a May 8 call that he hopes that the league is able to have daily testing, no stoppage of play if and when a player tests positive, and isolating anyone who does test positive in a quarantine. Silver also told the Board of Governors last week that he does not expect a 'medical bubble'—but an environment in which people can re-enter and undergo retesting."

The NBA suspended play on March 11 after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert tested positive for COVID-19.

Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports also confirmed that Walt Disney World is in the lead to host games.

"We are confident we'll be hosting the NBA in some fashion," a Disney World source told Smith. "It may not be the entire league, but we believe the NBA will be here to at least finish part of their season. Still hurdles to cross, but we are preparing as if that is the case."

Smith also reported that Disney World "has begun the early stages of re-working some of their hotel spaces for housing the NBA and their needs."

Kevin O'Connor of The Ringer noted it's "easier to control who goes in and who goes out" of Disney World since it's a private property.

Multiple signs are pointing toward Disney World being the home for the NBA this summer. While it appears unlikely that NBA players and support staff will live in a fully enclosed bubble, they should be able to largely enclose themselves on the property, which Smith reports is 39 square miles.