The next couple of days will give the 76ers a better idea of what life will be like in the NBA’s “bubble” at the Walt Disney World Resort.
The team will board a plane Thursday for Orlando, Fla., where they’ll compete in the 22-team restart.
For a day-and-a-half, the Sixers will be confined to their rooms at the Grand Floridian. The only people they’ll see during that time are the technicians administrating COVID-19 tests.
Their first day of training camp is scheduled for Saturday. However, players and team personnel must quarantine until they have two negative coronavirus tests at least 24 hours apart.
Even after that, players and team personnel will undergo testing every other day and must adhere to stringent guidelines while remaining largely isolated from the rest of the world during their stay inside the “bubble.”
If a player leaves the campus without permission and tries to re-enter, he must quarantine for at least 10 days.
The teams that reach the NBA Finals will endure these guidelines for three months.
“I’m not excited to be in that situation, to be in that setting,” Sixers guard Josh Richardson said. “But I’m excited to play. I’m excited to go to war with my teammates. It’s a silver lining to everything. So, yeah, I’m excited for it.”
There are a lot of unknowns awaiting players and teams. Not only are the mostly multimillionaire players unaccustomed to this type of isolation, but it will also mark their first time playing games without fans since the AAU or youth summer camp circuits.
“We’re just going off of, ‘We’ll see,’ “ forward Mike Scott said of what to expect. “Can only go off of what people are saying, explaining what it’s going to be like down there, and giving us ideas of what’s to come. I don’t know anything until I get down there and see.”
The Sixers will have scrimmages against the Memphis Grizzlies (July 24), Oklahoma City Thunder (July 26), and the Dallas Mavericks (July 28) before training camp concludes on July 29. Then they’ll face the Indiana Pacers in the first of eight seeding games on Aug. 1. The playoffs begin Aug. 17.
“I think it’s the richest summer camp in the history of basketball. That’s what I think it is,” Sixers guard Alec Burks said of the season’s resumption without fans. “It’s basically going to be a very intense practice.”
The Orlando Magic were among the six teams that moved into their Disney hotels on Tuesday. The Magic were without an unidentified player who tested positive for COVID-19. The Magic also said former Sixer Markelle Fultz’s entry was delayed due to a personal issue unrelated to the virus.