The NBA will not exclude coaches from participating in the season's resumption near Orlando based solely on their age, coaches union president Rick Carlisle said Wednesday.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver expressed concern in early June about the inclusion of older coaches in the league's "bubble" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, with health officials stating that people 65 and older are particularly susceptible to severe symptoms if they contract the coronavirus.
However, Carlisle indicated that the league plans to review every coach individually.
"Everybody goes through a screening process, but we've been assured by the league that no one will be red-flagged from going to Orlando based on age alone," Carlisle said, according to ESPN. "That was a very positive thing for us to hear, but as I said, everybody in all 22 (participating) markets -- all staff, all players, everybody -- goes through a significant screening process.
"We'll see who ends up going, not going, etc. But we were very encouraged to hear that age alone would not be something that would keep you from going to Orlando."
The NBA has three head coaches who fall in the vulnerable age category: the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich, 71; the Houston Rockets' Mike D'Antoni, 69; and the New Orleans Pelicans' Alvin Gentry, 65.
D'Antoni was asked Wednesday if the NBA had responded to his publicly stated plan to coach the Rockets in the "bubble."
"Crickets!" a laughing D'Antoni said, according to ESPN. "Which is a good thing. I haven't heard anything, and hopefully I don't hear anything. They might be trying to get me. I'm not answering my phone or anything, so I'll be in Orlando. I'll just show up, knocking on the gate to get in."
D'Antoni added, "I get why they want to be cautious. I appreciate it, and that's great. At the end of the day, it's almost like, well, let me go to a safe environment. Do you want to keep me out of that safe environment? It's like, 'Wait a minute, let me in! This is great.'
"So we'll see how it goes, but other than being a little bit older, I'm ready to go. There's nothing else that I'd have a red flag or anything like that, so I expect to go and I expect that it'll be an unbelievably great experience and safe."
Gentry said Tuesday, according to NOLA.com, "My plans right now are to be with the team in Orlando. I'm looking forward to it really. As the season was put on hiatus, we were playing really good basketball so hopefully we can get back to that."
--Field Level Media
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