Coaches question Silver lining in NBA hub

The NBA coaches' union is concerned the league's return-to-play setup at Walt Disney World Resort will risk their members' health and hurt their future job prospects.

At the end of what will be a four-plus-month hiatus caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the NBA will have 22 of its 30 teams resume action at the Disney campus near Orlando, Florida.

A training camp is due to run from July 9-29 and games will commence on July 30, in a plan hatched by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

All players and staffers will essentially be quarantined for the duration of their stay in the NBA's "bubble" while undergoing regular COVID-19 testing.

The National Basketball Coaches Association is questioning the details of the hub protocols, particularly whether the league's oldest head coaches will be permitted to execute all of their regular duties.

The San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich (71), the Houston Rockets' Mike D'Antoni (69) and the New Orleans Pelicans' Alvin Gentry (650) all fall in the age bracket that is viewed as being at risk to severe consequences if they contract the coronavirus.

"The health and safety of all NBA coaches is our main concern," the union wrote in a statement to ESPN.

"However, we are also concerned with a coach's opportunity to work and to not have their ability to secure future jobs be severely jeopardised.

"The league assured us that a coach will not be excluded solely because of age."

Silver was quoted in a TNT interview on June 5 as saying: "There are people involved in this league, particularly coaches, who are obviously older people. ... We're going to have to work through protocols, for example, and it may be certain coaches may not be able to be the bench coach.

"They may have to maintain social distancing protocols, and maybe they can be in the front of a room, a locker room ... 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."

However, Dallas Mavericks head coach Rick Carlisle, the president of the NBACA, said he had subsequently spoken with Silver.

"(Silver) admitted that he jumped the gun with his statement to TNT," Carlisle told ESPN.

"The health and safety of our coaches is first and foremost. It's entirely possible that an NBA coach in his 60s or 70s could be healthier than someone in their 30s or 40s.

"The conversation should never be solely about a person's age. Adam assured me that we would work through this together to help determine what is both safe and fair for all of our coaches."