If the NBA is able to resume its season at the end of July at Orlando's Disney World, it's possible not every coach on every team will be on the bench.
Adam Silver says it is possible that "certain coaches" may not be able to be the bench coach when play resumes at Disney "in order to protect them."— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) June 5, 2020
Gregg Popovich is 71. Mike D'Antoni is 69. Alvin Gentry is 65.
The CDC says people 65 and older are at higher risk.
Commissioner Adam Silver said on TNT Thursday that it's possible "certain coaches" may not be able to be on the bench should play resume "in order to protect them." Silver did not provide guidelines or indicate if potential restrictions would apply to head coaches or be limited to assistant staff.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says people aged 65 and older are at higher risk when it comes to COVID-19.
Gregg Popovich (71), Mike D'Antoni (69) and Alvin Gentry (65) are all head coaches of teams included in the league's 22-team return to play format who could be at higher risk.
ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski asked D'Antoni on Wednesday about the possibility of older NBA head coaches being required to wear masks on the bench. D'Antoni wasn't particularly fond of the idea.
Asked Mike D'Antoni yesterday about possibility of this older group of NBA coaches being required to wear masks on bench: "I am sure they want to keep everyone safe, but to start singling people out with more risk, well, I would hope they wouldn’t want to get into that.” https://t.co/NOmG3jhoo6— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) June 5, 2020
"I am sure they want to keep everyone safe, but to start singling people out with more risk, well, I would hope they wouldn’t want to get into that," he told Wojnarowski.
Wojnarowski adds that both D'Antoni and Gentry told him they would understand if every coach was required to wear a mask but don't believe older coaches should be singled out. Wojnarowski reports that D'Antoni and Gentry's agent, Warren LeGarie, said he would be worried about stigmas attached to older coaches required to take precautions other coaches aren't.
"I just spoke to Adam Silver and he admitted that he jumped the gun with his statement to TNT. The health and safety of our coaches is first and foremost. It's entirely possible that an NBA coach in his 60's or 70's could be healthier than someone in their 30's or 40's. 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," NBA Coaches Association president Rick Carlisle told Wojnarowski.
The league's board of governors officially approved July 31 as the league's return date on Thursday, more than four months after the season was paused on March 11.