Lakers assistant Lionel Hollins won’t travel to Orlando due to health concerns

first_img Trail Blazers, Grizzlies advance to NBA play-in game; Suns, Spurs see playoff dreams dashed AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with Packers“There are several members of our staff that we’re not going to be able to bring into the bubble that, quite frankly, we need in the bubble,” he said. “But the environment just doesn’t allow us to do that and that’s just part of the pandemic life and the situation we’re in.”Rockets assistant Jeff Bzdelik, 67, also is not traveling to Orlando because of a personal decision, according to an ESPN report. Three of the NBA’s head coaches — Gregg Popovich, Mike D’Antoni and Alvin Gentry — are 65 or older, and so far none of them has been reportedly ruled out of the restart. In a memo the NBA outlined last month, the league and teams have the power to rule out staffers for health concerns — which drew backlash from the National Basketball Coaches Association that it could upset the job stability of some of their senior members.In general, NBA staffers have so far tested at a lower rate than players. Results released by the NBA and NBPA showed 25 of 351 players had tested positive for coronavirus (7.1 percent) versus 10 of 884 team and staff (1.1 percent). But given that players are young and in their physical primes, Jared Dudley said he’s gotten the sense that most aren’t worried about serious medical complications that arise from the virus, but have a greater dread of the isolation of quarantine.“When we’re out there, I mean you have the best medical experts,” he said during a Friday media session. “I keep trying to tell people, at the end of the day, I don’t think anyone fears death I think they fear they could potentially get it. And I think they think that it sucks that they could be quarantined for seven days in a little house they don’t know nothing about.”Hollins is expected to participate remotely with the Lakers’ postseason run. While the Lakers expect to add staff as long as they advance through the playoffs, it’s unlikely Hollins could be added later due to his health concerns. Lakers, Clippers schedules set for first round of NBA playoffs General manager Rob Pelinka said earlier in the week that “flex staffing” was one of the organization’s biggest challenges.“That’s been a constant source of dialogue internally: How do we flex staff? If we can’t bring our full staff, how do we make up for this woman or this man’s job? How do I pitch in and help with that?” he said. “And I think even for the staff members that don’t go, let’s be clear they will continue to do their jobs, they will continue to be a big part of what we do as an organization in Orlando — they’ll just be doing it remotely, like many of us have been doing our jobs during this COVID pandemic anyway.”The Lakers also continue to wait on learning if their team will be intact: Avery Bradley has already bowed out, and Dwight Howard is still mulling a decision whether to join. Both men have presented challenging family situations to explain their decisions at least in part.Dudley, who has been one of the most vocal advocates of finishing the season, said he had no problem accepting different decisions by his teammates — though he still hopes Howard, who is on the Lakers’ restart roster, will be able to join downstream.“For Avery, man, with his son and those kind of health concerns, you totally understand, and with Dwight, the situation, I mean come on, we all have to respect what he’s having to endure with that,” Dudley said. “For us, life is more important. We’d love to have them, but there isn’t any ill will toward any player who wants to sit out.”Related Articles Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error Lakers practice early hoping to answer all questions How athletes protesting the national anthem has evolved over 17 years As coronavirus cases have continued to rise throughout the last two weeks, the NBA has massaged the messaging behind its Disney World campus: With a controlled environment, aggressive testing and monitoring and limited personnel, the so-called bubble where the league is staging its restart could potentially be safer than the world around it.But there are some risks the NBA is less willing to take, which became clearer Friday when Yahoo Sports was first to report Lakers assistant Lionel Hollins will not travel to Orlando due to concerns over underlying health issues. A person with knowledge of the Lakers’ proposed 35-member travel party confirmed to Southern California News Group that Hollins would not join the team, but is planning to work remotely.When he joined Frank Vogel’s staff over the summer, he was heralded for his experience as a two-time NBA head coach and a longtime bench presence since his playing career in the ‘70s. But the very factors that made him a guiding voice for the Lakers are the ones that now deem him a higher risk factor for COVID-19: At 66, he’s the oldest member of the Lakers’ staff, and one of the senior coaches in the NBA.The Hollins decision is likely one Vogel was alluding to as he discussed the “fairly miserable” process of deciding who would attend the NBA’s season restart when the Lakers fly to Orlando on July 9. A need for medical personnel to address player health issues also put the squeeze on the coaching staff’s travel spots, Vogel said Thursday. 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