Less than one week after Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard suggested he doesn't trust every player invited to the NBA "bubble" site at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando will follow guidelines, Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid made similar comments.
Per Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia, Embiid, who is scheduled to head to the Florida hub alongside teammates on Thursday to complete the 2019-20 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, told reporters on Tuesday:
"I hated the idea. I feel like with everything that has been going on, it’s unfortunate what’s been going on in the world. Obviously, people look at it in a different way. There might be some other reasons behind everything going on. To me, that part never mattered. To me, all I want is to stay healthy, and stay safe, keep the people around me safe. I want to make sure I’m able to live for a long time and not have any sort of consequences in the future from this if I were to be in a situation where I was getting the virus.
“Unfortunately, I’m not a big fan of the idea. But then again, I’m going to do my job. I’m not going to let the city down. I’m going to represent my city — that’s what I’ve always done — my family, my teammates. The mindset doesn’t change. It doesn’t matter the fact that I don’t like that idea and I still don’t believe in it. I don’t think it’s going to be safe enough.
"Because I know I’m going to do the right things, I know I don’t ever do anything, I only play video games, I’m always home — I don’t do anything. But then again, I don’t trust those other guys to do the same. But, like I said, I’ve gotta do my job."
The 76ers enter the 22-team format in sixth place and guaranteed a spot in the Eastern Conference playoff tournament. Philadelphia opens this unique portion of the campaign against the Indiana Pacers on Aug. 1.
Lillard, meanwhile, didn't seem too hopeful everybody will follow all of the suggested self-isolation protocols in Florida when touching upon the subject on July 1:
"My confidence ain't great because you're telling me you're gonna have 22 teams full of players following all the rules? When we have 100 percent freedom, everybody don't follow all the rules. I don't have much confidence. But hopefully, it'll be handled to a point where we're not putting everybody at risk or in a dangerous position."
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has repeatedly stated that a coronavirus outbreak among personnel in Florida could threaten the Orlando plan. Meanwhile, Major League Soccer club FC Dallas was pulled from the MLS is Back tournament scheduled to start at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex on Wednesday after the club experienced a virus outbreak inside the league's bubble.
MLS canceled a July 8 match between Nashville SC and Chicago Fire after five Nashville players tested positive in Florida.