Lakers Assistant Coach Lionel Hollins Will Not Travel With Team To Orlando
Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins won't be joining the team in the bubble in Orlando after being flagged for health reasons, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.
Hollins, 66, has underlying medical conditions that would make him high-risk if he were to contract COVID-19. According to Yahoo, the decision had nothing to do with Hollins' age.
In a Zoom call with reporters on Thursday, Lakers coach Frank Vogel talked about how painful it was to cut the team's traveling party down to the required 35-person limit.
"Honestly, it was fairly miserable trying to place a value on everybody’s contributions," Vogel said. "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. 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."
Avery Bradley, who started in 44 games for the Lakers this season, opted out of participating in the bubble on June 23 because his six-year-old son has struggled with past respiratory illnesses and he could be high-risk if he were to contract the virus.
The Lakers are hopeful that Dwight Howard will join them in the bubble, though his status remains uncertain as he struggles with the death of his six-year-old son's mother in March. Vogel said the Lakers have no intention of replacing his roster spot.
"We don’t know what the level of participation is going to be yet," Vogel said Wednesday. "He wants to play. We’re hopeful that he’s able to join us. He has an extenuating circumstance that he’s working with the league on in terms of what that is ultimately going to look like. But we’re hopeful and optimistic that he’ll be able to join us in Orlando."
The NBA will resume July 30 at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. The Lakers, who are atop the Western Conference with a record of 49-14, will be competing for their first championship since Kobe Bryant led the team to a title in 2010.
Vogel said Friday that he's made a point of checking in with his team as COVID-19 numbers are on the rise.
"Everybody has different levels of concern about all that goes into this endeavor and everything," Vogel said. "We always want to support our players and I would extend that even to our staff, to make sure that they’re feeling comfortable and confident in their jobs and their roles and what’s in front of us."
Jared Dudley added Friday that he feels comfortable heading into the bubble, though he acknowledged there are some widespread concerns throughout the league.
"I would be lying to you if I told you everybody was completely comfortable and had no ill feelings toward how it’s gonna be," Dudley said. "I think we all know it’s a risk. We’re all watching all the news and we keep seeing the corona cases in L.A. and California, Arizona, Miami, Florida. So we see what’s going on."
That being said, Dudley said the majority of players trust the league's safety protocols.
"I don’t think anyone fears death," Dudley said. "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."