USA Basketball: USA Basketball is in the preparation phases of building a pre-Olympic bubble in Las Vegas for Team USA, Australia, and Spain to train and play exhibition games against each other before departing to Tokyo, said managing director Jerry Colangelo.
The NBA players are assumed to make up the essence of all three teams and the league’s playoffs are listed to take place from May 22 to July 22.
“On the surface, it makes a lot of sense,” Colangelo said. “We have to be flexible.”
This idea will build an atmosphere where players can restrict travel and potential vulnerability to COVID-19 before going to Japan. Team USA is provisionally preparing to open practice camp the week of July 4, while the NBA playoffs are ongoing.
Spain’s and Australia’s players in the NBA
Spain, the reigning World Cup champions, have five current NBA players who have played on the national team in the past: Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio, Serge Ibaka, Juancho Hernangomez, and Willy Hernangomez.
The Australians named their Olympic roster pool this week, and it has 10 current NBA players, including Ben Simmons, Patty Mills, Joe Ingles, Dante Exum, and Matisse Thybulle.
Flexibility in the rosters for the Olympics
Also in the name of compliance, Colangelo said USA Basketball has requested the U.S. Olympic Committee, the International Olympic Committee, and FIBA to modify the laws for when rosters for the Games must be presented.
Normally, the rosters are set some weeks in advance, but with the NBA playoffs continuing until three days before Team USA is listed for its first Olympic game, Colangelo is calling for reforms.
Team USA has suggested allowing roster adjustments even throughout the Olympics as players may fly over late and join teams, Colangelo said. He is expecting to hear back from the governing bodies on the subject.
“These are not normal times. Rosters by a certain date don’t make any sense,” Colangelo said. “What we’re seeking is the flexibility to substitute players very late and to get the best players on the court. It doesn’t just apply to us but to all the countries.”
On Wednesday, the IOC released its first set of Games parameters, which said players were not obliged to be vaccinated or to isolate on arrival but that they would have to undergo testing before starting and after landing in Japan.