PHOENIX — The Phoenix Suns will depart for Orlando on Tuesday, embarking on the strangest of trips to Disney World. General manager James Jones said his biggest concern is getting the team to the bubble healthy, rather than being in the bubble itself.
“Once we get there, we're back in our element playing the games, playing basketball on a regimented schedule,” said Jones. “The league, with all their protocols, it's amazing. And so I'm not apprehensive about that.”
Some Suns players will travel to Orlando at a different time, though Jones didn’t say which players that would be. He did leave the door open for Kelly Oubre Jr. to potentially return.
Once the Suns arrive, they’ll have two weeks before their first exhibition game and a little more than three weeks before the regular season resumes against the Washington Wizards.
“It’s going to be a grind,” Jones admitted. “We’re playing every other day. We have youth on our side, young guys recover quicker, but I can't put it any other way besides saying like, it's going to be an extreme challenge, probably the toughest stretch of basketball, not just for the players, but the players, staff and organizations will have faced, probably in the history of the NBA.”
With injuries plaguing the Suns for much of the season, getting the opportunity to play eight extra games will give Jones a better look at his roster with contract decisions looming this summer.
“It's important,” Jones said. “It's a little less than a tenth of the season for our guys, and it's important that they get a chance to compete.”
As for the lack of fans, Jones said it will be an adjustment, but believes it will be more noticeable to the fans at home than it will be for the players once the ball is tipped and they’re in the heat of a game. Though, he did have one suggestion for the league.
“I do think the NBA needs to have the mute button handy because you'll hear a lot more of the on-court banter, and it may make for good TV.”