Lakers, Pelicans assistants ruled out of NBA 'bubble'

Lakers and Pelicans assistant coaches Lionel Hollins and Jeff Bzdelik will not join the team when they fly to Orlando next week for the restart to the NBA season.

Los Angeles Lakers

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins was an NBA champion for the Portland Trail Blazers in 1976-77: File Image   -  Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Lionel Hollins and New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach Jeff Bzdelik won't join their teams in the NBA's Orlando-area ”bubble,” according to media reports on Friday.

According to Yahoo Sports, Hollins was “red-flagged” because of existing health worries. Numerous other media outlets corroborated the report about the 66-year-old assistant, whose age puts him at risk for severe issues should he contract the coronavirus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Bzdelik, 67, won't be part of the Pelicans' group heading to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex for the restart of the NBA season, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. The New Orleans Times-Picayune confirmed the report, with both outlets adding that the status of Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry, 65, remains uncertain.

Two other NBA head coaches fall in the CDC's high-risk category: the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich, 71; and the Houston Rockets' Mike D'Antoni, 69.

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NBA coaches union president Rick Carlisle, the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks, said Wednesday that the league would not bar staffers from entering the “bubble” based solely on their age.

Carlisle said, according to ESPN, “We'll see who ends up going, not going, etc. But we were very encouraged to hear that age alone would not be something that would keep you from going to Orlando.”

Lakers coach Frank Vogel had said Thursday that the team had a “fairly miserable experience” attempting to finalize the list for its 36-person traveling roster ahead of the trip to the Orlando area.

“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,” Vogel 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.”

According to ESPN, Hollins will continue to work with Vogel and the rest of the staff remotely.

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Hollins was an NBA champion for the Portland Trail Blazers in 1976-77, then earned All-Star honors the following year. He played 10 years in the NBA, appearing for five teams.

He had three stints as head coach of the Vancouver/Memphis Grizzlies franchise and also spent 1 1/2 years as head coach of the Brooklyn Nets. His overall head-coaching record is 262-272.

Bzdelik was the Denver Nuggets' head coach from 2002-03 to early in the 2004-05 season, amassing a 73-119 record.

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