NBA: Sacramento Kings at Denver Nuggets

(Reuters) – Denver Nuggets head coach Michael Malone has criticized the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) policy that prevents the families of coaches entering the bubble-like campus near Orlando, where the season resumed amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NBA, which was suspended in March due to the novel coronavirus outbreak, re-started in July at the Walt Disney World sports complex in Florida without fans and strict safety protocols in place.

Players were allowed to see family members for the first time this week, while referees have the option of bringing one guest into the bubble once the Conference Finals begin, ESPN said.

However, coaches are still prohibited from bringing family members into the bubble and Malone, who is married and has two children, said the policy was ‘criminal in nature.’

“The reason I bring this up is because the players have their families here, which is the right thing to do,” Malone, 48, told reporters.

“The referees are allowed to bring one guest, which is great. The coaches, the coaches are not allowed to bring anybody.”

“I say, ‘shame on you, NBA’. This is crazy. I miss my family. I think I speak for me… and probably all the coaches down here. 60 days and not being granted the privilege to have my family come here is criminal in nature.”

The National Basketball Coaches Association (NBCA) said in a statement they were determining the feasibility of allowing coaches’ families to enter the bubble.

“The challenges of being away from family for so long can be overwhelming. Discussions with the league office are ongoing. We will continue to work with the NBA to evaluate the viability of coaches’ families coming to Orlando as more teams exit,” the NBCA said on Twitter.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)