Playing in the Orlando bubble this summer poses a unique challenge for any NBA player, especially for those with young families. Guests won’t be allowed to come to Orlando until the second round of the playoffs, which means players won’t see their families for roughly two months if they are able to advance in the postseason to the Conference Semifinals. Gordon Hayward has an even bigger conundrum though as he prepares to enter the Orlando bubble.
His wife Robyn is expecting their fourth child in September. What is normally a quiet time on the NBA calendar will be right in the heart of the NBA postseason with the Conference Finals expected to begin on September 11. It would have been completely understandable if Hayward declined playing in the Orlando bubble to stay with his wife during the tail end of her pregnancy. However, Hayward will be taking part, for at least the early parts of the Orlando bubble Whether or not the Celtics will still be playing playoff basketball when Robyn is due in September remains to be seen, but Hayward made one thing clear on Friday in a Zoom call. He will be leaving the bubble for the birth of his child at that time to be with his wife.
“It’s a pretty easy decision for me on that,” Hayward said. “I’ve been at the birth of every one of my children and I think there are more important things in life. So we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. I know the NBA has a protocol for that type of thing and hopefully, I can do the quarantining and testing the appropriate amount of time and then be back with the boys.”
Leaving the bubble in Orlando will make Hayward subject to the league’s regulations upon re-entering the bubble to play. Robyn is expected to give birth in Indiana as she will be staying with her family there prior to the birth.
“Our plan is for her to be in Indianapolis and be with family,” Hayward said. “That’s just where our family is at and it will make things easier on her.”
While players that elect to leave the Orlando bubble without permission would be subject to 10 days of quarantining and two negative tests before they are cleared to return to play, that won’t necessarily be the case for Hayward. He will get permission for departure from the NBA to leave the bubble for such a momentous family occasion. According to a league source, assuming he follows a very specific protocol in regards to travel and his personal interactions from league doctors when he is away, his quarantine period will be far less than 10 days. NBA protocol indicates Hayward would need to be in isolation for as few as four days upon returning to the bubble before being cleared to rejoin the Celtics (assuming he tests negative during quarantine during that time).
With the Conference Finals expected to take place on an every other day schedule, it’s likely Hayward