It’s been a rather eventful first week around the NBA bubble. Certain teams, like the Phoenix Suns, have shocked us with their unlikely success in Orlando, while others have unfortunately found themselves in free-fall after a string of bad luck that has threatened their prospects beyond the eight seeding games.
Regardless, the enterprise has mostly been a success, with the league reporting this week that none of the 343 players involved have tested positive for COVID-19 since their arrival at the Disney World campus, raising the specter of hope about potentially moving forward with a plan that could involve the remaining teams not currently participating in the restart.
On Monday, news emerged that for those eight remaining teams — Chicago, Atlanta, Cleveland, Charlotte, Detroit, Golden State, Minnesota, and New York — there was growing pessimism about the possibility of them heading to a second bubble location to train or participating in in-market minicamps before the start of the following season, which is tentatively slated to kick off sometime in December.
According to the latest report from Sam Amick of The Athletic, the NBA is apparently considering bringing those teams to the bubble in Orlando.
Sources say the NBA has been exploring that possibility for quite some time now, and that the idea was raised most recently on the aforementioned governors call. And in some ways, it makes perfect sense.
As NBPA executive director Michele Roberts has made clear all along, the union has been skeptical of any basketball setting that doesn’t match the Orlando approach in terms of precautions and protocol. But starting on Aug. 17, when six teams go home and the 16-team playoffs begin, space will be opening up inside this three-hotel, three-court, (seemingly) COVID-free community they have created.
With the current schedule, there would be a significantly abbreviated offseason between the current season and the 2021 season. The Finals are slated for early November, with the league shooting to begin the new season sometime in December. For those teams not currently in Orlando, that would make nearly nine months without basketball. Whether this comes to fruition or not remains to be seen, but it’s at least a way for those eight squads to get some of the rust off before next year tips off.
(Via The Athletic)