The NBA bubble continues to be successful in keeping 22 teams of NBA players and staff free from COVID-19. The eight teams that didn’t get invited into the bubble may feel left out of the whole experience, but they may not feel that way for much longer.
Sam Amick of The Athletic reported that the NBA is seriously considering having those eight teams come to the Orlando bubble for training and workouts once the playoffs begin.
What happened to the second bubble?
The NBA had reportedly been coming up with a plan for a second bubble for the eight non-playoff teams, or, failing that, in-market minicamps. Due to the COVID-19 shutdown, players on those teams could go eight months without formal team workouts and training, and the NBA wants to try to mitigate that.
According to Amick and Shams Charania, plans for a second bubble or in-market minicamps have fallen apart due to both safety and financial concerns. Keeping the Orlando bubble COVID-free is no small task, and it’s costing the NBA a large amount of money. Setting that up in another location just for eight teams to have workouts and scrimmages in another location would be difficult. Not only would it be hard to guarantee Orlando bubble-level safety, there’s no financial upside because those eight teams have no playoff games to broadcast.
How would this work?
Instead of duplicating all the work that the league did in Orlando, the NBA is considering using that bubble to help the teams that haven’t seen each other since mid-March.
When the playoffs start on Aug. 17, six of the 22 bubble teams will be going home. That immediately opens up some room for at least six of those eight teams to come into the bubble and start training. Another eight teams will go home after the first round of the playoffs, which means that all the non-playoff teams have enough room to stay in the bubble and train. The NBA finals aren’t scheduled to begin until Sept. 30, so those teams could get over a month of time to train and scrimmage.
It won’t completely make up for the time lost due to the COVID-19 shutdown, but it’s certainly better than waiting another three to four months for the next season to begin — if it even begins on time. With so much about the 2020-2021 season up in the air, getting those teams any training time at all is vital.
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