The eight teams that weren't invited to participate in the NBA's restarted season near Orlando might be allowed to gather in a separate “bubble” in Chicago, ESPN reported on Thursday.
While the 16 teams that are currently in playoff position and six others that are relatively close will resume action in late July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, the remaining eight teams were omitted from the plan.
The result would have seen the “Delete Eight” go without action from March 11, when the NBA paused the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic, until the start of the next season, currently scheduled to occur around Dec. 1.
The Chicago plan would allow the Charlotte Hornets, Chicago Bulls, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors to hold short training camps ahead of playing games against each other. Action reportedly would be similar to a summer league.
Teams would gather in Chicago in September, according to ESPN. The cost of the second “bubble” reportedly would be split among all 30 teams.
Per the report, the Chicago “bubble” is not finalized, and teams are also looking at a different plan that would have them compete in multiple regional sites.
National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver both would want the Chicago “bubble” to follow the same protocols as the Orlando-area “bubble,” with players and staffers relatively quarantined while receiving regular COVID-19 tests, per ESPN.
The report indicated that seven of the eight affected teams discussed the idea in a Thursday call, with the New York Knicks being the only absentee.
Multiple media outlets reported that the Knicks might opt out of the Chicago ”bubble,” if it occurs, preferring instead to have their own training camp. The Knicks, which is currently looking for a new head coach, would like to host a minicamp following the Oct. 16 NBA draft, according to the New York Post.
Pistons coach Dwane Casey maintains that most of the Delete Eight would rather have separate minicamps in light of news of multiple positive COVID-19 tests for the teams that are preparing to head to central Florida.
“We'd rather (have our own camp) than go to the bubble because unlike those teams in Orlando, we wouldn't be playing for the same reason,” Casey said, according to ESPN.
“The reason we want these minicamps is to get our team together, to have that camaraderie, to improve and enjoy some competition. We feel we can do that safely in our own environment. We can't let these guys sit around from March 11 to December without something. It's going to hurt their careers. It's too long of a layoff.”
Warriors general manager Bob Myers would be in favor of any plan that allows his players to get together.
“Our position is, 'Let us know what's possible,'” Myers said, according to ESPN. “Until we really know, it's hard to say. If we can get the majority of our players to go. And if it's beneficial, then we'll do that. If we can't, we'll take what we can get. This whole thing is about balancing health and safety. From a team standpoint, what solutions check as many boxes as it can?
“One of the things is, you try not to judge. Everybody is right in a certain sense. Whether we pursue the opportunity to get our young players some work in some safe environment locally or in a second bubble, we're support of the pursuit. Now whether we get there or not is really a health and safety thing.”
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