A report earlier this week suggested that the idea of creating a second “bubble” this summer for the NBA’s bottom eight clubs to conduct organized team activities appeared to be losing steam.
However, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, league officials made it clear in a Wednesday conference call that they’re still trying to figure out as solution that will allow those teams to stay active. One idea that has been discussed, sources tell Amick, is bringing those bottom eight teams to the NBA’s first bubble at Walt Disney World.
As Amick explains, we’re just over a week away from six of the 22 teams participating in the Orlando restart being eliminated, which would open up more space at the Disney hotels and basketball courts. Two weeks later, after the first round of the playoffs ends, eight more clubs will be eliminated, leaving just eight of the original 22 on campus.
That could create an opportunity for the NBA to invite the bottom eight teams – the Warriors, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Hawks, Knicks, Pistons, Bulls, and Hornets – into its “bubble.” Presumably, players, coaches, and staffers would quarantine in Disney hotels for several days before being cleared to participate in group workouts, practices, and perhaps even inter-squad scrimmages.
Amick cautions that this idea is just being considered for now, with nothing decided as of yet. A number of the hotel rooms being vacated by teams by the end of the first round of the postseason are expected to be filled by family members of players on the remaining clubs, who will be permitted to bring guests onto the campus around the end of August. So the NBA would have logistical challenges to overcome to bring such a plan together.
It also seems unlikely that all of those bottom eight teams would be enthusiastic about traveling to Orlando, quarantining, and spending a period of time at the Disney campus. The Warriors are known to prefer the idea of group workouts in their own market, and the Knicks have been averse to the idea of a second bubble because they have a number of free agents on their roster who likely wouldn’t participate (any organized team activities the NBA approves are expected to be voluntary, not mandatory).
Still, it’s worth noting that one of the NBPA’s primary concerns about OTAs for the non-Orlando teams is a belief that it’d be difficult to replicate the Disney safety protocols at another location. Bringing those teams onto the Disney campus would be the simplest way to ensure that those players are subject to the same safety protocols, so the union would have to consider such a plan. We’ll see if anything comes of it.