Discussions are continuing on what to do with the eight teams not involved in the NBA’s restart in Orlando, according to K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports. NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts addressed the topic during a conference call Friday, saying that any proposal must have the same strict health guidelines that are being used at Disney’s Wide World of Sports.
“We want the same (safety) standards to be met,” Tatum said. “There have been conversations that we’ve been having with the players association on how to do that and whether or not we can do that. We know it’s something that our teams would love to do, that some of the players would love to do. But, as Michele said, it has to be done in the right way. We’ll continue having those conversations with Michele and her team on what that looks like.”
The teams left out of Orlando — the Hawks, Hornets, Bulls, Cavaliers, Pistons, Warriors, Timberwolves and Knicks — are concerned about the competitive imbalance from having their players sidelined for so long. Assuming next season starts sometime in December, that will amount to a nine-month stretch without their players being involved in an NBA game.
The teams have discussed holding a mini-summer league, possibly in August, with a series of shared workouts followed by a few games. Considering the challenges of creating a bubble atmosphere in Orlando, it won’t be easy to find another site that could accommodate all eight teams while minimizing COVID-19 risks to make the setting safe for players and staff members.
“Candidly, while I appreciate that there will be a bit of a layoff, I think there are some things these teams can do to get the guys that are not playing some (benefit) by their not being involved in Orlando. But unless we could replicate in every way the protocol that’s been established for Orlando, I’d be — I’m being tame now — suspicious,” Roberts said. “I think there are conversations that could be had if there’s anything we can do with the other eight teams. I know there are some players, particularly young players, that seem concerned they’re not getting enough (opportunities). I think our teams are incredibly smart and creative and can come up with ways to get their guys engaged, if not now, before the season starts.
“But I am very concerned and frankly, my concern aside, our players, our teams are very concerned about any — in terms of play that doesn’t have the same guarantees of safety and health that we’ve provided for the teams in Orlando. So yeah, never say never, but there’s a standard. It’s a standard that’s got to be met, and if it’s not met, next question, as far as I’m concerned.”