Many of the eight NBA teams not participating in the summer restart in Orlando had been hoping to hold some form of mandatory offseason team activities to help bridge the gap between seasons and to keep their players engaged and active. However, the NBA and NBPA won’t allow any OTAs for those clubs to be mandatory, sources tell Marc Berman of The New York Post.
According to Berman, the NBA hasn’t ruled out the possibility of “informal group-setting team workouts” this offseason for those bottom eight teams. But any workouts would have to adhere to the state’s social distancing guidelines as well as league safety protocols. Additionally, they could only be voluntary, per Berman. Currently, players on those eight clubs can only conduct voluntary individual workouts at their teams’ practice facilities.
The NBA has been prioritizing getting all the necessary rules and guidelines in place for its summer restart for the league’s top 22 teams, so the eight non-Orlando clubs have taken a back seat for now. However, it should just be a matter of time before the league formally addresses potential offseason activities for those franchises.
Because those teams aren’t expected to play any real games for about nine months, some have lobbied the NBA to allow them to play in a single-site offseason tournament. However, given the level of planning – including a 113-page manual on health and safety protocols – that went into the NBA’s restart, it’s not considered worth it to replicate that process (albeit on a smaller scale) for the other eight clubs, says Berman.
As Berman notes, with no “bubble” being created for the non-Orlando teams, there’s concern about how to safely hold group workouts for players who would be going home to their families from their teams’ practice facilities. In a conference call last week, NBPA executive director Michele Roberts alluded to the fact that replicating the safety protocols in place in Orlando for the bottom eight teams would be a challenge.
“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.
The Warriors, Timberwolves, Cavaliers, Hawks, Pistons, Knicks, Bulls, and Hornets are the eight teams not participating in the restart this summer.