New Orleans presented a “very strong bid” to be part of the NBA’s restart before Orlando was chosen to host the whole thing, according to Christopher Dodson of Forbes. Sources with the team and local government tell Dodson that New Orleans was hoping to be among several participants in a multi-city plan.
“As the NBA looked to re-open, they did their due diligence and research on best potential in-market planning and what could cities and arenas pull off safely,” said Pelicans Senior VP of Communications Greg Bensel. “So in many markets with city and state restrictions it was going to be impossible, hence the bubble concept.”
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said the effort was a “bid to help save our tourism and promote that New Orleans was back and ready for business” in a tweet that was taken down about an hour after it was posted, adds Christian Clark of NOLA.com.
There’s more from the Southwest Division:
- The Pelicans deserve the soft schedule they received for the eight games in Orlando, argues Rod Walker of NOLA.com. New Orleans will play just two games against teams with winning records, but Walker points out that the Pelicans had the easiest remaining schedule before the hiatus and would have faced just three winning teams — the Jazz, Clippers and Sixers — over their final 18 games.
- Despite suffering a calf injury that will likely end his season, Courtney Lee plans to accompany the Mavericks to Walt Disney World, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Lee provides a veteran presence in the locker room and could be valuable to the team even if he doesn’t play. Because Willie Cauley-Stein opted not to play in Orlando, Dallas won’t need to create an opening to add Trey Burke, so Lee may remain on the roster (Twitter link).
- The Rockets will use their second training camp to fully incorporate Robert Covington into their style of play, writes Kelly Iko of The Athletic. Covington was acquired shortly before the trade deadline in early February and played just 14 games for Houston before the hiatus.