The National Basketball Players Association has always viewed the NBA’s proposed start date of December 1 for the 2020/21 season as unlikely, a point that NBPA executive director Michele Roberts reiterated this week in a conversation with Chris Mannix of SI.com.
Roberts speculated that next season won’t start until early 2021. She also echoed another point she has made previously, suggesting that it’s hard to imagine how the NBA can play without a bubble if the state of the coronavirus pandemic doesn’t significantly improve.
“Right now I don’t see how sports can be played outside of a bubble concept,” Roberts told Mannix. “I don’t see that, given the state of where we are. Given the absence of a vaccine. Because as long as this thing spreads the way it spreads, the only way you can stop the spread from impacting their ability to perform, and this is at any job, is to isolate. Keep people separated and maintain as much distance as possible.
“Now, having said that, do I think our guys are going to be in a bubble for six or seven months? Hell no,” Roberts continued. “It’s not going to happen. I think what we’re going to have to do is figure out creatively how we can have bubble-like the environments that allow us to play the number of games that we believe we need to play in order to complete the season and crown a champion.”
According to Roberts, she has had “healthy conversations” with players about what next season might look like, but for now the focus remains on safely finishing the 2019/20 campaign.
Here’s more from around the NBA:
- Although Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo technically left the NBA’s campus for his recent oral surgery, the trip didn’t count as leaving the bubble and he wasn’t required to quarantine upon returning. As Joe Vardon of The Athletic explains, the league has “privatized” a dentist’s office in the Orlando area — players who go there and back from the Walt Disney World campus are considered safe, since the dentists and their assistants are tested daily.
- With 22 teams sharing Walt Disney World hotels and players across the NBA feeling united in the fight for social justice, there has been more fraternizing among rival players in Orlando than usual. Sources tell Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports that some coaches have encouraged players to dial back on those friendly interactions with opponents as the postseason approaches. Those requests have been “met with mixed reviews among players,” per Haynes.
- In an entertaining piece for ESPN.com, Brian Windhorst details how an oft-overlooked award – Executive of the Year – can inspire pettiness and jealousy among the NBA presidents and general managers who vote on the annual honor.