New rumors have emerged concerning the NBA’s continued efforts to make a “bubble” campus iteration of its G League a reality for the 2020/21 season.
The location for such an event has yet to be finalized. While Adam Zagoria of Forbes says (Twitter link) that the bubble may not happen in Atlanta for logistical reasons, Dave McMenamin of ESPN says Atlanta remains the frontrunner, though Orlando is also a candidate to host. A source tells Zagoria that a phone conversation that includes all 29 team presidents is scheduled for next week so that clubs can “get closer to a final decision.”
McMenamin also explains the reasoning behind teams opting out of the 2020/21 season entirely. As McMenamin details, G League president Shareef Abdur-Rahim requested that clubs volunteer to pass on the bubble, as the G League would not be able to safely accommodate 29 franchises.
Per McMenamin’s sources, the G League hopes to pare down its bubble team tally to between 14-20 clubs, in much the same way that the 2019/20 summer restart in Orlando was limited to just 22 of 30 teams.
So far, 10 teams have agreed to opt out, according to McMenamin. That list includes the Maine Red Claws, the affiliate for the Celtics, and the Lakers’ affiliate, the South Bay Lakers, as our JD Shaw reported earlier this month. Meanwhile, 12 teams have committed to participating in the bubble season. Other teams have yet to make a determination.
As was outlined last month, the new G League Ignite team, centered around several star 2021 draft prospects including Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga, is expected to participate. McMenamin reports that showcasing the Ignite is a big motivating factor behind the push for a 2020/21 G League season.
The league expects play to run from January through March, with fewer than the standard 50 games for its season. Marc Berman of The New York Post (Twitter link) hears that the shortened season could start around January 10.