Community Shootaround: Should The NBA Go Back To A “Bubble”?

The NBA’s closed-campus experiment at Disney World was hailed as a huge success that enabled to league to complete its 2019/20 season and crown a champion without any interruptions from COVID-19. However, there was no desire to repeat the experience for an entire season as teams preferred to play in their home arenas, even if no fans were allowed.

But that decision carried risks, which are already beginning to overwhelm the new season. Only one game has been canceled so far — a season-opener between the Rockets and Thunder because Houston didn’t have enough eligible players — but several teams are operating with depleted rosters due to positive coronavirus tests and contact tracing mandated by the league’s health and safety protocols.

The Sixers had just eight eligible players this afternoon as they lost at home to Denver. Danny Green was the only Philadelphia starter to suit up for the game, while Dwight Howard and Tyrese Maxey were the only other members of the rotation who played.

The team’s predicament began Thursday when Seth Curry learned that he had tested positive for the virus. Tobias Harris, Shake MiltonMatisse Thybulle and Vincent Poirier shared a table with Curry at a team meeting that day, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, so they are required to quarantine for contact tracing. They will likely be unavailable for an entire week, which means three more missed games.

“We don’t know,” said coach Doc Rivers, whose season may be derailed after a 7-2 start. “We don’t know anything. We have to make that assumption, I guess. I mean, they were at a table. So it wasn’t like close contact. So maybe that will shorten their days. I don’t know that. But I guess even that’s too close. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t get that whole (thing).”

The 7-3 Celtics may be headed for the same situation. Star forward Jayson Tatum has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, joining Robert Williams, Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson in quarantine. Boston’s injury report for tomorrow’s game mentions all but eight players, which is the minimum needed for the game to be played.

Tatum’s test has also affected the Wizards because he talked after the game to Bradley Beal, who is now subject to health and safety protocols for contact tracing. The Nets, Nuggets, Spurs, Grizzlies and Mavericks are also short on players because of quarantine issues.

Kendra Andrews of The Athletic believes the NBA is making a mistake by forcing games like the one today in Philadelphia to be played. She notes that virus rates are higher now in many places than they were when the league suspended play in March, and basketball is an easy way for germs to spread because of close contact and shared equipment.

The league isn’t at a crisis situation yet, but it’s headed in that direction. Without the controlled environment that was in place at Disney World, the athletes face a lot more potential exposure to COVID-19, and just one case can change the course of a season.

We want to get your opinion. Do you believe the NBA can play an entire season under the current conditions or will it need to revert to a “bubble” alternative at some point? Please leave your responses in the comments section.

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76 thoughts on “Community Shootaround: Should The NBA Go Back To A “Bubble”?

  1. hoopsaremylife

    yes da nba should if the covid outbreak gets worse and some covid prevention guidelines right now aren’t effective.

  2. bigeasye

    Well the rest of us have figured out how to work with it- yes that means losing employees for two weeks and others for contact tracing. This virus isn’t going away any time soon, so if they want to earn their millions, they should figure out how to play. A bubble is not realistic for the entire season.

    • wagner13

      “if they want to earn their millions, they should figure out how to play.”

      Exactly how are they supposed to accomplish that while in quarantine? Please don’t complain without offering a viable solution. The Sixers played today with just three players on their roster who had played non-garbage minutes (Green, Maxey, and Howard). Is this really the kind of basketball fans want to watch?

      • Special Agent

        I hear you but the NBA is trying hard not to cancel games. It has and will but it has to draw the line somewhere or cancellations could become chronic.

  3. Marty McRae

    Absolutely, they never should have tried otherwise until the season after this one.

    • Little_Dunker_45

      The league isn’t run on charity. You don’t just pull the plug for a season.

      • Marty McRae

        How do you relentlessly make leaps like this? You aren’t even replying to what I wrote at this point, we can all see I said “yes go back to the bubble” and your reply is “no we cant pull the plug on a season”. I want them to play the season in the bubble, but you are twisting words that we ALL can see.

        You are just trolling and it sucks to enough to read, let alone get replied to.

        Look, you lost, get over it. Get a new hobby that isn’t so toxic.

        • Little_Dunker_45

          Lost what? U changed ur user name after I dunked on u lol. That’s a Dub. A good one too, not like the ones in oakland.

          You are saying, they never should have tried to play a season without a bubble. So the only way to play the season is with a bubble, which is too expensive.

          So the alternative is wait a year, like you said, which means a full year of no basketball revenue, but a season worth of basketball expenses (players still need to get paid). This is also too expensive.

          So what option are you presenting that does not rely on charity, or people forgoing salaries or revenue they would have otherwise made? How does the league start the next year millions of dollars in debt? The owners are not just going to fork over cash out of the goodness of their heart, and some may not even have it.

          So what’s your solution? I’ll wait…

          • Little_Dunker_45

            Still waiting Marty. See you found time to call me a troll and a liar, but no time to back up anything you say.

            Also remember when you said youd never reply to anything I wrote ever again? Another Dub for Lil D

    • hoopsaremylife

      ofc. wow finally u said something logical for once, sillivan instead of proposing bizarre and ineffective trade deals. good job on that. nah bro im just joking health is important than money cuz thats pretty much wut this year is all about

  4. KnickerbockerAl

    They should all be in their own team and personal bubble. They don’t need contact with anybody outside their team. And if their family is with them or girlfriends. Then they need to stay indoors too. All who are part of team including family. Should have no contact while season is on. In 5 months you can have playoffs in bubble if you need to. Hopefully in 6 months we all get vaccinated.

    • Little_Dunker_45

      Yeah, good luck stopping even just 1 of those people from going in and out. You can’t just lock people up for 6 months.

      • hoopsaremylife

        lol danuel house snuck in an IG model during da bubble season last year so idk how da a bubble will be effective but still one way and another, they’re going have to end up implementing a bubble system if da outbreaks intensifies

        • Little_Dunker_45

          Okay so they’re going to spend millions of dollars to create a bubble that doesn’t work? Huh?

      • KnickerbockerAl

        Forget your experience in prison for a min. This is called being a responsible adult. Not too difficult. If all you have to do is work out. Have food delivered. Stay in a nice home. And stay only within your quarantined family and coworkers. When you have the ability to control outside contact for only 5 months. It’s not that difficult. Only solutions

      • emac22

        It’s so cute when people with ADHD think everyone exists in the same state of zero self control.

        You aren’t normal little dude. Stop thinking other people are like you.

    • Yes but here’s the thing. We’ve been doing this bubble crap since last March. I’ve been locked down at home by myself at three months at a time. This thing is going to make its rounds.. it’s obviously not going away no matter what we do. Like other flu years except this one’s more catastrophic, this thing will make its major wave through society and go away until the next one. We just have to live our lives and be safe… nothing we do can eliminate this by locking down. We’ve been trying that haven’t we the last year?

  5. Sillivan

    LaMelo Ball vs Hawks

    As a bench
    22, 12, 11

    9-13 and 3-5 shooting

    How often does a bench have triple double and win?

    Ball has knocked down two all star point guard starters Luka and Young

    • hoopsaremylife

      ofc cuz lamelo is a gunna turn into a star while lonzo wus just a regular bust who’s still searching fro a path to stardom even tho he played college ball

  6. PhilsPhan221

    I said they were stupid not to do another bubble in the first place; didn’t think I was wrong then, pretty sure I’m not wrong now.

  7. Little_Dunker_45

    Not even sure why this is a community shootaround. Bubble not happening no matter how bad the armchair GMs want it. It’s way too expensive, and even if they did organize it the season would have to be cut short — no way players are going into a bubble for 6 months. Not to mention all the revenue that’s being lost already.

    Yes, it worked for the playoffs, but the situation was much different. These are not just players on your 2k team, they are human beings with lives beyond the sport, with money on the line beyond your MT budget. Sorry to disappoint.

    If I’m wrong I’ll relinquish my title as top 3 commenter.

    I won’t be wrong.

    • I think the hoop rumors staff has already knocked you down to # 45. See it in your username right there? Used to be 3 in the first 20 minutes of your sign up, but several post later it started dropping.

      Just playing bro, taking the opportunity to try to be funny.

      • Little_Dunker_45

        I’m 45 because MJ is 23 and I’m right behind him when it comes to basketball

        • Love it. Good stuff.

          You’re a player? What part of the country are you in? I still play and I’m a little bit older but I love it. Pick up ball is so amazing. I’m in Cali and Florida and almost everywhere in between. You name the City and I’ll tell you where the pickup ball is LOL

          • Little_Dunker_45

            Oh I dont mean playing basketball I just mean basketball like in general

  8. Down with OBP

    Yes. Unless they find another country to play in – the US response to the disaster is a disaster.

    • hoopsaremylife

      ikr. imagine living in a country who’s leader denies da existence of covid and got a bunch of ppl who deny it too and dont listen. there are back to back disasters rn with a country in turmoil and a raging pandemic. rip 2021, da only thing right do is just to stay safe. thats pretty much da basic moral of 2021

      • This thing ng is Global there’s nothing we can do about it. It’s going to make its rounds. Stay at home or not. Wear a mask everywhere or not. People wear a mask for 9 months and say screw it and we’ve got exploding numbers. What are you going to do?

        Let this thing pass-through and take down who it takes down and we move on to the next one. This month in California we had MANDATORY stay-at-home LOCKDOWN and I still sit in traffic on a Thursday afternoon. Hopefully when it gets warmer this thing Fades this year. Fingers crossed.

        • emac22

          There is a vaccine and if people are patient hundreds of thousands will be saved.

          I don’t know what makes you care more about money than lives but you couldn’t be more wrong and I don’t even think you could be stupid enough to believe what you’re saying.

  9. bigguccisosa300

    Seems pretty logical to me since what they were doing worked, and what they’re doing now is not working.

    That being said a lot of guys are not gonna be down. And I don’t think there’s much they can do if they do go to a bubble, other than abandon their teammates.

  10. There’s no good answer.

    I also wonder how players are dealing with their mental health. It all seems like a burden, not much fun.

    • Exactly hill@. There’s no good answer. We locked down and then we don’t. We wear masks and then we don’t. This thing’s out of control.

      But the wrong answer is to shut everything down. It hasn’t helped in California the numbers are through the roof. Newsome is destroying small businesses and they still have the worst numbers. I’m in Florida now and everything’s open.. bars, clubs, and I don’t see a different set of numbers like double or triple the infections of California. As you say there’s nothing we can do, there’s no good answer.

      • emac22

        I thought you lived in California?

        If you did you would know everything has never been locked down.

        Why do people lie when they know that people are dying from misinformation?

      • hoopsaremylife

        12,000 new cases. are u delusional gary? u honestly think covid has immeediately vanished in Florida

        • Wake up, reading is fundamental. But I’ll summarize my 12 pages of notes here. Doesn’t matter what we do..the real lockdowns in California ( yes I live in California been there last year up until mid-December. I wouldn’t lie why would I? There’s no point in it..) or the zero lockdowns in Florida ( I’m living in Florida for the winter. Be here 4 months probably. January February March April.)

          The numbers are through the roof. Get it? But as I said a couple times, wash your hands, wear a mask, and be safe. Oh, and money.

          • hoopsaremylife

            not everything is locked down, man. u wake up cuz u think florida has contained covid. not everything is shut down in CA, u should watch da news more or something cuz u dont go arounds= spreading misinformation when addressing a national crisis. ay man is hollywood shut down? no. how come malls and other indoor entertainment r still opened?????? da problem is that essential stuff arent opened like schools that could benefit under extreme covid protocals and precautions. u keept thinking lockdowns arent effective. they reduced da case toll to just 20k in mid may and wus bout to keep dropping until they reopened way too early.

    • Appalachian_Outlaw

      I think the best answer would be to do a bubble, but even that comes with it’s own set of hurdles. I agree with your general sentiment though- there is no easy answer.

      In our shootaround here we have a wide range of viewpoints, and I’m sure you’d find the same among the NBA player community. That’s a challenging thing to bridge.

      My personal opinion as a non-Sixers fan is no team should ever be forced to play with 7 players. What if a guy had been injured? You’ve got one sub. It’s a bad look for the league. Maybe they should expand rosters with 2 or 3 non-dressed players who could play for Covid reasons, and not count those against the cap? I don’t know, there is no easy solution.

  11. A bubble environment seems like the best option for player safety, but that was enacted so they could finish the season. I’m sure players wouldn’t be thrilled to play out this season and playoffs in a bubble again

  12. It’s looking like the nba will have to do something, having star players sit out a week for ‘contact tracing’ is not a good look/good product.

    They should do temporary bubbles. Something like 6 weeks playing get 20 games in at a time than 10 days or so at your home market. Obv get Re-tested but that way they can see their families once in a while. Do this like 4 times and you can get close to the necessary reg season games.

    I don’t know all the logistics but I’ve heard something like this proposed before. Not sure if it’ll end up being necessary as the nfl has been doing alright. But it is an alternative option.

      • x%sure

        Not a waste of time or money, compared to locking them up for an extended period of time, which would be a difficult thing to even ask of a varied population like ‘players’ and ‘staff’. That will probably never happen without periods of relief.

        Not sure if it’s a waste compared to the present philosophy.

        I think it’s okay for teams to play with partial rosters. If it affects W-L records or the who gets the title, fine. Something is always going to affect that.

  13. "Stons" Fan

    I thought they would do a week in week out bubble. Have 2 bubbles west and east and half the conference plays each other for a week. The other half plays the other week. Gives guys only 6 days to play 3 games and they have a whole week to practice and be with family and friends. But it is too late for that now.

  14. GoLandCrabs

    Baseball and football had the same issues and worked through them which much larger rosters. If NBA can’t make it work that would be a massive failure.

    • Great idea. Little bit bigger rosters so players going down can be absorbed a little better. Forgot about that in baseball and football.

      But then the next guy will say who wants to see Allen Smailegic and Omari Spellman bang underneath while the stars are on protocol?

  15. El Don

    The Doc is sooo right… “I don’t get that whole (thing)”
    No one does Doc!

  16. Reflect

    That’s not for others to decide. Sure the bubble is way safer but happiness and sanity are also important. I respect whatever decision the NBA players and owners make.

  17. Northern Expansion 416

    Numerous amounts of players are out due to covid protocols. I think it’s definitely something to consider…

  18. No, not for the entire season. Last year’s experience should argue against it. They can have a lower bar for postponements, and then maybe a bubble for a few weeks at the end of the season to play postponed games that couldn’t otherwise be rescheduled.

  19. DarkSide830

    if the players were okay with it then yes. the problem is i dont think a bubble would work for the whole season. that’s why no other sport has taken that approach.

  20. KnickerbockerAl

    The real world is full of hypocrisy. Making a Pandemic political is proof of that. If you don’t get 360,000 plus dead Americans in less than a yr. You will never get it. If we had a national plan from beginning. We could be Denmark or South Korea. Instead we are worse than El Salvador, we can’t even agree on personal space. Is it really so bad to take 6 months of strict life protocols. To get in front of this virus. If there was a National mandate for masks from beginning. We could of saved 100,000 lives. And been out in front of this instead of fearing new strains. Division is a recipe for defeat. And in war it’s a recipe for Death. This is a freakin kids game. So now we can’t control the kids. Man TFU and be responsible. There’s light at the end of the tunnel now. Peace

    • hoopsaremylife

      yup, some ppl in da usa treat a pandemic as a politicalm stuff and use it to make up some stupid conspiracies

  21. Little_Dunker_45

    A bigger issue with the virus beyond mangled rosters is all of the injuries we’ve seen. Even a bubble would not have mitigated a condensed training camp/offseason, which may or may not be the reason so many guys are getting hurt.

  22. emac22


    I get trying it without one but with the new mutated strains being so much more infectious I don’t see how you can avoid it.

    Or why anyone wealthy would want to try.

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