The NBA G League has officially announced that its shortened 2020/21 season will take place in a “bubble” at Walt Disney World, confirming the news in a press release. An exact start date has yet to be announced, but the season will tip off in February, per the NBAGL. Previous reports suggested a tentative opening night of February 8.
“We worked closely with our teams, the Basketball Players Union, and public health experts to develop a structure that allows our teams to gather at a single site and safely play,” NBAGL president Shareef Abdur-Rahim said in a statement. “We are thrilled to get back to basketball and to fulfill our mission as a critical resource for the NBA in developing players, coaches, referees, athletic trainers and front-office staff.”
Since at least November, a G League bubble has been in the works in order to avoid the frequent commercial travel associated with a typical NBAGL season. A late-December report indicated that the bubble would be set up at the ESPN Wide World of Sports, where the NBA resumed its ’19/20 season last summer.
As expected, 18 teams, including the G League Ignite, will participate in the season. Those teams are as follows:
- Agua Caliente Clippers of Ontario (Clippers)
- Austin Spurs (Spurs)
- Canton Charge (Cavaliers)
- Delaware Blue Coats (Sixers)
- Erie BayHawks (Pelicans)
- Fort Wayne Mad Ants (Pacers)
- G League Ignite (Select Team)
- Greensboro Swarm (Hornets)
- Iowa Wolves (Timberwolves)
- Lakeland Magic (Magic)
- Long Island Nets (Nets)
- Memphis Hustle (Grizzlies)
- Oklahoma City Blue (Thunder)
- Raptors 905 (Raptors)
- Rio Grande Valley Vipers (Rockets)
- Salt Lake City Stars (Jazz)
- Santa Cruz Warriors (Warriors)
- Westchester Knicks (Knicks)
As we previously relayed, the G League didn’t anticipate being able to accommodate all 29 of its teams in a Disney bubble, so clubs were asked to volunteer to opt out the season. That’s why 11 NBA teams’ affiliates won’t be in action this season. Those NBA franchises will have the ability to assign players on standard contracts and transfer players on two-way deals to another G League team via the flexible assignment rule.
According to previous reports, NBAGL teams are expected to play between 12 and 15 games before advancing to the postseason, which will begin in early March. Today’s press release indicates that the top eight teams will advance to a single-elimination playoff.
G League rosters will be made up of affiliate players, who signed Exhibit 10 contracts with NBA teams and were waived in December, and returning-rights players, who were on NBAGL contracts in previous years. Teams will also be able to directly add one “designated veteran” who has five or more years of NBA experience, and can select players in the G League draft, which will take place on Monday, January 11.
We passed along word on Thursday that NBA veterans such as Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley, Emeka Okafor, Justin Patton, Jacob Evans, and Shabazz Muhammad, among many others, will be eligible to be drafted next week.
Reports in the last 24 hours from Nicola Lupo of Sportando and G League expert Adam Johnson (all Twitter links) have indicated that Justin Dentmon, Josh Huestis, Mario Chalmers, and Festus Ezeli are among the other former NBA players who have signed NBAGL contracts and are draft-eligible.
The Ignite is the one team whose roster is made up a little differently. The newly-introduced squad consists of top prospects who decided to forgo college ball – including Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga – as well as a handful of veteran NBA and G League players – including Amir Johnson – who will serve as mentors.