What is the 2020-21 NBA season going to look like?
If there isn't a readily available vaccine for COVID-19 when games most likely begin in December, are all 30 teams going to fly around the country for 41 road games per usual?
Will the Warriors be allowed to have fans in attendance at Chase Center, while perhaps a team like the New York Knicks can't have any? Will that answer be determined by local health officials on a market-by-market basis?
Is the best option trying to replicate a bubble like the current situation in Orlando for the 2019-20 restart?
Does ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski have any answers to these questions yet?
NBA’s priority remains to get fans into arenas next season. Regional pods for extended periods are among brainstorms, but preference would be that those are finite in length, sources said. For example: A month or two inside, a month out. Early in planning; everything's on table. https://t.co/fkuSyy1TwG— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 29, 2020
So this "regional pod" idea is very interesting, and is something my brother mentioned a couple of weeks ago. Yours truly thought he stole the idea from an NBA podcast, but he swears he came up with the outline himself.
In a nutshell -- you set up two 15-team bubbles and have each franchise play "x" number of games over a specific period of time (perhaps six weeks), before letting everybody go home to their families for a couple of weeks. Then, you mix the teams up and repeat the same formula until you achieve a full 82-game schedule (or maybe fewer if it makes more sense).
Do you play any back-to-backs, or set up an every-other-day formula? Would it possible to play every other team at least twice like normal, or would modifications need to be made? Would you still have eight teams from each conference reach the playoffs, or go with the 16 best records?
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The powers that be in the league office have plenty of time to hash out the particulars, as there are a plethora of variables to address. And it goes without saying that all players and coaches and team personnel would be subject to strict testing protocols like they are right now. That's an automatic.
Hey speaking of testing -- Warriors general manager Bob Myers two weeks ago said the franchise is emphasizing its importance.
"We're putting every foot forward to make sure we can have fans and it can be safe," he said. "We're probably in a great market with all the technology we have and all the medical affiliates in the city ...
"A lot of our focus has been on testing safely -- making sure our players are safe, making sure fans are safe, making sure our arena is safe. Luckily we've got a brand new arena, which is up to all the latest standards.
"So we have some advantages, but it's a daunting deal."
Everything is fluid. And what might make the most sense now could look foolish in one week or four weeks or four months from now.
So far, things are going very well in the Orlando bubble.
The NBA and NBPA have announced the following: pic.twitter.com/ePfr1JFeOk— NBA (@NBA) July 29, 2020
And Michele Roberts told ESPN's Tim Bontemps on Tuesday that returning to a similar format might be the only way forward next season.
"If tomorrow looks like today, I don't know how we say we can do it differently," the executive director of the NBPA said. "If tomorrow looks like today, and today we all acknowledge -- and this is not Michele talking, this is the league, together with the PA and our respective experts saying, 'This is the way to do it' -- then that's going to have to be the way to do it."
As Woj said -- everything's on the table.