NBA rumors: Warriors, league could play in 'regional pods' next season

NBA rumors: Warriors, league could play in 'regional pods' next season

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?

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?

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

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. 

[RELATED: Report: Dubs 'looking for best deal,' $250M loan not done]

So far, things are going very well in the Orlando bubble.

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.

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram

Warriors' Steph Curry jokes about waking up in NBA's Orlando bubble

Warriors' Steph Curry jokes about waking up in NBA's Orlando bubble

Steph Curry is jonesin' to play basketball.

The Warriors superstar misses the game so much that when he woke up on a recent morning, he thought he was in the NBA's Orlando bubble.

OK, maybe not. Clearly, Steph needs to work on his acting skills. But the sentiment isn't too far off.

After five straight trips to the NBA Finals that saw Curry play roughly an extra 20 games a season, the two-time NBA MVP broke his hand in the fourth game of the 2019-20 season. He returned to play in one game in March, but a combination of Curry catching the flu and the coronavirus shutdown ended his season early.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

So between the end of the 2019 NBA Finals on June 13, 2019 and the potential start of the 2020-21 NBA season in December, Curry will have played five regular-season games in a year and a half.

So you can understand why Curry is dreaming of being in Orlando.

Alas, the Warriors finished the 2019-20 season with the worst record (15-50) in the NBA. They were one of eight NBA teams not invited to the NBA season restart at the Disney World complex in Orlando. The combination of Curry's injury, Klay Thompson's ACL injury and Kevin Durant's departure crushed the Warriors' hopes of a sixth straight NBA Finals appearance.

The bright side (of the bed) for Curry is that his body has been given an extended break, the longest of his professional career. After five long seasons, a long 18-month break could do Curry a lot of good.

[RELATED: Simmons wonders if Lillard is better than Steph]

The Warriors are expecting Curry and Thompson to come back healthy and rested when the 2020-21 season starts, ready for a return to NBA title contention.

Based on the video Curry posted, he's getting plenty of rest.

Bill Simmons wonders whether Damian Lillard is better than Steph Curry

Bill Simmons wonders whether Damian Lillard is better than Steph Curry

Steph Curry is a better basketball player than Damian Lillard.

We don't make that declaration in an attempt to slight Dame, because the Portland Trail Blazers star is awesome. We certainly aren't rooting against the Oakland native or saying he is overrated.

But we feel compelled to defend Steph when necessary. And we are doing that now because of the following back-and-forth that took place Monday on "The Bill Simmons Podcast."

Simmons: "Dame -- I don't know where he is on the top-10 players in the league list and what the qualifications are -- but is Curry better than him at this point?"

Ryen Russillo: "Oh come on. Let's take it easy. Don't do this when Curry's missed a year."

Simmons: "I'm not talking about career. I'm not talking playoff chops (or) stuff like that. I'm just talking game-to-game, the stuff Dame is doing now consistently, reminds me of Curry. I feel like he's money. He's in the top eight or nine for me now. And I don't know what the list is. But I just think he's great."

Lillard is great. No doubt about it. And the 30-year-old was fantastic in Portland's first two games in the Orlando bubble.

[RUNNIN' PLAYS PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

But we need to remind everybody -- again -- what happened during the Warriors' sweep of the Blazers in the 2019 Western Conference finals:

Curry: 36.5 points, 7.3 assists, 46.9 percent overall, 42.6 percent 3s
Lillard: 22.3 points, 8.5 assists, 37.1 percent overall, 36.8 percent 3s

Yes, Lillard is putting up big statistics this season with 28.9 points and 8.0 assists per game. But his shooting numbers -- 45.6 percent overall and 39.1 percent from 3-point range -- don't match up to what Steph did last season: 47.2 percent overall and 43.7 percent from beyond the arc.

[RELATED: The disrespect Steph gets absolutely blows Redick's mind]

The day possibly will come when Dame is considered the superior player by the majority of the basketball world. We aren't that naive.

But it definitely has not arrived yet.

So the answer to Simmons's question is ...

... "yes."

Follow @DrewShiller on Twitter and Instagram