The NBA is moving forward with its long-awaited, 22-team season restart in Orlando. But the eight squads excluded from the action are not going quietly into that good offseason.
In addition to the Disney campus, the league is considering a second bubble — and in Chicago, no less — for those eight teams that missed the Orlando cut: the Charlotte Hornets, New York Knicks, Detroit Pistons, Cleveland Cavaliers, Atlanta Hawks, Minnesota Timberwolves, Golden State Warriors and, of course, the Bulls.
What would the second bubble entail? It’s not exactly clear yet, but presumably, some activity plan consisting of training camps and scrimmages would be the goal. But hurdles remain. NBA deputy commissioner Mark Tatum and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts were both clear in a conference call on June 27 that any bubble environment supplementary to the Orlando one would need to meet the same stringent safety protocols. The NBPA will need to agree to any plan the league formulates.
And then there’s the question of who exactly would participate in the second bubble — one that, at this point, seems as if it would be played mostly for training purposes, without competitive stakes and with the COVID-19 pandemic still swirling. Our K.C. Johnson reported that players would be allowed to opt out of the second bubble, which makes sense considering players have been afforded that right for the Orlando restart.
So, it will be interesting to track how members of the “Delete 8” teams digest and react to this news. Trae Young, who enjoyed a breakout second season with the 20-47 Hawks, made clear he’s just itching to hoop:
Ahhhh 💩...... just let me hoop !! https://t.co/kjw0uGvvMH— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) July 2, 2020
Former Bull and current Knick Bobby Portis reacted, in emoji form, with what we can only assume is skepticism. Portis has a roughly $15.8 million club option for 2020-21:
And Larry Nance Jr. of the Cavaliers provided some levity for the situation. A Cavs-Warriors rematch in the current climate would certainly be a long way off from the four consecutive NBA Finals matchups between the two from 2015-2019.
Who’s ready for a Cavs V Warriors part IV... 😂🤷🏽♂️ https://t.co/JAqI9orUw5— Larry Nance Jr (@Larrydn22) July 2, 2020
Now, back to the waiting game.