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Report: G-League season could be bubble format in Atlanta area

South Bay Lakers v Lakeland Magic

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 19: Travis Wear #24 of the South Bay Lakers slam dunks against the Lakeland Magic during the NBA G League Winter Showcase at Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on December 19, 2019. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Todd Lussier/NBAE via Getty Images)

NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA will tip-off the 2020-21 season on Dec. 22, a compressed schedule of 72 games with teams flying to visiting markets to play in arenas with limited or no fans. Why? Money. The NBA television contracts generate a lot of money and the league wants to honor them with something resembling a traditional season.

What about the G-League season? Negotiations on its season are ongoing, but the NBA’s developmental program does not come close to generating the kind of money that would have teams going out of their way to make sure it happens. Still, there needs to be a G-League season, which has the NBA thinking bubble again, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.

G-League teams originally were hoping to play games in their arenas and generate some revenue from ticket sales, but that seems unlikely this coming season.

A bubble scenario makes sense in terms of broadcasts and scouting (every team is in one place, not unlike the G-League Showcase event annually in Las Vegas). However, as noted in the report, rosters will be a challenge, especially with teams’ two-way players — usually their best players — spending more time in the NBA because of the condensed schedule (the NBA is allowing players 50 games with the big club).

Bubble or no bubble, the 2020-21 NBA season is going to be unusual.