There had been a chance that a second NBA bubble would be held for those teams that didn’t make it to Orlando, kind of a consolation prize for the lowest-ranked teams. However, NBA officials are skeptical about taking the eight remaining teams that were out of the bubble experiment in Orlando to their own bubble tournament, mainly due to fears concerning COVID-19. Those remaining teams can most likely now pack their bags and head home, knowing their season is completely done.
The Bubble Experiment Conundrum
The bubble experiment inside Disney World has yielded great results for the NBA because everybody there has remained uninfected, and the basketball reboot has been great. No one can deny that the 22 teams in Florida are having a good time in terms of organization, safety and entertainment, or that fans are enjoying the games. However, for the eight teams not invited, it has been a confusing situation.
Having a concrete plan for the teams left out has been a dilemma for the NBA. Beginning this past summer, there were discussions about creating a second bubble experiment in Chicago. Nevertheless, executives in charge are hesitant that this will work out, according to a report from The Athletic. At this stage, forming a new bubble might be risky for all the members of the remaining teams. Even though they take extreme safety measurements, they could face the same situation with the Marlins in the MLB. There’s also the aspect of the money involved, which, although the league won’t admit it, may not be worth it.
This is bad news for the NBA’s eight franchises not in Orlando. The possibility of having a bubble site for minicamps and intrasquad scrimmages for those teams seems very unlikely to happen. One general manager told The Athletic, “There’s nothing happening. It’s a shame. It’s a huge detriment to these eight franchises that were left behind.” He made his comments after a phone call on Tuesday between team managers and league officials. The panorama is not good at all for these eight teams, but maybe something can be done to include them in some way in the current season. All teams that belong to the NBA are important, and their contribution to the league is undeniable.
Some sources state that when the season was shut down in March due to the pandemic, there was no point in bringing all 30 teams to Disney World. Ultimately, the NBA decided to invite only 22 teams to the bubble experiment, and that is because having all teams with nothing to play for would increase the risk of COVID-19 infections among the players and members involved. Indeed, some NBA executives believe that having 22 teams was too many in the first place. This decision goes beyond being unfair or selective; under these circumstances, safety and health are a priority. The NBA intention was not to put any team at a disadvantage, and this decision was made based on the current health crisis across the nation.
The purpose of sending these eight teams home was to protect them from a safety perspective; however, it was not good at all for them if we consider the sports point of view. It is actually detrimental for the teams because they haven’t played any games, or even held practices of any kind, in almost five months. These guys are getting rusty in terms of the sport and experience, and it might simply be time to put the issue to bed.
Undoubtedly, the teams not included in the league may feel frustrated and confused about all this, but the primary goal is to keep everybody safe from the virus. Only that way can there be a next NBA season, and, even then, another bubble experiment may be necessary. NBPA executive director Michelle Roberts recently stated that, if things don’t clear up soon, the NBA could return with the bubble format next year.