The NBA bubble has been a resounding success so far — the games have been enjoyable, players have been taken care of, and (most importantly) the area has remained free of COVID-19 infection.
In other words, things have been working out pretty much exactly according to plan and, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic, they may be ready to bring the other teams into the fold. In a recent report, he explained the growing likelihood that the NBA invites the infamous “Delete 8” teams out to join their colleagues in the bubble.
Sources say the NBA has been exploring that possibility for quite some time now, and that the idea was raised most recently on the aforementioned governors call. And in some ways, it makes perfect sense.
As NBPA executive director Michele Roberts has made clear all along, the union has been skeptical of any basketball setting that doesn’t match the Orlando approach in terms of precautions and protocol. But starting on Aug. 17, when six teams go home and the 16-team playoffs begin, space will be opening up inside this three-hotel, three-court, (seemingly) COVID-free community they have created.
Obviously, this isn’t the first time talks about some sort of “bubble” for the teams left out of the Orlando games have surfaced. In fact, since these plans were first announced, it seemed likely that an opportunity would be offered for the lottery teams to either compete in their own bracket or train their players in their own quarantine bubble zone.
But since things are working so smoothly in Orlando, why not just have them join the other 22? They wouldn’t be competing for the postseason, obviously, but it would give these players a chance to work in the same environment as everyone else.
It’s an interesting proposition and one that has not come without skepticism. Bringing more people into the bubble increases the likelihood that a COVID-19 outbreak takes place within the quarantine zone. Is it worth it to risk the health of teams during playoff season so that players of lottery teams have a safe space to workout?
I’m glad I’m not the one who has to answer that question…