Yes, the 2019-20 restart in Orlando has been a resounding success. The games are exciting and entertaining to watch, players are having their needs met, and (most importantly) there hasn’t been a confirmed case of COVID-19 in weeks.
The NBA has become the picture and model of success on how to handle this Coronavirus pandemic.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t mean things will be reverting back to normal any time soon. Unless a successful vaccine is produced, the coronavirus still poses a serious threat and the importance of social distancing will remain a priority for the country and the leagues that operate within it.
As a result, we may see more of the bubble next season too. Except for this time, there may be more than one…
Meanwhile, there is talk of as many as four bubbles next season, according to sources. Given the league’s current success housing 22 teams at the Wide World of Sports Complex, a return to Disney is a given, as is using Las Vegas, the runner-up to Orlando this year.
New York and Dallas may also be set to house some teams as both have the capacity to hold an NBA bubble format. The league is also considering making divisional “pods” as they await a vaccine.
If the league wants to wait on a vaccine, it could also start the year by having six five-team “pods” – one for each division – and spend the first month playing all the divisional games. That’s 16 games each, or more if the NBA wanted to hack the schedule further. Then it can break for three weeks, come back and play in home arenas … maybe.
Of course, nothing has set in stone yet and it is still possible that we may see no bubble at all.
(via NBPA director Michele Roberts)
“There may be multiple bubbles,” Roberts said on SiriusXM. “There may be bubbles with a period of time away from the bubble. It may be that we don’t have a bubble at all.”
Obviously there are a number of possibilities that could play out next season and the only way we’ll know for sure what it will look like is when it’s actually going on.
But don’t be so quick to think we’ve seen the last of these “bubble” games. Things might not be normal for a while.