With the NBA set to resume the 2019-20 season with 22 teams who were invited to participate in the restart at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, it has led to a discussion for those left on the outside.
The aforementioned selected teams will arrive between July 7-9 and players will be required to turn in negative coronavirus (COVID-19) tests before being allowed to engage in basketball activities.
Those who are cleared will then be able to practice and workout ahead of the July 30 restart date. While the plans for the remainder of the regular season are set, there is still the question as to what the other eight teams who will not be playing in Orlando will do.
Those teams have reportedly asked to play games as the layoff between the hiatus and the 2020-21 season would deprive those players a chance to compete as well as any extra basketball-related revenue.
According to Sam Amick of The Athletic, there appears to be growing momentum for the league and the NBPA to institute another bubble-like environment for these teams:
Those ideas have been shared openly on the league’s weekly general manager’s call, sources say, with the latest iteration on Thursday including optimism that a solution would be found and a continued focus on building an environment that’s on par with the Walt Disney World campus when it comes to the extensive precautions taken. Sources say Las Vegas and Houston were among the cities mentioned by league officials as possible locations on the Thursday call.
The eight teams also argued that a lack of games sets them behind the rest of the league when it comes to improving both on and off court culture:
The frustration from most of these teams, sources say, is that the ones not in Orlando now face a competitive disadvantage going forward when it comes to player and culture development.
When the NBA and NBPA were originally discussing plans for the restart, Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett advocated strongly for each team to play, citing financial and competitive implications for small-market teams. Although the Thunder are one of the 22 teams who will be attending Orlando, Bennett’s point about still stands for the teams who will be missing out.
All the attention has been rightfully focused on the teams who will be competing in the coming months, but this is another unique problem that the NBA and NBPA will have to figure out as it is an unfair situation for those teams. Assuming things go well in the bubble at Walt Disney World, the league could ultimately decide to move forward with another neutral site for those teams.
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