The NBPA held a conference call last week to discuss on the NBA’s return-to-play plan at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.
It was approved, and players touched on a number of details about what the remainder of the season will look like once it begins July 31. According to the preliminary schedule, teams will begin practicing together in their home training facilities towards the end of June.
Then, on July 7, they will travel — with a limited party size — to Orlando where they will set up shop in the bubble. While there won’t be any hard tracking of players, they have been told that it’s mandatory to stay within the bubble until their tea=m is eliminated.
Some other details, including potential exhibition games and a population limit within the bubble, were discussed as well, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic:
– A plan to play 2-to-3 exhibition games before regular season
– 1,600 maximum people on campus
With the regular season starting on July 31, the exhibition games could begin fairly soon after entering the bubble. Perhaps teams will get to practice for a little more than a week, then the exhibition games will begin. For fans, these might be the most viewed exhibition games in NBA history.
A 1,6000person maximum sounds like a lot on the surface, but actually makes sense when it’s broken down. The NBA is reportedly looking into a maximum travel party size of 35 people. With 22 teams bringing 35 people, that’s 770 just for the teams themselves.
On top of that, there’s family that will be allowed to join during the playoffs. There’s also some media, referees, health officials, and league executives that will ensure everything runs smoothly.
Perhaps the most controversial idea is that of pumping in crowd noise, whether it be from NBA 2K or another source. The NFL received some pushback when they announced that they may have to bring in fake crowd noise for their upcoming season, which means the same may happen for the NBA.
However, technology has come far enough to where crowd noise can be put in to a televised broadcast rather seamlessly. Although it will be obvious that there are no fans, it would be better to have ambient crowd noise than to not have it.