Despite the rumors that the 2020-21 NBA season could start as soon as Dec. 22, there remains so much uncertainty surrounding what the next season will even look like.
Players Association executive director Michele Roberts was one of the brilliant minds behind the Walt Disney World bubble, which proved itself to be a massive success. While the NBA had zero cases throughout the entire run in the bubble, the same cannot be said for the other leagues that did not follow the same approach.
Major League Baseball almost had to shut their season down on multiple occasions, with major outbreaks affecting more than one roster. And now, the NFL has new cases weekly, needing to change their schedule around constantly.
Because of this, Roberts believes that a bubble might be the only way to successfully have a 2020-21 season, even if it is a logistical nightmare, according to Mark Medina of USA Today:
“We probably have to do something bubble-like. But at the very least, we have to consider the length of time we’d expect these men to be in that kind of environment,” Roberts said. “It’s a lot easier if we put you back on campus. But I don’t think anyone wants to do that. And if we do it, we don’t want to do it for any length of time.”
A bubble for an entire 72-game season — as the current reports suggest — would be an impossible task. The WNBA committed to a bubble for the entirety of their 2020 season, but their seasons are far shorter. A 72-game regular season and full playoffs could take upwards of eight months, making a bubble not feasible.
While following the MLB and NFL formula would be no one’s first choice, given the amount of flaws, it may be the only way to get through an entire season without having to force players into another bubble.
Players in the bubble for the 2020 playoffs, including from the champion Los Angeles Lakers, constantly referred to the bubble as an unheard of mental and physical challenge. It seems as though nobody would want to go through it again.
Training Camp reportedly scheduled to begin Dec. 1
While the NBA continues to figure out what a season will look like, it appears they already have the dates set. A Nov. 18 Draft, followed by free agency, then a Dec. 1 start to training camp.
This truncated timeline would allow the league to get back to the normal October-June schedule for the 2021-22 season.
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