As 22 NBA teams prepare to report to Florida to resume the regular season, the league has yet to figure out what to do with the eight teams left out of the Orlando bubble.
And based on recent reports, there may be conflicting opinions between the league and those eight teams — creating doubt as to whether the teams will do anything at all.
According to The Athletic’s Sam Amick, some of the teams in the so-called “Delete Eight” are pushing for a site where all eight teams can train together and potentially play in televised games. Per the report, Cleveland, Detroit and Atlanta are among the most vocal teams in pushing for a secondary camp.
Charlotte, Chicago, New York, Minnesota and Golden State were the other teams who were eliminated from the playoffs when the NBA unveiled its plan to resume the regular season following the pause due to COVID-19.
The remaining 22 teams will conclude the regular season with 88 games played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex near Orlando, Fla. Each team will play eight games to determine the playoff field and seeding. The teams will remain sequestered at the ESPN campus, known as the Orlando bubble.
But whatever plan the Delete Eight come up with may ultimately be moot, as the league and even the union are reportedly cool on the idea of a de facto second league.
“I think there are conversations that could be had if there’s anything we can do with the other eight teams,” NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said during a conference call this week. “I know there are some players, particularly young players, that seem concerned they’re not getting enough (opportunities). I think our teams are incredibly smart and creative and can come up with ways to get their guys engaged, if not now, before the season starts.
“But I am very concerned and frankly, my concern aside, our players, our teams are very concerned about any — in terms of play that doesn’t have the same guarantees of safety and health that we’ve provided for the teams in Orlando. So yeah, never say never, but there’s a standard. It’s a standard that’s got to be met, and if it’s not met, next question, as far as I’m concerned.”
Earlier this month, Warriors coach Steve Kerr said he wasn’t interested in bringing the team with the worst record in the league back together to play games at this point.
“We’re in a different space and people understand that,” Kerr said on a June 9 conference call with reporters. “We’d be more interested in practice time.”