Rumor: 4 bubbles could be in play for 2020-21 NBA season
Some light has been shed on how the format of the 2020-21 NBA campaign might look. Clearly, the coronavirus pandemic is not going away anytime soon, and the league is already kicking around bold ideas for next season.
According to a report published by David Aldridge and John Hollinger for The Athletic, it appears that the NBA is looking at the possibility of setting up four separate bubbles:
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.
The report also states that New York and the Dallas-Forth Worth area have both been identified as the other two potential locations for the multiple-bubble approach for next season. Similar to Orlando and Las Vegas, both New York and Dallas-Fort Worth have the capacity to hold an NBA bubble format, and the league is already exploring both locations as a possibility.
Aldridge and Hollinger also presented a scenario in which the NBA waits on a vaccine and does divisional “pods” to start the season:
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.
Nothing is set in stone at this point, but what is clear is that the league is looking at any and all possibilities for next season. National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said as much in a recent interview on SiriusXM radio:
“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.”
The safety of the players and personnel are the top priority, so as it is, Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver are keeping their options very much open.