The NBA’s priority since the season shut down in March has been finding a way to get its best teams back on the floor so a champion could be crowned. They have done so with their planned Disney bubble, but that left the question of what to do with the league’s worst teams. Subjecting them to a nine-month offseason seemed unfair from a competitive standpoint, and if possible, allowing them to play extra games could help them make up some of the lost revenue of their seasons ending.
So, in the interest of solving those problems, the NBA is proposing the creation of a second bubble in Chicago, where the eight teams that aren’t making the trip to Disney would hold mini training camps and games for an undefined competitive purpose, according to ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. Nothing is imminent, however, and multiple reporters, including K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports and Sam Amick of The Athletic, have suggested that there is still a lot of work to be done in convincing NBPA executive director Michele Roberts to get behind the idea.
The NBA is currently targeting September to kick off this potential second bubble, according to MacMullan, and Wintrust Arena, which is connected to a hotel, is under consideration as a venue, according to Johnson. Multiple teams, including the Minnesota Timberwolves, have expressed interest in hosting.
Interest in a second bubble among teams has been mixed. While the Cleveland Cavaliers, Detroit Pistons and Atlanta Hawks would like to play, according to Amick, the New York Knicks have reservations due to their significant number of upcoming free agents. Additionally, it appears unlikely that the Golden State Warriors would risk the health of their best players, as they expect to return to contention next season.
If a second bubble does materialize, it could prove important to the continued development of younger teams. Lottery teams need all of the game reps that they can get, and taking nine months off could have thrown a major wrench in their long-term plans. Now, at least, they may have an opportunity to get their players on the court before next season.