The “delete eight” may soon be getting back to work.
A plan for the eight teams with the worst records in the NBA, the ones not invited to Orlando for the NBA’s restart — Golden State, Minnesota, Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Chicago, and Charlotte — is coming together and could be approved next week, reports Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer.
Much like the Orlando version, it would start with teams working out in their facilities, then moving to a couple of hubs for some scrimmages.
The proposal under discussion — which has not yet been approved by the league or the players union — would include:
▪ A week of practice at individual teams’ home facilities, starting the second week of August.
▪ Possibly two weeks of group workouts hosted by two teams not in the restart. Those cities have not yet been finalized. Teams traveling would likely be contingent on the players union approving teams scrimmaging each other.
The eight teams outside the NBA bubble have been asking to host training camps and some scrimmage games. They are concerned — rightfully so — that going from March to December without meaningful games would put the development of their young players and cultures behind (especially since the other 22 teams had training camps and played at least eight “seeding” games).
The concern, particularly from the players’ union, has been doing this while keeping the players healthy and safe. Michelle Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, reportedly has insistent that players be protected by similar protocols to the ones in Orlando.
“Unless we could replicate in every way the protocol that’s been established for Orlando, I’d be – I’m being tame now – suspicious,” Roberts said a conference call with reporters last month. “I think there are conversations that could be had if there’s anything we can do with the other eight teams. I know there are some players, particularly young players, that seem concerned they’re not getting enough [opportunities]… never say never, but there’s a standard. It’s a standard that’s got to be met.”
Having a couple of different “bubbles” (or whatever term of art the league wants to use) that are smaller both keeps the costs down for teams and will be easier to administer than what the league is doing in Orlando. Exactly what this setting would look like for the other teams remains to be seen.
But it looks like something is coming together.