Weeks of individual workouts and full-team practices, followed by meaningful NBA games, gave the teams invited to the NBA restart in Orlando a real opportunity to get guys reps and grow their culture (even if those teams didn’t make the playoffs). Some teams took advantage of that, such as Phoenix. Some teams did not (we’re looking at you, Sacramento and New Orleans).
The eight teams not invited to the restart — Golden State, Minnesota, Cleveland, Atlanta, Detroit, New York, Chicago, and Charlotte, known as the “delete eight” — wanted those same training camp opportunities for growth. Without any practices or games, those teams could go a minimum of nine months between competitive games (it’s nine months if the season starts in December, it could begin later than that). They rightfully saw that as a disadvantage.
Those eight teams will need to find that growth through voluntary workouts at their home facilities, going against teammates (no scrimmages against other teams).
The NBA and NBPA announced they reached a deal on letting these teams have workouts at their home facilities starting next month.
There will be two phases to the workouts, and it will follow the pattern seen before (and just after) the other 22 teams went to the Orlando bubble. Phase one will run Sept. 14-20, where players will be tested and allowed to do individual, socially distanced workouts at the team facilities. Phase two runs from Sept. 21-Oct. 6, where teams will create their own bubble (which players have to live in for the two weeks) and do group workouts and scrimmages. Players will be tested daily while living in these mini-campuses. Attendance is voluntary for players, and teams can bring up to five G-League players to help round out the numbers in the camp.
Teams will not be getting together for scrimmages. The players’ union — through executive director Michelle Roberts — had said if that were to happen, the union wanted Orlando bubble-level precautions taken to keep players safe.
“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.”
This may not be what some teams wanted, but the OTA-style workouts are better than nothing.