NBA bubble was a success, but where will the league go from here?

A Los Angeles Lakers fan in a plastic bubble celebrates outside of Staples center Sunday, Oct. 11, 2020, in Los Angeles, Calif, after the Lakers defeated the Miami Heat in Game 6 of basketball’s NBA Finals to win the championship. | AP Photo/Christian Monterrosa

The conclusion of an NBA season would normally signal the beginning of summer, the start of a well-structured offseason with dates that act as mile markers on the road to next season. But as we all know, this NBA season has been anything but normal and that’s true of what’s to come as well.

The NBA pulled off a feat that seemed nearly impossible when it was proposed a few months ago. The Los Angeles Lakers won the 2020 NBA championship in the bubble, the culmination of 172 games played in isolation. There were thousands of people in the bubble — players, staff, team personnel, family, media members and Disney World employees — and there were zero positive COVID-19 tests. That’s a successful metric by any standard.

Now that the NBA’s experiment in Orlando is over, the league has to answer the question that everyone is asking: What happens next?

The short answer is, we don’t know.

The normal NBA offseason has a rhythm that kicks off with the draft, followed by the opening of free agency, summer league play, rookie camps, a release of the upcoming schedule and the beginning of training camp, which leads into preseason and the next regular season.

The league has scheduled the 2020 NBA draft for Nov. 18, but beyond that there is an abundance of uncertainty.

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After the longest NBA season in the league’s history, which ran for almost an entire year, nothing can be planned for next season until the league and players association are given proper projections on the 2020-21 season salary cap and are able to negotiate how to plan for the loss of revenue that will impact the cap not only next season but potentially for seasons to come.

New contract and player option dates, which were passed when the season calendar shifted, need to be updated and agreed upon, and teams need a good amount of time to make offseason plans with the new cap numbers.

We’re very likely looking at a snowy offseason in which free agency opens in December. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has said he doesn’t expect the 2020-21 season to begin before the 2021 calendar year and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts, along with multiple league sources, has said that February is probably a better estimate.

There are going to be major implications because of the revised NBA calendar. It could end up taking years for the league to get back on a normal schedule and that could mean players aren’t available for international play or the Olympics for a long time. It could lead to big changes for summer league and G League play. It could mean that summertime no longer signals the end of a season but is rather a part of it.

Even after all the …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Sports News


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