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Clarity emerging about the new G League season

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The Detroit Pistons are opting out of whatever plan the league is putting together — at least for now

NBA G League - Team Ignite Practice and Scrimmage Photo by Noah Graham/NBAE via Getty Images

Last we heard, a plan was coming together to organize an in-bubble G League season. After a successful restart of last NBA season in similar conditions, it’s thought to be the safest way to have at least some kind of G League competition this year. However, it’s also very costly – allegedly costing teams around half a million of dollars as an entry fee.

That’s too rich, and access to players too limiting so some teams are not planning to participate including the Detroit Pistons. Now the idea of the bubble (still planned to be held in Atlanta, though this is not so certain) is taking shape.

According to sources, there is already some “tentative G League schedule”.

The training camp is aimed to start on Jan. 29 with Feb. 8 for the first day of the season, which will last almost two months. Playoffs would begin starting March 5. In normal circumstances, a G League season starts in early November and lasts until the end of March with teams playing 50 regular-season games. Since the G League Playoffs consist of three single-elimination rounds and best-of-three Finals they don’t take long to complete.

During the regular season, teams play around 10 games a month, but in a bubble environment that excludes travel they would be able to do close to 15. That depends, however, on the amount of teams participating and the capacity of the site. So the regular season this year might give teams and players around 30 games to show and train their skills.

Even if initial reports suggest only the low bar of at least 12 games plus playoffs matches, should a team qualify for them - see Jonathan Givony’s tweet in the second to last paragraph, it should provide enough time, practice and games to showcase skills and develop players.

In the conditions of the pandemic, NBA teams do “want to have players ready to call up” from G League.

Moreover, some of them are trying to bring solid enforcements to their G League affiliates. In accordance, Warriors tried to secure the services of Jeremy Lin for their affiliate in Santa Cruz, though temporarily failed due to FIBA offices didn’t want to open on weekends to give him clearance. However, with new rule “NBA Vet Selection,“ introduced only for this season, Lin might still find his way into Santa Cruz roster. Wizards brought in Jordan Bell to play with their Capital City Go Go.

Knicks signed former Piston, Louis King.

They also signed Skal Labissiere and James Young to play with their Westchester Knicks as well as Jaren Jackson Sr. to join its staff. And Spurs signed other of our former young players, Khyri Thomas, to have him play with their affiliate from Austin.

Unfortunately, our Detroit Pistons are going in the opposite direction, as they waived Louis King, Anthony Lamb and LiAngelo Ball, who were brought about to play with the G League affiliate, the Grand Rapids Drive. The team does have two two-way players in Saben Lee an Frank Jackson, but it seems they will spend nearly the entire season working with and around the Pistons players and coaching staff.

Therefore, although still not made official, the Pistons seem to have made the decision to skip the G League entirely this season. More so, since they also waived Džanan Musa, and Dwane Casey already has a plan established to develop our youngsters without G League:

On the other hand, the Grand Rapids Drive haven’t given up. Recently, the team partially owned by Ben Wallace organized some community events to give back to the community.

So while we are still waiting on the Pistons’ official decision, we we can notice that so far 18 teams plan to participate in the G League bubble.

Within the teams planning to participate, we find 17 NBA teams and G League Ignite squad consisting of players considered to be top prospects in next year's draft, Jalen Green and Jonathan Kuminga. Last week, the team played its second December scrimmage with G League veterans. Kuminga again led its efforts with 21 points in a loss.

Further news should come in soon. We’ll try to keep you informed.