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”.
Per source, the tentative G League schedule:— Stefan Bondy (@SBondyNYDN) December 22, 2020
Jan. 29: Training camp opens at bubble site.
Feb. 8: Season starts
March 5: Playoffs start
*the hope is that the bubble site is Atlanta but that’s not set.
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.
Deputy commissioner Mark Tatum on the G League: “We’ve heard from our teams that they want to have players ready to call up.” Finalizing plans on how the G League tournament will work, and on how call-ups will function. “We’ll have more to talk about in a couple of weeks.”— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) December 21, 2020
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.
The Wizards have cut Jordan Bell, who they signed earlier today, according to a source. Look for Bell to play for the Wizards’ G League team in the bubble.— Fred Katz (@FredKatz) December 20, 2020
Knicks signed former Piston, Louis King.
Knicks say they’ve signed Louis King.— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) December 17, 2020
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.
Did confirm the Spurs signed G Khyri Thomas to an Ex 10 deal this past Friday. As part of Ex 10 deals, they did waive him and he will play with Austin should there be a G League season. He last played with Pistons. #gospursgo— JeffGSpursZone (@JeffGSpursZone) December 13, 2020
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:
Dwane Casey on developing guys without G League: "We have a program for those guys. We have night sessions with them, extended practice sessions."— James Edwards III (@JLEdwardsIII) December 22, 2020
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.
Source: 17 teams have opted into playing in the G League Bubble slated to take place in February (location TBD). The G League Ignite squad will be the 18th team participating. G League teams say they are expecting to play a minimum of 12 games, not including the playoffs.— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) December 24, 2020
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.