The (bad? expected?) news comes to us from The Athletic’s Shams Charania:
Sources: There's growing belief among the eight non-restart NBA teams that a second bubble for intrasquad scrimmages will not happen — as well as pessimism about individual in-market minicamps.— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) August 4, 2020
Details at @TheAthleticNBA with @sam_amick: https://t.co/zBqM8ZKVKw
The piece is worth consuming, but there are three main reasons it looks like a second NBA bubble won’t be happening for the Detroit Pistons or the rest of the "Delete 8" teams not invited to the Orlando bubble:
The players are worried about safety
The NBA Players Association has some understandable and justifiable concerns about player safety in an environment that would be ... more accessible than the Disney bubble. This makes total sense to me. For example, Chicago was the rumored location of the second bubble. I haven’t been to Chicago in a while, but I, uh, don’t remember Chicago having a 220-acre complex that’s been gated off to the public this whole time.
The NBA is fortunate to have ONE area of the country that has the infrastructure and space to pull off a bubble. Trying to find a second area - while simultaneously maintaining the sanctity of the first bubble - seems like a big ask. And if players feel like the league isn’t doing enough in the second bubble to protect them... that’s an ugly situation the league could unnecessarily find itself in.
The teams are worried about $$$.
The first NBA bubble is costing the NBA in excess of $150 million dollars, according to an ESPN report. That is expensive, absolutely, but it’s worth it for the NBA to recoup the $900 million dollars in TV deal money they stood to lose if there were no more games this season.
However, with the first bubble, that money is currently in the process of being recouped. The second bubble ... would not be worth $900 million dollars in television revenue.
Yes, those games are worth something from a television perspective, just like Summer League games are worth something from a television perspective. Would those games be worth whatever the league would have to put up to create and maintain a second bubble? Seems unlikely.
There’s a non-bubble alternative
The Athletic’s report mentions that the NBA Players Association is more open to the idea of individual team mini-camps at team practice facilities. This has always struck me as the logical end result - teams can get their development work in, there’s no chance of one team inadvertently spreading coronavirus to another team, and mini-camps can be paused and resumed in case of positive tests.
Sure, mini-camps can’t be packaged as a television product (...or could they?) so there’s no way to make money off of them (... or IS there?) but if a team’s main concern is truly the lost development time for young players, that shouldn’t be a concern.
What do you all think about the possibility and necessity of a second NBA bubble? Let us know in the comments.