How the NBA Could Place Teams in a ‘Bubble’ to Save the Season
The NBA has been suspended indefinitely while the nation tries to stop the spread of COVID-19. Commissioner Adam Silver is optimistic the NBA will finish its 2020 season, but it remains unknown when players will be able to return to the court.
A handful of NBA players have already been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and Rudy Gobert was the first positive case that sent the NBA into its suspension. While NBA players are taking an unprecedented midseason break from basketball, ideas have been swirling about how to finish the 2020 season. One idea involves gathering every team together in a tight ‘bubble’ so they can block the virus from infiltrating the league.
What would an NBA season in a bubble look like?
Brian Windhorst of ESPN recently wrote about Adam Silver’s options to be able to finish the league season. Windhorst starts by saying, simply, “the NBA is going to need to build a bubble.”
In order to create this bubble, the NBA would need to condense the entire league into a Las Vegas casino property or split the league into two cities. Every game and practice would be held under one roof. Other venues that have been discussed are the Bahamas and an empty college campus in the Midwest.
Every team would eat, sleep, and play basketball in one location, and no fans would be allowed in to watch the games. It would be a drastic change to how the NBA is normally run, but it might be the only option.
Star players, including LeBron James, have already spoken out against the bubble idea. James said on the Road Trippin’ podcast last week, “I ain’t going for that s—. I’m not going for that.”
The Chinese Basketball Association could be building its own bubble
The NBA got the bubble idea from the Chinese Basketball Association. The CBA has been on hold for almost three months, and the league is just now attempting to play games again. Players were recently called back to China to prepare for a league restart. They are currently in the middle of a two-week quarantine to make sure every player is healthy.
The CBA originally scheduled its league to start again in early April, but that timeline has already been pushed back to early May. The league is still mulling options to create a bubble in a warmer Chinese city, such as Dongguan or Qingdao. No final decision has been made.
China will most likely become the first professional baseball league to start play again. The NBA will not make any decisions until the CBA rolls out its plan to finish its season.
The NBA will wait for the CBA to test the bubble before moving forward
Adam Silver wants to see how the bubble works in China before rolling out a similar idea in America. It could easily flame out quickly in China, making it a waste of time for the NBA to even attempt.
Building a bubble will not be easy for any basketball league. The bubble needs to be completely cut off from the outside world. Just one confirmed case of COVID-19 will shut down the league even longer. The testing needs to be extensive and outside contact needs to be completely closed.
Creating a safe, tight bubble isn’t even the only issue facing the NBA. The players need to agree to a league decision in order for the NBA to move forward with any plan to finish the season. With its biggest star, LeBron James, already speaking out publicly against the bubble and playing without fans, it doesn’t exactly spell optimism for the league.
Even if the players don’t like the bubble plan, there may not be another option to finish the 2020 season this year. James and the rest of the NBA will have to soon decide how much a conclusion to the season means to them.