It seems more realistic that the other teams would be more interested in a summer mini-camp. Atlanta (Trae Young, Cam Reddish), Charlotte (Devonte Graham), Chicago (Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen), Cleveland (Collin Sexton, Darius Garland), Detroit (Luke Kennard, Bruce Brown, Svi Mykhailiuk), Minnesota (D’Angelo Russell,) and New York (R.J. Barrett) all have promising young talent. But Atlanta (Jeff Teague), Chicago (Otto Porter Jr.), Cleveland (Tristan Thompson, Andre Drummond, Matthew Dellavedova) and New York (Taj Gibson) also have a handful of notable players who will either become free agents or hold player options for next season.
“This is where it gets tricky,” Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk said on a conference call with reporters. “They are going to have a different view in taking part in scrimmages or games with free agency looming over them.”
And there will be another thing complicating matters. While those teams were out of playoff contention, the NBA also wanted to alleviate safety concerns surrounding the coronavirus so it did not include every team in the resumed season.
It’s always possible a mini-camp or intra-squad scrimmages could become a ratings draw for a sports-starved audience, but it hardly would match the television revenue the NBA will salvage with the rest of the teams. It will allow 22 of them to play eight regular-season games either to sneak into the 16-team postseason or improve their seeding. (Those six teams that failed to qualify and the eight already out would comprise the lottery teams.)
But the NBA could face the same logistical headaches for a summer mini-camp.
They would have to find another bubble site that could keep all teams safely in quarantine. They would have to ensure adequate testing for everyone. They would have to make varying travel arrangements. Given Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns tragically lost his mother to COVID-19, no one could blame him or any other player feeling wary of that risk.
“In previous offseasons, we could easily hop on a plane, go see a guy, spend a week with him and stay in a hotel,” Bickerstaff said. “But now what does that look like?”
It looks like a mess. The NBA and the players union still have to sort out the final logistics on the resumed season in Orlando. The National Basketball Players Association is still negotiating with the league to change the date of next season (Dec. 1) since the last possible Finals game (Oct. 12) would leave for little time to rest.
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