Players’ Association head suggests NBA could play in a bubble next season

By Vincent Frank
Eric Bronson-USA TODAY Sports

The 2019-20 NBA season is set to resume at Walt Disney World in Orlando on Thursday. It’s been a long time coming since the campaign was suspended back on March 11 due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As 22 of the league’s 30 teams close out this season, the NBA is already planning for the 2020-21 campaign. That could potentially include games being played in a bubble, once again.

NBPA executive director Michele Roberts hints 2020-21 season could be played in a bubble

“If tomorrow looks like today, I don’t know how we say we can do it differently,” Roberts told ESPN Tuesday. “If tomorrow looks like today, and today we all acknowledge — and this is not Michele talking, this is the league, together with the PA and our respective experts saying, ‘This is the way to do it’ — then that’s going to have to be the way to do it.”

There’s certainly a lot of factors that come into play here. It seems that the NBA’s bubble at Walt Disney World has worked well in comparison to what we’re seeing around the Major League Baseball world.

Whether that is even a viable option given that 30 teams would have to take to a bubble next season remains to be seen.

The other factors here are even more convoluted. The NBA is planning on starting the 2020-21 season some time in December and play a full 82-game slate.

Barring a dramatic improvement in the United States’ battle against COVID-19 or an earlier-than-expected vaccine available to the masses, it’s hard to imagine teams being able to play at home with fans in attendance.

Of course, the logistics are another thing to look at. Who would host the NBA in a bubble? In addition to Orlando, Las Vegas was being bandied about to resume the season. Could the Association go with the Eastern Conference in Florida and the Western Conference in Nevada? That’s a possibility.

Not to get too far ahead of ourselves, how the 2019-20 season looks from a pandemic perspective could tell us a story here. Despite some hiccups, things seem to be going pretty smoothly in the lead up to the Association restarting its season Thursday.