Chicago may host second NBA bubble for bottom eight teams
Bulls season is still officially over, but they may get a chance to take the court during their extended offseason.
The NBA is discussing a return to play for the eight teams left out of Orlando bubble, and would set up a second bubble in Chicago. The news was first reported by ESPN.
This would essentially be a glorified summer league for the eight teams facing a long layoff between March 11, when the NBA season was suspended, and November, when training camps are expected to begin for the 2020-21 campaign. The so-called Chicago bubble, if approved, would likely happen in September.
Besides the Bulls, the other teams left out of the NBA's resumption are Charlotte, Detroit, Atlanta, New York, Cleveland, Minnesota and Golden State.
When he spoke to reporters on June 5, new Bulls director of basketball operations Arturas Karnisovas said he lobbied for the Bulls to be included in the NBA's Orlando restart plan.
"Absolutely. I mean, we campaigned," he said. "We wanted to play because we thought we need to bring the sports back for our fans during this emotional time. At the end of the day, we have to compromise and do what is best for our league."
Asked what he'd like to see instead, Karnisovas said, "I think a combination of some team-oriented activities from some practices and possibly scrimmages (would be ideal). There's going to be a lot of player development and individual work, but I also would like to see some team activity as well."
According to ESPN, many teams from the bottom eight would prefer to do a minicamp in their home markets, but players association leader Michele Roberts believes players from those teams should be offered the same precautions as the players going to Orlando.
That means the players would be regularly tested for the coronavirus, sequestered at hotels and stay away from the general public. There are a number of facilities near downtown Chicago that could accommodate an NBA team practice.
Players whose teams are heading to Orlando were able to opt-out of the resumption without penalty. But those teams are all competing for a championship, in theory. Would players from the bottom eight teams opt out with greater frequency? That remains to be seen.
Since this format would resemble a summer league, it's likely to include more younger players than veterans. The Bulls have plenty of young players, so they'll probably expect close to full participation. There are some starters, like Lauri Markkanen and Tomas Satoransky, who live overseas and may not like the idea of coming back for a minicamp, especially if the coronavirus is still raging in parts of the U.S.
Potentially complicating plans, on Thursday, the Chicago Department of Public Health issued an emergency travel order directing travelers from 14 states experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases to quarantine for 14 days.