The NBA’s current bubble down in Orlando at Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex is working so well that the league is reportedly considering three additional bubbles for the 2020-21 season.
According to a report by David Aldridge and John Hollinger of The Athletic, the NBA is discussing a return to Orlando, along with three new bubbles in Las Vegas – the runner-up to Orlando’s winning bid to host the league this summer – along with New York and Dallas Fort-Worth.
“There is talk of as many as four bubbles next season,” The Athletic reported. “Given the league’s current success housing 22 teams at the Wide World of Sports Complex, a return to Disney is a given, as is using Las Vegas, the runner-up to Orlando this year. There just isn’t another city that far west (any city in California, right now, is a non-starter, given the explosion of COVID cases there) with the hotel space and big-event experience of Vegas.
“One source says New York and the Dallas-Fort Worth area are two other potential bubble cities; New York not only has what would be an otherwise empty Madison Square Garden in Manhattan and Barclays Center in Brooklyn as venues, but also Basketball City, the longtime Manhattan venue by the Hudson with numerous courts available, for potential practices.”
While the NBA is considering a four-bubble layout for the 2020-21 season, it’s not a guarantee the league will need to move forward with such a move. Instead, The Athletic is reporting that we could also see six “pods” for each division in the league, with different options such as a division-only start to the season or a two-month start in a bubble before implementing a one-month break and a return to regular home games, among other ideas.
“There may be multiple bubbles,” National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said last week on SiriusXM radio.. “There may be bubbles with a period of time away from the bubble. It may be that we don’t have a bubble at all.”
Unlike some conferences in the college football ranks – *ahem* the Big Ten *ahem* – the NBA is at least thinking ahead to create a thought-out plan on how to attack the upcoming 2020-21 season.
And they’re doing it before they’ve crowned a champion in 2020.