In a story on what the NBA might look like next season, David Aldridge and John Hollinger of The Athletic report that games may be played in regional “bubbles” and one of the more likely ones would be centered in New York and include Barclays Center as well as Madison Square Garden.
“There is talk of as many as four bubbles next season, according to sources. 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.”
There are other venues, of course, like Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale on Long Island which is shuttered and Prudential Center in Newark, but the two city venues should suffice for a regional “bubble.” (The Meadowlands Arena has been used as TV studio in recent years.)
And no, there wouldn’t be fans at these “bubbles” either.
The idea of regional “bubbles,” of course, is an outgrowth of the success of the NBA —and WNBA— in Florida. So far, no player in either the NBA “bubble” at Walt Disney World nor the WNBA “wubble” at IMG Academy a hundred miles west have tested positive in the month they’ve been ensconced.
Of course, where the games will be played is only one of the questions. Others include when and how?
“When will next season start? Will we have a vaccine? If so, when? What does it mean for fans? The previously announced Dec. 1 date to open next season is more of a suggestion than anything definitive, and it seems increasingly unlikely that it will be the actual one. More sober parties have floated options ranging from Christmas Day to Martin Luther King Jr. Day or even later for the league to start playing, depending in part on what the outlook might be for getting fans in seats for at least part of the season.”
“Everyone’s got an opinion on when it makes sense to start, but everyone also appreciates this virus is going to have the last say,” National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts said last week on SiriusXM radio, Aldridge noted.
In fact, Aldridge added, “Predictions about how ’20-21 will play out at this stage are doomed to be wrong.”
- Bubbles, bubbles, toil and troubles: there’s no clear NBA picture for 2020-21 - David Aldridge & John Hollinger - The Athletic New York