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It’s official: G League to return next month in Disney World ‘bubble’

Iowa Wolves v Long Island Nets Photo by Michelle Farsi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Long Island Nets will take the court in a month, finally ending an 11-month hiatus caused by COVID-19. The G League announced Friday that the 2021 season would begin February 8 in a “bubble” at Disney World, scene of last summer’s NBA “bubble.”

Long Island will be one of 18 teams in the “bubble,” along with 17 of the 27 NBA affiliates who opted into the the league plan, and Team Ignite, the G League select team comprised of top NBA prospects. Among the the teams that opted out of the plan (which requires an expenditure of about a half million dollars) are affiliates of the Lakers, Celtics and Heat. The Westchester Knicks opted in.

The G League Draft will take place Monday at 1 p.m. The Nets pick eighth, 24th and 44th in the conference call affair. (However, teams are limited to 10 players, not counting two-ways. Once a G League roster reaches 10, the team will have to renounce any succeeding picks.) Players will begin safety and health protocols starting Wednesday with in-home quarantines. Training camps open in Orlando on January 29.

The Nets gave Bret Brielmaier, their long time assistant, the Long Island head coaching job last month. On Sunday, it was disclosed that veteran European head coach, Luca Banchi, will join Brielmaier’s staff.

Based on a variety of reports, Long Island will field a team including their two two-ways, Reggie Perry and Chris Chiozza, affiliate players Elie Okobo, a 6’3” point guard who played two years with the Suns; Paul Eboua, a 6’8” power forward who played in Italy; Nate Sestina, a 6’9” power forward who played for Kentucky; and Jordan Bowden, a 6’5” 3-and-D guard from Tennessee as well as G League vets Tariq Owens, a 6’10” shot blocker; Kaiser Gates, a 6’7” shooting guard; and 6’1” point guard Matt Farrell, all acquired in off-season moves. Farrell’s status for this season appears uncertain as he is playing in Europe.

On Friday, G League veteran Shannon Scott who played two years with Long Island, signed a new contract with Long Island which had retained his rights. Scott averaged 9.0 points, 5.9 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 46 games, 33 starts, in 2018-19 when Long Island went to the G League Finals.

“I’m definitely excited to get out there and back on the court with this organization,” said Scott, now 28, in a statement to NetsDaily. “It’s going to be a different group from what I’m used to but I know a few of the guys from previous years. Also know that (Long Island GM) Matt Riccardi does a great job of putting great talent and great people together.”

Nicolas Claxton, who’s recovering from knee tendinopathy, could also see action in a G League rehab.

Finally, NBA teams without an affiliate in Orlando will be able to assign roster players and transfer Two-Way players to teams in the “bubble.” That means it’s possible the Long Island roster could also wind up with other teams’ roster players.

Perhaps most importantly, as an affiliate team, Long Island will have the option to sign a veteran NBA player to their roster. Previously, only players with four or fewer years NBA experience were eligible for G League team. A number of veterans are available in the Draft —including 6’9” power forward Michael Beasley, who Brooklyn signed in June as a a replacement player but who couldn’t play after testing positive for COVID.