Earlier this week, The Athletic reported what many basketball fans anticipated – the second bubble is dead (well, almost).
Further discussion has proven ineffective when it comes to establishing a second NBA host site for the remaining eight teams. There are plenty of reasons why the risk of a secondary bubble isn’t with the reward, including a clear lack of incentive for the players involved. With no ring up for grabs and a looming risk of injury, it’s not hard to imagine why it might be difficult for the NBPA and NBA to reach an agreement on combined bubble workouts and scrimmages. With that being the case, in-market bubbling on a voluntary player-bases could be a solid alternative – at least in my opinion.
With that said, the NBA hasn’t fully given up on the idea of more formal activities. According to The Athletic, the NBA told owners this week that it’s still looking for a way to even the competitive playing field. In fact, the league is revisiting an idea that would put the eight remaining teams inside the existing bubble in Orlando. In other words, why create an extra bubble when you can just use the first?
Six teams will leave the bubble before the start of the 16-team playoffs, and thus, open up some unused space on campus. In theory, the league could gradually fly in the ousted teams and allow them to work out and compete in the facilities. You hear that!? The Bulls can hang at Disney World with Jim Boylen! How magical!
As awesome as that sounds [sarcasm], this still only solves some of the problems the league faces. Sure, the NBA wouldn’t have to spend more money, the bubble is safe, and the players seem comfortable, but we’re still missing an incentive (and you’re compromising the security of the initial bubble down the playoff stretch by introducing new variables into the equation midstream). Not to mention, players might be keener on bubbling in their respective cities than traveling to Orlando anyway.
I just don’t see how this is an ideal situation for the Bulls or anyone involved. I know guys like Arturas Karnisovas and Marc Eversley are probably desperate to see their team in action, but I highly doubt they’re going to be able to do that in a truly competitive setting. Even if a member of the team did travel to Orlando to play some scrimmages or whatever, how can we say this is truly the best environment to evaluate everyone properly?
As more time passes, it becomes increasingly clear that a second bubble, or an addition the first, isn’t worth it. Time to call a quits.