As the NBA looks to conclude its 2019-20 season in a bubble environment in Orlando's Walt Disney World Resort, it may also be forced to utilize a bubble for its 2020-21 season amid the coronavirus pandemic.
On Tuesday, National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts told ESPN's Tim Bontemps that a bubble may be the only way the league is able to complete next season, saying, in part that, "if the bubble is the way to play, then that is likely gonna be the way we play next season if things remain as they are."
Roberts' comments come as MLB, a league currently operating in a non-bubble environment, is dealing with a coronavirus outbreak on one of its teams. In recent days, over a dozen Marlins players and staff members tested positive for the virus and all of the team's games have been postponed through Sunday.
Roberts, who is inside the bubble, told ESPN, "if tomorrow looks like today, I don't know how we say we can do it differently."
"If tomorrow looks like today, and today we all acknowledge—and this is not Michele talking, this is the league, together with the PA and our respective experts saying, 'This is the way to do it'—then that's going to have to be the way to do it," she said.
The 2019-20 season is currently set to end in mid-October, with next year's season expected to begin in December.
"I'm not in the Trump camp in believing it's all going to go away in two weeks, but I'm praying, praying that there will be a different set of circumstances that will allow us to play in a different way," Roberts said. "But because I don't know, all I know is what I know now. So it may be that, if the bubble is the way to play, then that is likely gonna be the way we play next season if things remain as they are.
"I hope not. Because I'd like to think that people can live with their families. But I can only comment on what I know, and what I know is right now."
The 2019-20 NBA season is set to resume Thursday when the Pelicans face off against the Jazz.