Woj: Another bubble 'last thing' NBA wants for 2020-21 season

Sam Amico

The NBA appears to be resisting the idea of playing next season in a bubble-like setting, instead hoping to reach a point where fans can return to arenas, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.

"I don't think they've ruled the bubble out, but it is kind of the last thing anyone wants to do right now," Wojnarowski said on his podcast.

While the league initially appeared hopeful of a Dec. 25 start to the 2020-21 season, commissioner Adam Silver said earlier this week that things may not tip off until after New Year's Day.

And perhaps the delayed start can result in fans, or at least some fans, returning to home arenas with the teams.

"There was a lot of talk, even a month ago, six weeks ago, about starting next year in a bubble," Wojnarowski said. "And the further we were in (the Disney) bubble and it went along, the more and more I got a sense, and I think others got a sense that, I think everybody in the league wants to do everything they can to not go back to it."

Silver recently indicated that gate receipts account for about 40 percent of the league's revenue -- and getting fans back would undoubtedly help, given the financial hit experienced this season.

Yet another reason to be hopeful a bubble environment isn't necessary.

"And not just from [how] everybody is going stir crazy and it's not normal," Wojnarowski said. "But I think the owners' appetite, understandably, and the players' appetite, to get the revenue streams back. To get fans back at arenas. 

"Financially, it is scary to have the fans out for this long. But you also don't want fans out so long that they just, like... Just don't assume everybody is going to come flooding back. People find other things to do in this world. 

"All of the entertainment options there are. You don't want people out of NBA buildings for so long that it is not a habit anymore, and you don't get everybody back.

"The more time goes on here, the greater sense I've gotten around the league, the union, players, owners certainly, that they're going to do everything they can to in some way shape or form have fans back at arenas next year. Even if that means it is socially distanced. We're seeing it in football in some places."