BREAKING: Knicks May be Among Teams to Opt Out of Second NBA Bubble
With less than a month to go before 22 NBA teams plan to restart their season in the Orlando bubble, news broke today that the eight non-invitees could be part of a second bubble that would take place in Chicago sometime in September.
But don't count on the New York Knicks being a part of it just yet.
League sources familiar with the ongoing discussions between the NBA and the eight teams in question confirm that there's a possibility the Knicks and at least one other team opt out of the activities in Chicago.
A different source also indicates that New York, possibly along with some other teams, would have a strong preference to engage in a training camp at home later in the summer, with the thinking being that participation would be higher amongst some of the team's veterans who might be apprehensive about playing competitive games in a bubble-like atmosphere.
Both sources emphasize that this is still a developing matter and New York, like the seven other teams, are awaiting clarification on logistics and the like. As of now though, the preference is clearly for a training camp at home instead of a bubble in another city.
The Athletic's Sam Amick reported on Friday that one allowance that could make the difference, at least for New York, would be if they were allowed to fill any empty roster spots with players from the G-League.
This would make sense given the uncertainty surrounding whether the Knicks will pick up the second-year contract options on several older players including Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington, Bobby Portis, Elfrid Payton and Reggie Bullock. It also supports the notion that a training camp in the late summer could be a better option for the Knicks, as these players might be more enthusiastic about participating in such a scenario.
What's still unclear is how the Knicks plan to go forward from here. As ESPN's Jackie MacMullan reported, New York was the only one of the eight teams not on a call earlier today with the league in which potential options for a Chicago bubble were discussed. However, that report was followed up by SNY's Ian Begley clarifying that the team's brass was participating in a coaching interview and it was for that reason they didn't participate. A source confirmed this to be the case, and that the call was scheduled far in advance of the scheduling of the league's call today.
New York's conservative approach is sure to be met with both praise and criticism, depending on one's point of view. Additional time for the young players to gel is valuable, but given the potential risk and uncertainty surrounding a roster largely in flux, it may not be worth it, especially considering the risk of injury that live games bring with them even aside from any COVID-19 related concerns.