Finally! We will have NBA action starting on July 31st with 22 of the 30 teams in the NBA to play an eight game schedule before the playoffs start.
While the 22 teams get set to start playing basketball, what about the other eight? Those teams will not have played a game since March and with a tentative start date to of December 1st right now for next season, that would be nine months without playing organized basketball for those teams.
So how about a tournament?
College basketball holds a National Invitation Tournament (NIT) for the 32 teams that did not make the NCAA Tournament. Why can't the NBA?
A tournament for those eight teams will allow them to play meaningful games to keep in shape and would not interfere with the NBA's return to play plan.
Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler told ESPN's Ramona Shelburne, "Nine months is too long without organized basketball."
Some ideas have been floated out in terms of keeping the other eight teams active while the 22 teams restart the season.
Most of the eight teams whose seasons have ended -- including Atlanta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Minnesota, and New York -- are pushing to engage in joint practices as ramp-ups for regional summer leagues in August, sources said. For example, the Pistons and Cavaliers have discussed the possibility of joint practices as a prelude to a mini-pod of games, sources said.
All of these teams have been dormant -- save for voluntary, socially distanced workouts in team facilities -- since the NBA's shutdown on March 11 in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Among the front-office ideas presented to the NBA, sources said:
- A combination of voluntary and mandatory workouts for two weeks in July.
- Regional minicamps in August that include joint practices for a period of days and approximately three televised games.
- Organized team activities (OTAs) for mid-September.
- Teams want an opportunity for training camps to start seven to 10 days earlier for the 2020-21 season for those teams left out of Orlando.
I do agree that nine months off for the other eight teams to play organized basketball is not fair. They should be able to do something to at least get back in the swing of things.
So while getting an early jump on next season sounds nice for them, why not start up with the other 22 teams? Hold a tournament for them and televise it to help make up for lost revenue. To throw in an added bonus to make it interesting for the fans and the teams involved, why not reward the winner with the No. 1 pick?
Is that unfair? Perhaps. But how could that not be exciting for the fans of the eight teams who were not part of the 22-team start up? And, to follow safety guidelines, put them in a bubble city as well where it's only the teams playing basketball without any fans at the games.
It's just a thought, but if the other eight owners are worried about their players not playing organized basketball for nine months, why not toss out this idea?