Columnist: NBA Made Right Call Not Bringing All Teams To Orlando
There will be some "unhappy teams" that are left at home when the NBA begins its 22-team return in Orlando this summer, but the limited field was the "right decision," according to Gary Washburn of the BOSTON GLOBE. Bringing all 30 teams, some of which did not want to play, "would have been a farce," as would have been "limiting the field to 16 teams." The NBA "maintained its integrity," which is "all fans can ask" (BOSTON GLOBE, 6/5). However, in St. Paul, Jace Frederick writes there are "some questions, and possible lasting effects, that stem" from the NBA's announcement. The '20-21 season reportedly will begin in December, which means the teams not in Orlando will "go roughly nine months between games." That would seem to put them "at a competitive disadvantage heading into next season" (ST. PAUL PIONEER PRESS, 6/5).
AT AN OFFSEASON DISADVANTAGE? In Chicago, Joe Cowley notes a nine-month layoff from competitive NBA games "seemingly would be punishment enough" for the Bulls, but they now are "officially removed from the Orlando recruiting game" as well. With the '21 free-agent class "arguably one of the most talented in league history, being left outside the 'bubble' could be a three-year sentence in solitary confinement." The bubble will "allow players to freely come and go from their hotel rooms" and socialize amongst each other. Meanwhile, teams such as the Bulls, Knicks, Cavaliers and Timberwolves are "hoping the NBA affords them some type of mandatory September training camp or a fall league in order to check out their players in a competitive situation and prepare them for the 2020-21 season" (CHICAGO SUN-TIMES, 6/5).
ANOTHER LOST OPPORTUNITY: In Charlotte, Rick Bonnell reports the Hornets will "still have room under the salary cap when the NBA’s next fiscal year begins, but likely not as much as projected before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the season." Loss of games, and gate receipts once games resume without fans at Disney World’s Wide World of Sports, will "cost the NBA more than $1 billion in lost revenue." In February, Hornets President of Basketball Operations & GM Mitch Kupchak anticipated about $28M in "off-season cap space." However, that was "based on the NBA’s projection then" of a $115M salary cap for each team. With league revenues "plummeting, that cap number will likely fall." So while the Hornets will "still be in an advantageous cap position, it won’t be as large" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 6/5).