Report: NBA Discussing Training Camps, Regional Leagues for Non-Playoff Teams

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJune 1, 2020

Atlanta Hawks guard Trae Young (11) dribbles upcourt during an NBA basketball game against the Charlotte Hornets, Monday, March 9, 2020, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Amis)
John Amis/Associated Press

If the NBA restarts without all 30 teams, the squads not involved still hope to have some events before the start of the 2020-21 season.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of ESPN, the league is reportedly planning to invite 22 teams for a shortened season in Orlando followed by a modified playoff. While some owners want a full return of all 30 teams, the non-playoff squads are at least pushing for mandatory summer training camps or regional fall leagues.

Per Wojnarowski and Lowe, the eight teams that aren't involved will at least push for a formal training camp over the summer because they don't want to be away from players for up to nine months.

"The message was something bigger, reminding people that some teams can't just reopen the doors in nine or 10 months and so easily sell tickets or a sponsorship without having played basketball for that long," one high-level Eastern Conference official on the call said.

Oklahoma City Thunder owner Clay Bennett—whose team is already in a playoff position before the league returns—argued on a call Friday in favor of all 30 teams returning for some form of regular-season play.

Small-market teams could especially benefit from the financial return that comes with playing games.

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Atlanta Hawks owner Tony Ressler also wants to resume the season, even though his team is far from playoff contention with a 20-47 record. Golden State Warriors owner Joe Lacob reportedly would accept a full return of games despite his team's 15-50 record.

The challenge with this plan surrounds the safety of all players and personnel amid concerns over the coronavirus pandemic. As Wojnarowski and Lowe noted, bringing eight extra teams to Orlando would include more than 100 additional people that could be effected by COVID-19.

There could also be a risk of injury for players returning on a limited training camp, which might not be worth it for those out of title contention.

The league plans to hold a vote Thursday to determine the next course of action.

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